It’s Harvest Time! Pick, pit, slice, juice, freeze a little here, bottle a little there, dehydrate a bit over there. My backyard garden has reached the tipping point … we can’t eat the fresh goodies fast enough, and the neighbors are starting to hide when they see me coming. … Monday it was pear sauce, pear leather, and whole tomatoes, along with drying fresh mint. Yesterday, a small batch of green beans and today it’s more apple slices for the dehydrator, hot pepper jelly, and grape juice. I do have to fess up that I burnt a batch of pears … the house smells yucky.
For at least a month I’ve been harvesting apples, making apple butter and dried apple rings (with cinnamon and sugar). We had to fight for our pears this year; blister mites started early, ugly things, but they tasted great. We also have a dwarf apple tree grafted with 3 different types of apples; early summer, mid-summer and late-summer which spaces out the dehydration time (thank goodness)! Don’t ask me what kind of apples they are … ’cause I don’t remember … in fact, I’m not certain I ever knew.
And blackberries! It’s been a bumper crop; I’ve frozen blackberries, given blackberries away and away and away again. I have so much blackberry jam from 2 years ago … I don’t think I’ll be doing that again for a while. And the Chilean Chimnaya Peppers are are brilliant red and ready for rista tying. And just a note, these babies are HOT … 1/2 of one replaced 10 jalapenos in my hot pepper jelly recipe.
Our dwarf peach tree is totally loaded. So tomorrow early on it’ll be peach jam, bottled peaches, peach pie, and peach cobbler … and more whole tomatoes. Which to remind myself, I’d better check the zucchini; when I came home from fishing last week there was one that grated out 6 1/2 cups … the double chocolate zucchini cake was irresistible!
Now, why am I bragging about the harvest in my yard? Because this bountiful harvest comes from a small, city lot with poor rocky, clay-based soil. How do we do it? Well, Sweetie built 6 grow boxes (4′ x 5′), pick axed and pry bar’d holes to plant 6 fruit trees (we only have 4 surviving though) … and dirt, manure, sphagnum moss, and compost comes in bags! Anyway, I love having fresh produce and fresh fruit all summer. I can feel a bit virtuous that I’m ‘Eating Local’ … mostly, I love the feeling of having a ‘bit put by’ … just in case. I am not a ‘farmer’, nor a great gardener, just someone who love the smell of freshly turned soil in the spring, who loves the buzz of bees around the fruit and vegetable flowers, and who loves the taste of tomatoes warm and sweet from the vine.
Growing something from seed, or a greenhouse plant can change us. There is hope in planting a garden … faith that the tiny seed will grow into a plant willing to share all it has with us. Once you fall in love with a box of dirt and a garden catalog … whoa Nelly … your tomorrow will never be the same. So why not give it a go? Next spring … find a corner, dig a hole, build a box, salvage a pot or bin and plant something you love. Your world will never be the same. I promise.
Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; (Jeremiah 29:5)