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Nearing the End

October 4th, 2014

Over the past few weeks I’ve been slowly gathering the last of the harvest for the season. Winter squash and pumpkins have been tucked away on a shelf in the office, green tomatoes are sitting on a table on the back porch. Giant zucchini are resting in a cool spot to be fed to the chickens when the snow flies. As the harvests grow smaller and smaller the compost pile grows larger and larger with the remnants of this year’s garden.
butternut harvest
tomatoes on the vine
The last of the tomatoes were picked yesterday, along with a few other edibles that lingered in the garden. Strawberries are being moved, fall lettuce is planted, winter hardy arugula is being sown. There’s definite comfort in the end of the season, there’s no hurry like there is in spring, chores can be done slowly and methodically instead of hurriedly. There’s a deep sense of order that comes from clearing the garden for the season, because there can only be rebirth after death.

How’s your garden season coming along? Is it winding down?

The End of Tomato Season

September 25th, 2011

At the end of September, about two months after the appearance of the first vine-ripened homegrown tomato of summer the time has come to dismantle the garden before the cover crop is sown. Frost is coming: fermentation and decay are in the air. Plants have fallen down, top heavy, and many tomatoes look like sad sacks, flaccid and drained.

-Amy Goldman (The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table: Recipes, Portraits, and History of the World’s Most Beautiful Fruit)

Come mid-September, the tomato plants are no longer the stars of the garden. The Vines are starting to look like exhausted from their summer of bounty. I still have a few plants that are nice and green, but the majority of them are looking pretty rough.

Tomatoes don’t taste as well this time of year when the night temperatures start to drop. I have noticed that they’re not as sweet as August tomatoes and the depth of flavor just isn’t there. That’s the main reason I no longer keep the vines around until they are killed by frost.

Today I plan to spend my afternoon clearing out the two rows of tomatoes in the garden. All the green tomatoes will be put in the basement on shelves to ripen slowly. They won’t taste like vine-ripened tomatoes, but they’ll be quite delicious roasted with garlic and olive oil. The ripe ones will be canned into something delicious, most likely my new favorite recipe for them, Roasted Tomato Passata from the The River Cottage Preserves Handbook.

A few years ago I stated pulling them out in mid to late September to make way for cover crops or overwintering crops like garlic or shallots.

When do you clear out your tomato patch?

Reading & Watching

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.