Well, it looks like the garden season is over for me.
Last night it snowed — not one of my favorite weather events, but what can you do. When I was taking a picture from the 2nd floor window, it looks like this little bee was also a little sad about the snow and was hanging on for dear life.
I have to say, it was a pretty productive year. My husband and I were graced with tomatoes, green beans, peas, kohlrabi, broccoli, peppers, kale, swiss chard, garlic, onions, celery, tomatillos, carrots, spinach and lettuce. I had one baby cucumber and one baby butternut squash come out of all my squash plants — they all ended up getting powdery mildew since I did not spray anything on them to keep it at bay.
I think the broccoli plants were the most successful for me — they just kept producing over and over. I’d go out, pick a few heads, eat some, and then give a few to my dog. Same with the peas…who knew dogs would like green veggies?
Time to start planning for next year!
Yesterday was my first time canning. I started with strawberry jam, then pickled cherry tomatoes, and finally some pickled zucchini. Woah, this took all day! Next time I’m hoping it’ll be faster, but yesterday I took my time to make sure I followed the correct steps.
When I made the strawberry jam, I noticed that the fruit all floated to the top of the jars and didn’t look that great. I read online that if I put them upside down for a bit after about an hour, it will help the fruit disperse throughout the jar. And the internet never lies, right? Well…it didn’t work.
The pickled tomatoes were pretty simple compared to canning the jam. I can’t wait till they’re ready to eat. It looks like all the jars sealed, so all I need to do is wait. And wait.
Last thing I did was pickle the zucchini. This was a three-part step, which was nice to get a little break from the kitchen. First the zucchini and onion soaked in salt water for two hours, then it sat in the vinegar/mustard seed concoction for two hours. Then I boiled it and ladled it into the jars for processing.
After bottling it all up, it was about 11:30 at night and I was done! I’m a little nervous about how the food’s going to hold up in the jars. I think I did everything correct, but I guess I won’t know until I see mold growing in a jar when I open it or it explodes with tiny botulism spores spraying everywhere in my kitchen.
This morning I ate tomatoes while drinking my morning coffee. Delicious!
Coustralee, Golden Sunburst and an experimental bush variety sent from RH Shumway.
Sugar Lump Cherry Tomatoes
I grew plants from Burpee’s Rainbow Heirloom Mix, so I’m still waiting to see if the Brandywine Pink, Black Krim, Green Sausage and Djena Lee’s Golden Girl tomatoes are in the bunch that are growing (the rest are still pretty green).
A few nights ago, our old firepit rusted out. Ashes started falling onto the patio. I was not a happy camper.
This afternoon, I built a new one.
I went to Home Depot and picked up 22 retaining wall stones, 2 bags of general purpose gravel and 1 bag of paver sand. I wish I had gotten 1 extra bag of gravel, but it worked out in the end.
Around $50 and a few Lime-A-Rita’s later, this is the result:
Laying out the initial shape – I put sand around the stones to mark it. You can see the old firepit to the right.
Digging out the turf of the circle.
Digging a little outside the initial circle for the gravel.
This is where I put all the extra turf…heh
Adding gravel and hand tampering to level it out
Laying down first layer of stones. After this, I poured a bag of sand in the center.
All done! I took the old rusted firepit and placed it in the middle.
The sides make great foot rests, too!
Well, I found my first tomato friends coming out today. Super tiny, but lookin’ awesome.
I also found some beans and a bell pepper plant starting to show me some love!