Settling In

The extended warmth this autumn has been nice.  I’ve been able to leisurely take in the harvest and begin putting the gardens to bed (our area had first frosts in September the last two years, although the average is early October; right now, we don’t have a frost predicted for at least another week or so).  It’s been nice not to have to rush around covering the plants and dragging everything inside.  My garden blankets might not even get used this year!  (We have two big tubs full of sheets, thermal blankets, and quilts just for the garden.  There aren’t enough, so we usually supplement with my sheets from younger years.  Rainbow Brite and The Care Bears have done a lot of good work protecting our plants.)  I hauled in the last of the ripe tomatoes last night and will be getting them cleaned for canning as soon as I finish procrastinating.

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Dill pickles, canned hot peppers, dried tomatoes.

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Eggplant (Farmer’s Market) getting ready for blanching, freezing, and drying.

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A perfect autumn fruit.

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Our first year growing pinto beans. The information we had said they’d grow to 18-24″, so I thought putting them around the cages for our drying tomatoes would be a good use of space. Several vines reached 7-9 feet, all the tomatoes were overshadowed, and out of the 30 tomato plants we started with, we have only four tomatoes….but the beans did great! Next year I’ll know better.

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Helper.

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The neighbor boys stopped by to see X while we were shelling beans. They sat right down, picked up beans, and wanted to learn to shell them. They had a blast helping – especially when the beans would try to fly everywhere!

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I’ve never seen a brown pinto bean with cream mottling, only the cream-with-brown. Some pods had one or two, two pods were all brown, and a few were like this one, perfectly alternated! I thought they were pretty.

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5 1/2 pounds of beans. We’re very excited for soups, baked beans, and refried beans. This year we planted about 55 pinto bean plants in a 10’x16′ plot with tomato cages to grow on. Next year we’re planning to expand to around 70-80 plants in a smaller space, but with taller supports so they’ll still have room.

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Wednesday dinner (part of it anyway; they went into a beef stew). The little carrots are a french variety that grown round, like a radish. They were fun to eat right out of the garden this summer.

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Tomatoes! Green Zebra, Juliet, Cherokee Purple, Big Rainbow, Glacier, Sweet 100, Sunburst, Glacier, Silver Fir, Indigo Rose, Yellow Pear, San Marzano, and a couple other varieties. And a pepper.

 

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