Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tenacity of the Summer Garden

The tomatoes just won't quit:



I pulled out the last two of the April-planted tomatoes, though, because when the first frost comes, I want to be more ready than I am. That first frost could come pretty much anytime now, though I don't actually expect it until about Halloween.

I ended up with another big pile of green tomatoes. A lot of these are far enough along that they will ripen within the next week or two, but some are too immature to ripen well, and I plan to use them in a green tomato salsa recipe that I found online.



I've already made one batch of this, and there was enough to use on one supper's enchiladas and then to mostly fill an ice-cube tray. The frozen cubes may seem weird to some people, but we don't always need the same amount each time we want to use some "salsa verde." Having the salsa frozen in cubes - then stashed in a freezer bag - means I can pull out just the right amount for the purpose at hand.

Eggplants and peppers are still coming into the kitchen, too. Some years the garden does better than in other years, and it is usually a mystery to me what makes the yearly differences so large. Of course, sometimes a less-productive year is totally my fault - the result of not paying attention to water or soil/nutrient needs, for example. This year, the weather has been so weird that a low-harvest year would not have been a big surprise, but the garden has, instead, blown me away with its productivity.

A delivery-guy I was talking with last week suggested that the shade in my yard (that I usually complain about) might have saved my garden from roasting in this overly-hot summer. Maybe he's right.

Regardless of the reason, the sweet potatoes seem to have done pretty well. I ended up with about 35 pounds from the 3x5-foot space they were planted in.



I always manage to resist brushing off the dirt and giving the sweets a good scrub, since those activities can damage the thin skins and result in sweets that rot rather than stay good into the winter, but the box of sleek, brownish, tapered shapes with "tails" makes me think I'm looking into a box of dead rats. The good news is that, when I get these into a basket on the kitchen floor after they've had a chance to cure, some of that dirt will have fallen off on its own and the resemblance will be less striking (I hope).

Later this week, I will get some mulch onto the bed that I dug those sweets from, and onto some other spaces, too. One whole bed, the one the melons were in, has been planted with a cover crop, hairy vetch. I've planted vetch for the winter before, and it is a pain to dig it back into the soil in spring, but I still had some seeds that I didn't want to waste.

That melon bed had been created as a "lasagna" bed, with compost from my yard and manure and bedding from a stable. When I checked that part of the garden after pulling out the melons, the top few inches were great, but below that was still solid clay. I'm hoping the roots of the vetch will help make little tunnels into that lower clay, giving the earthworms a little help in mixing the layers.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, that's a lot of tomatoes still!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Erin, I know -- it's amazing! If I'd had a huge garden with dozens of plants, it would all make more sense, but there they are -- great piles of tomatoes.

    ReplyDelete

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