6 months later

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”    ~Og Mandino

First day of fall and I started my tomato harvest. It was a complete joy to run around the garden to every plant and pick off the perfectly ripe and almost ripe tomatoes. A few green ones snuck in from the smaller bunches. Only 2 fruits were taken by insects before me. And the green tomatoes are everywhere still. If I am lucky, I have another 3 to 4 weeks before the rains come. I’ll be watching the weather carefully, with product boxes at the ready. When the time comes, everything will have to be picked. With any luck, we will have various types of fresh tomatoes through November.

All that was my reward. My lovely tray was full of the last round of field tomatoes from my 60 pound purchase. They had to be processed. So after arriving home from New York City yesterday, I had to roll up my sleeves and get to work. First, off came the skins. Then 8 cups went into a pot for salsa. After the 5 new jars were processed,  I was left with a dozen big skin less beauties. I was going to make sauce with them, but after dinner I lost my enthusiasm. The freezer got another big bag of tomatoes – sauce can easily be done on another day. (And the smell of summer will be fantastic when that chilly, rainy winter day comes.)

For today, there looks to be another 2 or 3 bags worth of apples that can be readied for pies. I’m already overflowing with applesauce and the kids don’t like my apple marmalade. Although, I may have to make some and give it away. To let the apples just fall and rot seems like a terrible waste.

There are plums galore this year. My neighbour has 4 children that love them. I may get my kids to pick everything they can today and then give away a fair amount. We will probably have a decent sized bucket leftover. Plums don’t take much to process, so I can see that happening today as well. The canned plums are great made into all kinds of deserts. Also great on ice cream. Which reminds me of the boozy cherries I have for ice cream. (Like we need so many excuses to eat ice cream.)

We had breakfast for dinner last night and with that meal hash browns made from my potatoes. While they can hold in the garden awhile longer, I already dug a bunch last weekend. They need to be washed and put in the fridge and eaten. So we’ll probably eat some version of potatoes all week. I may even go for a few soups where the potatoes provide the base.

I think what made all these efforts in the garden so worth it was my daughter yesterday. She found a last strawberry, perfectly ripe. She picked it and ate it. She said it tasted so wonderful. That made me smile.

One more from my garden

As the season starts to wind down in the garden, I have to show off just a little of my front yard harvest. Yes, I wrote that correctly. My front yard has no grass anymore. This is actually my seventh season with the fresh fruit and vegetable buffet.

It has been a very rewarding adventure so far. I love being able to pick something to eat that I know everything about. No chemicals, no GMO’s, well watered. The only thing I can’t control is the sun.

And even if I could, I don’t know that it would really matter. This summer we had the weirdest weather here on the South Coast and yet I have the best tomato crop ever. There really is no explanation for it. That is why I think there is something a bit magical about bringing in a great harvest.

Harvest in my knitted basket

It does take some getting used to, people stopping and staring into your front yard. If I happen to be out there weeding, (which should be far more often), it is sometimes like holding court. It is fun to chat and they never seem to be as critical as I feel about all the weeds.

This year my solution was to completely weed the area that I could see from my bedroom window. Hear no evil, see no evil, kind of thing.

I might have started a trend. There are now 3 of us on my street who have done away with grass.