The Home Stretch

Unless you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse setup, we are fast approaching the home stretch for easy gardening. By easy, I refer to gardening without a lot of monitoring the weather and running out to cover the crops with blankets or plastic, while the frost kills everything not protected. 

These last few weeks are when the tomatoes are plump and still green, the peppers are starting to become big and fat, while the cucumbers just keep blossoming right up until the last second. 

It’s a busy time in the kitchen as well. Of course, it would be easiest if only one thing ripened at a time, so I could leisurely can and dehydrate each one of them, taking time to place things artistically in jars-you know, like they do in the magazines. 

The reality is, I haul in everything as early in the day as possible, jars are already sanitized overnight in the dishwasher, and there are multiple pressure canners  and hot water canners heating on the stove. It’s a flurry of activity all day and into the evening, getting tomatoes canned, pickled done, relishes, soups and sauces, everything possible turned into shelf stable foods for the winter. It’s long days and tons of work, but the reward is a pantry bursting with garden fresh food.

I take advantage of other’s great gardening skills too. Someone local grows my 100 pounds of tomatoes, another farmers rocks at growing Blue Hubbard and Butternut, so I don’t even bother. That way, I try my best, but don’t worry when only one bed of tomatoes makes it. 

For the next few weeks, I encourage you to get to the farmers’ markets in the area. There are so many wonderful farmers bringing berries, fruits, veggies, greens and knowledge to their tables every week. The bonus is that if we keep buying their produce, they will grow even MORE produce the following year. 

 

It’s a great time to be a gardener, or even just to know one.