Today it warmed up to a balmy 22 degrees F. After throwing some seed out for the critters to eat, I took my camera out to the garden.
The vegetable garden is blanketed in snow, and under the few inches are some parsnips and carrots I want to pull out. I won't know what condition they are in, and if they are edible, until I can get to them.
The hardy little primroses are frozen solid.
Some sad looking brittle snapdragons, which shattered when I touched them.
The winter landscape can be very pretty, but I find the loss of all the beautiful flowers quite sad, and can hardly wait until all the spring bulbs start to make their appearance.
Here it is today, considerably larger and starting to ripen. It is a blue Hubbard, so will be changing to a blue/green color, that is, if the first frost does not kill the plant. As I was cleaning up the garden I trimmed back more of the vines, removed all the other small pumpkins and also several leaves, so all the plant's energy will go into the one pumpkin.
I intend on placing these tomatoes down in our cool basement to ripen. As I was going about the business of cleaning up the vegetable garden, ready for winter, I remembered a post written by Maria of Organically Cooked on how the folks in her Mother's village used to store tomatoes to last them through the winter months. Quote: My mother's village, located at the foothills of the high peaks of LefkaOri, could only grow crops that didn't require irrigation. Tomatoes were grown without ever being watered, save one single time when they were planted. These tomatoes grew right throughout the summer. At the end of their growing period, they were cut in bunches and hung onto the rafters of the roof in the stone cottages. These tomatoes just as they were, slightly shriveling but not drying completely, right throughout the winter. The villagers were never without tomatoes all year round, despite not having refrigerators. They had one more ingredient to add to their basic bread and oil.
My green-finger uncles insist that this method of preserving tomatoes has ceased to exist; times have changed, there is more pollution in the soil, air and water, and plants are not grown in the way they traditionally were grown, using only natural fertilization and no chemical additives. Not only do tomatoes not keep well using this system; in Crete, they no longer grow without irrigation.
Even after reading what Maria's uncles said about the tomatoes not keeping well nowadays, I am probably setting myself up for failure, but decided to try storing them for winter use anyway. My garden does get natural fertilizer, llama manure, and is irrigated, which leads me to think the tomatoes the people in Maria's mother's village grew, must have only received rain to keep them growing. I will see if the tomatoes I am storing, keep well or not. I am always up for trying something new.
I was very surprised to find the strawberries are still flowering and producing fruit. All this will come to an end as soon as the first frost hits, whichI feel will be very soon.
that we do not get our first frost of the season for a few more weeks, as the very first pumpkin I have ever grown, is filling out by leaps and bounds. I would really like to see this one mature.
I have cut the vine back, pulled off any remaining flowers and also pulled off nearly all the other small pumpkins, so the plant's energy will go into this one pumpkin.
I can't complain that I have not had enough tomatoes this year. There are still many unripe fruit on the vines, and if they do not ripen before it frosts, it will not matter. I have eaten tomatoes every day for weeks now, and never get tired of them.
With this long warm Indian Summer we have had, there are still flowers blooming, some just coming into flower, and some perennials I planted a few weeks back, have buds. If we get a frost anytime soon, all the beautiful flowers will be done flowering for this year.
It was close to 70 degrees here today, just perfect for spending the day outdoors in the garden.
I put a few wheelbarrows full of pea gravel around the out side of the vegetable garden to neaten it up a bit and to keep the weeds under control. Any weeds which come up through the gravel, will get a squirt of roundup.
These nice plump tomatoes are just showing a touch of pink. I trimmed off any of the large leaves which were covering the fruit, so the sun would hasten ripening.
The Bearded Iris given to me by a friend, have been planted in a newly created garden, along the outside of the fence, surrounding the vegetable garden.Today I put a layer of mulch around the Iris to conserve moisture.
Just a few more days and I will be tasting these beauties.
Almost ready for Zucchini bread.
This little guy was on the outside of the garden looking in, as I was going about the business of pulling a few weeds, and trimming any shabby leaves off of some of the Swiss Chard, Broccoli and kohlrabi. He sure did enjoy the trimmings when I dropped them in front of his nose.
While we were in CA for 5 days the weather here was just what the veges needed. With nice hot sun and water on a regular basis, my vegetable garden showed a marked change. There is nothing better than returning home and checking on the vegetable and flower garden for new growth. It seems when you are home and looking every day, the growth is not so noticeable.
The first Zucchini will be ready to pick in a few more days.
I am checking the tomatoes every day for the first shade of pink, heralding ripening.
A bright corner of the garden.
I know the birds are going to enjoy the seeds during the cold winter months.
A blue Hubbard pumpkin I hope will produce a few nice fat pumpkins for us. It has started to grow through the fence, and I plan on training it up the fence so it does not take up so much room.
The day we left on vacation this bib lettuce was no where ready to harvest and I thought it would be ready when we got back. As you can see I was wrong., all it is good for now is rabbit food and the compost heap.
It looks as though we may have a few ears of corn, providing we have some more hot weather. For the last couple of days we have had rain, which is OK, but now we need to see the sun.
For tonight's dinner, a nice fresh cauliflower. How wonderful it is to have my own fresh vegetables. Also helps on the grocery bill as everything is so expensive right now.
I love fresh beans, especially this blue lake variety. They have great flavor.
The the best surprise of all.
The clematis, I thought had died, is starting to come back. I was going to pull it out and replace it but ran out of time.