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! 😊
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. 😊
This evening, I headed out to see what I could to about fixing the wind damage in the garden. Particularly with the corn. I ended up stealing some bamboo stakes running across the hoops in a couple of other beds, but that still only gave me four. I did have one more, plus a stick, already in the sweet corn, supporting a couple of stalks that had fallen over previously. They were still standing, while the corn around them was flattened!
I ran twine between the poles from end to end of each row, wrapping the twine once around each stalk in that row to hold it up. Even as I was working, I had the wind pushing the stalks, so I scrounged up another pair of sticks. I set them up on either side of the middle, then ran twine between them, catching the support twine in between. This way, whichever direction the wind blows, there will be some support.
Some of the stalks where still trying to fall over, but I could only find one more stick. It was enough to add extra support to the twine in the rows.
The cobs are actually filling out quite nicely! Some of the silks are even starting to dry up, and they should be ripe soon.
The hard part while doing all this was trying not to step on the poor little bean plants on either side of the corn. Since I was there, I checked them over and found a pretty decent little harvest!
I didn’t have a container with me, but I managed to shove them all in a pocket. 😄
There was have it. Our very first harvest of green bush beans, planted late to replace the ones that drowned out.
When watering this bed, I do try to make sure to water the beans more directly, but as I was harvesting, I could feel that they could really use more water. We’ll have to focus in them a bit more!
The next area I worked on was the group of ground cherries that had been flattened.
I managed to find a couple more sticks – I think my daughters intended them as walking sticks! – and grabbed a couple of short pieces left over from hula hoops we used to make row covers last year. The ground cherry plants are a lot more delicate than other plants, and I felt the twine might damage them more, so I threaded it through the pieces. As careful as I was, I could hear branches cracking as I lifted them. I’m not sure all of it will survive.
They are, however, still covered with many flowers, so we’ll still be getting more berries developing.
Once these were done, I started on the kulli corn. I completely forgot to take pictures, though.
One side was fairly easy to do. I lifted the netting up, then used the existing scavenged T posts to hold the twine, which I wrapped around stalks to hold them up. This was on the north side of the bed, and the gust of wind had come from the north, so it was pretty easy to reach things.
The other side was far more difficult. We did lose the top of one stalk completely, and the others were leaning onto the nearby bed of tomatoes. If the net wasn’t there to hold it, they would have fallen onto the other bed, but instead they created a sort of arch.
The tomatoes themselves were outgrowing their supports and falling over. I had to add more support to those, just so I could keep working on the corn without breaking tomato branches. Some of the stakes were leaning over from the weight of the tomato plants, so I just zig zagged some twine between them to pull them together, which gave me enough room to work on the corn.
With the corn, I ended up doing much the same thing; zig zagging twine bank and forth, wrapping it around the top line of twine that was already there, to support the netting. I was able to wrap twine around a couple of the bigger stalks in the middle of the bed to give them extra support, but there really wasn’t much I could do for them. I can’t even guess how well they will recover from this. 😔
Then I went back to the tomatoes and added higher support from end to end to catch the newer growth. They’re looking much better now. There were even a few ripe tomatoes to harvest!
That done, I checked the late garlic in the next bed and decided it was time to dig them up.
The two by themselves on the left are the only two survivors transplanted from the bed the tomatoes are now in. I didn’t bother keeping them separate when I moved the bundle to the canopy tent. We’ll let them dry a bit, then brush the biggest dirt off and either lay them out or hang them up to cure. I’m kind of impressed by them. They’re pretty big, considering what a rough time they had of things! It’s a shame. The bed where only two survived had 90 cloves planted in it. The other one had over 80 cloves planted in it. This is all that made it.
This fall, the garlic will be planted elsewhere. I kept the biggest bulbs from the one bed that did so well, but would really like to plant more. We shall see how it works out, when the time comes.
I wasn’t feeling very well this morning, so the girls took care of feeding the outside cats before heading to bed for the day. I didn’t start the rest of my morning rounds until late afternoon.
Tomorrow is expected to be a hot one, so I wanted to make sure the garden got a deep watering. I set up the soaker hose on the tomato bed and left it running while I did a dump run, then used the warm water in the rain barrel by the trellises and the Styrian pumpkins, to water everything at that end.
Part way through watering the trellises, I decided to set up one of the spray hoses I found while cleaning up around the junk pile. I set up the first one in the summer squash bed, then through the zucchini and some of the Teddy squash in the squash patch nearby. After hooking up the water and seeing that it was working out all right, I tried adding on the second spray hose, only to find it had a large crack near the connector. Well, at least I could get some of the squash watered while I continued using a watering can by the trellises. By that time that was finished, the spray hose had had enough time to do it’s job, and I could continue watering the rest with the hand sprayer.
I was quite pleased to see this fuzzy fellow.
One of the bird-seeded sunflowers by the carrots has at least 5 seed heads opening up, and there were several bumble bees buzzing around.
I love the bumbles!!!
The yellow pear tomatoes are finally starting to turn yellow!
I had some help by the chain link fence.
They were trying to pull out some of the crab grass that was growing through the netting. 😁
It’s about time to lift the net and to a thorough weeding under there.
There are quite a few nice, big (relatively speaking) Red Kuri squash developing here, and every couple of days or so, I’m finding new female flowers ready to be pollinated. I’m quite happy that we’ll have at least one type of winter squash to store for the winter!
Speaking of pollinating, while watering the corn and squash patch, I spotted our very first female Boston Marrow flower! I made sure it was pollinated and checked the other plants but, so far, they only have male flowers. I also spotted our first G-Star green pattypan squash, though it’s at the stage where it just dropped its flower. Over the next few days, I’ll be able to see if it got pollinated, or if it just falls off.
Still praying for a long, mild fall. So many things in the garden are suddenly starting to grow, bloom and produce fruit but, as of today, there’s only 3 weeks to our average first frost date.
I was surprised to have company while I was watering the grapes! Normally, she would have run away when I came this close. Instead, she just stayed all curled up and napping in the shade.
I got photos from my sister in law, yesterday. Their grapes are almost ready to harvest. Ours are still very small and green.
Hmm… I keep forgetting about that cross. I found it while uncovering the grapes from the spirea. I later learned my sister had put it there as a support for the grape vines. We should scrub off the rust, give it some sort of protective coat, and set it up somewhere permanent. I don’t know where it came from, but it would be a safe guess that my late brother salvaged it from one of this demolition jobs, like the stone cross by the spruces, for my parents. So I definitely want to hang on to it.
I topped up the kibble trays before going inside, including the one near the grape vine. Earlier, I’d seen the newest group of kittens playing around the shrine, so I made sure that container had plenty of kibble, too.
Pouring dry kibble into metal trays can be pretty loud. The sound is like ringing a lunch bell. By the time I was putting kibble in the last tray, I could see cats swooping in from all directions, heading for the kibble house! 😂 Unfortunately, the skunks have learned that sound means food, too! Ah, well.
Hopefully, I’ll be feeling good tomorrow morning. I want to get out while it’s still cool and continue putting wood chips around the saplings. I also plan to collect a harvest tomorrow morning, too. I’m just loving that we have so many fresh beans to harvest – the last batch did end up in the freezer, so we’re getting quite a few bags by now!
There is some lovely growth happening in the garden right now.
While we have lots of Cup of Moldova and Sophie’s Choice tomatoes ripening on their vines, these Yellow Pear tomatoes are looking to have a good crop, too. They are actually turning out larger than I expected for this variety. It should be interesting when they finally start turning colour!
These Carminat bean pods are getting so very long! I love their gorgeous dark purple.
With the purple pole beans, we can see quite a few pods developing, though the vines are still trying to extend their reach, and blooming all the way. The green pole beans (sheychelles) have wispy little pods forming, too.
Then I started weeding and discovered a hidden surprise.
There are ripe pods hidden among the greens! It turns out these beans start developing right near the ground, unlike the Carminat, which have no flowers or pods at all near the ground.
After finding these, I made a point of looking more closely at the Blue Grey Speckled Tepary beans – the shelling beans – too. They’ve been blooming for a while, but are still such tiny and delicate plants.
Sure enough, I found time tiny pods starting to form. Since these beans are for shelling only, they’ll just get weeding and watering until the pods are all dried.
We actually have yellow zucchini this year! Last year, I was sure we had at least one germinated, but after transplanting, all we got were green zucchini. So I am happy to get some this year. Especially since we still don’t have any green zucchini developing! We did have female flowers, but there were no male flowers blooming at the same time to pollinate them.
We are finally getting more Sunburst patty pan squash, too. There was also one Magda squash ready to harvest.
All the squash are SO far behind. The squash patch, which is mostly winter squash, and the summer squash bed should be enveloped in plants. It’s unlikely we have enough growing season left for most of them, but we should still get something from the smaller varieties.
Here is this morning’s harvest!
Yes, the peas are still producing! There was only a handful to harvest from the second planting, but it’s the most I’ve been able to pick in one day, this year. We have both the yellow bush beans, and the green pole beans.
With the lettuce, we normally just go in and grab however many leaves we want. This time, I harvested the plants in one area of the L shaped bed in the old kitchen garden, so that the space can be used again.
I was planning to plant fall spinach elsewhere in the main garden area, but changed my mind.
It’s just a small area for now. As more of the bed gets cleared, I’ll plant more.
We got another harvest in this morning, too.
This is the garlic from the bed in the main garden. There isn’t a lot, but they are much larger than last year’s drought garlic!
The other garlic is quite behind, so it might be a while before we can harvest those.
The freshly picked garlic is now strung up under my daughter’s old market tent, where it can get plenty of air circulation as it cures, and we won’t have to worry about it being rained on.