I think that this may be my last weekly garden tour of the season! Of course I still plan to share my garden with you all, but we have come to the point when there really is only garden cleanup, tomatoes, and potatoes left. Not that tomatoes and potatoes aren’t extremely important, they absolutely are, but obviously there are only so many pictures of tomatoes and potatoes that one may want to look at.
Instead, this week I am going to talk a bit about how we are starting to clean up the garden.
Last week I shared with you that I picked all of our pumpkins. It was early, but this has been an odd hot and dry summer in Maine, and they were ready. In fact, I used one last week to make pumpkin soup – I know, it is still summer, but I had roasted a chicken earlier in the week so I had a lot of chicken stock, and thought, easy dinner, pumpkin soup (it was delicious by the way – served over brown rice). But, I needed to pull the actual plant.
This week I also went to check my zucchini and there were a lot of zucchini. I am happy to say that my experiment with the radishes planted around the squash plants seemed to work. The zucchini (and pumpkins) had enough time to establish themselves in the ground and grow before the pests started to come, so while the pests were there, they didn’t do the same amount of damage to the plant. Will this work again next year? I’m not sure. I planted cucurbits in three of my nine garden beds, which means that I can’t plant them there next year, and the other beds in the garden are not nearly as sunny, so I don’t exactly know how that will go. However, I am planning on also trying out row covers next year to help combat the pests. We shall see!
The tomatoes are still going strong, which is good. The kale is growing, and I am still planning on leaving that until it is good and dead I believe. I am still up in the air as to whether I will clean that bed out or not. I need to pull the green beans out, but I think I might let the kale flower and re-seed itself again. If there is some way that kale will miraculously show up in this garden bed again next year, I will be extremely pleased!
I have no idea what is going on with the potatoes. I can’t actually see the plants with all the weeds growing…but I know that they are there under the ground – at least I think they are. I have been waiting for flowers to appear on the potato plants, to signify they are getting ready to be dug up, but nope, nothing, so I am still waiting to see. Maybe in another week I will start digging up the potatoes, I really don’t know. The last time I grew potatoes there were flowers on the plants, and then once the plants fell over, that was how I knew to dig up the potatoes. This year, none of those things are happening, and my friend Google, as well as my handy dandy Reader’s Digest Gardening book (thanks mom!) doesn’t mention anything about the non-flowering varieties of potatoes!
I need to change that pile of zucchini into something to put away for the winter. I love to make zucchini bread and zucchini muffins, but to make all of those things I wouldn’t have any room in my freezer for anything else. Instead, I will be shredding up the zucchini, putting it in 2 cup increments in Ziploc freezer bags, and sticking it in the freezer. It is super easy to do, and then anytime I want to make zucchini bread, all I need to do is take out a baggie and let it defrost. This also gives me a few more options as far as using the zucchini. I can throw it in soup, put it in chili, spaghetti sauce. The options are really endless, and with it shredded it incorporates really well into most recipes I make in the winter without bothering anyone with a change in texture.
Do you preserve any food in the summer for the winter?