Winding down the season

david52_gwSeptember 12, 2010

A couple of end-of-season finds -

Immature winter squash are wonderful sliced up and cooked - brushed with olive oil and fried or grilled. Zucchini with a lot of complex flavor.

I'm trying this for the first time, green cherry tomatoes, the ones with dark green - light green coloration, made into dill pickles.

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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Are you talking butternut-type or acorn/turban-types David?

Dan

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 11:15AM
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david52_gw

The flavor winner was a Guatemalan blue, a long narrow squash much like Banana. We have a few under-ripe "Confection" squash, a blue/grey turban-type hybrid from Johnny's, that are on the menu tonight.

It's kind of a hit/miss thing, these are the fruit that still have a bright green stem and the seeds are still soft and just forming. There's also a bit of luck as well, some taste like plain ol' zucchini, and some are spectacular. But hey, its that or throw them on the compost.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 1:06PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Plants "harden" as the end of the season approaches. And, I'm not really talking about the rinds of winter squash.

I had never really thought about it before.

I haven't yet read Charlene's question about over-wintering plants. I don't really do much of that. What comes in is what went out with warm weather -- house plants. But, I just happened to read something that was written about 50 years ago about bringing in peppers and such. The writer said to bring them in before much "hardening" had occurred. That way, the plants would still be in their growth processes rather than having been "shut down" because of the cold.

It was only 63ðF for an afternoon high on Friday! I darn near froze! But, 63ð isn't really cold. Despite some very cool days, the nights weren't especially cold - not down in the 30's. My garden sat there for a couple days but with more warmth - it is right back to actively growing!!

Often, plants can come back from a light frost but . . . by the time they've recovered, and it may take days and days, it usually is freezing again! Usually, when the season ends, it doesn't really have to do with smashing cold temperatures.

I'm willing to let things go out with a whimper - it gives me a little more time to scrounge around out there and gather anything that has value. It gives me time to grieve over the loss, and celebrate the bounty of the past season as well. And, the inevitability of it all . . .

Steve

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 2:27PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well said, Steve!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 3:56PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I wish I had a couple hundred more sf for more trellises...All squash I have is some heat-blasted butternut and a 'Sunray'. One day we'll be on a bigger parcel...

Dan

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 4:10PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Carl has a good post on his blog about winding down the tomato season, reiterating a lot of what was written here.

Dan

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 3:42AM
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david52_gw

We dodged a frost, I picked a couple bushels of green tomatoes, but far more are still out there. That info in Dans' link about damage below 50ú, well, I'll pretend I didn't read that, what with temps down in the 30's and 40's every night now.

Yesterday, I carefully diced up a couple dozen ripe tomatoes and was in the process of making a huge pot of tomato salad, reached up and grabbed a 1/2 full bottle of white wine vinegar and started shaking it over the 'maters, smelled something funny, and realized that the vinegar had spoiled. I didn't know vinegar could do that. Ended up tossing the lot into the compost. Luckily, I have several dozen other ripe tomatoes, and proceeded on with dinner plan.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 6:45AM
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gjcore

As one season winds down another starts. I'm still planting lettuce, beets, radishes, spinach and starting to put some garlic in and cover crops (cereal rye, hairy vetch, Austrian Winter Peas, alfalfa, 2 types of clover). I might do alot of cereal rye this fall.

It's a great time to start making a compost pile too. As poor as alot of the soil is in my newer beds I'll be collecting a huge amount of leaves this fall to compost and mulch.

As sad as it is to see summer coming to an end Autumn is my favorite season of the year.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:58AM
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jnfr(z5b CO)

That's true for me too, gjcore! Especially when we have a long, slow autumn as we seem to be this year. I love it when the evenings cool down but the days are still warm, and we get that slanting golden light in the mornings. It's so beautiful.

That said, I'm one who also lets my plants die down on their own. I do need to dig up half one bed to plant my garlic and shallots and a bit of fall greens, but I've been lazy this year so far :)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 10:19AM
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kareng_grow

My garden is still going strong at 7300 feet in Black Forest...not sure why except my husband thinks I planted some nicad batteries : ) I'm still harvesting amazing raspberries, tomatoes, turnips, chives, ornamental squash, snow peas and green beans.
In the greenhouse, my ancho peppers are about ready for harvesting and I have lots of basil and oregano as well as mint in containers which will be coming inside soon. My corn is also still hanging in there and I'll be picking that at the very last possible moment.
I also actually have okra too. They're still pretty small but crossing my fingers I can harvest them when they're ready and not because of threat of frost. I probably won't be planting them again though given how long they took...My potatoes, garlic and cucumber are done.
It's continuing to be an amazing year for me.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 12:15PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Posted by david52

A couple of end-of-season finds -

Immature winter squash are wonderful sliced up and cooked - brushed with olive oil and fried or grilled. Zucchini with a lot of complex flavor.

The late spring frost that caught me off guard took a toll on the winter squash. I only had enuf buckets and large pots to cover a few after my more-or-less successful defense of the tomato patch. As the light was failing, I accepted the fact that most of the squash were to be sacrificed to the Frost Demons.

There were quite a few more Buttercups in the greenhouse and, about a week later, I filled in the gaps with them.

I've already admitted to the confusion in the tomato patch and losing tags and such. Well, I thought I'd lost the Cha Cha Kabocha squash. Today, I realized that one hill, that I thought was just more Buttercups, is Cha Cha!

They look a lot like a Buttercup but without that big button. I finally noticed! I won't have to try them immature - they look like they are ripening well.

The weather service says, we've got another week frost-free! Night before last, it was 38ú and I was out there with the flashlight at 5am but the clouds were already moving in.

Thanks David for the Cha Cha suggestion. I apparently covered the right squash plants and they are coming thru for me!

Steve

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 9:05PM
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gjcore

jnfr, thanks for bringing up shallots. I've never grown them before. From what I've just read they seem as easy as garlic. This seems like a good time to get some going.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 9:43PM
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