End of the Season

The garden season is pretty much over. Most everything has been harvested. Compost has been spread. Most of the water has been turned off. The two crops we have not fully harvested yet are peanuts and the rest of the tomatillos. The peanuts do not look ready. I read the vines will start to turn yellow when the peanuts are ready for harvest. Ours are not doing that. Because I also read they can withstand a mild frost, we have not had a frost, and the weather this week is not supposed to get near freezing, we decided to give them another week or so. I think peanuts take too long to mature for our part of the world to get good, full maturity. But, we will see.

The tomatillos are still producing. As we entered fall the papery lanterns that form first for the tomatillos got progressively smaller. We did harvest some over the weekend but left the immature fruit to go for another week or two. Tomatillos are probably a great plant to grow when they can grow for the better part of the year. For us, we got lots of tomatillos and made lots of salsa. Plus, the kids had fun gently squeezing the lanterns to see if they could harvest them. Ava couldn’t leave the lanterns on the tomatillos once they were harvested. Maybe she liked having sticky fingers.

We dug the horseradish and, while it grew, it was not enough to do anything with. We decided to just replant the few roots we found in a new area of the garden. Hopefully it will like the new area and won’t be eaten as much as it was this year (the leaves anyway). This and the asparagus are now growing in an area we are expanding into away from other crops. Both are notorious for taking an area over once they get going, like mint, which we grow in large plastic or foam pots.

The carrots had pretty much taken over a couple of rows, including shading the onions. Because I planted the seeds way to densely, many of the carrots did not grow beyond about 3 inches long. We are not sure what to do with all the carrots, but many might become carrot soup.

Overall, the weekend harvest was larger than any of us expected. We harvested about 12 lb. carrots, 2 ½ lb. beets, 3 lb. onions, 3 unripe pumpkins, and 15 lb. combined green tomatoes and tomatillos. The amount of carrots and green tomatoes and tomatillos was the most surprising. The beets will likely be pickled with some of the onions and carrots. The green tomatoes and tomatillos will likely be canned as salsa.

Although it is the end of this season, next season is already started and being planned. We moved the horseradish and asparagus to areas where, we hope, they will do better. We have planted shallots. A couple of the tomato and pepper plants were moved to warmer climates to see what we can get over the winter. We have sketched out next year’s garden plan, which is of course subject to likely change. In less than two months I will be ordering seeds for next summer and starting tomatoes early next year. We still have rhubarb chutney to make. We need to do something with what we harvested last weekend. I have smoked and dried a lot of jalapeno, Anaheim, and habanero peppers. Some of these will be made into chipotles in adobo, some into a hot pepper powder, and the Aneheims into a smokey enchilada sauce. Our lemons are maturing and we will be making limoncello when they are ready. We have some cherry bounce (cherries in brandy with a little sugar) finishing up, so I can put that up here soon. So, while the season is about over, there is still lots going on to keep us busy.

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