Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The final harvest

This gardening year has been a good one around here. I remember thinking, back in April when I planted it, that there was no way that everything would survive. And it didn't. The pumpkin bit the dust. But everything IN the garden survived. It thrived, too, though there are times I'm not entirely sure how. I still maintain I'm not a great gardener. I think I just got a good batch of plants. I'll definitely be back at Riddle next spring.

However, with the forecast yesterday calling for lows last night in the mid 40s, I figured it was time for some things to start going. Okra doesn't like cold and has been significantly slowing down for a few weeks. Sure, there are still a few flowers, but today they didn't even open up. The bell peppers don't like the cold, either, and have been getting bitter. The tomatoes won't turn red unless the temperature gets up to about 80 or 85. The green beans have started to produce smaller and smaller beans. I took the beans and okra that I had harvested and blanched and froze them yesterday; today I canned the last of the tomatoes. The canning process gets mighty simple after a while, though it doesn't make the kitchen any cooler. You know it's a cold day outside when canning tomatoes in your kitchen causes your dining room windows to fog up.

A low temperature in the 40s also is bad for heat-loving herbs. M1 has been particularly proud of his basil this year. I made three pounds of pesto the other day and decided to chop the rest of the plant down yesterday and pile it up on the porch. I only had pine nuts for two more pounds of pesto and had no use for the rest, having already dried enough to fill a gallon-size bag, so it had to go.

We had a little basil. The trash man is going to wonder what on earth he's smelling when he opens up that can on Thursday. I suppose it could be worse.

I also cut down the marjoram...

and the thyme. The only herb left standing is the rosemary, which I hope to repot and bring into the house for the winter. If it doesn't last, at least I can still dry it out. The last of the thyme and marjoram are also being dried.

M2's flowers are also still flourishing. Who knew that impatiens would grow so big and still bloom so beautifully all the way into October? I always see the big corporate gardens replanted at least twice during an Oklahoma summer, so I assumed it was because they had died. Now I wonder why they waste the cash. The butterflies are enjoying these, too.

Here's the garden now, somewhat sad but still proud after the herbs have been chopped back. The weeds have finally taken over parts of it, and I know I'll need to get those out of there. I think this weekend, probably on Sunday, we'll take out the bell peppers and tomatoes and replant the rosemary. I may weed the flowers and strawberries, too. I'm hoping to leave the green beans and okra for another week or so, but we'll see what the weather does and what Oz says.

After I do that, I'll start planning for next year. Let's hope for a bumper strawberry crop!

1 comment:

mary said...

Cleaning out the herbs is the hardest part of gardening for me. I need to start planting some inside or something. But then I probably wont be able to keep them alive.