A lot of the tomatoes we set up in the sun room are slowly ripening. There isn’t enough to bother cooking them into a sauce or whatever, but more than we can conveniently eat, so I’ve started dehydrating them in the oven.
It’s mostly Yellow Pear tomatoes that we have, and they are so small, I am dehydrating them on parchment paper. I had two baking sheets full, but when they were mostly dry and quite shrunken, I combined them into one.
That jar is all of them!
Once I’d combined the Yellow Pear tomatoes, I set up a cooling rack and started dehydrating some Cup of Moldova tomatoes. Once the Yellow Pear tomatoes were done, I filled the baking sheet again with more of them. That finished off what I’d picked earlier, but this morning I gathered more ripe tomatoes!
I am considering powdering the yellow tomatoes, and doing some of the red ones in olive oil. Or just powdering the whole lot of them. They’ll take up less space that way. It’ll be a while before they’re all dehydrated, so I have time to decide.
As I’m writing this, I am hearing the wind pick up outside, and the trees are starting to get whipped about. While today’s high is supposed to be 17C/63F, tomorrow is supposed to have a high of only 3C/37F. Tonight’s low is supposed to be 1C/34F, but tomorrow night we’re supposed to drop to -3C/27F.
Well, we decided to start bringing things in. Tonight and tomorrow night, we are supposed to reach lows of 1C/34F
While our one eggplant that is producing is small enough to give protective cover, that’s pretty much it. The rest is just too much or too large to be able to cover adequately.
The shelling beans were simply ready to be harvested, so I worked on those first.
These are the blue grey speckled tepary beans, and the are so tiny! I haven’t tried to open any pods yet. It was almost but not quite raining as I picked these, so once I got them inside, they went onto a screen and are laid out to dry thoroughly indoors before I start shelling them.
Then it was time to pull the Tropeana Lunga onions.
They are SO much easier to harvest from the high raised bed, than the onions in the low raised beds. I had to dig most of those out, because the soil is so compacted. Not here! These came out easily.
Check out that chard. Not a single leaf to harvest!
I had this wire mesh door on the picnic table under the canopy tent, where I was able to cure onions before, but with the cold temperatures, I set it up in the sun room. It is supported by a couple of saw horses over the swing bench, giving the kittens plenty of space to go underneath and have their warm and cozy naps!
These onions are a very thick onion, in the stem and the greens. They are very much like the Red of Florence onions we already harvested, but with even sturdier stems.
Next, I worked on the red tomatoes. A few of the ripe ones had been partially eaten, while others had holes like this.
Some of the holes were even still occupied!
Slugs are remarkably voracious!
This is all the red tomatoes. In the bin are the Cup of Moldova, and on the side are the Sophie’s Choice. There were very few Sophie’s choice, overall.
While I was working on these, I got a surprise visitor.
Rolando Moon showed up! I haven’t seen her in weeks! She let me pet her a bit, but mostly hung around and hissed and growled at the kittens. Except for when she suddenly showed up with a big mouse in her mouth. One of the kittens became VERY interested in her at that point. Rolando Moon can be aggressive, so I did step in, which allowed the kitten to make a jump for the tiny bit of mouse that was left. He promptly inhaled it and was sniffing for more, but with Rolando being the way she is, I carried him off.
Do you know that it’s really hard to harvest tomatoes while there is a kitten perched on your shoulders, and it refuses to leave? 😄
Next, I worked on the Chocolate Cherry and the Yellow Pear tomatoes.
There were SO many yellow pear tomatoes!
I also harvested the dry King Tut Purple Pea pods, though they were green instead of purple. I’m not sure why I’m keeping the seeds, to be honest. The last Red Kuri squash was also harvested, and now sit with the onions to cure.
I have left it to the girls to work out what to do with all the tomatoes, except for the ones that I will be keeping to save seeds from. The Chocolate Cherry, for sure. I’m told those were the tastiest. Not the yellow pear, though. I’m glad we tried them, but they weren’t enjoyed enough to bother saving seeds from. Both the Cup of Moldova and Sophie’s Choice are rare varieties, so I will be keeping seeds just to help keep them going. We will decide later if we want to stick with them next year, of we want to try other varieties as well. My daughter described both of them as good, but very mild in flavour. I think she and my husband would prefer something more intensely flavoured. We’ll see.
This bed that had the paste tomatoes is now completely empty. That means I can prep it to plant the best of the hardneck garlic I’d saved from this year’s harvest. We will need to get more, though.
This bed had the yellow pear tomatoes. There are still the red onions from sets in there, but I don’t think we’ll get anything out of them. Once those are out, this bed, and the one to the right of it, can be prepped for next year.
The kulli corn in the bed to the left still has no cobs forming, at all.
This is where the chocolate cherry were. It’s the second year we grew tomatoes here, so we will do something else here next year. I’m thinking peas.
There are still carrots in this bed. I don’t know that there are any shallots or onions left. There are two shallots that went to seed, but the seed heads seems to have stalled in development. It seems the same with the lettuce I left to go to seed. I think it’s just been too chilly for them to progress properly.
That’s it for now. Later on, I’ll head out again and look over the pumpkins, and see about harvesting the biggest ones. Pumpkins can continue to ripen after picking, if we can keep them warm, dry and in sunlight. That is a difficult combination to achieve in our household, though!
I also want to put bottles with warm water in them around the eggplant that’s fruiting, and then cover it. I may as well harvest what summer squash there is, too. We won’t be able to protect them from the cold, so chances are, they will get killed off tonight. I might be able to cover the apple gourds. They are the only ones that are immature enough to make the effort. After these 2 expected cold nights, the overnight lows are expected to be much warmer, so if they can survive those two nights, they still have a chance.
There are only two people in our household that enjoy eating fresh tomatoes, but even they are getting tomatoed out when it comes to the Yellow Pear tomatoes! They were starting to accumulate, so I decided to make a small batch of tomato sauce.
Along with the Yellow Pear tomatoes, there were about five or six Chocolate Cherry tomatoes, and two Cup of Moldova tomatoes on hand, so they wall went into the pot together!
Being so small, they got mushy very quickly, so it wasn’t long before I was running them through the finer colander we have. Some of the seeds still get through, but no one seems to mind that. If I were making a tomato paste, though, I’d run it through a sieve as well, to get rid of the seeds.
After straining the tomatoes, I fried up some finely chopped onions and garlic in some olive oil until soft, then added the strained tomatoes back to the pot. For seasoning, I added salt and pepper, a bit of sugar, and a bay leaf, then cooked it down until slightly thicker.
It wasn’t quite enough sauce to fill a 750ml jar.
What a colour!
Not too long ago, I found some large mouth screw on jar lids – usually I can just find regular mouth. Since this is going into the fridge, I much prefer to use the screw on lid, rather than the canning lids and rings. I’ll have to pick up more of these when I find them again. Most of the canning jars we have are wide mouth jars.
Not being a fan of tomatoes in general, I didn’t actually taste this to see how it turned out. I’ll have to get my husband or daughter to do a taste test and let me know what they think!
I checked my weather app last night, and read that we were to get rain and thunderstorms this morning.
This morning, I checked the app and it told me “rain will end in 45 minutes”.
There was no rain.
We’re going to have to water the garden today.
Which is not a complaint. We have a garden to water, still! Though the evenings have been chillier than forecast, we’re still frost free.
While checking all the garden beds, I spotted some deer damage in the sweet corn.
The silks were nibbled off!
It looks like a deer ducked under the rope fence (so much for the bells and whirligigs to startle them!), walked along one side of the corn, nibbling the silks all along the way.
I did find one cob that had been pulled off and left on the ground.
I’d been able to check the other nibbled ones, but with this one I could peel it entirely. They are still not ripe. I think the cool evenings are slowing things down.
We’re supposed to have highs between 17C/63F (today) and 14C/57F (in a couple days) over the next while, before temperatures rise above 20C/68F again. We’re supposed to stay above 20C for several days before dropping to the mid teens again. One of my apps has a 28 day long range forecast, and according to that, we won’t hit overnight temperatures low enough for a frost risk until almost a week into October.
Every mild day is bonus right now, and allowing our garden to continue to produce.
I love those G Star patty pans!
The onions are from the curing table for today’s cooking, but the rest is fresh picked. The Yellow Pear are filled with ripening tomatoes – much more than the Chocolate cherry. We have to figure out what to do with them all.
A couple of Sophie’s Choice tomatoes were ripe enough to pick. I will use those to save seeds. The paste tomatoes went into the freezer for later processing.
As I write this, my older daughter is in the kitchen, trying to use up a whole lot of vegetables for lunch, to go with the short ribs that were in the slow cooker all night. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with! 😊
I did recordings for a garden tour video on Sept. 10 – the date for our average first frost – and meant to post the finished video yesterday. I ended up leaving my computer on all night while the video uploaded to YouTube, only for it to not process. Which meant I had to close it and start over.
It really irritates me that YouTube will let you upload something for hours, but if the processing fails, there’s nothing there. All that time, lost!
But it’s done, and here it is! Our September garden tour video – and it’s much shorter than my last one!
This morning, I got a small harvest.
It seemed strange to pick those tiny, misshapen Purple Beauty peppers, but they are ripe, so leaving them isn’t going to help anything.
I picked the largest G-star patty pan and could have picked more, but decided to let them get bigger. I’m so glad those are finally producing.
There was just one cucumber to pick and I didn’t even try to pick any pole beans. What little is left can be left to dry on the vine. I was able to pick a decent number of Cup of Moldova tomatoes, but the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes seem to have just stagnated. They’re not really ripening. I suppose when the time come, and we pick the remaining green ones to finish ripening indoors, they will still be fine.
The onions that had been left on the netting overnight are now set out to cure out of direct sunlight. We are supposed to get rain in a few days, so if they still need time to cure, they will be protected under the canopy tent. We’ll be able to braid the Red of Florence onions, but will have to use a mesh bag to store the yellow onions, and even the ones that still have greens on them, the greens aren’t strong enough to handle being braided.
The next big job in the garden is to harvest the Brigit potatoes. I’m not looking forward to it, after how difficult it was to harvest the small bed of Caribe potatoes, and how few potatoes there were. It’s going to be a lot of work for little return.
Not today, though. I’m rather sore from digging this morning. I seem to have pulled something in my neck while wresting with that rock, and it’s starting to hurt pretty bad. 😕
Time to pain killer up and work on something more sedentary for now.
I didn’t head out to do my morning rounds, other than feeding the cats outside, until after I got back from town with Leyendecker, so it was more afternoon rounds than morning!
There were a couple of pleasant firsts that I found in the garden.
This is our very first canteen gourd! Until now, there have been nothing by male flowers. I don’t think it actually got pollinated, but even if it did…. well, it’s September, so there’s no growing season left for it.
I wonder how these would have done, if we hadn’t had such a horrible spring? I wouldn’t mind trying them again. This year was so bonkers, I can’t use it to judge if we can actually manage to grow them here.
It’s the same with the luffa.
Male flowers have finally started to bloom!
Too late for these female flowers. They’re already done, and the developing luffa is going to just dry up and fall off.
There is hope for these ones, though.
Now that the clusters of male flowers are starting to open, there will be flowers available to pollinated these developing female flower buds.
Not that it matters too much. There isn’t enough growing season left. These were started so early indoors, because they need such a long time for the sponges to develop and dry out. They should have been blooming by July, not September!
Ah, well. Something else I wouldn’t mind trying again.
One of the disappointments of the day was found when I took a closer look at the one G-Star patty pan squash plant that was drooping.
It was drooping because the stem was severed! Looks like cut worm damage.
Of course, this happened with the one plant that had the most developing squash on it.
I did get an okay harvest, at least.
Those green beans are both pole beans and bush beans planted with the sweet corn.
What a pain those were! The grass clipping mulch will be great for the plants, but the grass stuck to the beans like crazy. Once they got into the colander, the grass clippings spread to all the other beans, too. Rinsing them off with a hose wasn’t enough. I ended up dumping the beans in a bucket of water, twice, before I could finally get the grass off. Even after swishing them in the water, every bean pod I pulled out ended up with grass floating on top of the water stuck to it, and I still had to hose them – and my hands – off to get rid of it. Who know grass clippings and bean pods would act like Velcro?
There were a few ripe Cup of Moldova tomatoes ready to pick. Those got cleaned off and went into the freezer with the rest.
Now that we’ve brought Leyendecker home from the vet, and I was able to use my daughter’s card to pay for it, we no longer have to delay our city stock up shopping. I still have the tomatoes taking up space in the freezer, though, and I just haven’t had time time to make the tomato paste; it needs to be tended pretty constantly for the hours it will take to get to the right thickness, and too much has been going on. I’ll probably have to split things into two trips, though, so I can make sure the first trip doesn’t have a lot of stuff for the freezer.
Later in the day, I was back out in the garden to see what I could get out of the Caribe potato bed.
This is an earlier variety, and they’ve looked ready to harvest for some time.
The potatoes never grew well, and quite a few never sprouted at all, due to all the flooding we had. I wasn’t expecting much.
The first thing to do was to pull back the straw mulch.
What you are seeing in the straw is a whole lot of slugs! I’ve never seen so many slugs all at once before. The whole bed was like this.
The next problem was trying to use the garden fork to dig around where I knew the potatoes had been planted.
We’ve used this bed once before, couple of years ago. I remember digging around in it. What I don’t remember is there being SO many rocks. It was almost impossible to get the fork into the ground, even with how much softer it was with the mulch. What I did manage to turn was full of healthy, active worms, at least, but there is no way we can grow in this spot again, as is. If we ever do, it will have a raised bed on it.
Not that it mattered, in the end. This is all the potatoes I found.
I planted more than I took out. Those two largest potatoes? They’re all chewed up by slugs. One of them is practically hollow.
I wasn’t expecting much, but it’s still disappointing.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the other two varieties will be much better. The Bridget are looking ready to harvest, too – what little there is. The All Blue are a late season variety, and some of them are still blooming, but…
With how successfully my mother was able to grow potatoes here, I had really hoped for better results. Yes, the flooding this spring did its damage, but it’s been a lot of years since anyone’s been picking rocks out of the garden. A lot of years with the frosts heaving more and more rocks to the surface. For it to be so rocky, I couldn’t get my garden fork to dig more than a couple of inches is just insane.
Potatoes are one of those staple crops we want to grow in large quantities for winter storage. Quantities that are more than what we could do in the raised beds we plan to build. With so many rocks in our soil, we still will need to build things up quite a bit to be able to have any crop worth mentioning.
It may be more efficient to get indeterminate varieties and grow in potato towers, instead.
I am so enjoying today’s cooler temperatures! Yesterday, we reached at least 31C/88F, though I’m sure we got hotter than that. I headed out to top up the kitty kibble and was actually feeling nauseous from the heat by the time I got back inside. Of course, the upstairs is much hotter, and it really hit one of my daughters hard, and she was quite ill for a few hours.
Today’s high is supposed to be only 19C/66F or 21C/36F, depending on the source. Quite enjoyable! By the time I got out this morning (having been kept up most of the night by a naughty Nosencrantz constantly making noise and getting into things!), it was only about 18C/64F. Which is about perfect, as far as I’m concerned! 😁
The current conditions are keeping things going in the garden quite nicely. I got a decent harvest of green and purple pole beans. The Red Noodle beans are still not even blooming, but the shelling beans… well, take a look.
They are still so very small and delicate – but they are LOADED with pods, and starting to dry out. I suspect they are smaller than they should be, but I do hope the beans we get will still be tasty.
I was surprised by how many ground cherries I found on the ground this morning, though some greener ones fell off while I was trying to reach to pick them up. They are related to tomatoes, so I’m hoping if we just leave them, they’ll continue to ripen.
I picked our first G-Star patty pan squash! One of the plants seems to have suddenly become limp, though. Odd.
I don’t usually let the sunburst squash get that big before picking them, but they seemed to have quite the overnight growth spurt!
I’m quite happy to have a nice little variety to harvest.
Well, the vet clinic hasn’t called back yet, but I need to get outside and take advantage of today’s lovely temperatures, since we’re supposed to heat up again over the next week. I’ll just have to let the answering machine take it. I’m sure if there were any problems with Leyendecker, we would have heard from them earlier, so no news is good news. 😊
This morning, I headed out to start mowing the lawn before things got too hot.
I was too late.
I suppose 22C/72F isn’t too bad to start, but by the time I was done for the day, just a couple of hours later, we were already at 29C/84F. Depending on where we look, our high of the day is expected to be anywhere from 29C/84F to 32C/90F.
Just to make it even more interesting, the humidity is quite high. It’s just past 1pm as I write this, and the grass is still wet with dew! I managed to get the south and east yards done, but the north and west yards, the garden area, and the outer yard, will all have to wait. Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler.
The good thing about not being able to mow for so long is, there is lots of grass clippings. I’m not using the grass catcher, because I’d be stopping to empty it way too often. Plus, with how damp the grass was, it has a chance to dry a bit before I get the girls to rake it up for me this evening, and I can use it to continue mulching the squash and corn bed, tomorrow.
While I was mowing, I was going past the chocolate cherry and yellow pear tomato beds and could see there were some that could be picked. Once the mowing was done for the day, I went tomato picking.
Our very first Chocolate Cherry tomatoes! There are not going to be a lot of them, altogether; the plants have not been very productive. I don’t know if that’s because of the variety, or because of the growing conditions. These were grown just for fresh eating, though, so that’s okay.
I look forward to my daughters trying them, and letting me know how they like them.
Thanks to my daughters taking care of feeding the yard cats for me, I got to sleep in a bit, after a late night of getting the hard crab apple cider started. I’ve been pretty good about getting to bed at around midnight of late, so I’m not as used to being up past 2am anymore. 😄
I am really enjoying checking the garden while doing my morning rounds. The Red Kuri squash are ripening nicely, and the chocolate cherry tomatoes are slowing turning colour.
I’m a bit surprised these are taking so much longer, considering they get more sunlight than the Yellow Pear tomatoes, which we’ve been able to harvest for a little while now. My older daughter, for whom I bought this variety for, is really looking forward to trying them.
I remembered to get a picture of the newly supported kulli corn and Yellow Pear tomatoes. You can see some of the corn is still leaning way over. Those stalks are from the middle of the bed, and I wasn’t able to do much to add support in there. The tomatoes had all been leaning into the pathway, too, but I managed to straighten them up and add more support to their tops, and now the pathway can be walked in again!
I just love the look of these Ozark Nest Egg gourds! They are doing so well. I was even able to hand pollinate a couple more this morning.
While seeing what else could be pollinated, I was happy to see the G-Star squash I’d hand pollinated seems to have taken. I was able to hand pollinate another Boston Marrow and a couple Lady Godiva hulless pumpkins, too.
I was able to collect a far larger harvest this morning than I expected. The larger colander I use for harvesting was not available. Usually, that’s not an issue, as the smaller one is quite enough – but I didn’t expect to be picking more tomatoes this morning! I ended up having to use my pockets, too. 😄
There were more pole beans to pick than last time – and from the looks of some of them, a few got missed before! I was happy to pick more Magda squash, and to have one green zucchini ready to pick.
The tomatoes are all Cup of Moldova, and they went into the freezer with the rest. We still had some Sophie’s Choice that I picked yesterday, and they are now sliced and dehydrating in the oven.
Today is the last business day of the month: payday. Normally, I’d be in the city right now, doing more of our monthly stock up shopping. We are still good from the trip I did on the weekend, and we need to process the tomatoes in the freezer to free up space, so the trip can wait a bit longer.
I think, however, I might still make a jaunt into town. My husband’s birthday is coming up, and he wants a pizza night for his birthday. 😊
My mother wanted me to check her out of the hotel as late as we could, so this morning I actually got to sleep in a little bit before doing my morning rounds! I’m happy to say, my mother is now settled in at home and really hoping not to have to go through this again! While helping put fresh sheets back on her bed, I noticed the exterminator left a trap in the corner, to monitor things. We shall see.
I had done a small harvest from the garden yesterday, so I didn’t have to pick any beans this morning – though I did find a couple of cucumbers I’d missed!
I was able to do some hand pollinating, which is nice. Not with the luffa, though.
We still have only female flowers blooming. The clusters of male flowers are forming, but are still just tiny buds.
The nearby dancing gourds have so many flowers, I don’t even bother. What few pollinators we’ve got right now are more than able to get those ones done! There are many developing gourds, hidden among the leaves, to show for it.
The G-Star patty pan squash are really getting big and healthy, and I finally spotted a female flower today. When they were still struggling, I did see one squash starting to form, but there were no male flowers to pollinate it, so it fell off. Since then, until today, there have been only male flowers.
This is how they should have looked by the end of June and the first half of July. Not at the very end of August!
There were other summer squash I was able to hand pollinate. Most of them are not as far behind as the G-Star, though the green zucchini is sort of in between. I could have picked some summer squash this morning, but left them to get a bit bigger. I should be able to pick at least a couple of them, tomorrow.
Mostly, though, I wanted to pick tomatoes!
There are only 3 or 4 of the rounder Sophie’s Choice in there, and the rest are the Cup of Moldova. Most of those went into the freezer with the others awaiting processing, though I kept a few for fresh eating.
This is the first time we’ve grown determinate tomatoes. I kept hearing about how they ripen all at once, so be prepared to do a lot of canning and processing in a very short time. I was kind of counting on that, since the main reason we were planting these was to make tomato paste. A lot of tomatoes will cook down to a fairly small amount of paste. However, they seem to be ripening little by little, like indeterminate tomatoes do. Even with what I’ve already got in the freezer, I really don’t think there’s enough to fill the dozen 125ml jars we have waiting for them. (From what I’ve been finding, because tomato paste is so very dense, they should not be canned in even 250ml jars, as it’s so hard for the paste to come to temperature all the way through.)
We’re going to have to process them soon, though. In a couple of days, I’ll be doing the rest of our monthly stock up shopping, and we’re going to need the freezer space taken up the the bin with the tomatoes! So whatever we’ve got now is going to have to do.
Before we can do that, though, we need to finish processing the crab apples and get the hard apple cider started. At least the girls got the cider vinegar started, while I was helping my mom. When I told my mother about what we’re doing with the apples, she asked for a small bottle of cider vinegar to try, which I had already been planning to do – or at least offer. That she’s even asking to try new things like this is pretty surprising, after all these years since our move with her being so angry whenever I did something different from how she did things! 😁 She is still upset with me because there were cherries still on the cherry trees when she came out here with my sister. I was supposed to pick every single one of them, and make all the things she would have made with them. Any left on the tree is apparently a real tragedy. Just the fact that I froze the ones we did pick, rather than processing them right away, ticked her off. I told her I had other things to do and, since they’re frozen, I can do them at my leisure. All that got me as a grilling on what could I possibly be doing to keep me from processing them right away. I don’t have cows to milk! (That’s her current thing: we don’t have cows to milk, therefore we have no work to do.) When she was on the farm, she always processed this stuff right away. I reminded her that back then, there was seven of us, so she was able to do this stuff and the rest of the work still got done. Her response was to ask, what did I do while growing up on the farm? I started listing out how I helped in fields, in the barn, with the cows, with the chickens, and in the garden. I just wasn’t allowed to help much with the pigs, because I was so young, and they were so potentially dangerous.
She didn’t remember me doing any of that.
I told her that just because she didn’t see or remember something, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!
I can’t really complain about her digs too much. It has actually gotten better compared to when we first moved here, and she was so very angry that we didn’t instantly do all the things she thought needed to be done (never mind what actually needed to be done), and didn’t immediately recreate the garden she had some 40 years ago, in exactly the same place (though much of that space is now taken up with trees or the shade from trees), and in exactly the same way she did it (never mind that we don’t have the equipment she did). It’s taken a lot, but she’s at least less critical, even if she still doesn’t understand the how or why of what we’re doing.
And even interested in trying new things, like asking for a Red Kuri squash, and some crab apple cider vinegar!