Dirty Business: This is The End

My only friend, The End.

I'm literally storing jars wherever I can find space.

There are still several more weeks left before the garden shuts down for the winter, but between the impending installation of the tight tank, and the fact that we’re just sort of biding time until the lettuce and cabbage are ready to harvest, this is as good a time as any to wind things down for this series.

This was the week when the tomato condos were dismantled and the plants pulled and trashed.  This year’s crop was quite good.  Maybe not quite as productive as previous years, but I think the unusually cold and rainy weather had something to do with it, because almost every other crop went gangbusters this year and the tomatoes are the one that is most dependent upon lots of direct sunlight.

There is another bed just to the right of this one.

Before taking everything down I did one final harvest of every tomato that might have a chance of ripening, and placed them in a paper bag.  I’ll need to keep an especially close eye on those tomatoes because they are prone to rotting more easily than a tomato which has officially started to turn color. 

Dismantling the condos is a tedious, if not terribly long process.  First, I had to take a pair of scissors and cut all of the cloth ties that were used to hold up the plants.  That part is kind of a pain.  Then it was a simple matter of unscrewing everything and pulling the corner posts.  After that, it was pulling and bagging the plants, which took up two large contractor bags.  I use contractor bags for two reasons:  they are huge and they are tough enough to handle getting these plants shoved in them without tearing.

One of these days I’m going to convince Mrs. Butcher to let me yank that bush so there will be more space for useful plants.

I had some room in the second bag so I filled it with most of the eggplants that had either stopped producing, or had fruits too small to harvest.  I’m going to give those last three plants another week before I pull them.  Next weekend is my oldest step-daughter’s bridal shower, so she’ll get these last eggplants as well as some canned goods while we’re going to be there.

Typically, once all of the plants have been pulled, we get about seven wheelbarrows full of horse manure from a neighbor down the road and mix it into the soil to season over the winter.  But, there’s no point in doing that yet because it’ll just get taken out when construction starts.  So, we may—or may not—do the manure this time, depending on the timing and the weather after the tight tank is installed.

So, now it’s time to take a final tally of how we did this year.  The header image does not do justice to the amount of canned goods which came from this record-breaking garden.  The final count looks like this:

19 half-pint jars of blueberry preserves.

38 pints of salsa.

32 jars of canned pickles (pints and quarts, spears and slices).

7 pints of red sauce.

42 jars of pickled jalapeños (mostly half-pints but a few pints).

5 quarts of crushed yellow tomatoes.

3 quarts of roasted red peppers (I might get a fourth quart, but I might also just give the remaining peppers to my step-daughter as well).

25 jars of refrigerator pickles (pints and quarts)

5 quart freezer bags full of pesto cubes.

5 gallon freezer bags of freshly chopped parsley.

22 super gigantic butternut squash (washed and bleached).

3 two-foot braids of onions.

1 two-foot braid of garlic.

That, of course, is just what was preserved.  This doesn’t even count all of the stuff we ate fresh, or the eventual final harvest of the green chiles which will be roasted, chopped, frozen in ice cube trays and bagged.  I figure I’ll get at least four quart freezer bags of those.

Before we know it, it will be time to go through our seed inventory and decide what we need to order for next year’s garden.  Next year I plan to switch things up a little bit.  I want to try growing paste tomatoes next year for the sauces and salsas, and I also plan to check out the NuMex pepper seeds being sold by Pepper Joe, which @Loveshaq was kind enough to direct me.  I’m already looking forward to a new garden.

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About butcherbakertoiletrymaker 568 Articles
When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.

6 Comments

  1. A couple of my friends use eggplant emojis a lot to represent penises, so if your step-daughter’s social circle does this too either it’s a fantastic thing to bring to a bridal shower or an embarrassing thing to bring.

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