Fall Beginnings & Summer Harvest

The first day of fall already? Well, the temps are regularly dropping into the 50’s every night and the fog has settled over the prairies.

Although these fall days don’t have the vibrancy of fall in New England, Oklahoma has its own kind of fall flare and beauty. I am just beginning to see the change in the foliage.

The garden will continue to produce until the first frost, so we still have 6 weeks or so of bountiful harvest. I have so enjoyed this year’s garden. I have learned a lot about over fertilizing, over watering, and over planting. My notes for next year will be so helpful. If you haven’t tried using a journal to track your garden, I highly recommend.

The kale and jalapeños were a success. But the tomatoes went back and forth–first not enough fertilizer, then too much. Then too hot, then over watered. The broccoli never produced their heads due to the heat and the watermelons were too late in the game.

Did you know, the longer you leave a jalapeño on the plant, the hotter it gets? And it turns this lovely ruby red.
One lonely watermelon might make it before the frost. I researched the blossoms on these melons… “Look for the female” then, “cross pollinate with the male”— but I found NO female blossoms… for weeks. Finally just last week, I counted 2 more melons growing now. Poor things won’t last. Maybe the August heat stunted them?
While in the garden, I found the BIGGEST caterpillar I have ever seen! For a few days, I noticed the tops of my tomato plants eaten, but thought maybe a deer. Then this guys comes along and clears a whole leaf in 10 seconds! Glad I found him before he did more damage.
I picked another big batch of tomatoes to can.
This time enough for 1 quart and 1 pint. Instead of de-skinning and de-seeding them, I just cut out the bad parts, tossed them in the pot, simmered them down, then used my little bullet to blend them smooth. I don’t have an emersion blender or food processor, so salsas and sauces have to be done by hand or in small batches in the bullet blender. It works and I am happy.
Have you ever run barefoot through the cold dew of the morning? It’s invigorating and helps wake you up before your first cup of coffee. Fall is here. Ready or not. The days are still warm and my summer capsule wardrobe feels misplaced some days. Once these 70 degrees begin disappearing, I can pack away my summer fabrics and fluff up my sweaters from their boxes.

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