Thursday, September 21, 2017

Harvest Time

This was a strange year for growing, seems to be the consensus among people that notice.

The summer was cool and things seemed not to come at their usual time--like the berries! But then we have been spoiled for two years of exceptionally warm summers and July harvests of berries, so we're not sure if this is normal or late. So to pick blueberries mid-August seemed late; I used to always plan my girls' weekend of berrypicking Labor Day weekend. So mid-August is still early!

June 26th when I returned from Michigan, my apple trees were still blooming. As of yesterday, look at them now!  One hundred apples on my single tree. I thought I needed at least 2 trees to pollinate and when the rabbits took my two other trees and left me a single one I was going to cut it down too. But I left it and now it is producing a delightful crop!

Not sure what type of apples these are, but they are tasty and tart!

Pushki was blooming in July in places.  Lupine was blooming as late as last week--a crop flower that should be done in July. Elderberries were later too, with the cloyingly sweet scent of the blossoms not happening till the end of June, when at times it has happened in late May.

The lawn was going nuts and had to be mowed every five days, if we could squeeze it in between rains. In the garden the broccoli didn't form heads but the cauliflower was huge and early.  In the greenhouse the tomatoes just finally started ripening the last week of August. The parsley is quite happy and growing prolifically. 

The root crops have done nicely. Carrots, potatoes and onions all were average crops, but are still growing. The slugs never arrived in my garden this year, despite the rain, which was a puzzler. No slugs and no wasps meant better raspberry and serviceberry crops since both of them feed on my berries. I'll admit I got tired of picking berries this year--a first in my life I think!--and so invited friends over for a berries, wine 'n' dessert event:  pick berries, then drink wine and eat dessert. It was a hit!

Red and white potatoes contrast nicely with carrots
Summer temperatures were in the 60's almost every day and 50's almost every night. Since mid-August, the temps are now 50's during the day and 40's at night, here on the bench in Homer. Up top they've gotten a nip of frost already. We might have been nipped too--my cucumber plants were a bit droopy in the greenhouse, but I admit to being derelict in my duty and forgot to water for 5 days in September so that could be it also.

With such moderate temperatures I'm not too worried about getting the last of the potatoes and carrots in. I've been harvesting enough to store in the fridge for a week or so. My favorite recipe at the moment is carrots, onions and potatoes cut into chunks, drizzled in olive oil and grated garlic and roasted in the oven for 25 minutes. Yum! I admit to having frozen kale left over from last summer still, so I've been making kale meatballs regularly to use that up. Zucchini keeps producing and I keep giving it away, eating it and freezing it. The kale keeps growing and I keep giving that away as well with my file of favorite kale recipes (kale chips, massaged kale). I thought my lettuce was done but it took off again so I can stop buying it and start eating it out of the garden again.

Our dinner table is a reflection of the garden, and it is a favorite time of year for me to have such a bounty to choose from. The days are getting shorter and the trees are yellow and mountainsides red. I used to miss Midwestern autumn's, but now this is what autumn is to me:  subtle but delightful color plays and the change of lighting. It feels good to be here.