Our first light frost snuck in early Sunday morning. It came as a surprise as frost was not predicted for my area. I noticed the grass was crunching as I let the dog out and walked to the chicken coop to release the girls into their pen. Then I saw the frostiness on the roof of the pen. As I reached out my hand to touch it, my mind began to run through what may have been lost in the garden.
I did happen to harvest a lot of the tomatoes the day before. I remember thinking at the time that it would be the final tomato harvest of the season. It was a banner year and our storage shelves and freezer are filled with preserved tomatoes. Although some of the plants still have unripe fruit, the cooler nighttime temperatures and reduced sunlight are taking their toll and the plants are pretty much finished for the year. I was planning on harvesting more basil and would have picked all the remaining peppers if I had known temperatures would dip so low. I had no choice but to wait until the sun warmed the garden to assess the damage.
Luckily, the frost was a light one and didn’t affect all the plants. Most of the pepper plants were fine and even some of the basil was still ok. Just the tops showed the telltale signs of cold damage by turning black. It was a gentle reminder that the end of the summer garden is near.
Harvests this week included the continuous influx of tomatoes. I’ve been busy making and canning tomato sauce:
In the middle of my apple preserving frenzy this week, I happened to discover another crabapple tree on our property. It is a young tree, probably planted courtesy of the birds. The variety is different than our other crabapple tree. I love the both tart and sweet flavor of crabapple jelly and these will be used for another batch:
Last week, I mentioned that some of the potatoes and carrots harvested showed signs of critter damage. I started to dig up the potatoes this week and came across some tunnels in the bed, a few partially eaten tubers, and a burrow beneath the soil lined with the leaves and straw I used to mulch the bed. I suspect chipmunks. I will further assess the damage as I dig up the remaining tubers in the next week or so.
I was able to dig up some good potatoes. These are curing and will be examined carefully before storing for winter. These are some of the smaller tubers that were set aside for fresh eating:
The garden is winding down and I am thankful for all the food it produced this year. My shelves and freezer are filled with canned, dehydrated, and frozen fruit and vegetables. Garden cleanup has begun and I am looking forward to tidying up the beds and getting them ready for winter.
See what others are gathering from their gardens at Daphne’s Dandelions Harvest Monday.