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Rainy Garden Wrap-up

After last weekend’s mad dash to harvest and preserve as much of the tomato and basil crop as possible, this weekend it was time to harvest the rest of the warm season veggies before the torrential downpours and cooler temperatures did them in. I’ve never been one to let a little, or a lot, of rain stop me from getting out in the garden, and I certainly wasn’t going to let the predicted 3.5 inches of rain this weekend stop me from harvesting the last of the fruits of my labor! Although the tomato plants were looking quite sad, and tomatoes were splitting from all the rain, there were still lots of salvageable tomatoes. I’d already roasted many batches of tomatoes and made marinara sauce, so I decided to try making salsa. In retrospect, this was probably not the best activity to start off the weekend with since by the time I got done chopping and seeding the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, orange bell peppers, anaheim chilis, and jalapeños, heating the salsa, and canning it, I was wondering why I spent half the day making a measly 7 pints of salsa! I will never look at a container of salsa the same way again. We had some this morning with scrambled egg and black bean breakfast burritos and it was very tasty, so perhaps it was worth the effort after all.

Next on the to do list, more pesto, because there is no comparison between homemade pesto and store bought pesto, and I couldn’t let the last few basil plants in the garden go to waste. Then it was time for some serious harvesting, and it was still raining just like it had been all weekend. So I put on my rain gear and got to work. I pulled all the remaining onions, most of which were small to medium, and there were quite a few scallions too. I harvested all the eggplant, about 2 dozen in all, mostly on the small side so I decided to roast them for making baba ganoush. Then it was on to the anaheim chilis, and boy did I hit the jackpot this year! This year the chili pepper starts got off to a terrible start because I planted them too early and they got a bit stunted by the cool spring temperatures. Then they suffered a terrible slug attack by zillions of tiny slug babies that apparently don’t like beer since they didn’t seem at all interested in the beer traps I set out in vain. Anyway, it was touch and go for several weeks, and I waited anxiously to see if the peppers would recover. I even started another batch of seedlings in the greenhouse just in case, but as soon as the weather warmed up their survival instincts kicked in and I had the best crop ever. I harvested about 12 pounds of chilis today. Since the weather was too miserable for roasting them outside on the grill, I roasted pan upon pan in the broiler and froze dozens of chills for making chili rellenos this winter.

Since I just can’t bear to let any of our farm grown veggies go to waste, I made one more trip out to the garden to harvest the last few half ripe tomatoes to try to stretch out the summer tomato season a couple more weeks. I also picked a bunch of the big heirloom tomatoes that were splitting before they fully ripened and gave them to the hens and roosters, but I didn’t get a picture of that what with all of the rain and my hands gooey from hand feeding Sweet Pea her tomato treat. It’s been a rainy couple of weekends in the garden and lots of work putting veggies away for the winter, but it’s all worth it since I can tell it’s going to be a tasty winter indeed!



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