Monday, October 10, 2016

Tomatoes and carrots

The gardening season officially ended this week with a couple of hard frosts and some snow. The garden was giving it right to the end, though.

One late season mystery was the Jerusalem artichoke. It grew to an amazing height (I'm 6'2" and it is at least four feet over my head). We'll dig up the tubers either later this week or in the spring. But it never flowered. I'm going to try it in a sunnier location next year.

We scrambled last Sunday and brought in the tomatoes. This year was better than past years (e.g., not doing it in the sleet while wearing headlamps). We're on top of the ripening so far with batches of sauce cooking.

I had to call out the reserve army of labour to help with the processing this weekend. We have both a tomato and a carrot glut and needed to get some counter space back.

As much as I hate to see the season end, the effect of frost on plants is amazing. First a pretty coating of sparkles followed by cellular collapse.

Then it snowed. "Let's leave the carrots in one more day so they sweeten up", I said. We managed to dig up the front beds yesterday.

There is still the back bed to do. Maybe today. Maybe it is just green manure? We're still processing carrots. Some I've blanched and frozen. The big ones are in a box in the cold(ish) room in the basement. The smaller ones are in the fridge for use or cake or soup... .

The good news is that cooler weather means I can apple jack on the back deck. I have 12 litres of cider out there now and I'm hoping to reduce its volume by two thirds.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Harvest season continues

Apologies for the lack of posts; the autumn has kept us busy!

As the day-to-day demands of gardening have begun to wind down, we've been busy thinking about next year. In the back, we've added some support to the raspberry bushes to better pin them up against the fence.

We've also started re-contouring the bed for next year's bean and pean crops (we'll put in the trellises next spring). There is a small, ackward part of that bed that juts out. Jenn bought some of the new Canada at 150 tulips so Jess put them in there for some colour. The photo below isn't great but is notable that she seems to be giving me the finger... ?

We've been harvesting beans most nights. The pole beans are about 80% done but we have barely begun to tap the scarlet runners.  We've been setting many lady bugs free--I think they came in on the apples.

In the front, we have a bumper crop of buckwheat (as green manure) that the frost should kill shortly. We also have a bunch of carrots and beets. Again, waiting on the frost before digging the carrots and plunking in some garlic.

It has been very we this fall and the grass has provided a wide variety of fungus to be mildly grossed out by. These guys are apple-sized and promptly melted into a yucky mess.

We survived apple season and have lots of preserves and dried apples. We also ate so many (fresh or in various baked goods) that Jess is starting to turn up her nose at dessert.

It was really wet this year and the apples were huge for it. Below are two apples from the tree (softball sized) and the apple in front is you typical store bought apple.

With the apple glut behind us, we're now into tomato season. It has been cool and cloudy a lot this summer so the tomatoes are delayed. This has allowed us to better manage consumption. Basically we've managed to stay even with the ripening with only a couple of batches of salsa and tomato sauce to use up the excess.

It looks like frost this week, however. So we decided to harvest whatever was left yesterday. I planted fewer tomatoes this year after some complaints in previous years but we still have a lot to deal with over the next month. The window sills and cookie sheets are all full.

This week I'll be turning down some more beds (depending on how wet the soil is) and shucking more beans. I'd also like to get some more kayaking in. And there is a wine kit in the basement calling my name.