End of the Summer Garden

Tomato and pepper harvest

We wrapped up the summer garden last weekend. Mentally, we checked out of it a few weeks ago, completely exhausted from canning and drying and pickling and cooking. Gardening and canning is exhausting work though we both really enjoy it (don’t ask us now, ask us in February) and it gives us a lot of time to work together towards a common goal, chat about the day or the future or our dreams. It provides us with fantastic nutrition and exercise. We have no fear of a vitamin D deficiency in the summer sun. It’s just the right thing for us to do.

It is equally good to put the summer garden to rest though. We get to take a break and enjoy a bit of the work that we’ve done.

Hobbit feet?

I don’t suppose to have any real idea of our ancestors who really survived on the land, but I think I feel a small bit of the relief of having food put up, of the rest of fall and winter, and the simple joy of seeing stuff transition from seed to seed.

Dried black bean seed pods

Ok, enough pondering life. We gathered a bunch of cayenne and jalapeno peppers (will they ever end?!), black beans, green peppers and tomatoes (those are 6 gallon buckets in the first pic) at the close of the garden.  We actually picked several crops of black beans that had dried on the vine over the course of the summer. Anyone pulling up the plants early to harvest dried beans is missing a huge second or third crop.

Mo with beans

Anyhow, Emily spent a good part of one evening shelling the last crop of black beans. Mo, our cat loved the seed pods. He chased them all over the place. We dry the beans on a clothes drying rack covered with cotton fabric which is held in place with clothes pins. The cool thing is that the entire rack folds down almost flat and is easy to store.

Drying black beans

It’s also a lot cheaper than some of the fancier racks and the cotton fabric can be washed unlike some of the window screen versions that some folks have made.

Anyhow, we are done with our summer garden.  We are planting garlic tomorrow but that is fairly low key compared to everything else.  ‘Tis good to have a break!



8 thoughts on “End of the Summer Garden

  1. What a great last harvest! I need to get out there and see what is left in our garden, but I’m still straining my way through 3 bushels of apples.

  2. We finally finished with cider and tomatoes. This was a great year though green peppers were slow to start and cukes were a total failure. Still, everything else was great this year.

  3. Eric enjoyed your cider posts, btw. We enjoy spending time together working to preserve our own food as well. It certainly helps with the monotony of the work, doesn’t it? But I’m with you…..ask me about it in the spring, because I am soooo ready to be done for the year! 🙂

  4. Stupid question….you said you picked black beans a couple of times. Did you pick them to eat as “green” beans? Or did you get shelled beans each time? This is my first year doing shelled beans, so I don’t know what I’m doing.

    And how are you DONE?? My garden is just barely starting!! Good job, btw!

  5. Erin – we let them dry on the vines. You can eat them as green beans but we just waited for them to dry out naturally. Ours started green and then turned purple and finally the dried out and turned brown. We just grabbed them off the vine then and shelled them. Some people talk about more elaborate schemes to shell them but for us, it was so fast just to do it by hand that we didn’t bother. I let them dry a little longer on the rack I describe above. I put them in mason jars and threw them in the freezer for a week to kill any bugs that might have hung on (there were none as far as I know). We planted some this year from those I saved last year and they bloomed…

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