Monday, October 28, 2013

Busy Weekend: Harvesting, Processing, then Planting Some More

Late last week, the weather forecast was predicting a drop to 28 degrees Fahrenheit for Saturday morning, so I worked in the yard Friday evening to prepare for that drop, harvesting the rest of the tomatoes and most of the peppers. I left the smaller peppers -- any that would have been too fiddly to chop up -- on the plants. When we woke up the next morning, our porch thermometer was reading 36 degrees. It was cold enough that the coleus all wilted, but the pepper plants look fine, which is good news for our pepper production. There will be more!

All the peppers I brought in needed to be chopped for the dehydrator and freezer, and that took some time.

I also finally worked on getting the kernels off of the cobs of parching corn that I had brought in to finish drying way back in August. This was not, probably, the best year to grow a Southwestern variety of corn. The cool, rainy summer caused some of the cobs to get moldy before they fully matured on the plants. In the end, I had only two-and-a-half cups of kernels, but I tried parching some, and I am very happy with how the corn turned out. I will probably grow this Supai Red parching corn again next summer, instead of popcorn.

Also, the grain sorghum that I had grown and harvested was dry enough to "thresh," so I used the "no special equipment needed" method of rubbing the heads of grain between my hands to get the grains to drop out. It's been awhile since I've grown any small grains, and I had forgotten that there is so much work involved in separating the grains from the plants. I'm going to need a windy day to winnow out the chaff, but after the grain is cleaned, I should be able to pop it like tiny popcorn.

The variety that I planted is Tarahumara Popping Sorghum. I had planted it much later in the summer than I should have, and I ended up with about three cups of the grain. Next year I will try to get it into the ground sooner, to see if that improves the yield.

On Sunday afternoon, I finally planted the garlic, shallots, and multiplier onions. They went into one of the long beds in the side yard. If all goes well, the little bulbs will be sending up green shoots in just a few weeks.

Here in the metro area, temperatures can vary widely over a fairly short distance. A friend who lives in Canton, not too far north of here, had a very definite frost that put an end to her summer crops. I am guessing that other gardens in the area had the same experience. The good news is that the cool season crops get better and better, in terms of flavor, as the fall weather continues. I'm looking forward to sweet carrots and greens in the coming weeks.

Hope other gardens out there are doing well!

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