Sunday, September 30, 2018

End of the harvest

So winter came a touch early this year, with snow and frost putting the garden to bed by the 13th!

We managed to get all of the tender stuff inside. While we wanted for the root crops to thaw out, we processed some acorns we harvested from nearly tree.

Tannins make the acorns inedible. We crushed the, between two flat pieces of wood to break the shells open.

We then took the meat and tried to leech the tannins out in water.

Ten days of leeching (with multiple water changes) was not super effective. Some of the bitterness came out but not much and the process slowed down over time.

So I decided to boil them. About 90 minutes of boiling with eight water changes and they were edible (and softer). They were not super tasty, though.

We tried roasting them in the oven with a bit of oil and salt (like pumpkin seeds). That helped slightly but the general consensus was that this was starvation food and not worth the effort. Acorns from a different type of oak might well yield a different outcome (I think we have a green oak next door).

 As the snow melted, some flowers put on a last, desperate show!

 We then harvest the last the the carrots and beets.

The next week is supposed to be sunny but cool so I have disassembling the trellises and dumping the water barrels. I'll also clean up the beds and turn in the mulch before raking the leaves across. If I get ambitious, we may pick some sea buckthorn berries and try jelly.

Monday, September 3, 2018

September catch up

Alright, so it looks like I fell behind in blogging so Im going to try and catch up. We've been pretty busy this summer. Most of August was about canning zuchinni salsa (21 litres) and tomato sauce (10 litres). 

The tomatoes bore really well this year and I have all of the window sills full of ripening fruit. I will do one more run of sauce an then focus on turning the rest (that we don't eat) into tomato puree for soups and whatnot. This is the first year I canned tomato sauce (pressure canner) as well as froze some.

There is a frost warning tonight so split the difference and brought in half of the remaining fruits (25 pounds or more), leaving the less mature fruit outside. It looks like there might be another two or three weeks of summer left if the frost holds off tonight.

We also had a bumper year of potatoes--some 150 pounds between the front and the back beds.

Jess and I split the harvest to give our (my) back a rest. She pulled and gathered in the front and then ran the fork in the back.

Its nice she can do more of the grunt work as the bending is starting to get to me after a few hours.

This was the haul from the front bed (about half the front yard) and clocked in at 75 pounds  Most of these are in the basement in storage.

The back yielded fewer spuds but much bigger ones (looser soil, a touch more sun, I think). Some are the size of yams.

Here are some of the bigger ones with a pound of butter for scale. Again, many of these went into storage although the larger ones we'll likely eat (awkward to store). We planted only but caribe this year (after years of planing several varieties) and I'm pretty happy with the yields and the scab resistance.

The corn has been pretty decent this year. We'll likely get two meals out of the one bed we plants (maybe 12 plants?). The yard-long Armenian cucumbers have been more of a disappointment, seeming to cap out at 12 inches.

I have a bit processing to do tomorrow (some green beans I'll blanch and freeze) once Jess is back in school. I also have some herbs to dry.