After two days of steady rain and steady temperature of 61 f, today dawned gray and thick but not raining. On the way to giving the hens their daily freedom, a harvest basket was grabbed. The garden is fading away, one crop at a time, but still providing some goodness for the larder. The peas are bright and full of flowers, the Jalapenos are still blooming, the Thai and Serrano peppers are ripening with hundreds of Thai peppers and dozens of Serrano peppers still green on the plants. The ends of the branches so full that the rains pulled them down, sagging over the paths. There aren’t any broken branches. All of the ripe red ones were plucked off, breaking off a clump of still green ones in the process. The last three slicing tomatoes were picked and the plants pulled and tossed on the burn pile. The last of the basil clipped and added to the basket. The Tomatillo plants are bare of leaves so the last fruits of any size were pulled. Those plants should be pulled as well and the stakes removed to store. Friday and Saturday nights will be cold enough for frost. The arrangement of the peas, Thai peppers, one Serrano pepper, and Ground Cherries in three 4 X 4 foot boxes in a row will allow me to cover them with a sheet of plastic. The Jalapenos and the non productive Serrano pepper are across a wide path but in a single 4 x 4 box, so they can be covered as well. The top of the fig shelter will be closed over. After those two nights, there will be another mild period. There are dozens of ground cherries forming, so there is still hope for a small batch of jam to see if that is a plant I want to plant in the future.
Everything was washed, the basil leaves stripped and put in a drying basket, the red Thai peppers strung, filling the 4th string drying inside the south French door. The Jalapenos were brined in hot brine to pickle. The Tomatillos blanched and put in the freezer, making 2 gallon sized bags for Son 1’s family. The green Thai peppers and the Serranos were started as another hot pepper ferment.
If the peas, ground cherries, and remaining peppers can be nursed through the two nights in the 30’s, there may be more peppers to dry and pickle, a batch of jam to make, and fresh peas to enjoy. One of the garden boxes needs to be thoroughly cleaned up, supplemented with more compost, and planted with next year’s garlic crop, then covered with straw and a mesh panel to hold the straw down. If it ever dries out, the burn pile needs to be reduced to ash, the raspberry volunteers that have escaped the barrels pulled. Once those canes are bare of leaves, they will be pruned back. Since the wooden barrels have all deteriorated to just sides with no bottoms, I am again trying to figure out how to have raspberries without them taking over the garden. The barrel idea was good until the bottoms rotted out. There is a large old galvanized tub hanging in the garage that has a hole where the bottom and side seams meet, so it doesn’t hold water, perhaps it can be buried a few inches and half filled with soil, planted with canes and used to control their spread. I love the fruit, but not trying to control them.