|so many ground cherries!|
|as usual, our own backyard tomatoes, while delicious, have not been hugely productive. thankful the extras at the farm keep me in salsa-making business!|
|the elusive blue-clad brown-headed Claire, in her natural habitat|
|one of her favorite things to do in the garden~|
|popcorn! we got a bit- a large basket full, and it is drying out in the kitchen right now|
|more pickled okra and dilly beans|
|the harvest right after our trip to Florida and Georgia~ it yielded a nice batch of kimchi and several more quarts of cucumber pickles|
|this should last us a while~ it's not quite the 9# we got last year, but I think we hit just under 6#|
|my favorite kind of meal~ garden veggies on top of rice, topped with an egg, garden kimchi, and pickled serranos.|
|usually we're lucky to get a few really ripe red peppers, but this year we've gotten so many already (over a dozen) from our five bell pepper plants and they just keep coming!|
the garden is starting to wind down for the year. I've pulled lots of plants and pretty much called off my battle with the bean beetles, though there are still a few handfuls of pole beans to pick. the first round of kale is getting pretty leggy and the second planting is still holding strong. I've got lettuces in and seeded chard and spinach but admittedly haven't taken the best care of them so we'll see how they do. the pepper plants are kind of the superstars right now- churning out lots of fat red beauties and plenty of little green and red jalapeños and serranos. leeks are still in, as are scallions. collards and brussels sprouts and piracicaba (a wonderful non-heading broccoli I read about in Ben Hewitt's book The Nourishing Homestead) are going strong. we've got a couple black cherry tomatoes that are doing really well and some brandywines that seem to be thinking about maybe turning out a few more ripe fruits. I'm about to pull the cucumber plants out and I'll pick the half dozen or so butternuts and few pumpkins that are out there. there are still beets to be pulled and sweet and thai basil to dry or turn into pesto or freeze as a basil/olive oil slurry. the tomatillos have a little more to give, as do the ground cherries. there are a dozen or so figs ripening, and the raspberries look to be getting ready to burst forth with their fall fruiting. the thing about fall-fruiting with the raspberries though is that the spotted-wing drosophila fruit fly is around this time of year and likes to infest them before they are ripe and, well, it can be a bit of a turn-off. so we'll see.
all in all, it's been a great garden year. I didn't keep records quite like I have in the past. last year it felt important to keep a log, to weigh out each harvest, and note all the jars that lined the pantry- almost like I wanted to see if it was all worth it. but the funny thing about that is that it hardly matters to me if the garden and the food preserving is really saving us money (which I'm sure it is- we hardly buy produce in the summer except for fruit when our berries aren't cranking out and we haven't had to purchase salsa or garlic or various pickled vegetables or jam in years) because aside from saving us some money the garden just means so much to me. it is my therapy and my daily check-in, it is a creative outlet for me and a huge source of joy. it is and always will be worth it, in so many ways. I can't imagine not gardening. I mean, it'd be a lot easier to go away in the summer for a while if we didn't devote almost our entire backyard to growing food, but........ well- there's something grounding, and centering, and comforting to me about having that tie to a piece of land, however small it may be. there is something about ordering seeds on a cold winter day and coddling those seeds into germination on the cusp of Spring and watching them grow through the season and eventually harvesting the literal fruits of your labor. there's hope in planting a garden. there is a simple yet profound nod to goodness and to life and to tomorrow that I find in planting a garden that I don't think I've found much anywhere else in life aside from watching my daughter grow.
so yeah.... I'll keep on gardening. for sure.