Late Season Garden Update

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on October 29, 2011

So there hasn’t been much happening in my garden lately. After the squirrel attacks, not much was left :(

There is, however, Swiss chard, Kale and Brussel sprouts growing strong. It’s making a comeback as the weather has cooled off again!

I also noticed that there are a number of green tomatoes again on the plants out back…the squirrels must be full from them now. I don’t think they will get to the red stage at this point…so I’ll be pulling them off soon to make some fried green tomatoes!

Nom. Nom.

Anyone harvesting any late fall or winter fruits or vegetables yet?!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

monique October 29, 2011 at 7:49 pm

2 tomatoes, 3 green peppers turning red, about a dozen lemons turning yellow.

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Carlye October 29, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I was able to get a bowl full of okra the other day. I couldn’t believe it. I also have tons of green tomatoes. Is there anything else you can make with them instead of fried green tomatoes? Maybe a canning idea?

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Jenny October 31, 2011 at 6:35 am

Green tomato jam!
I don’t get enough sunshine in my backyard – great dirt but too many trees! So the first year I tried to plant my garden, the tomatoes were plentiful, but were not turning red before the first frost. I hated to waste them so I looked up recipes and decided to make green tomato jam. So good over cream cheese and crackers!
BTW, now I plant my tomatoes, herbs and peppers in pots near my front patio- I gave up on the rest and just get them from my CSA.

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Tammy October 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Hi. Squirrels were eating our tomatos, too. I placed my dog’s hair that I emptied from the vacuum around the plants, and that seemed to help.

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Carol October 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Earlier this week we noticed that our broccoli plant FINALLY produced flowerets. We harvested a zucchini on Wednesday. The next day we had an inch of snow. Today we salvaged a very cold zucchini from the garden. It has been snowing here (Mass) since 2 p.m., and we are expected to get a foot of snow.

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Virginia Adams October 29, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Hi Erin,

I’ve been wondering why you’ve not put out many posts about your garden this summer. Sorry about your squirrel problem. Don’t let it discourage you, though.

My little in-town garden has kept me quite busy this spring and summer. But it is slowing down and I am preparing for fall and winter. I just picked the last ear of corn–ate it for supper! Am harvesting green beans, but they are slowing down production. I imagine I have another week or so, and then I’ll put them out of their misery. Quite a few pint-freezer bags of beans are in the freezer, plus 30 or 40 ears of corn. Sweet potatoes are just now flowering. I hope that means I’ll harvest some tubers later this fall. Snow peas are up and climbing. They are begining to flower, so I hope that means snow peas are in my near future. Tomatoes are all pulled up, except for a few yellow pear tomatoes and a black cherry tomato plant. I get a handful of little tasty bites every few days. Dried some basil last week. Drying some stevia as we speak. I’m watching a new crop of stinging nettle and will be careful not to mow it down with the lawn. I let it get a bit bigger, then carefully harvest the nettle and dry it. This is a spring and fall ritual, and I’m sure all that know me think I’m off my rocker. But it makes a nutritious tea. Really good for you. I also need to dry the last of this year’s catnip. Still picking hibiscus calyxes for drying–you know, the “zinger” part of the zinger herbal teas! The lemon balm seems to be coming back for a fall showing. If it does well enough, there will be more dried lemon balm tea. Also some lemon grass could use some drying. I do love the herbal teas during the cold nights of winter! Homegrown/homemade herbal teas are even better, cuz they’re free! Christmas Lima beans continue to put out pods. I have only one teepee of limas (someone shared a handful of seeds) and am using this as a “test” crop to see how many limas I get from a tee-pee of about 12 plants. Then I’ll multiply that according to how many limas I want to grow for next year. But for now, that one teepee has provided nearly a quart of dried limas with the promise of about that much more. Still have some eggplants and a variety of peppers in one little raised bed. Those will come out soon as I want to prepare that bed and others for a few beds of grains–just to try. Grains might be fun to grow and harvest, but the residual straw will feed my compost heaps. This fall I’ll plant barley (naked barley) and some wheat. Would also like to try some hulless oats. What about cover crops? Anybody out there plant those? I need to try that sometime. Maybe this year? There a about 18 zucchino rampicantes (?) something like that–out in my garden still. They are an heirloom vining-type zucchini plant. The young, tender fruit are used like zucchini, but when allowed to mature, they are more pumpkiny. I’ve let those last 18 or so stay on the vine and mature. They’ll be something to eat on –from the garden–when there’s not much else I can pick. A few cucumber plants still keep hanging on. Not for long, I fear. But until they die back from the cool weather, I’m still enjoying a few Persian cucumbers and English cucumbers almost daily (of one type or the other). It looks like my horseradish is thriving. Never grown that before–I guess when the foliage dies back you harvest the roots???

I need to plant lettuces and other greens for the winter. We have fairly mild winters and those crops probably won’t need babying. But if we expect a hard freeze, I can easily cover the raised bed to protect those crops.

Not my place, but my brother’s–Limes are about ready. He has several trees, so I usually juice them and can it for use later. Makes a wonderful limeade in the warm weather. During the cold winter, hot limeade is very soothing and yummy! My brother, Scott, also has pomegranates. I brought home a small box of them today. I’ll juice those for jelly. Next week, I’ll bring home a rope–handled tub of those pomegranates. Juice and jelly! I’ll can both so those will be enjoyed during the year. His apple trees continue to give fruit. Today I made 3 apple pies to leave at my (infirm and elderly) parents’ home. They and their caregivers always enjoy homemade pies and cobblers that come from my brother’s home orchard. Scott also sent me home with olives last week. Am in the process of curing some now and will continue with more later this week. The persimmons are not as plentiful this year but are much larger. Persimmon cookies, anyone? Walnuts! Lots to crack and pick out the nutmeats. If only I had lots of time for such things. Pecans are nearing maturity. Usually the birds get most of those nuts, and we rarely get any. Navel oranges won’t be ready until December. Lemons will be ready any time now. It’s so nice of my little brother to share! What a blessing.

This has been an eventful year for canning. About 18 quarts of blackberries, plus several gallons in various family freezers, as well as many gallons given away. Dill pickles — 15 or so quarts, Bread & Butter pickles— 15 pints. Peaches! Wow, the peaches! 60 quarts of peaches–sliced and halved. Some more got spiced and pickled. Two dozen pints of nectarines. 60 quarts of tomatoes, 24 pints of diced tomatoes, 24 pints of tomato salsa, 12 pints green salsa (tomatillos and jalapeno peppers), 12 half-pints green salsa. 40 pints of turkey broth (had to use up all those turkeys we bought last year at Thanksgiving prices–so put packages of cooked turkey meat in the freezer and boiled the carcasses and then pressure canned the broth.) And I just canned pinto beans and chipotle pinto beans — 56 pints–this weekend. Dry beans are WAY cheaper, and parents and their caregivers go through quite a few canned beans. So home canning is my way of helping keep down their grocery costs.

Gardening! What fun! Then putting up the harvest is so satisfying. Makes me appreciate my pioneering, cowboying, ranching, mining ancestors! But am so thankful for our modern conveniences.

Happy fall, y’all!

Joyfully,

Virginia

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Tammy October 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I enjoyed reading about your gardening and canning adventures!

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Gail Becker October 30, 2011 at 4:59 am

My garden has been done since September. I got a foot of snow yesterday. I’m deciding on what to plant in my garden next year :)

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Tammy October 30, 2011 at 10:54 pm

I still have carrots and Swiss Chard. I picked a few pumpkins last week. After the first frost, I used your Roast beef and green tomatoe recipe. It was great. I had loads of green tomatoes, so I used a bunch of them. My husband really enjoyed it! I love your blog!

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Nina November 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

Here in north Florida I look forward to having a fall garden; it always does much better than my spring garden. Too hot and buggy during the summer. Right now there’s broccoli rabe, kale, parsley, beets ( for greens to make pesto!), mustard and collard greens, basil and garlic chives. To make things fun and attractive, I have interplanted with snapdragons and alyssum.

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Spiritrunner November 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm

My 6 different types of pepper plants exploded once the weather cooled down a fair bit. I didn’t have much hope for one of them but she proved me wrong, lol. As of right now we have some were around 30ish habaneros, bout 20ish cayenne, only about 10 bells but more flowers with babes in them. and about 20ish Serrano peppers. considering how small my garden is this year i was impressed. The mind didnt survive the dog diggin it up… and the bail was attacked by some kind of critter.

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Katie February 11, 2012 at 9:33 am

I wished there was a place to learn canning…I envy Virginia with all her fruits of labor. I live in Central Fl and my tomatoes are rocking right now as long as we don’t freeze. Though if we do I will cover them.. My winter plants of cabbage, collards are doing great and first time to plant Rutabaga’s

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