It stayed fairly mild today, and we are finally getting rain. It rained all morning, so I started early, peeling tomatoes and getting a pot of crushed tomatoes cooking, the giant canner pot set up and filled with water and jars. That pot takes forever to boil. All of the tomatoes that were in the freezer were added to a large pot. The huge canner didn’t get to a boil before we needed lunch, a walk that got rained out, and a few supplies from the natural food store in town. When we got home, the pot was started again and by the time I had the tomatoes ready to can, it boiled. Eight pints of tomatoes were sealed in jars, loaded and canned. While they were canning, 2 pounds of the tomatillos were started with a handful of chopped jalapenos from the freezer and 7 half pints of Tomatillo, Jalapeno, Lime jam were prepped and canned. The last pound and a half of tomatillos with onion, garlic, herbs, hot peppers, and salt were simmered into 3 half pints of spicy simmer sauce and canned.
We saw a break in the rain and took advantage to get our walk in before it was time to prep dinner. The pond that is close to home is so low, we really need the rain. We got lightly rained on, but not too wet and has continued to rain off and on all afternoon and evening. Just before it got too dark, I caught a break in the rain and took the 16 liter tote out to the garden. I guess tomorrow will be a repeat of today.
The tomatoes are almost all paste tomatoes so I will make pasta sauce, a small batch of garlic dill pickles with the cucumbers, the tomatillos will be chopped and frozen. The ground cherries are prolific, but tiny and I still need another cup or so to make a batch of jam. If you even brush the plants, the ripe tiny fruits in their Chinese lantern husk drop to the ground.
I will probably grow them again, but I need to make sure they are where they can spread out and a garden fabric around them to be able to easily gather them. The tomatillos are full of fruits getting larger and they are spreading over the cucumbers and ground cherries. I only need to plant two next year and make sure they have a cage and room to grow. There are so many more tomatoes, a few still green, most turning red, so there will be several more canning sessions for them. The peppers are finally beginning to produce some fruits, though it looks like at least a third of the ones planted were eaten before they established or are still only a few inches tall. I need a better way to trellis tomatoes and I say that every year but haven’t solved the situation. They are sprawling all over the straw, but are within a couple of weeks of being done.
The fall bed needs to be smoothed from digging the potatoes, supplemented with some compost and blood meal and planted. It is going to be a mini greenhouse that will hopefully provide for a while even after the first few lighter frosts that hopefully are still 10 weeks away.
The spring is so tiring from preparing the garden, by now there are too many weeds, but the produce it provides is welcome and a lot of work to preserve, but we enjoy it all winter long.