Kitchen Garden

End of the Garden

Rapid Creek, Sept. 11, 2018

It’s down to eggplant, green beans, peppers, butternut squash and kale as the garden winds down in late summer. Four crates of tomatoes remain to be used, and the ice box, storage shelves and freezer are nearing capacity.

The next project is planning the garlic patch for October planting. I think it will go where the celery and cucumbers grew this year. It was a successful crop so I’m doubling the amount planted — all with seed from this year’s crop.

The Autumnal Equinox begins Sept. 22 this year. After that, the winter cycle of cooking and living mostly indoors is renewed. Garden cleanup will be after first frost, usually in the middle of October. Then there is collecting grass clippings for mulch and trimming branches from trees and shrubs for a winter burn pile.

Apples, Sept. 11, 2018

Tuesday I made a trip to the orchard to pick apples and brought home more than a week’s worth in eight varieties. I had to stop picking before getting to all the ripe kinds because the bag was getting heavy. They will keep in the refrigerator… I hope.

There are seven weeks left in the apple season and I’m looking forward to all of them. There is nothing like my work as a mapper, helping guests find apples in our orchard. Last Sunday it was so busy, with perfect weather and pent up desire for customers to get outdoors, I began losing my voice after explaining the operation so many times. The harvest is a series of fleeting moments stretching toward a vanishing point.

The orchard has 100 varieties of apples that begin ripening in late July and continue until the last day of October. Pictured are Cortland, McIntosh, Wolf River, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Hudson’s Golden Gem, and more. I’d say they were delicious and that would be an apple joke.

Vegetables for Library Workers

I took a care package to our library workers on the way to the orchard. Some of them work on Tuesdays and we didn’t want them to be left out of summer produce. They always appreciate fresh vegetables and this year favored Japanese cucumbers.

The garden has already been a success with some of the best crops I’ve yet grown in many varieties. Where there were failures (bell peppers, radishes, snow peas) there were big successes (tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, spinach, butternut squash, hot peppers). It has been a great year despite the weird weather.

Being in semi-retirement made a difference in preserving the harvest. An extra day or two during the week enabled me to take care of what was planted and process what came in the kitchen.

The plan is to do it again next year.