October is giving us the last drops of warm-season harvests, but it’s time to draw the curtain for winter. Juniper helped me pick the last of the ripe fruits and veggies. Her way of helping has more to do with eating than actually putting anything in the harvest basket, but I enjoy the company nevertheless.
Our cupboard is already packed with tomatoes for winter – ketchup, marinara and stewed. And yet still I was able to harvest around 30 pounds of fruit from these last, frost-free days. To quickly preserve them, I blanched and peeled them. They were then roughly chopped and packed into gallon freezer bags. These frozen jewels are destined for soups and stews this winter, the perfect way to use frozen tomatoes.
Fig trees produce two crops a year and one is always the heavier harvest. Our Desert King is perfect for the northwest, giving us a heavy “early” crop in late July. It’s always dicey whether we get a late crop at all, since an early first frost can easily ruin any ripening fruit. This year, however, we had plenty of late fall figs to enjoy – a treat we don’t normally get!
I was so excited to learn about hardy kiwis many years ago. The vines grow in colder areas and the fruit is smaller, but you don’t need to peel them. They have smooth skins, unlike the fuzzy ones we are used to in the stores. They vines also provide spectacular fall color.
This year was only the second year our vines have produced fruit. We planted the male and female about six years ago, so it’s taken them longer to mature. This bowl of sweet goodies was soon devoured for an afternoon snack and evening dessert.
Our young apple tree and pear gave us a modest showing of fruit. I was excited to get anything considering they are not that well-established yet. We also had sweet onions, peppers and shelling beans to add to the harvest basket.
Are you still harvesting warm-weather crops from your garden? Do you feel as ready as I do to put this season to bed for winter? I’m not sure I want to see another ripe tomato until next year…