Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall Garden Update

September was a busy month in the garden. Especially since my tomatoes ripened later than usual, I felt like I was busier preserving this past month than in the summer.

 I already wrote about harvesting potatoes. After they were all dug, Ed tilled up much of the garden. This photo shows him in the potato patch and behind him is a patch of buck wheat planted for cover crop after the beans were finished.

We use mostly hand tools in the garden, but it is nice to have a tiller  for fall clean-up, especially for things like the corn stalks! They can now rot down over the winter.

Once our tomatoes finally started ripening, we had lots of messy kitchen days of canning! I don't have a lot of counter space and don't know what I would ever do without the island in the kitchen. I sometimes have to start stacking dirty pans on the floor!

I went a little bonkers in canning soup this year. I love using carrots, onions, garlic, and potatoes from the garden (had to buy celery) to make a huge batch of soup for quick meals this winter. By the end of the day, I usually question my sanity but I think the results this winter will be worth the effort!

Saturday we had our last big canning day. Ed (and the children) helped me make applesauce. It was a long day and by the end we had every quart jar in the house filled and were stashing the remaining applesauce in the freezer!

Preparations begins for next year. Yesterday, we took some of the garlic we harvested in July and separated the individual cloves.

We chose the largest cloves to plant for next year's crop. I find garlic one of the easiest crops to grow. Plant in the fall, throw on a light mulch, and it is needs no more care until harvest time in July!

Our tomatoes are finished. The plants are almost dead from blight. But I'm thankful they didn't get the blight as early as last year and I had a good crop. I picked buckets of tomatoes to preserve as juice and sauce. After my last tomato canning spree, I determined not to pick another tomato to put into a jar.

All summer we received adequate rainfall, but the last month has been very dry. I haven't been keeping up with watering the fall crops as I should but they are growing well. The weedy spot to the left on the photo above is the remains of our terrific carrot crop. The green patch in the middle is turnips - the first time I tried growing them! Under the row cover is cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts.

A view from the other end of the garden. You can see the strawberry patch we rejuvenated mid-summer and the fall crops that are outgrowing their row cover! Hopefully we'll start harvesting these crops later this month.

Is there anything still growing in your garden?


  1. My you've been busy. It makes me feel lazy when all I have canned is zucchini relish, tomatoes and chili sauce. I still plan to freeze applesauce when we return home from Oregon next week.
    It will all be worth it this winter though won't it!

    1. Notice how much help I had! I couldn't have done it alone!

  2. The applesauce day looks too familiar! Except! You need to hook up a drill to that handle, it's the only way to go!!!

    1. I'll have to tell my husband! They like to use power labor!

  3. Do weeds count? Just kidding. We have some pepper plants still producing and one lonely tiny tomato plant with two tomatoes on it. The parsley, basil, and thyme are still growing.
    How are you feeling these days? How much longer till the new bundle of joy arrives?

    1. I am almost at six months. I am so thankful that the busy harvest time hit my second trimester when I was (mostly) feeling well and energetic.
      We are looking forward to January!

    2. I had one baby born Labor Day weekend. Of all that was the hardest time to be pregnant all summer long trying to keep up with the garden and harvesting and canning. Then trying to fit a newborn into the middle of it all. Stay well!

  4. I love all these details! I, too, noticed that my preserving fell much later this year. I'm a little tired of it right now, but I want to be grateful for the goodness. Usually the fall harvest theme doesn't match my life, but this year it does!

    I've got tomatoes yet (no blight!) and a bell pepper that only started setting on peppers 2 weeks ago! And the spinach, carrots, and beets I planted in August did not come up. sighhhhh I guess it was too dry.

  5. Wow Gina, you have been busy! And doing all this while pregnant... wow!
    Our garden still has a few things still flourishing. Our eggplant still has some small ones hanging on. We still have maybe one or two pickings of tomatoes and the butternut squash is still growing. Now, I just need to find recipes for all the squash we will have here shortly. We have been dehydrating and canning every free moment we get. I have a feeling this Fall is going to be a busy one as well. We are expecting to get some much cooler weather this weekend, so we have been bring firewood up to the house. So many things, so little day light.
    Have a great weekend!
    In God's Grace,

  6. I do the same thing sometimes with dirty dishes. We have a large kitchen, but no counter space. One day maybe we will do something about that. We are about done with our garden and canning here too. may get a little more okra, and a few peppers. That is all that is left. I put our tomatoes in the freezer, and now when things slow down a little, I plan to start spaghetti sauce to can. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Would you take a photo of where you store your filled jars for us? I LOVE to see everyone's bounty and how they organize it. Pretty please?????


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