Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Harvest season

So it is harvest season here and things are a touch frantic. The apples tree had a huge crop this year and we're eating them and dehydrating rings. 

We're also working at keeping up with the tomatoes (the tomatoes below went into tomato sauce that I froze).  I rolled the dice on Sunday and left the tomatoes out despite the low temperatures and everything seemed to turn out okay! We should have a bumper crop of eating tomatoes. A few weeks of warm temperatures would be helpful in this regard!

We dug the potatoes Monday night. These are Caribe Blues and the harvest was good. Maybe 50 or more pounds and some huge potatoes (big potatoes seem to last longer in storage). We need to clean them up and then get them into the basement tonight.

We had a mystery squash plant volunteer this year (some sort of cross between a yellow zucchini and something else is my guess). Need to figure out what to do with it.

I am starting to put the beds behind the garage down for the year except for one last set of zucchini that I'm waiting to bulk up some.

We're also eating our way down one of the front beds, harvesting carrots and beets to add to the potatoes for roasted roots. I am hopeful we'll soon have space to plant next year's garlic crop.

The beans are also starting to mature and dry out. I've been concentrating on the white pole beans out front (which are closer to finished) but have also started grabbing scarlet runner beans from the back as I see the pod turn brown.  Need to let these guys dry out a bit before putting into a jar.

The raspberry canes are on my to-do list this week. With the potatoes out, I will also move the soil around a bit in the back bed to get ready for next year's crop of beans and peas.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Apples, Black Berries, Beans and Tomatoes

Apologies for the lack of posts this past week; things have been pretty crazy around the house and I just couldn't find the time to blog about the garden.

September has only just begun and it feeling very much like autumn (cooler temperature and overcast). Fortunately no risk of frost in the forecast as there is still quite a lot of stuff in the garden!

A few weeks ago, the blackberries were really starting to look good with a few berries ripening early. Since then I have been out and picked perhaps two cups (the berries are huge--as big as thumb).

There are still a lot of green berries on the canes and I am freezing them until I have enough for some jam. I also staked some of the bigger canes to see if I can get the plant to spread. At the same time, I cut back the terrible black raspberry canes to keep it contained!

I turned the crab apples we foraged into a lot of crab apple jelly. I also did a second batch of zucchini salsa and then put the pressure canner away for another year.

The sun flowers are a welcome shot of colour in the yard and the bees are all over them. I think we will try some larger varieties next year instead of relying on self sowing.

I've started to pull some carrots--mostly to give the rest some additional room to bulk up before winter. These yellow carrots always do well, even in the poor soil I planted them in this year. The knife is 12 inches long and these carrots are a bit on the small side of yellowstone.

We're slowly picking the apples off the tree. They are super red and ripe (the come off very easily). They are also quite tart (more of a baking apple). Jess sliced ten today and they are outside in the dehydrator on their way to being a delicious winter snack for her lunches. Earlier this week we dried some mint and also some celery leaves (I plant soup celery rather than stalk celery this year and it was much more successful).

The potatoes have finally died down. I am going to leave them for a week or two (other projects require immediate attention). I did dig one plant to see what they were like and get a potato for dinner. I got five potatoes from the plant: two baseball sized and three that are about softball sized or more (the beer bottle is for scale).

Today I made some paneer for a curry we'll have tomorrow night. We also made a lovely veggie pot pie for dinner. Most of the veggies and the stock were from the garden (had to buy a pepper and a turnip).

While that was cooking, I started picking the pole beans that were dry.   Most are still green and growing but some of the lower beans are finished.

I'm always struck by how much work goes into getting any reasonable amount of beans! You go to the store and grab a half litre bag for a few dollars and that is quite a deal! We should have a good haul of these small white beans (about twice the size of a tic tac). We also have a bunch of scarlet runner beans that are still green.

Whew.!Now I'm going to sit down and crack one of the beers we made this summer. Tomorrow entails doing some saucing to keep on top of the tomatoes.