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September 2009 Harvest Totals

October 8th, 2009

September is the month when things start slowing down here in Ohio. We had scattered frost the last week of September, which is a few weeks earlier than usual. The weather has been very cold and very cloudy and dark, which significantly slowed down the harvests from the garden.
colorful_tomatoes
I harvested my onions, which was very disappointing. For some reason onions do not do well in my soil, I don’t know if it’s the acidity or the lack of sunlight in my fairly shady gardens. I’ll be growing the majority of my onions at my mom’s house next year and I’ll experiment with a few new locations here with more sun.
Onions_harvest
I didn’t get around to planting any lettuce in late Aug/early Sept as I wanted, so I don’t have any lettuce from the garden at the moment. I also got my fall cabbage & broccoli started a little too late, that coupled with the early cold weather will mean I will not be harvesting much from my fall garden. I do have spinach, chard and mache in one bed that will be ready for early spring harvests next year.
Chard_seedlings
The longer I garden the better I’ll be at planting things at the right times to ensure better fall harvests. I should have a decent October harvest with all the squash and popcorn and hopefully I’ll be harvesting lettuce and other green towards the end of the month. I was also able to can/freeze/dry a lot of food for this winter not just from my garden but local food from the farmer’s market as well.
canned_goods
In September I was able to harvest:
44 lbs of tomatoes that were canned in chunks for winter sauces & soups
40 lbs of pears from my mom’s tree
43 lbs of pumpkins & squash that will be made into pies and other goodies
5 lbs of small onions that will be used up this winter in all kinds of dishes
4 lbs of green beans that were steamed, drizzled with olive oil and enjoyed
3 lbs of melons
2 lbs of crabapples that were used to thicken my elderberry syrup
2 lbs of peppers, mostly cayenne that were dried to spice up soups & sauces
2 lbs of celery that was used in chicken soup when I was sick and other dishes
.5 lbs of garlic that I found in the garage that was actually harvested in July but somehow got misplaced
Lots and lots of herbs that have been dried and stored for sipping in teas or spicing up dishes
Ripening_tomato
Despite all the setbacks, it was still a satisfying September. I’d rather be harvesting a little from the garden than nothing at all, and I guess I keep track so that I realize at the end of the month that harvesting 142 lbs of food from my garden means that it wasn’t such a bad month after all. Besides, there are still tomatoes that are ripening on the vines and that makes me happy.

What were your September harvests like? Any standout producers?

Cinderella Pumpkin ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’

January 26th, 2009

The Cinderella Pumpkin ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’ is a beautiful French heirloom pumpkin. It first became available in the U.S. in 1883. It is a deep orange pumpkin with pronounced ribs and is quite flat. I can see why Cinderella used it as a coach to get to the ball, it truly is a lovely pumpkin!
pumpkin-rouge-vif-detampes-side
I bought this one at our local farmer’s market this past fall. The lady that runs the farm said they make the best pumpkin pies, and since Mr Chiots and I love pumpkin pies I bought it.
pumpkin-rouge-vif-detampes-top
This pumpkin was so beautiful I was reluctant to cut it up. It graced our dining room for the past several month. This past Saturday I decided it was time; the momentous occasion was Mr Chiot’s birthday. So out came the butcher knife and that was the end of our beautiful pumpkin.
inside-of-pumpkin-rouge-vif-detampes
Carving a whole pumpkin is a bit of a task. It’s definitely much easier to use a can opener to get your pumpkin purée, but this is much tastier and it’s local!
pumpkin-in-the-oven
So into the oven it went. After it was baked and cooled I got out the old Squeezothat my mom lent me. This food mill has been used for years in our family. As kids we always thought making applesauce was fun, just because of the Squeezo.
squeezo-food-mill
I ended up with a huge bowl of pumpkin purée, much more than I would have been able to purchase canned for $3. I only needed 30 oz for my recipe, so I’ll freeze the rest for soup or muffins or perhaps another pie (the pets are also enjoying some of it mixed with butter).
pumpkin-puree
I settled on a recipe from Use Real Butter because it called for freshly ground spices and cream. I happened to have some cream I skimmed from our local milk and pastured eggs from the local farm, so besides the spices it’s almost an all local pie. It has a lighter more custard like consistency than most pumpkin pies, and the freshly ground spices just put it over the top. It’s been a big hit here at Chiot’s Run. I’ve used freshly roasted pumpkins in pies before, and I must say, this is by far the best tasting pumpkin purée I’ve ever had.
pumpkin-pie
I also love that her recipe is crustless. I’ve always made my pumpkin pies sans crust, there’s just sometime about that soggy crust I don’t like. I would much rather have a few crushed gingersnaps on top of my pumpkin pie that a soggy crust underneath.
rouge-vif-de28099etampes-seeds
I made sure I saved the seeds from this pumpkin so I could try to grow a few in my gardens. How great would these be gracing my front hillside! I am in the habit of saving seeds from things I buy as long as they are heirloom open pollinated plants. I even made up my own seed packets to put them.
pumpkin-seed-packet

Anyone else saving seeds from things they buy to grow in their gardens?

Harvest Time

December 1st, 2008

This is a photo of a few of the pumpkins & squashes that I harvested out of the garden earlier this fall. I thought it was interesting how the sunlight was hitting them one evening.

For some reason all these squashes were fairly small. The ones I harvested a few weeks later were huge (of course they were growing out of my compost pile).

Can’t wait to eat these, hmm what will it be? Butternut squash soup, roasted butternuts, pumpkin pie or bread? Any suggestions or great recipes out there?

The Pumpkins are Growing!

July 5th, 2008

I checked on my pumpkin vine today and boy has it grown a ton! Sadly, one of the little pumpkinettes didn’t make it through all the rain we had, but at least one is still doing well on that vine! It’s as big as a softball! Below you can see it’s size now and it’s size 10 days ago, when it was the size of a large marble.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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