As summer comes to a close and I get the garden ready for a winter crop I was thinking back to all the high hopes for a bumper crop of tomatoes, peppers, melons and squash. I didn’t get much of a bumper crop in fact not really much at all and I am not sure why. The peppers got more sunburn, the tomatoes looked like they were cooking on the vine except the ones that were planted in the flowerbeds by the shed that actually got some afternoon shade they are still producing. We did get a lot of grapes and figs though and now we are harvesting pears. Today I planted radishes, kohlrabi, onions, peas, carrots and beets in hopes of a bumper crop winter garden. Real gardeners never give up hope, right? At least I don’t, I keep adding compost, organic fertilizer and water in the hopes that the weather will do what I need it too do and my plants will flourish and produce a bountiful harvest just when I need it most.
The tomatoes that I got the most of were my brown cherry tomatoes. They are really more of a small plum tomato than a cherry and loaded with delicious flavor in their little package. I made a few sauces with them that I actually enjoyed as a cold sauce over angel hair pasta. I am also still getting cherry tomatoes that I grew on the other side of the shed from a tomato called Red Velvet. They are quite tasty and it is still loaded with little green beauties that I hope will turn red before it freezes. The best part of the Red Velvet is its grey foliage. I put it in a flowerbed where I plant lots of blue and hot pink flowers and it complimented them quite nicely.
There were lots of fires this year in Northern California and one was very close to home. Because of the fire a new herd of deer moved in and they were much better at hoping our fence then our regular herd so the garden got attacked quite a few times. I learned from this experience that they love parsley, but they didn’t touch any of the basil. Luckily they left enough of the parsley for it to keep growing though. They also ate all the strawberry leaves, but left the berries behind…I would have thought they would do it the other way around, but I don’t think like a deer. We tried to think like deer and place barriers of multiple sorts where we thought they were coming in, but we weren’t very successful. The Scarecrow sprayed us more often than any deer. We have figured out their pattern more now though and know about what time of day to expect their visits so the pellet gun is ready to scare them off when they get too close to the fence.
The persimmons are waiting for a little cold spell to get them ready for harvest and it looks like we will be having a pretty good harvest of them again. We are planning to dry them the same ways we did last year with the hydrator and the air drying technique. We enjoyed eating them this way for a really long time. I can almost taste the homemade persimmon breads and cookies now…yum!
Some flowers seem to look their best at the end of the summer and my French lavender and Autumn Sages are really showing some vivid colors right now. It’s a little strange thinking it is fall when a few days ago it was in the 100’s and now it is chilly and got me looking for my slippers and sweats. It was a nice summer here with a good mix of hot spells and a little cooling off in between, but there is something so welcoming about fall that just makes me want to get cozy in the house and bake something. Thinking of the holidays that will be coming just around the corner and hopefully more rainy days than snowy ones makes me think of sewing projects to work on and maybe I’ll even get some painting done in the house. For now though I am dreaming of a bountiful harvest down the road from my little garden…one of these days!