Green Tomatoes anyone?

Green Tomato Mincemeat? Fried Green Tomatoes? Green Tomato Pickle? Green Tomato Marmalade?

I have every freezing, canning, and preserving cookbook I own out on my kitchen counters as I search for recipes for green tomatoes. Some little green pear tomatoes that were reluctant to turn yellow are pickling in a brine crock right now. I have all the ingredients on the butcher block to make green tomato mincemeat. Finding more green tomatoes for more heirloom recipes won’t be a problem. The only tomatoes in my garden are green tomatoes.

Apparently most other local gardeners have the same situation on their hands. The fellow gardeners I have bumped into lately all want to talk about this strange gardening season. Eventually, everyone gets around to their green tomatoes. This Saturday, someone at the Cornish Farmer’s Market had a box of about forty ripe tomatoes for sale. I was impressed and wondered what she had done differently than the rest of us. As I complimented her on having ripe tomatoes, she noted that the only reason she had that many was that she had eighty five tomato plants. She too had nothing but green tomatoes.

There is something going on with the tomatoes this year. They just aren’t ripening.


When I plan the gardens with the Angels each winter, the designs for the gardens are very precise. A geometric pattern is set by the Angels for each space. Then I receive guidance about what kind of vegetables to grow, specific varieties to use, and numbers of greenhouse grown seedlings to transplant into each garden.

This year, the main vegetable garden and the second big vegetable garden had no tomatoes as part of their design. Even though one is a sixty foot in diameter circle and the other a forty foot diameter, the Angels did not include tomatoes. I didn’t listen to the subtext here. I never really want to know what it means when the Angels say no melons, no eggplants, no tomatoes or any other heat loving vegetables this year. I don’t want to know in January that I will be using my down quilt all but about three days all summer as was the case this year.

So, I pretended the writing was not on the wall. I asked if I could put in a few tomatoes in a small garden area down by the raspberries that was open for planting. The Angels said fine, but to grow only a very few. It was sort of a “whatever” message that clearly indicated that it was a waste of time and garden space to grow tomatoes this year, but I didn’t want to listen. No heat? No sunshine? I all but blocked my ears and sang “I’m not listening”.

That first weekend in March, I started what I thought was a very small but colorful array of tomato varieties. My problem came when I went to plant these tomatoes and realized I had more than I thought. I hate composting a perfectly good little seedling, especially this year when it had been such courageous work for any seedling in there to survive a greenhouse season with virtually no sun. So I planted the thirty or forty plants.

And there they sit, a reminder to listen better. Yesterday after hoarding semi ripe tomatoes for a week, I had enough tomatoes for one very small batch of sauce. I was surprised the sauce was even red. I mostly used cream colored, yellow pear, purple cherokee, and orange tomatoes because they were the only ones ripe. And we are not talking dozens of tomatoes making up this sauce batch. We are talking the saddest little pile of woebegone tomatoes ever.

I mean, you know you have a problem when even the cherry tomato varieties stay green.

So the bigger picture here is how are we going to navigate climate change? It’s hard not to notice that we live in a different micro climate than a few years back. I recently read an article of dire predictions about world wide crop failures as the climate shifts globally. It occurred to me that beyond the obvious solution of planting a diversity of crops wherever you live, it will be vital to listen carefully to what the Angels suggest we grow, all of us, even folks outside this frame of reference.

It was a good learning experience for me to be so graphically reminded that the Angels really do know what they are talking about. They had me plant an enormous amount of potatoes this year. Probably four times what I have ever grown before. With all the rain and gray weather, potatoes have done fabulously. Irish summer= Irish crops= Good harvest.

Their choice of vegetables to grow this year was narrow, but it was spot on. My second big vegetable garden was just potatoes and brassicas. But everything they guided me to grow has flourished. The tomatoes, chosen on my watch, may not feed me, but they taught me a lot. I don’t have to fear climate changes so much as stay with my guidance.

Right now, I can still go out to my local coop and fill in the gaps of missing produce. But with fuel costs skyrocketing, I think it is not a Cassandra like suggestion to think that we will all be more and more dependent on locally grown foods in the years to come, that perhaps the gaps won’t be so easily filled by apples from Chile and eggplants from Israel. It may not be just a question of fuel costs. My friend from Chile tells me that they are experiencing 70 degree temperatures this winter with everything blooming way too early to set fruit. Who knows if there will always be great volume of produce to import from Chile or anywhere else?

Given the unpredictable nature of the climate changes, there really is no sensible alternative to listening to the intelligence in nature. We have to do this on a grass roots level, garden by garden, and not expect Del Monte to take care of us. By the time Del Monte realizes it has to switch gears about what to grow, we may be pretty hungry!

Working with the Angels and Elementals in a garden is not rocket science. The same kind of kinesiology I describe in the Guide works well for talking to the Angels and Elementals of the vegetable garden. They are happy to talk and they know what they are talking about. Over time, the communication gets easier and easier. My mistakes don’t reflect on them and their wisdom. It’s just me listening inattentively that clogs the works.

But no use crying over spilt milk. I am deeply grateful that the Angels and Elementals will be there come the Winter Solstice, ready to begin again to plan our 2007 gardens with me an even more attentive partner. And they will be there with you, if you want to work with them.

Let me know any way I can encourage any of you to join in this cooperative effort. I have green tomatoes because I didn’t listen and potatoes to feed an army because I did listen. And blessedly my partners, the very ones that would be your partners too, are so kind. They celebrate all my learning no matter how it happened. They’ll celebrate yours too!

For Vicki’s Mama Carole

It’s not just pears and plums ripening here at the farm. Vicki’s baby is due four weeks from today. I thought her mother Carole, who lives in Illinois, might like to see how her daughter is blossoming! Carole is coming when the baby is born, but maybe not before.


So here is your darling daughter! As you can see Carole, Vicki’s sense of humor remains intact! And we are all good to go, especially now that I have finished knitting the baby’s sweater.

See you soon!

Garden Activities

After a series of soggy, gray days, yesterday was sunny with that incredible clear air of late summer and early fall. This meant tearing around the gardens and nearby fields and woodlands making Flower Essences. I found an unfamiliar wildflower and discovered it to be a member of the pea family called Groundnut.


Isn’t this an unusual and interesting Flower? So finely detailed and such a striking chocolate pink. I can’t wait to visit with it and begin to find out its Flower Essence gifts.

I made two other new Flower Essences. One was long overdue. Purple Loosestrife. This is that magenta purple Flower that fills the wetlands in the eastern United States, the one with all the leaflets telling people not to plant it because it is a menace. My feeling about plants that are considered invasive is that they are doing some kind of energetic balancing work (I guess I need to apply that theory to my issues with poison ivy….).

With its purple spires, my guess is that Purple Loosestrife is helping the entire eastern seaboard to ground higher vibrational energies. I welcome it into our collection and look forward to talking with it. When I began to make it into an Essence, the Flower sent me such a wave of love I was stopped in my tracks. This made me so very glad that I was bringing it on board. Here are several wands of this Purple Loosestrife near the wetlands where I found it blooming.

While I was collecting the Groundnut, a nearby plant called out that it too wanted to be made into an Essence. It proved to be a wild variety of Evening Primrose. I happily made it into an Essence also.

It is interesting to me how the moment I make a new Flower Essence, people call looking for it and the Angels start recommending it left and right. One new Essence from this summer that the Angels have recommended frequently, even before I have had the chance to grasp more than a glimmer of its restorative and revitalizing energetics, is Applemint.

It is strange and wonderful how Flowers that have been living cheek by jowl with us in the gardens, as is the case with Applemint, suddenly step forward to be incorporated in our Flower Essence collection and immediately find a vital purpose.

So far, the Angels have suggested it for a number of people and animals seeking a deeply restorative experience. It has a cool green refreshing vibration that feels very energizing but not dizzying. That’s not very specific and I hope to write a better description soon.

Another beloved Flower that is coming into greater focus for me and in our collection of Flower Essences is Day Lily. This was one of the first Flower Essences I made almost twenty years ago. It was included in my earliest lists of available Flower Essences, but later was not included in the Guide.

Day Lily is all about awakening. Its Essence helped me to awaken to my calling to Flower Essences. I am only sorry that I fell asleep when it came to keeping it in focus for other people and their awakening processes. Day Lily has been telling me that it wants to be more front and center again both in our gardens and in our collection. This means I have been spending time appreciating the Day Lilies here and thinking about adding more to our gardens. It also means I will be putting Day Lily Flower Essence back into our main line up of Flower Essences.

I found a Day Lily farm in Vermont and discovered it was near my route to Elizabeth’s place in Bennington. On my way home from moving her into her new apartment last weekend, I stopped at Olallie Daylily Gardens in South Newfane, Vermont. Acres and acres of gorgeous Day Lilies greeted me. It was late in the afternoon and the place was quiet with that soft almost evening light that makes Flowers glow. At first, I was just so overwhelmed by all the gorgeous varieties around me that I thought I would never sort out what I wanted. I began to make a list of the Day Lilies calling to me the loudest, but finally surrendered and had a lovely young man dig up a dozen different varieties for me to take home to Green Hope Farm. Day Lilies really are amazing. I planted these new plants the next morning and by the next day they were blooming as if they had never been anywhere else.
This one is called Gala and already it has put on quite a show.

Well the fog has burned off and the sun is OUT AGAIN! How lucky can I be? The dogs are outside at the door making a racket to get me to join them. So I am off to mulch and weed and harvest plums and pears!