Well with the heat wave that came through for a couple weeks August has finally accelerated my limited-sun-garden harvests quite a bit. I didn’t expect much because I lost a few tomato plants to various issues (namely compacted soil) and I thought only one of them was going to be a big producer but it turns out four of them have been going strong and I seem to get something daily. Also, my peppers have been great. I only planted spicy peppers and they get less than six hours a day but the Fresno and jalapeno have done awesome for me.
So here are some of my harvests (I try to take a quick pic before Avery gets to them or ‘helps’ me harvest haha).
I did pull the last couple squashes from the dead vines on the side of the house so that’s the final on squash for me. It was a great harvest! If anyone can identify the top tomato that’d be great. I LOVE this tomato and it has produced SO much for me but the label got out somehow and I have no idea what it is. The other tomatoes here are Pineapple (heirloom), Sunsugar and Jetstar.
I have quite a few bowls like this in my fridge right now. Need to get these harvests taken care of!
If these look a touch orange, it’s because they are. We were going out of town for the weekend and I knew they wouldn’t last on the vine so I brought them in. Good thing I did too! When we got home so many of the completely green ones were completely ripe.
In sad news, my bird netting around the tomato plants, to keep the squirrels from stealing them all, has been catching chipmunks. The first one I found because I smelled something yucky. I was sad but then found another one in skeleton form that had been hidden behind huge comfrey leaves….it’s officially a trend. I dislike chipmunks in the garden at least as much as squirrels but we have a huge squirrel population and a much smaller chipmunk population so I feel bad that I’ve already eliminated two of them.
Okay, so, I have generous parents with a large garden and they tend to pass on a lot of good stuff to me. I’d like to think this is because I’m the favorite child but the much sadder reality is that ALL my sisters no longer live nearby. They’re sprinkled across the world in a devastating range of distances and we miss them heartily. My brother lives next to my parents but grows a super large garden as well and my other brother is in town but doesn’t have the same love of veggies (or preserving) that I do. Therefore, I get the goods. I am not complaining, as much as I miss all my sisters, and I don’t waste a single bit of it. The herbs and smaller/drier tomatoes (like romas), I dehydrate, the other tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic I use in canning.
This year I promised myself to only can things we naturally use. What’s the point of jams and jellies if they aren’t really a part of your life? I’d much rather have frozen fruit on hand and eat as much fresh during the season, than canned. So I made a mental note of things I use like hot peppers, salsa, marinara sauce and pickles. I don’t actually buy pickles ever because my mom ruined store bought for me by making incredible pickles my entire life. I can only have homemade which is a huge incentive for me to make my own. The picture above are actually all peppers from my own garden that I’ve been saving. The little 8oz is filled with Fresnos only, the pint and quart in the back are jalapeno only and the front pint is a mixture. The other cans are just canned tomatoes. I needed to use up a few THAT DAY because they wouldn’t last and I had no garlic left so marinara was out of the question. I just cooked them down, added some lemon juice and salt and canned them up. They can be turned into pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, salsa or whatever. Honestly I never buy any prepared tomato products. I buy tomato paste and diced tomatoes and make all my salsas and sauces from that but can only imagine how lovely it would be to just go grab of can of pre-made salsa from the larder when I’m making tacos. Super lovely. Tomatoes are the only canned product I buy so canning a lot of them was definitely a priority (along with eating tons and tons of them fresh, for every meal if I can).
I found some 12oz jars for salsa! I wanted a smaller than quart or pint size because it’s hard for Shane and I to polish off that amount before it goes bad. The boys love salsa but it has to be a certain mildness so we’ll see if any of my batches are mild enough for them when the time comes. The quarts I have I’ll use for parties or whatever and the smaller ones for our dinners. The three quarts behind the salsa are marinara sauce. I don’t have a full tally of my larder at the moment but I need to go down there and count up some stuff! The pickles are all refrigerator and I’m not sure how many pints I have of those either but they’re filling the available fridge space.
Once I deal with the few pounds of tomatoes and peppers left in my fridge right now I’ll be excited to move on to the fall crops like apples and pears! I do love preserved apples (whether dried, sauced, buttered or jammed) and pears are awesome for that too.
So blessed to have been given such a huge amount of produce this year and looking forward to using it over the off season. It’s a wonderful feeling. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Have you done any harvesting or preserving this year?