Kia hora te manno
Kia whakapapa paumamu te moana
Kia tere te Karohirohi

May the calm be widespread
May the sea glisten like the greenstone
And may the glimmer of summer dance across your pathways

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Surprises from the vegetable garden

The largest of the pumpkins a few weeks ago.

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 Lefka Ori, 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.

1 comment:

dinzie said...

It gets a little strange at times reading Blogs from people in the northern hemisphere ...I'm all excited at my pumkin seedlings looking healthy in the greenhouse - you've gotten the end result there looking very impressive :O)

Not watering tomatoes !! I don't think I could ever do that through the summer !!!