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What Can I Say? It’s That Time of Year

August 13, 2013

Some of us are busy around here…

Dog Days

Dog Days

Note he’s in the shade watching me hoe the corn.

time to get ready for cover cropping

time to get ready for cover cropping

It’s the busy time of year.  All of a sudden the tomatoes need dealing with.  We picked 120 pounds the first round of harvesting and weighing.  Prior to this past week we have been able to keep ahead of the fruit by eating our fill.  No more.  This is the time of year too to be honest about what to preserve.  This year I vowed I would not can anything we weren’t going to want or need.  Menus, tastes and dietary needs change over time.  Doing a quick inventory of my canned tomato products yielded what I already knew.  We did not use nearly as much tomato sauce as I had planned last year at this time.  We did however, use quarts and pints of roasted whole tomatoes, quarts of tomato soup, and many, many pints of salsa.

So my tomato preserving efforts this year will center on more salsa, soup and whole tomatoes, and we’ll spend the winter eating up the sauce from last year.

National pickling cucumber

National pickling cucumber

Speaking of tastes changing.  Every year I make bread and butter pickles, some are fresh pack refrigerator pickles, and I can some for gifts.  Most years, we never even come close to eating the pickles, and they find their way into summer potato salads as rustic, chopped “relish.”  Well, something switched somewhere in the universe, because we have almost no pickles on the shelf, or the refrigerator, except the lonely quart of refrigerator dill slices that has been languishing in the fridge door since last year.  Hangdog has been on some pickle kick lately, so of course, this is the year that my cucumbers have been hard to get going in the garden.  Usually I am giving away buckets of cucumbers just so I can have the right size of pickling cuke.  I don’t know about you but getting the entire patch picked clean is hard, I always miss a cuke or two and then I find the one that got away the next picking.  The elusive trout of cucumbers, always huge, and you wonder how did I not see you?

Bread & Butter & Pie!

Bread & Butter & Pie!

Anyway, keeping with my plant less and use everything mantra this year, the cucumbers are yielding a good amount of nice size fruits, and I am keeping up with them.  Large ones are great for eating, even though we have slicers too, and the pickle shelf is gradually filling up.

This is quite the garden year, making stocking the larder pretty easy.  Back to work!

Flashback calendula

Flashback calendula

13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2013 9:31 am

    Those tomatoes are beautiful – what type are in the fourth photo, top? They are amazing! I hear you on the pickles. I still have pickles from five years ago. It’s time to cull….

    • August 13, 2013 9:57 am

      Costoluto Genovese, cooked into sauce it’s the best 🙂

      Pickles definitely go a long way…we’ll see how many disappear this year. I tried adding a few of the dill slices (chopped of course) to the potato salad the other day – lots of glaring for sure. I guess I should have warned them 😉 We’ll make it through that quart of dills yet!

  2. August 13, 2013 9:55 am

    Unfortunately we didn’t get to can or freeze much this year. The rain destroyed our garden but I always put enough away to feed several families and for two years so we have a lot to fall back on. I love the calendula!!

    • August 13, 2013 10:25 am

      CountryGirl, you guys have really gotten the short end of the stick with the heavy rains 😦 I’m like you though many times when we have an abundance I can two years worth, just because you never know, illness or weather can ruin a season so fast!

  3. Ben permalink
    August 13, 2013 10:57 am

    Harvested our first round of Belstars yesterday, was therapy for me compared to harvesting heirlooms, which have been extra finicky this year. Thanks for turning me on to the Belstars, gonna do some canning this week.

    • August 13, 2013 11:53 am

      Ben, I think from the snippets I am getting from Jo Robinson’s new book, Eating on the Wild Side, that the deeper the color of the cooked tomato the better it is from you and I don’t need to look at labels on my canned sauce, you can tell the Bellstar sauce at a glance by its deep red color. Plus they are so easy to grow and harvest. Ours are covered, and I have sold some already. This year I used the dark green mulch with the determinates and no slugs compared to my previous straw treatment, that alone is worth the price and the hassle of laying the mulch. I hear you on the heirlooms, I have a few that are going to be off the list. I can’t go in there without my Felcos to pick 😦

      How was the Bee? We went to the Steam-Up the week before so couldn’t afford to take two “vacation” days away.

      • Ben permalink
        August 14, 2013 12:59 pm

        I’m pretty much decided that I won’t grow heirlooms next year for market. Not worth my time and every other farm there grows them anyway. All that trellising and pruning should be paying off! I love them for their flavor and beauty but they are sure frustrating to get to market.

        Well, it rained on the wheat friday night so there wasn’t any harvesting Saturday. I didn’t stay for Sunday but I don’t think they were going to be able to harvest at all. There were ‘demonstrations’ and a lot of standing around. My friend Ed brings his belgians and I was helping him out a little. Got to meet a few folks in the draft community so that was fun.

        • August 14, 2013 2:46 pm

          Yeah, there is a reason Eliot Coleman grows hybrids and says tomatoes are one of the most profitable things he grows. I’m in love with New Girl, tastes good, prolific and easy to grow. He lists that one and Tomato Berry Garden in Winter Harvest manual, I’m glad I pored over the list, since you wouldn’t think of tomatoes in a Winter Harvest book. I know our neighbors with their hydroponic greenhouses sells tons, literally each season at market and wholesale. Those tomatoes are tasty, not like an heirloom but for the average consumer, they are nice.

          I wondered about the thunderstorms 😦 Still dry here, but fingers crossed for shower tomorrow, it’s starting to look like Hood River around here 😉

  4. thecrazysheeplady permalink
    August 13, 2013 11:58 am

    Your garden and gardening is inspirational!

  5. Carol permalink
    August 13, 2013 11:59 am

    Do you ever just ferment your cucumbers with salt. Lactofermentation is a great way to preserve things.

  6. August 13, 2013 12:38 pm

    I attempted to google, but didn’t come up with any reasonable results. I understand green mulch, but would you please explain what ‘determinates’ are?

    • August 13, 2013 1:13 pm

      Sure, tomatoes come in two growing types, determinates (bush type) or non-determinate (vining type.) The difference is that the determinates grow to a certain size and then put their energy into ripening fruit. The indeterminates continue to grow and need trellising and pruning of some sort to control their rampant nature. Or not. I like both, and I grow one type of determinate just for sauce, it’s prolific, and puts on it’s crop almost all at once, or at least in a short time. It’s convenient and tastes good too.

  7. August 13, 2013 5:05 pm

    This photo just made me yawn.. And again while I type this. It’s only 11am, thanks! Haha 🙂

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