September brings abundant harvests in the garden and I am barely keeping up with it all. I can see the crops winding down as I harvest the last of the beans and cucumbers. Not everything has done well this year due to our lack of rainfall and pollination. Fruit trees like apples and pears did not produce like last year due to our cold spring weather. The bees weren’t able to get out and pollinate the trees in the cold weather. Mildew arrived on tomatoes and squash about three weeks ago but the plants in my garden continue to produce so it really hasn’t been an issue. After nearly three months without rainfall I must admit that I am tired of watering. Hands up who’s with me on that? There is rain in the forecast for this weekend so be sure your tomato plants are protected as this is blight season. So far I haven’t heard of any blight around so that’s a good thing. I will be harvesting most of my tomato crop by the weekend. If your tomato plants are still flowering, the flowers take four to eight weeks to produce ripe fruit so that takes us to the end of October. I doubt the weather will be good enough to ripen anything at that point.
If you are growing tomatoes, this month is one of overabundance. I am overwhelmed with how fast the tomatoes are ripening and am harvesting them everyday now. Above you can see I have a lot of yellow pear tomatoes to ripen yet. I am growing out a lot of heirloom tomatoes for seeds this year and the yellow pear is one of my favourites. Green tomatoes will ripen on the kitchen counter if you need to clean up your garden. I can’t believe I am thinking about clean up already but last October it started raining and didn’t stop. As I write the sky is filled with smoke from the wild fires so we need the rain desperately. Besides, we need a rest from watering for a few days, right?
This was yesterday’s harvest of tomatoes, each separated carefully so I can identify each one for seed saving. This doesn’t include what is already on the kitchen counter. What do I do with all my tomatoes? I love roasting them with onions, peppers and garlic and then freezing the sauce to use for winter meals. We eat a lot of fresh tomatoes as well.
The miniature pepper seed trials have gone well this year so I will have seeds for them this fall. The plants only grow about a foot high and are so heavy with fruit that some plants toppled over. They love the raised bed next to the greenhouse where they get reflected heat.
Miniature peppers are not my favourite as fresh so I like to freeze them to use throughout the year. They are fabulous for cooking. I wash them lightly and cut them in half or thirds and place on a cookie sheet. They are frozen and then packed into freezer bags and labelled. Freezing them on a cookie sheet makes them easier to use as they don’t stick together in a big clump. I am always happy to pull them out of the freezer as pepper prices can jump quite high at the grocery stores in the winter.
It’s been a pretty good month for salad greens. I planted a bunch of cool season crops in July thinking I would have lots to harvest later in fall. What I didn’t plan for was the hot weather to stay. I have reseeded in the bare spots of this garden to see if I can get more salad greens to grow. I love that I can pick my own salad greens each day from this garden. I have a mix of kale, arugula, cilantro, lettuce and peas doing very well. The beans I planted in July were a test crop and probably won’t amount to much at this point. I still have lots of kale plants to go in so when the tomatoes are done I have something ready to go.
Well, I am off to roast more tomatoes today since it has cooled off a bit. I tray them like the this and drizzle a bit of olive oil over top. Bake the tomatoes in a 400F oven for about 40 minutes. Use the roasted tomatoes over pasta, on pizza or as a side dish.