I'm beginning to realize that my gardening days this year will soon come to an end. We have already had two fairly hard frosts, one over a month ago and one Wednesday night (morning temperature was 24 degrees), but we've been covering everything up. The last frost took my summer squashes and most of one bed of tomatoes, and the rest of the tomato plants are getting nipped on the outer leaves. So although it's been a season of abundance, probably my best garden ever, sooner or later I have to let it go.
I picked all the tomatoes I could last night, even though it didn't freeze. I probably got another 50 pounds or so, including a two gallon bucket full of Brandywines and Roses--the best slicing tomatoes in the world. There are enough Amish Paste and Martino's Roma tomatoes to make a huge batch of salsa this weekend; they work best for salsa because they have less pulp and fewer seeds. I timed the planting of cilantro perfectly, waiting to plant until late July so it didn't all bolt and go to seed before salsa making time. Cilantro is to salsa what hops are to beer--essential.
It was a good year for winter squash; we harvested a whole 50 pound feed sack full. The Waltham butternut squash did amazingly well this year; some of the squashes probably weigh several pounds apiece. I tried a variety called Rainbow, but only got two small squashes. There are also two deep orange turks-cap style squashes from a volunteer plant in our compost pile.
I'm still holding out for eggplant and peppers. With any luck I will harvest two eggplants, from the twelve plants I set out; one white Casper, and one purple streaked Listada de gandia. Just enough for one meal of eggplant parmigiana.
There's still plenty of work to do in the garden: clearing out beds, topping them off with composted horse manure, planting garlic, digging potatoes. I could put hoops and plastic over my greens bed to extend the harvest into November or beyond, ala Eliot Coleman. But part of me is saying it's time to back off, take a break, and give thanks for an abundant harvest.