August 11, 2014
We continue to harvest tomatoespepperszucchini, cucumbers,This is our last yellow squash. I had to finally rip up the plant. Most of the squash was rotting before it grew to a harvestable size, it was crowding out many tomato plants, and the squash bugs were starting to take over.
…and beans. We are getting enough beans from our garden to eat fresh about 3x/week but our neighbor planted too many beans and did not want any of them to go to waste so one day this week, we went over there and picked 5 gallons of beans, snapped, blanched, and froze them. We are good with beans for the rest of the year! 🙂We are also still getting a strawberry here and there and some kale as well. No pictures of potatoes but we still have about half of the patch left to be dug up. I am hoping it will last us until the sweet potatoes are ready…when is that, exactly? October, I think?
My kale and cabbage seedlings that were doing so well were attacked by cabbage worms this week. I know I need to cover them but I wanted to wait until later in the season because covering them also means it is hotter conditions for the seedlings and in August, I am looking how to make the seedlings cooler. What I need to do is rip the screen out of the window frames and use it to cover the seedlings but I can’t seem to find our wire cutters to make the hoops smaller and the screen is not big enough to cover the entire area as I have it covered now. I decided covering the area (though making the seedlings warmer), is the best bet right now.
Tomatoes: Our early blight is getting worse. It may have to do with our very wet summer. As I was pruning this past week, I had to rip out four tomato plants that had finally given up. We are still able to harvest tomatoes but it is only a matter of time. It will be interesting to see if we get enough tomatoes, even with all of our issues, to last us until next year, as far as enough salsa and marinara sauce. We’ll see.
It has cooled down this week quite a bit (mid0-80s) and it has been rainy so I baked all the bread to feed us for the next month, blanched and froze corn and green beans, and made marinara sauce for the first time.
I filled up the Vitamix 5 times with tomatoes. I ran it outside because the baby was asleep. 🙂 (this is a variety of tomatoes – indigo purple, roma, early girl, black krimm, and homestead)
This filled the crockpot twice. It took 20 hours to cook the tomato juice down to tomato sauce each time. I did this all in a row in our 9yo crockpot and by the end, it cracked 😦 Off to find a new one.(mid-way into cooking) (fully cooked down tomato sauce)
I then sauteed onions, garlic, celery, and sweet red peppers from our garden, added them to the tomato sauce with herbs, and let it cook for about 30 more minutes. In all, this made 3 quarts of marinara sauce. The only work involved for me was making the marinara sauce. And all of this from one week of tomatoes. Not too shabby 🙂
I guess I just need to space out the heating of the crockpot. Until we get another one, I will be freezing our tomatoes whole. I do not like preserving but there are definitely benefits to doing it. I still want to be able to harvest year-round from our garden but preserving adds variety in the winter and helps out if certain crops fail.
I am all about easy though. I freeze instead of canning…use the vitamix instead of peeling and deseeding my tomatoes. I am also all about cheap/no cost. I try to freeze more in jars (I already have) than in bags that have to be bought.
If I have the room in my freezer, I like to freeze my tomatoes whole and preserve them in the winter, when I want to heat up my kitchen. What about you…are you preserving your harvest or just eating soley in season? I would LOVE an outdoor kitchen during days like these! 🙂
Head over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what other gardeners are harvesting these days.