HarvestSeptember 17, 2009
It has been a strange summer in many parts of the country. My family and friends back East had more rain than they needed and never much warmth. Here in the Midwest – at least my part of the Midwest – it was cooler than normal (on average, the coolest summer on record), but more often than not the weather was simply beautiful for people like me who don’t like 90’s and don’t like humidity.
The weather had mixed effects on the vegetable garden. The tomatoes were slow to ripen – but once they got going they got moving. This was yesterday’s harvest – there are still more ripening:I will dry some of the plum tomatoes and my husband will freeze many others as well as some of the slicers. Friends and family will also benefit from the bounty. I don’t know what to credit with our tomato success – we typically have a good crop. It may be the fact that we always mulch the tomatoes with straw – that keeps the ground consistently moist and I’m told that helps to prevent blossom end rot. Maybe the llama manure helps too.
Yesterday I also harvested our potatoes as well as some of our carrots. We have 3 rows of carrots and I have finished harvesting the first row. I filled over 6 gallon bags with carrots from that one row. I’m rather hoping the next two rows won’t be quite so prolific. Why can’t I tell? Well, after a certain point we just let the grass and weeds grow as they will – so it’s kind of hard to actually see the carrot plants – but they are there.
That carrot weighed over 1/2 a lb. My husband and I made carrot juice this evening. A gallon of carrots makes about 2 cups of juice – – and it is tasty. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the largest carrots are the sweetest ones – I was afraid they’d be tough and bitter.
We had roasted vegetables (potatoes and carrots with a bit of feta cheese) for dinner tonight. We roasted all the one and two bite size potatoes. ymmm ymmm.
We’re still eating chard – our only salad green at this point. There are a few banana peppers still on the plant and a couple of eggplant still growing (and one in the refrigerator). Our basil did very well this year, but the hot peppers never produced at all; I guess it just wasn’t warm enough. We still have sweet potatoes to harvest – I suppose I could dig them up any time now. The sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) are just flowering – they won’t be ready until after the first frost.
My husband tilled an area and sowed some more lettuce seeds. It may be too late for a second crop – we probably should have planted the seeds in August. But we didn’t, and the weather is so unpredictable we might just have pleasant, frost-free weather until November – – or we’ll get a killing frost next week – – who knows.