Monday, September 12, 2011

Harvest Monday: September 12, 2011

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their garden yield for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting each week and how they are enjoying their homegrown produce.

I have been putting off the majority of my canning by freezing my tomatoes as they ripen. As of this week, the chest freezer was officially full. With a counter top full of ripe tomatoes, I had no choice but to get chopping.

I made a double batch of Zesty Salsa on Saturday. This seems to be the most time consuming canning project for me. I roasted the tomatoes and peppers on the grill before chopping. The tomatoes were grilled just until the skin splits eliminating the need to blanch the tomatoes. The skins slip right off in the same manner. The peppers were grilled until the skin is charred on all sides. Then they are placed in a glass bowl with a dinner plate on top. This makes it easy to skin the peppers before seeding and chopping.

I am slowly using up the remainder of the small onions harvested earlier in the season. I took some time and cleaned the onions the night before. These were simply chopped in the food processor and added to the pot. In the end, 16 half-pints of salsa were canned and extra was refrigerated to enjoy during the week.

Roasted Zesty Salsa

Sunday began with washing, weighing, and running the remainder of the ripe tomatoes through the Food Strainer to make a batch of "Seasoned Tomato Sauce" (Ball Blue Book of Preserving). I let the sauce simmer for most of the day until thickened. We used some of the sauce for dinner, reserved some for later in the week, then canned 9 pints.

Tomato Sauce

Pole Beans are still producing. I delayed picking them last week because it rains from Lee stayed around all week. There were quite a few beans ready for me to harvest this weekend. These have been washed and stored in the refrigerator for now, but will require another batch of canning during the week.

Mixed String Beans

A few squash were harvested:

Zucchini, Spaghetti, and Delicata Squash

A nice batch of apples collected and will be used for apple sauce:


The first fall raspberries are beginning to ripen and we are harvesting a handful every day or so:


I harvested yet another paper box full of partially ripe tomatoes, then pulled most of the plants.


Boy, it felt good to remove the ugly, diseased plants from the garden. I left some San Marzano tomatoes in the SFGs for now because they still have a lot of large green tomatoes on them. But their days are numbered too.

Overall, the garden is winding down and I feel as though the gardener is winding down as well. I don't seem to be very well organized or motivated for fall gardening. I think it's because it coincides with the busiest part of the summer garden harvest and preserving.

I did attempt to plant a few fall crops a few weeks ago. Some Red Acre Cabbage, Spinach, Broccoli, Kale, and Swiss Chard seedlings were planted into the garden. Most are doing ok, but the Kale was promptly eaten by slugs. My fall carrot bed is a also bust this year. A neighborhood cat has decided that the SFG makes a nice litter box.

More deer are coming to the yard tempted by the fallen apples. The new part of the garden is near one of the trees. The squash, beets, and onions must have been like a salad bar for them. They grazed mostly on the squash foliage, and beet greens. They also ate an immature Butternut Squash and nibbled surface holes in three Pumpkins. It may be time to try some deer repellent methods so I can keep my squash harvest this year.

Be sure to visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.


  1. Beautiful!!! Love the red jars. Nothing like it ,is there.

  2. Hmmm, I really like the idea of roasting the tomatoes, blanching them is painful. You think I, queen of the roasted tomato sauce, would have thought of this. DOH!

    Have you made this salsa before? I am curious about it compared with the Annie's Salsa. Wanna swap a jar?

    As for the deer, good luck. They are so destructive. I say get yourselves some nice apple-fed venison on the freezer!

  3. Very nice canning! I tried roasting some peppers and tomatoes for salsa recently and it was so yummy! I have a neighborhood cat that uses my boxes for a litter box too. But mostly when they are empty, once they grow in it goes away for a while. But keeps coming back. Even makes itself a nice comfy bed in the boxes!

  4. The deer never waste any time finding goodies. I think you might have to section that off with some fencing. Hubby strung fishing line between some posts around some of my more "delectable" flower beds---they can't see the line and bump into it. They don't like what they can't see-- It's just as effective as a fence, but easy to put up and not as noticable.

  5. Those jars of sauce and salsa are a thing of beauty! Picture perfect!

    I am also dumping tomatoes into the freezer but our accumulation is nothing on the order of what you have obviously been getting. It does not help that my five Market Miracle tomatoes are only just now setting fruit - apparently too cool for them all summer to set fruit but now that they are getting going they do not have enough time to mature and ripen them. Oh well, making the best of it!

    Good luck in the deer wars. They can be a real problem for the gardener. My sister's garden is walled by a fence that looks like it is from Jurassic Park all because of the herds of deer that otherwise consumer her garden down to nothing.

  6. Ribbit: I think the red jars are pretty too.

    Ali: I can't believe you didn't roast the tomatoes too. LOL! Hopefully your next batch will be easier. We went through several batches of salsa before finding one that we like. I tried Annie's Salsa a few years ago. I used the version with the tomato sauce and paste and didn't like it. Ball's Zesty Salsa recipe has been the one we seem to like. The results are a little different each time I make it depending on the peppers. This batch turned out pretty mild. I would be happy to send you a jar.

    Shawn Ann: It was early morning when I was roasting the peppers and tomatoes and the smell of the roasted peppers was making my tummy rumble. It smelled so good. The neighbor's cat never seemed to bother the garden before. In fact, I liked that he kept the rodent population down in the garden. The carrots just barely germinated when he began using the box. It must have looked like a big litter box to him. Next year I will place chicken wire over the box until the crops get larger.

    Sue: Thanks for the tip on using fishing line. We have a small fence around the garden to keep the dog out. So extending the corner poles and adding fishing line would be easy.

    Laura: This has been such an awful gardening year for you weather wise; I hope it is better next year. We have always had deer in our area, but they are usually not a large problem in the garden because they tend to go for the apples and leave the garden alone. Once in a while I will find some carrot tops munched on, or bean foliage, but this was the most destructive they have been and it all happened in one night. Hopefully, it won't become more of a problem.

  7. Beautiful bounty! and canned products, GM. I'm with you on freezing more.. have done that now for several years, and I like your idea of roasting tomatoes on the grill.. will have to give that a try. We are still in heat mode, 82 today, so tomatoes keep on giving. I'm ready for some fall temps

  8. Hey Rachel - I took a look at your company website. You're so talented! I wish I had a profession that was creative as yours.

  9. Diana: Thank you! The garden is winding down, but the canning continues. I have a chest freezer full of tomatoes to turn into sauce over the winter months.

  10. Thomas: Thanks for taking a look at my company website. I am trying to gain some freelance clients as an independent graphic designer. In these uncertain times it is good to have a backup plan.

  11. Rachel - I just found your blog for the first time. Very nice. I am always amazed at what you Miane gardeners can grow! Your finished caned goods are just lovely. I know how much work that was too. And I completly understand your comment about the garden and the gardener both starting to get tired. I LOVE to garden but by October of each year I am ready to have a Winter's rest.

  12. Lexa: Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. A lot can be grown in our short growing season here in Maine. Things are still busy and I am looking forward to a Winter's rest :)