It never fails that when we return from vacation at the end of August, we begin to focus on getting the kids ready for school and preserving food inside. As a result, the garden proper is all but forgotten. It is running on auto-pilot and we take that for granted until...well about mid-September. Once we had eaten, preserved and given away volumes of squash, we just let plants idle instead of pulling them. When removing the vines today we did find zucchini the size of watermelons! They will not go to waste as the chickens and pigs will have them as an added treat this weekend.
Don't get me wrong, we are still harvesting regularly, but we are also running out of steam; finding the larder fairly full, and beginning to contemplate taking the whole thing down. Today, on our first truly fall like day with a gentle wind and crisp temperatures we began to take stock. We weeded those beds that surround cooler weather crops that we will continue to harvest through the fall. As a result we can now better see the sheer volume of red peppers and jalapeños that we have ready to harvest. This weekend will include roasting and packing red peppers in olive oil, and pickling roasted jalapeño slices.
As the tomatoes have been pretty sporadic in ripening, we have popped many of the tomatoes in the freezer as they ripen. Once we have the bulk that we want for canning, we will simply defrost, skin and can them. There are a number of determinate tomatoes on the vine that should be ready for roasting, making into salsa and canning within the next week or so too.
We will also be digging potato and pulling leeks for another round of vichyssoise. Those cans were the biggest surprise last season, as they were the perfect base for many different soups and stews. As the plants die back we can begin to really appreciate the volume of butternut squash that is appearing this season. Since they are now hardening off, they are not a priority for picking but we will get them inside in the next few weeks. How is your garden progressing? Are you enjoying those final lingering harvests before putting it to bed too?