Making the fall garden snuggly

Our fall has been beautiful and unseasonably warm at times, so we have been fortunate to enjoy an extended harvest of many garden treats.  We are supposed to get snow this weekend along with 2 nights of hard frost.  I mentioned the hoop house we were going to try in the fall garden.  Now is the time to add the plastic.  Checkout those crazy tall sunflowers in the background.

hoop house for fall crops

We are also taking some precautions with our green bean plants.  They were put in a bit late and are just starting to produce.  In order to spare them from the damage of a frost we used the extra plastic and made another quick  hoop house.

quick hoop house addition

Fingers crossed.  Temperatures are supposed to go back up all next week again, so I am hoping we can make it through this weekend without too much damage.  Yesterday we picked all of the mature peppers that were left in the garden as well as a couple eggplants and zucchini.  Here is only about two thirds of the peppers.

final pepper harvest

 

We had to do all this harvesting and hoop housing in stages though.  The crazy and changeable weather already started.  Here are some squash and pumpkins that I had out curing on our deck.

squash with hail

Hail storm, sunny break, hail storm, cloudy, super cold rain, then full on sun again.  We were chased into the house two times during the process.  A lot of hail came down and stuck around for quite a while on the ground.  It was difficult to get a picture of it, but you can see how much collected on the deck.

 

Piles of apples

This will be it for the apples that have been keeping me so busy for the last month or so.  We have crates of them stacked in the garage, both crispers in the fridge filled and bowls of them in the kitchen.  Time to get baking and maybe one more batch of dried chips…

 

Fall garden pictures and a garden update

We had a couple rainy days, but that is not going to stop this garden update.  A constant, droning drizzle that is excellent for gardens, but that keeps people in the house.  Most people, don’t garden in the rain, that is.  Crazy people like me that get free perennials, get bundled up and go out and plant stuff.

Hosta_sum_substance

This “Sum and Substance” hosta was orphaned by my mother in law.  She lost a tree that gave it the perfect shade and did not have a spot to transplant such a large variety.  I was happy to fill in some space one on each end of a long yew shrub.  You can see that this hosta is a bit yellowed from excessive sun exposure, but this shady spot should turn it a deep healthy green.

fall_garden

While I was out there, I checked the fall garden and grabbed a couple of peppers for dinner.  The pea plants are thick and beautiful.  The beans look great too.

peas_beans

The hoop house is full of sturdy seedlings.  After the rain we are supposed to have a good stretch of sun and nice weather.  That will get these crops growing well.  Radishes, turnips, rutabagas, kale, Swiss chard, carrots and bunching onions.  This is our first time using a hoop house and I am excited to extend our season.

fall_hoop_house

The okra, eggplant and tomatillos still look great and are loaded with fruit.

okra_eggplant_tomatillosThe pepper plants are loaded with fruits and many are turning such pretty sunset colors.

peppers_still_producing

I was able to roast a couple of pecks and freeze them up for winter use.

roasted red peppers

Sadly tomatoes are coming to their end…so sad.

typical dinner harvest

Garden update – Canning and preserving has begun!

 

Wow, once again this week got away from me!  I have been so busy canning and preserving the garden bounty that I have been neglectful in posting.  Today’s garden update includes a lot of canning and food preservation.

On my way out to the garden I saw this Rose of Sharon in full bloom and swarmed with bees.

hibiscus blooming and buzzing with bees

Cherry tomatoes are slowly ripening daily…cherry tomatoes are ripening daily

and the peppers

cherry hot peppers turning red

are going crazy.

banana peppers are growing like crazy

Here is what I picked one day to make cucumber pickles and pickled hot peppers.

first canning harvestHubs was in charge of most of the harvest through the week and though he better not pick too much.  That is how a zucchini will get away from you fast.  This is possibly the world’s largest zucchini.  For scale, those are 4″ wide deck boards, so she’s about 20″ long.  This got shredded in the food processor and jarred up for the freezer.

worlds largest zucchiniWe are typically picking something like this each day for dinner.  Stuffed banana peppers and a cucumber, pepper salad sprinkled with cherry tomatoes as our side dishes and maybe some grilled zucchini too.

typical dinner harvest

The little tomatoes are just starting to come in and we are waiting patiently for this guy to turn red.

waiting for red on this tomato

Then there is the remote garden.  More zucchini, tons more cukes, peppers and almost a half bushel of green beans.

remote garden harvest

Also some exciting things are happening at the remote garden.

yellow transparent apple

The Yellow Transparent early apples are ready.  We had major fruit drop on this tree, so there are only a few.  The deer and rabbit ate well though.  Baby pumpkins are developing nicely.

Baby pumpkin...awww

I froze 18 pints of green beans so far.  I’m just starting to freeze some peppers for winter use.  Pickled 8 pints of cucumbers and 6 pints of hot peppers.  I have also made dandelion jelly, strawberry, gooseberry and raspberry jam 3 or 4 pints of each, depending on the recipe.  Here is a grouping of some of these items here.

first canning batch 2015

A great farm kid August lunch.

farm kid august lunch

Peanut butter and gooseberry jam sandwich, cherry tomatoes and the first handful of husk cherries.  Yummy.