Saturday, September 26, 2015

Gourdious autumn weather

Fall has definitely arrived and the leaves have really started to turn. Jess and I spotted this maple on our way back from the library this morning

Frost has taken down the most sensitive plants so the remaining squash are all in the house along with the tomatoes. Not a great year for squash--I will try to vine them upwards to the back deck next year.

The frosts have not yet been hard enough to kill off the Jerusalem artichoke. I'm keen to harvest our first crop of tubers this year once it dies back.

The beets and carrots are still going strong. The yellowstone carrots look huge (housekey for scale).

I also managed to get a second crop off some of the beds. I will pickle these radishes this weekend.

The garden is starting to wind down so the next few weeks will include harvesting root veggies, putting amendments in the beds for spring and I will be moving a few plants.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tomatoes, squash and sauerkraut

The weather in September is always a mixed bag. We had a near frost this past week but the tomatoes all survived. But we're looking at another near frost tomorrow night so I decided to call it a year and picked all of the large tomatoes this afternoon.

I decided to leave the squash out, including this butternut that is just too small to pick. This was supposed to be a cucumber! Oh well.

The buckwheat was flowering out front so Jess got a lesson is sickle operations.

 Jess and Jess also made may a huge and rich lemon cake for my birthday.

I did some processing this week. The red cabbage sauerkraut tasted about done so I pulled it out of the crock and jarred it for the fridge. I will make another batch in a few weeks.

We had lovely weather Saturday so I spent the afternoon outside transplanting raspberry suckers from the front yard to the back fence. I also moved a bunch of dirt (in the background of the picture below) to close off these rows and get a few extra feet of garden.

I have more to do but need a hard frost to kill off the wasp nest in the front yard. There are many fewer wasps, but enough that I don't want to fool around with it!

To make room for the tomato harvest, I pulled out my tomato mill. Being an INTJ, I kind of can't help myself when it comes to experimenting with process improvement.

Today I didn't skin the tomatoes (just rough cut them) and that worked fine. I also moved from freezer bags to these one-cup plastic tubs I found. These store much better (stacking) in the freezer and mean I don't have to measure volume. So far, these are good improvements and I haled the processing time.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Wine, blackberries and squash

With autumn approaching, we bottled the spring wine. It was all hands on deck as we has two carboys ready: a malbec and a cab-merlot-shiraz. If the world ever ends, I'm going out loaded.

The garden is starting to wind down. The beans are setting and the summer was hot enough to produce a few black berries!

Having run out of pickled eggs, I decided to make an early batch of sauerkraut in the crock I picked up. A week in and it is smelling and tasting like a good batch.

The potatoes are done and we'll harvest them today. The tomatoes are still producing lots to eat and maybe enough for another two batches of sauce.

The cucumbers are now producing enough to make salads with and are slowly covering the garden where some onions need picking. I see one of the "cucumber" plants is actually some other kind of squash.

The pumpkin patch has five fruit, this being the best example. It is turning a crazy deep orange.

We're slowly make some minor changes to the garden layout while I wait for some hard frosts to kill of two rather inconveniently located wasp nests. The post berry growth of the raspberry patch along the north fence has been encouraging!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Early harvesting

The heat this summer has meant harvesting has begun earlier than in past year. The tomatoes have been coming in pretty steadily, meaning both good eating and weekly saucing.

I also pulled the carrots out of one of the rows in the front. These were most yellowstone carrots. We are eating some fresh and the rest I have blanched and frozen.

Part of the reason for pulling the carrots was to make space for some garlic cloves for next year. We planted four kinds of hard-neck. Garlic seems to do well and home-grown is much better than store bought so I have increased what we planted by 100%. 

Planting garlic is fun now that Jess has developed a more adult sense of distance and can space the clove son her own. We are also eating some fresh cucumbers.

In addition to saucing tomatoes, we're starting to pull potatoes for roasting. Next year we'll plant more potatoes and perhaps fewer beets and less swiss chard. If I get ambitious, I will also make an early batch of sauerkraut this week.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Apple season

Apologies for the lack of posts; it is apple season. Our tree finally gave us a good harvest this year!

We were able to turn down offers of crab apples because I slightly over canned jelly last year... .

Jess quickly turned our apples into pies, tarts and other baked goods.

Then more apples arrived. These were mostly sauced.

I picked up a food mill after some suggestions from friends and it made saucing infinitely quicker!

The rest of the apples are being juiced this weekend and I'm going to freeze the juice and sort out what to do with it when the rest of the harvest tasks are done!