Tuesday, September 19

19 September - Light frost tonight?

Weather says it's going to be 36°F tonight. That means, in my area with a strong west wind, my garden may or may not freeze. Not hard, but it might kill off the basil.

Tomatoes were neglected this weekend, and most are rotting off the vines, which have begun to shrivel. Such a shame to lose all that fruit.

The cucumbers have begun a second crop, and the carrots are wonderful. The photo below is the most perfect carrot I've ever grown. It's about 6" long and was very sweet (I had a carrot for lunch... well not just a carrot)

Carrot and Cucumber

Friday, September 8

8 September - flowers

The Dianthus are blooming nicely. I didn't expect muticolored flowers on the same plant, but I have whites, pinks and reds all blooming. If I kept the seeds properly labeled, these are perennial plants, and will be ready to divide in a few years. If I didn't keep the seeds labeled correctly, they'll die off, but hopefully re-seed themselves.

The marigolds are also in full bloom. This bee was happily inspecting the flowers & in no rush to fly off. Marigolds make a great filler plant, to border areas that aren't very well established, and to provide color and distraction from unkempt beds. I hope that front electrical box area takes off next year, and the marigolds will no longer be necessary.

Thursday, September 7

7 September - Tomatoes

Tomatoes are ripening rapidly!

I've been picking them every other day, and have already picked about 20-30 pounds of ripe paste tomatoes. I'm starting to get a few beefsteak ripening, and tons of cherry tomatoes (I'm letting most of the cherry tomatoes rot on the vine, I can't keep up and we don't eat them fast enough). Two Oxheart tomatoes ripened yesterday, I'm going to plant more next year, those were very tasty and a good size. Plus, they didn't have any of the blemishes the others had.

So far, I've made 4 pints of sauce, with another batch going right now. After running the tomatoes through a food mill to extract the pulp, they go into the crockpot to reduce. I typically let them reduce to half their original volume (a good number, I think) and then either freeze or can. This year, I'm hoping to can most of them. According to the Ball Blue Book, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (bottled) and a pint of tomato sauce can be canned safely in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes. That's the plan!

Green beans are also ready. Here's about 2 pounds. I'm going to have to start abandoning them on neighbors' stoops to get rid of them. "Please take care of these beans."


Sunday, September 3

3 September - Labor Day Weekend

Tomatoes are ripening, I've picked 20-30 pounds already. I have 5 pints of diced tomatoes in the freezer. Another 8 pounds went to this batch of salsa (store-bought flavoring packet from Ball, tomatoes, cider vinegar). We had a taco-enchilada dinner tonight with the leftover salsa, it's pretty runny, but would make a wicked bloody-mary mixer.

This turned out pretty thin, I used the food mill to process half the tomatoes, and it made them into mush, the others were diced by hand. I think next time I'll have to use a food processor or chop them all by hand.

The mint has recovered from it's shearing and then some. I'm considering a new home for my mint plants, but have to wait until some other work is done. I'm thinking of taking each of my mints, and creating a mint-only garden, with the plants sunk into tubs into the ground, mulched around, and all within a raised bed, to create a little mint island in my back yard. Maybe that will keep them under control? Doubt it.

Pumpkins are ripening. I've found four now, all of pretty decent size. I have a recipe for pumpkin bread that I think I'll make into muffins, and another for pumpkin soup, which sounds interesting, but I'm not so sure about. When they're ready & ripe, I'll post the reviews of the recipes.

I also need to save one of the pumpkins for our jack-o-lantern this year!

These are the second crop of "Aunt Jean's Pole Bean", which make a great dried bean for chili in the winter. I'm letting this whole crop go dry, and I should get a few cups of beans after they're shelled. The other beans I have are still going strong, so I'm picking a handful daily to keep them from going to seed. In a couple weeks, I'll let those dry as well to provide my seeds for next year's crop.

Elderberries are quite ripe. When they ripen, the umbrella-shaped clusters hang down. I haven't picked any yet, I might pass on the jam this year, seeing as I have a freezer full of strawberry-blueberry jam from July.

The apples are nearly ripe. I found one this week that looks like a deer munched on it, but only half eaten - must not have liked it!

We don't spray our trees, so there's some leaf-miner sort of damage going on.

The fall crop of Oregon Sugar Pod peas is about 4" tall. We've had some goofy weather with rain for weeks, then dry for weeks, so I'm not sure if they'll produce peas before the frost, but we have about 4 weeks until the first hard frost, and a couple more if I get out the row covers.

I hope you're enjoying the harvest as I am.