A post with no pictures. Imagine that.
September has been a heavy month in my mind. Wisconsin's COVID-19 cases keep rising (daily case are nearly 10x what they were when we had the stay at home order), the politics surrounding the presidential election are ugly, I see systemic racism around every corner, yet I still have a job to do, a household to contribute to, and a garden to care for. I haven't felt like taking the time to blog about harvests, though. Here's a summary of the month's happenings, for posterity.
As September nears its ends, my tomatoes are still producing (mostly Juliets, although there are a few straggler Celebrities), peppers are doing wonderful, and I finally got my first ripe banana melon. I'll consider growing the banana melon again; it's the perfect size to use a melon baller, making the serving easy. Mine tasted like a mild, floral cantaloupe. I suspect the flavor would be more concentrated if I watered it more regularly. I've harvested carrots and the first rutabaga for roasting—the carrots are gorgeous, and I'll wait for the first frost or two to kiss the rest of the rutabaga. Some celery was harvested for pork stock I made.
I roasted the first few red kuri squash, which have been curing for about a month. I didn't realize the skin of this winter squash would be both edible and delicious. It's a nice, easy roaster. Also harvested my one and only butternut squash, which has now been curing for a week. Usually I have them in abundance; either my seed was too old or the area I planted it in was too shady.
Cooking and preserving has been in high gear. I canned 7 quarts of beets from the garden, continued to make and freeze or eat tomato sauce (some of which joined some Swiss Chard in a delicious vegan lasagna I made for a dinner with friends), froze nearly a gallon bag of chopped sweet peppers, and cooked my dried beans for the first time in a soup along with Swiss Chard ribs, carrots, and blended roasted veg (red kuri, carrots, rutabaga).
Then came the apples. I get 5 pounds of apples per week in the fall in a CSA share from a local farm. I dehydrated a half gallon jar of apple slices, and then decided to go big and order some #2 apples - 100 pounds of them. Mom came for another visit and we canned 26 quarts of applesauce, 10-ish 4oz jars of apple syrup (failed jelly), and 8.5 pints of apple butter. Just today I made the last remaining apples into applesauce that I stored in the fridge; probably about another 3 quarts.
The cover crop I planted is looking fantastic. Since a frost still isn't in the 10-day forecast, I think we'll end up having to mow it at least once this fall. As it germinated, it was clear I seeded some areas better than others, so I ordered some more seed and resowed some areas of the new garden yesterday. By mid October I should have most of the existing garden cleaned up and planted with cover crop for fall as well.
My seed garlic arrived about two weeks ago. I ordered from The Garlic Underground, which is just 35 miles from my house. I'm hoping that means their garlic will be well-suited for my garden's micro-climate. Planting will commence a week or two after our first frost.
I've also done a bit of garden-related reading. I ordered a stack of 10 books during Chelsea Green Publishing's Labor Day sale, and so far I've made it through Growing Great Garlic and Going Over Home: A Search for Rural Justice in an Unsettled Land. While written nearly 30 years apart, both had good lessons for me.
Lastly, we purchased a weather station for the garden! I'm hoping it will better help me understand my microclimate, and will also provide some electronic record keeping of our temperature and rainfall. You can take a peek at my local weather conditions.
That's the highlights of the garden for the last three weeks.