I have been rather busy lately. I am fortunate in that my workloads and deadlines haven’t changed and writing about gardening is just as popular as it ever was. So, I have been tucked away in my office or creating the supporting imagery to go with the writing. I don’t feel like I have had a spare moment. Even the poor garden is feeling a little neglected as I squirrel away meeting my commitments. Just getting out there with the hoe and taking care of the weeds in the paths is all I can spare, but it is enough to keep me connected with the garden. Even Hubby the Un-Gardener who is a hardworking breadwinner for our family is at a bit of a loose end and often pops into my garden office for a chat. Normally it is me popping into his home office for a chat.
But this week I had to call a stop to all the busyness. While hoeing the paths I noticed the harvest. I was aware it was needed sometime soon, but if I didn’t get to it very soon, the moment of perfection would pass and all my efforts over the last few months would have been wasted or at the very least be disappointing. It couldn’t wait any more. It was a pleasurable hour wandering through the garden deciding what needed to be harvested, which turned out to be pretty much everything. It did feel a little odd to remove things that had been there for so long, just sitting there quietly ripening, but now the pumpkin bed is bereft of pumpkins and all that remains in their place is the dead and decaying leaves and stalks that can wait for my attention another day.
There were also chillies and peppers. This season I am determined to use each variety in a way that makes the most of their individual characteristics, but it would seem there are just too many hot and spicy ones and while I don’t mind a bit of heat I’m not crazy. I expect I will end up making a giant batch of sweet chilli sauce, as I know we will use this as a family. I once made 2L of a fermented tabasco style sauce that is about 1.9L too much! I think it is still around somewhere – I should try and find it. It will now be an ‘aged’ fermented tabasco style sauce, maybe it would have mellowed?!
I also picked some tomatoes from my poor old tomato plants. They have hung in there well, all things considered. While they didn’t give us quantity, they gave us enough to have a tomato taster and be able to enjoy the sense of summer that only a fresh tomato sandwich can bring. I think the next harvest will be the last. I will remove all the green ones and pull down the bedraggled plants and burn them and remove all trace of the tomato pestilence and disease from my garden. I am hoping for better things from my tomatoes next season.
There was also a sweetcorn harvest. I had a super ambitious plan this season to grow 5 different varieties of corn – spaced out over time to avoid cross pollination. The first to start was the popcorn – just ordinary old supermarket popcorn, but they got hit so many times by the storms in the spring I had to give up on them or the normal sweetcorn would miss its spot and as a staple veggie that can be frozen and used all winter, this was more important than something to snack on during a movie. So, I gave up on them and planted the sweetcorn. However, just as it was at the pollen dropping from the tassels onto the silks stage we got another storm and blew all the pollen away. Suspecting a poor harvest (which I was right) I raced out to the garden centre and grabbed all the corn seedlings I could to replace them and ensure a harvest for the freezer. It turned out I had grabbed 2 varieties and one was ready a few weeks before the other, which was great. The first lot had a good yield, and the second lot was ready this week and I wasn’t disappointed. My freezer will overflow, once I get them in there. There is still some strawberry popcorn in the garden, and I am hoping the weather stays favourable long enough for them to be able to dry on the plant. I didn’t get my painted mountain corn or my glass gem corn in, but they can wait for next year.
Now they have been harvested I just need to find a moment in my day to process them all.
Come again soon – I think clearing away the dregs of summer is next.
Sarah the Gardener : o)