Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumn Gold

While we were up North, the garden turned to gold.

The tomatoes (Green Zebra , Orange Banana Paste, and Yellow Jubilee) were tumbling off of the withering vines.

We've got the late blight, too. (I learned that you can't even cut off the bad parts and dry them... the fungus is still in there and turns the drying tomatoes brown and icky.)

Year of the Pepper

My first year of gardening was "The Year of the Cantaloupe." I learned that when the melons are ripe, they scream "I'm ready!" by setting sail a hypnotizing sweet smell on the prevailing breezes (kind of like the way the local grocery store pipes the rotisserie chicken fumes up to the main entrance right around dinner time, but with a great deal more magic.) Several years later, when I started mini-farming in central New York, there was "The Year of the Potato" and "The Year of the Carrot." The blue potatoes were big and beautiful. We ate the new red potatoes like candy and harvested many of them as they bulked up before fall. The next year the carrots were mediocre in the spring and summer, but when I left them in the ground until December and then dug them up from their snowy hiding place, I was sure I had discovered buried treasure. They were big, sweet and very, very pretty (for carrots).

This year I am rich in red bell peppers. I've never had much luck with them in the past. I think I got one notable yellow bell pepper several years ago from my "shade-grown" garden under a massive Norway maple behind our rented house. So far this year, we've eaten seven or eight and given away several more. There are at least 15 more out in the garden. I plucked green peppers earlier in the season from the eight laden pepper plants so that they would focus their energies on just two or three on each plant. The habanero, serrano and jalapeno plants aren't doing too bad, either. Perhaps the soil is very good there. Maybe it was the moderate weather (not too wet, not too dry). I think it helped that I was gone for two weeks and returned to the stoplight red fruits glowing like they were electrified.

Thus far, we've eaten them fresh or roasted them for burrito stuffings. I'm not sure I'll need to preserve any, but we'll see. Maybe I can do some roasting and freezing. Now, I'm just pinching myself that I have pounds and pounds of organic, sweet red peppers right in my back yard.