We've officially collected the last of this year's figs and I decided to polish them off in the best way I know how: straight off the branch, dripping in honey, and sprinkled with walnuts. Sure I adore fig jam and fig-filled cookies and tarts, but I swear there is something almost primal about tearing into one completely uncooked and practically unadorned. Perhaps it can be chalked up to the whole garden of Eden thing but my fascination isn't entirely misplaced– figs rank among the highest plant-based sources of calcium and fiber, two very valuable human nutrients. That, and they're delicious.
The end of September seems as good a time as ever to dismantle the garden. It's a depressing task but for the sake of a neat winter and next year's growth it has to be done. We had a great season, with more blooms and produce than ever. More importantly, my hand-made vegetable and herb labels lasted the entire summer and added a bit of character to my container garden.
To craft them was easy. First, I painted a dismantled trellis with house paint and let the pieces dry. Then I printed the labels in the size I needed, shaded the reverse of the page with pencil, and retraced the front with a heavy hand. This left an imprint of the lead that serves as perfect guide. I filled out the letters with permanent marker and sprayed the whole surface with a clear waterproof sealer I picked up at the local hardware store. The resulting stakes were quirky, useful, and cheap – and not once did anyone confuse the basil plant with the sage plant.