Posts Tagged ‘Fall’

Still Gardening

February 14, 2016

Well, obviously blogging isn’t one of our priorities anymore since our last post was ages ago, but we’re still gardening and enjoying the fruits of our efforts. Figs were prolific last year, so much so that we dried figs and still have some stored in the freezer. It was also an excellent blueberry year and we only recently used the last of the frozen berries.


blackberries & blueberries

Blackberries & Blueberries




Fresh figs

dried figs

Dried Figs

We also had good success with cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower this year. It was really good growing weather for these crops as it was cool but not too cold through December.

November cabbages

November Cabbages



Seed starting in the basement under lights began for late winter/early spring crops last week and each week for the next month we start more types of crops. We also seeded shelling, sugar snap, and snow peas in the beds on January 30th, based on very favorable weather forecasts. Of course, those forecasts proved to be wrong and it’s been much colder than projected the past couple of weeks. Had we known, we wouldn’t have seeded so early. None of the pea seeds have sprouted so there’s a chance that they’re just hanging out under ground waiting for more favorable temperatures. Peas are usually a challenge for us in North Carolina because spring can be very short so it gets too hot before peas can really produce well.

In other news, our dog turned 17 years old in mid-October. Here’s a picture of her taken over Thanksgiving weekend.

2015-11-27 16.02.10

Old Dog

At this point, she’s 17 and 4 months. Wow. She looks it and has some mobility problems (our hardwood floors are covered with various runners and rugs to help her out), but she’s not ready to go yet either.

Santa brought us a fermentation kit this past Christmas and we’re trying our hand at fermenting one of our homegrown cabbages. It’s been going for 2 weeks and earlier today we opened the jar for the first time and tried it. So far, so good, but it needs to ferment longer in order to get more tangy.

Here are some of the random pictures we took of last summer/fall’s harvests (July through December):

Until such time…FoodGardenKitchen






Falling into Autumn

October 26, 2014

Wow, how time flies! It’s already been 2 months since our last blog post. Double WOW for the tomato year we’ve had this year. Amazingly, many of the tomato plants planted way back in April are still producing, although looking pretty ragged. This will likely be their last week as it’s forecast to frost next weekend (a bit later than average for us). We have so much canned and frozen tomato sauce that we may not need to grow sauce tomatoes next year!

Plenty of Tomatoes

Plenty of Tomatoes

Last of the Tomatoes

Getting to be the Last of the Tomatoes

It’s been a great season in the garden (except for melons which eluded us this year). We’ve gotten so many winter squash of various sorts this year that we’re probably going to give some away. There are just far too many for us to consume. We decided to try roasting the seeds of the ones we’ve used and loved the result so much that we’ve roasted seeds three times this season. Just separate as much pulp from the seeds as reasonably possible; rinse and pat dry; toss with oil of your choice, salt, and paprika (we love the paprika addition); and roast in a single layer at 300-325 degrees for about 20 minutes (stirring at 10 minutes in). They made a great crunchy snack! We stored them in the ‘fridge.

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

Winter Squash

Winter Squash

Yes More

Yes More

You didn't think we were done did you?

You didn’t think we were done did you?

It’s been a very productive season in the garden, even though time constraints left us tending to the garden only two or three times a week this year. We got plenty of figs (unexpected because last winter was really harsh and parts of both trees were damaged), carrots, butter beans, field peas, haricots verts and other green beans, beets, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, okra, herbs of various sorts, eggplant, shelling beans, and a smattering of raspberries and blackberries (which never make it inside to be photographed as she eats them as she picks them).



Harvests like squash

Harvests like squash

See the squash?

See the squash?

Summer Harvest Day

Summer Harvest Day



Canned Carrots

Canned Carrots

Canned Pickled Taqueria Carrots

Canned Pickled Taqueria Carrots

Field Peas & Butter Beans

Field Peas & Butter Beans

Flagrano Shelling Beans

Flagrano Shelling Beans drying

Butter Beans

Butter Beans – Lots of Shelling Happened!

Field Peas

Blanched Field Peas & a Couple of Radishes

The fall “crops” – cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Chinese kale, mustard, and lacinato kale – are all doing really well. The broccoli and cauliflower haven’t produced anything yet but the plants are the best looking ones of these types we’ve ever grown. We attribute it partially to our willingness to try hybrids (as opposed to heirlooms) this year. Lately we’ve been harvesting radishes and arugula for salads. We’ve had to purchase lettuce this season because our lettuce crop didn’t do well with the neglect and didn’t make it. C’est la vie…


Parsley container


Kale patch

Cauliflower & Broccoli

Cauliflower & Broccoli box

Cabbages & Chinese Kale

Cabbages & Chinese Kale

It's the Great Cabbage, Charlie Brown!

It’s the Great Cabbage, Charlie Brown!

Autumn Garden

Autumn Garden

Autumn Garden 2

Another View of the Autumn Garden

Unfortunately, when we went out to the garden this weekend, two of the apple trees we planted last fall were broken about two feet above the ground. It was very disheartening. We suspect deer. We cut the trees at the break and hope they will come back next year. At least 3 feet of growth was lost from each tree.

Broken and Sad Apple Tree

Broken and Sad Apple Tree

Shattered Dreams Apple Tree

Shattered Dreams Apple Tree

Hopefully it won’t be two more months until our next blog post, but you never know. There’s just so much time in the day and choices about priorities have to be made. Thanks for reading!

23 September Weekly Update

September 23, 2013

Yesterday were Frodo and Bilbo Baggins’ birthdays; I hope you spent as much time in celebration as we did.

Harvests this week were:  lots of butter beans, field peas, green beans, and a variety of sweet and hot peppers.

Early Fall Harvest

Early Fall Harvest

We were quite busy with other commitments this week so we had to cram picking and other garden tasks into Sunday afternoon.  We sprayed BT on the Fall crops again as new caterpillars have hatched.  Hopefully the caterpillars will all die after the first frost (generally around the 15th of October).  We also re-seeded lettuce in one of the boxes where NONE of four different varieties germinated (I think they were originally seeded 3 or 4 weeks ago).  Additionally, we seeded mache, cilantro, radishes, and more lettuces in porch boxes.

Butter Beans & Green Beans

Butter Beans & Green Beans

15 September Weekly Update

September 15, 2013

Harvests this week were:  plenty of field peas and butter beans, figs, green beans, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce from the experimental porch box, and a small watermelon.  We haven’t cut the melon open yet but we’re hoping it’s ready since the vine it was growing on was 95% dead.   We also did a significant cutting of the basil and dried it but we forgot to get a picture of it…



Late Summer Harvest

Late Summer Harvest

Peas & Beans

Field Peas, Butter Beans & Green Beans

Bucket of Peas & Beans

Bucket of Field Peas & Butter Beans

We removed another garden box this week in preparation for the total replacement we’ll be doing either next month or in November.  The garden is definitely starting to slow down production-wise but the Fall crops are growing well.  We had to spray BT early in the week because caterpillars were on almost all the Fall stuff.  I think two or three plants may have been eaten down to the point that they may not recover.

Another Box removed in preparation for the fall project

Another box removed in preparation for the fall project

Radishes, Turnips, Beets

Radishes, Turnips, Beets

It’s been about two weeks since we’ve gotten rain and we used up all of the water in the rain barrels during the week.  Since the forecast for rain isn’t looking very good this week either, we ended up using the faucet for watering on Sunday.  It’s the first time in over a year that we’ve had to do so.

will it mature prior to frost?

will it mature prior to frost?

Mustards & Kales

Mustards & Kales

Garden View

Garden View

Fall Cauliflower

Fall Cauliflower

Butternut almost ready

Butternut almost ready

Butter Beans on the Vine

Butter Beans on the Vine

Butter Beans on the tomato trellis

Butter Beans taking over the former tomato trellis

Banana Peppers

Banana Peppers

Garden View 2

Garden View 2

9 September Weekly Update

September 9, 2013
Hot peppers & field peas

Hot peppers & field peas

Pickings this week were:  more figs!; a variety of sweet and hot peppers, including the first El Chacos in quantity and Tabascos; green beans; plenty of field peas; a small eggplant; tomatillos; butter beans; one cucumber from the plants seeded at the end of July; and a large winter squash.

September Harvest

September Harvest

Sweet Peppers & Green Beans

Sweet Peppers & Green Beans

The winter squash is an heirloom butternut type from Italy and when we last successfully grew it, the fruits were the same shape as this one but they were the color of regular butternut squash.  This one is more the color of a hubbard squash and I’ve been waiting for it to turn tan but it’s been doing so very slowly.  Since the vine it had been growing on was 95% dead and the skin can’t be easily pierced with your nails, I decided to go ahead and harvest it.  Hopefully it’ll look normal when we cut it open.

We’re in pepper preservation mode.  On Monday, we’ll be drying many of the hot peppers to make our own chili powder and when we get home from work we’ll slice and can the jalapenos.  I usually try to leave the jalapenos on the plant until they turn red but this year many of them are rotting before they turn color, so I decided to go ahead and pick all of the green ones of usable size.  We’ll also be canning many of the green beans on Monday evening.  We diced 2 quart freezer bags worth of sweet peppers on Sunday afternoon and added them to the other frozen sweet peppers in the deep freeze for use over the winter.  We now have 5 quarts of homegrown sweet peppers preserved!

Winter squash & More

Winter squash & More

We didn’t spend too much time in the garden this week due to other obligations but on Sunday morning, she removed the last of the tomatillo plants and also the older cucumber plants.  These particular cucumbers never really did make many cucs but they had succumbed to some sort of wilt.  Early in the week, we did manage to plant out the Fall seedlings we purchased last weekend to augment the plants we had started in the basement.  We planted more cauliflower, broccoli, mustard, and two types of kale.  We’ll try to remember to get pictures of the transplants in the new beds for next week’s post.  The arugula and radishes we seeded last weekend are all up and growing as well.

Dried Serranos

Dried Serranos

11 11 11 – On Armistice Day, the Philharmonic Will Play – Weekly Update 11-11-2012

November 11, 2012

Last week it was Guy Fawkes Day, now it’s Armistice Day, and tomorrow some of us have the day off for this day that we now call Veterans Day. My son is a cadet at a senior military college, and I couldn’t be more proud that he went to Army Basic Training this summer, and so “thank you” to those people who have served and lived and died for this country.

Cayennes in a Bucket

Bountiful variety

Harvests: The last of the peppers – picked as we removed the plants. Ditto for field peas.  A few small carrots and radishes to put into salads. Leaf lettuces, arugula, and other spicy salad greens (such as a type of mustard). Cilantro which went into a lemongrass soup and parsley and dill which we dried. Our first real sized leek!

The Real Leek

We grew leeks last year but we didn’t realize they had such a long growing season (because seed packets lie) and we direct seeded them with lukewarm success. We had to harvest them before their time because we needed the box. On the advice of The Gardener of Eden (link to her blog is on our home page), we planted them in a box that wouldn’t have harvest pressures this year. We also started the seeds inside and transplanted them out when they were about 6″ tall. The one we harvested is definitely the largest one, but we’re hoping the rest will continue to size up.

Washed lettuces


Dill, parsley, and beans

With the exception of a few butterbean plants, all the remaining summer crops are gone now. Hurrah and all that because this was a long year in the garden and we don’t mind slacking off some now. It’s amazing that many of the pepper plants were still flowering in November. I guess this is because their natural season is longer than our growing season here in piedmont, NC. I think I remember reading that many peppers are perennials in the right climate, but don’t quote me  on that.

Our first frost occurred on the 8th and it was mild. That’s over 2 weeks later than our average date of 10/23.

Chopped Sweet Peppers

We managed to dry all of the peppers intended for drying this week. Our poor dog suffered through the smell of the peppers drying in the oven for days – mostly while we were at work, but we did have to suffer along all last weekend. I have bags and bags of dried ground peppers now, plus lots of canned or frozen chopped sweet peppers.

Dried hot pepper powders

We’re taking stock of our growing needs and will likely convert at least one more long box to permanent berry production of some sort next spring. We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to grow so much of our produce but we’ve determined that we can scale back some on certain items and still eat well year round.  This comes from a variety of factors, including that we don’t really need *that many* hot peppers for drying every year – we made enough dried peppers this year to make chili powders all the way through the next growing season and into the next year. Also, some items just don’t do well here – eventually we’re gonna give up trying to prove we can grow some of them, like certain kinds of winter squash and certain brassica.

4 November Weekly Update

November 4, 2012

Harvests:  the Lemongrass plant, butter beans and field peas, lettuces, hot and sweet peppers (all of them), a few small radishes, a couple carrots.

Peppers in a bucket

Sweet Peppers

Hot peppers

Peppers, peas, and beans

Habanero type peppers

Parsley, Lemongrass, and dill

Overflowing bounty

We pulled up more of the butter bean plants and sweet pepper plants as we picked the last of their offerings for the year.  Some of the plants were still flowering even as we pulled them up.   It had been announced that our first frost was likely, and indeed it got down to 35-36 degrees eventually, but I haven’t seen a frost yet.

Late planted butter beans

The butter beans we seeded in August have lots of bean pods that probably won’t mature before this theoretical frost. We knew this was likely when we seeded them, but did it anyhow because growing legumes tends to improve the soil and we had no other plans for the box.


Carribean hot peppers on the plant

Dill! in November!

Garlic growing

Kale & Mustard

We did lots of weeding in our winter boxes.  The female of us scoffs when she recalls reading Mel Bartholowmew’s words promising no weeds if you use his methods. Yeah, right, as though weed seeds aren’t carried by the wind. “I so naively believed him and pictured a gardening world free of weeds. If you’re a beginner reading this; Do Not Believe This Hype. I can promise you that you will have plenty of weeding to do even if you use raised beds.  Certainly it is not as much as you would if you are using traditional row methods, but some regardless.  And in the end, it’s worth it”.

We were told “frost coming” multiple days this week.  The meteorologists got none of it right. Since we had work commitments on Thursday, we got out to the garden on Wednesday and picked all remaining harvestable items. It was quite the mad rush for us. Naturally, it didn’t frost. We gave away some of the peppers, shelled the various beans, and we’re drying and canning peppers left and right.

Baby frog resting on a bell pepper

Lemongrass crown after the harvest

Lettuce patch

Monkey Tail field pea jungle in the twilight of its life

The parsley that would not die

Remember the caterpillars eating all the parsley?  That happened *twice*, and both times each and every leaf was consumed.  And yet, here is the parsley plant. That’s marjoram on the right, btw.

Thai hot peppers and some serranos

November Garden 1

Volunteer potato plants in the broccoli box

Each month, sometimes each week, brings change to the garden in its aspects. It provides a center of harmony in our lives, cycling through the years.

28 October Weekly Update

October 28, 2012

I’ll have the usual, please:  field peas, butter beans, sweet and hot peppers, and lettuces.


Beans and Peas drying after blanching

The regular cornucopia

Amazing to be harvesting all these things this late in the season, but a frost appears likely in the next 2 weeks, and then most of it will shut down.

Our lemon-grass plant is over 7′ high, it’s bigger this year than it ever has been.  We’re about to cut it down and harvest the stalks, which we will cut into 1-3″ pieces and freeze for cooking with throughout the year.

We accomplished some fall clean-up in the garden. The asparagus ferns were cut back, and the box was weeded. We’ll put shredded leaf mulch in this box before the weather gets too cold, in order to protect the asparagus crowns through the coldest part of winter; then we’ll remove it in the spring. Garlic boxes will also get leaf mulch.

Asparagus box

After cutting the ferns back

After the weeding

We removed the oldest field pea vines, which took a solid hour, but it’s just a once a year job. The cattle panels work great for climbing vines, but the vines wrap themselves tightly around everything so removal becomes a game of cutting and tugging. We also removed more of the butter bean plants as we harvested the last pods. We’re down to about 1/3rd of the plants. The remaining plants still have pods that are maturing, if the weather holds.

We have LOTS of green peppers of all varieties still growing. Now it’s just a race to see how many fully ripen before the first frost (average 1st frost for us is October 23rd, still hasn’t happened yet). Not that all of them have to change color to be good, we just tend to leave them on as long as possible (which is why we have so many red jalapenos).

7 October Weekly Update

October 7, 2012

A quiet week in the garden.  We’ve had other commitments this week so we haven’t been able to spend much time in the garden. Combine this with a slowing in the harvest cycle, rain, and cooler weather, we just don’t have much for you this week.

Part of the Weekly Garden Harvest

Nonetheless, we still got butter beans, field peas, a few green beans, and many sweet and hot peppers.

One of the cauliflower plants suddenly wilted; it was removed forthwith on the off chance it was contagious.

We were really planning to get into the garden this afternoon – so we got up this morning and watched the thunderstorms settle in and a nice brisk fall rain helping the trees to shed some leaves.

We got a dehydrator as a present!  Stackable trays, nice design.  I’m really looking forward to using it, particularly for small amounts of fresh herbs – this way I won’t have to fire up the oven all day in order to effectively dry stuff.

I’ve noted this in a couple of other places, but if you click on any of our pictures you get taken to a much larger version of it.

30 September Weekly Update

September 30, 2012



field peas and butter beans, 1 yellow squash, lots more sweet and hot peppers (dried 2 trays of peppers yesterday), a few blue lake bush green beans, trays of oregano and marjoram (drying now).

This week’s harvest would have been larger except that it rained all day on Saturday, preventing us from working in the garden. We’ll be out later this afternoon getting everything.

The garden is definitely slowing down. We can actually let it go a day or two instead of *having* to pick like we do at the height of the season.


We blanched and froze 6 more bags of field peas. We find field peas to be one of the work horses in the garden – we’re always very satisfied with their production. The yellow squash we picked may be the last one from the three “round 2” plants, as I don’t see any more female flowers. I think we only got 4 or 5 squash from these plants – not very productive – but since we had no other plans for the space, and since they’re so good to have fresh, we’ll take ’em.

Peppers on the vine

With the 2 trays of dried peppers, plus more that need doing, we definitely have plenty of dried peppers for the year.  I plan to give out some dried cayenne powder to folks to make my “wing sauce”, which is essentially cayenne, sweet paprika, salt, and just a little vinegar cooked on the stove for an hour on simmer.

Fall cauliflower

Cherry bombs ready to pick

Cilantro backed by Cabbages


Oregano in the bucket

Radishes, Leeks, Basil