Friday, September 22, 2017

Hard Frost and Wrapping Things Up

It has been a busy week.  Yesterday, I finished bringing the tomatoes and dry beans indoors.  I boxed the tomatoes with newspaper so they can ripen, and hung up the dry bean plants in the laundry room.  I cut the heads off the two large sunflowers and brought those in to dry as well.  I'm glad I made the effort yesterday, as we had our first hard frost this morning (-4 on our thermometer).  The carrot tops, potato tops, pepper plants (I forgot to cover them!) dahlias, parsley, and even the Red Russian kale got zapped.  The leeks, red cabbage, and the curly kale look like the only things that might survive the frost.  I'll know later today, when it warms up.

We have started cooking down the ripe tomatoes in batches and freezing the sauce.  Lots of carrots have been enjoyed fresh and lots have been sliced and dehydrated to store.  There is still at least a bucketful in the ground.  There are 2 small buckets of apples in the laundry room that I haven't had the time or energy to deal with.  I'd like to make a few batches of apple crisp, but there is so much else to do outside first:  general clean-up, putting away the garden lights, stakes, and containers, digging up the potatoes, draining and stacking the rain barrels, tilling the gardens, pulling the weeds/grass out of the south garden and planting garlic, harvesting and prepping the leeks and carrots, mowing and whippersnipping the grass (almost a foot tall, in places), etc.

This morning's sparkly marigolds

Goodbye, parsley...

Tomatoes ripening in the kitchen

The last of the large tomatoes were picked yesterday... were the cherry tomatoes...called "Chocolate" and "Snow White", despite the fact that most look lime green at the moment.

At the very inside of one of the Chocolate cherry plants, near the stem and covered by layers of branches, there was a small bunch that actually ripened on the plant.  A few of them had fallen to the ground, as well. These are what the Chocolate cherries are supposed to look like!

Top row, L-R - Cherokee Purple, Bonnie Best, Early Crookneck squash
Bottom row, L-R - Snow White cherry tomatoes, Gelber Englischer Custard squash

The tomato is a Mazarini (pink/paste/heart-shaped).  The carrot is a volunteer that we spotted growing in one of the bean patches. 

I have Meteor zinnias drying on the long cookie sheet.  Meteor zinnias are red, but the ones pictured are at different stages of drying, so some appear purple.  On the small tray below it, there are a few Cupcake and Lilliput zinnias and marigolds.  The box to the right contains "Heritage Mix" dry beans (Small White Navy, Green Hutterite, Swedish Brown, Purple Gnuttle Amish, and Mitla Black).

Ta-daa!  My Galeux D'Eysines squash are comfy in the plant room.  If sunny, warm weather returns later this month, I'll put them on the front step during the day to cure.  The three largest ones are nicely covered in "warts", one of the small ones has a few warts, and two of the small ones are almost completely smooth.  I have read that the higher the sugar content of the squash, the more warts it develops.  As I understand it, the more mature the squash, the higher the sugar content.

Tomatoes ready to be cooked down for sauce. We score the bottoms of whole, fresh tomatoes, freeze them, and then remove the skins by plunging them into hot water.  The skins usually pop right off. We find this method is faster, cleaner, and results in less water to boil off than the blanching method.

Carrots and Early Crookneck squash in the dehydrator.

Lou having a snooze in the window box outside the plant room.  She loves the warm soil on her belly.  :)

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