In the Garden, Week 13

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Unbelievable. Here we are at week 13, and I just dropped my boys off for their first day of school. How can that possibly be? But it is, and here we are, two weeks before Labor Day. My oldest is starting 6th grade and my youngest is a new 4th grader. I couldn’t resist including a first day of school photo here. Look at those happy faces!

Needless to say, last week ended in a flurry of activity. The boys returned from the end of summer camping trip with grandpa and grandma and within an hour we whisked them off to the school open house where they met their teachers and got their schedule for the coming year. This weekend, my youngest also celebrated his ninth birthday, so we hosted a water balloon battle for ten 4th grade boys. Whew! But I digress.

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With all this going on late in the week, I planned ahead. On Tuesday I walked to the garden with Emmy Lou, where I picked raspberries in the rain and pulled a few weeds. I read an essay once by a gardener from the Northwest…I think it was Ann Lovejoy…who loved to pull weeds in the rain. Now I understand why. With the rain to loosen the soil, pulling weeds was so easy it was almost fun (almost). Anyway, I came home with a pile of tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, celery, and a beautiful green bell pepper. It’s been unseasonably cool, so on Wednesday I decided to devote the day to canning.

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My kitchen is small with not much in the way of ventilation. This means that when I see a handful of cool days in the forecast I know its time to pull the canner from pantry and start boiling water. With an abundance of tomatoes, peppers, and celery, I had the makings of the perfect batch of salsa. My favorite recipe is from The Fresh Girl’s Guide to Easy Canning and Preserving by Ana Micka. I also made a few more jars of raspberry jam, two jars of pickled jalapeno peppers (my boys love homemade nachos!), two jars of pickled beets, and, while I was at it, a jar of pickled red onions using the recipe from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. It was a busy day, but it was well worth the effort. Of course we polished off the first jar of salsa over the weekend, but I know there are a ton more tomatoes to come. In fact I have to get back to the garden before they begin to fall off the vines!

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I leave you with a peek of what’s to come…I think we may be harvesting these beauties (Honeycrisp Apples) next week! Until then, check out some of the fall activities in The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book, available through Mother Earth Gardens, Millbrook Press, or Amazon. Pretty soon it’ll be time to begin forcing bulbs!

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