The Harvest Moon

Filed under: @ 3:37 pm

I haven’t the faintest when the actual harvest moon occurs, but this is the time of year when I start to get the urge to tally up the garden produce in some odd attempt, I suppose, to assure myself that spring will come again.
I’ve always said so, but I guess it really is true that I personally was meant to hibernate.
So starting from the top down…
Grapes? Check.
Lots of grapes. Lots and lots and lots of grapes. Raisins in the pantry, bags of grapes in the freezer waiting to be made into grape jelly (anyone want some grape jelly? I’ve still got some from last summer….).
Loganberries? Yep.
Stewed loganberries in the freezer. I’m going to make jam with some, Andrew is going to experiment with meat glazes and salad dressings with others. Next year we’ve got plans to have fresh berry salads.
Rhubarb? Oi.
Despite pounds in the freezer I was still harvesting rhubarb in SEPTEMBER for god’s sake. I really do have a mutant garden.
Potatoes? Plenty.
From about five pounds of seed potatoes I harvested about thirty pounds of Cranberry Reds, Yukon Golds, All Blue, Russian Banana fingerlings, and a small, white, round variety that I’ve never been able to classify since they’re still volunteers from the plants that Irv and Mabel grew when they lived here.
Onions? Ditto.
Most of the Walla Wallas ended up as flavoring in the green tomato pickles since they don’t store well and they were getting close to rotting on us. They’re absolutely delightful as such so I’m still going to plant them next spring even though I mostly plant onions with the idea of having storage onions for the winter. Plenty of those, too, although next year I think I might try a different subspecies since the Copras are awfully small. A gallon jug of pickled Cippolinis thank you very much. I’m hopelessly addicted to pickled Cippolinis. A two quart jar of mixed dried Cippolinis and dried leeks. I dried the ones I did because for some reason a lot of them bolted and the centers were too woody for either fresh eating or pickling. The dried onions are delightful in (or on) hamburgers and meat loaf.
Pickled beans, frozen beans, dried beans. Black beans that is. Enough Scarlet Runner beans for seeds for next year (the hummingbirds love the flowers) and hopefully next year there’ll be enough beans to harvest for soup.
Two 2 quart bags of frozen currants, black, red, and a few gooseberries. I’m going to try again to make a decent currant jelly. The stuff is gorgeous and I love it, but the last time I tried it I boiled the syrup for too long and it turned into a brownish gunk with the adhesive qualities of whatever it is they use to keep the heat shield tiles on the space shuttles.
Dried tomatoes (they’re gorgeous!), pickled green tomatoes, frozen stewed tomatoes. Next year I might try making tomato chutney, but since we both adore the tomatoes fresh, I may not ever have enough ripe tomatoes to chutney.
I am not sure why, but the raspberries fizzled entirely. I’m working at replacing our red raspberry patch with a black raspberry patch. My parents keep bringing me black raspberry starts from their patch, which they frequently have to keep under control with things like machetes and flame throwers, so I’m hopeful that as these babies mature I’ll start to have raspberries again. Andrew is passionately fond of raspberries.
Lots of herbs. Lots and lots and LOTS of herbs. I don’t ever dry rosemary, the rosemary bush is so convenient to the kitchen. I have plenty of dried sage though, since the sage that one can pick in the winter is a little squashy and of poorer flavor than that which you pick in the summer. I’m currently babying a French tarragon plant with the hopes that it’ll be able to overwinter and be a big, burly French tarragon plant next spring. I got enough lemon verbena to keep me in tea over the winter and the stevia should be sufficient for the winter as well. I’m up to my eyeballs in mint, lemon (or lime) balm, and winter savory and I got my first batch of marjoram off of the golden marjoram plant that I put out last summer. I’m very pleased with the golden marjoram. Also chives. Lots of chives. Dried chives in the pantry, fresh chives out front to be snipped when a chive and parmesan omelet is required (mmm, chive and parmesan omelet….).
The fall peas are doing well, but they’re subject to slugs and they just don’t have the flavor that spring peas do. I may just continue to focus on spring peas.
We’ve eaten our way through the two quarts of pickled spring beets. The fall beets are looking fantastic, especially after the recent rain, and since they’re doing so well I’m going to try again with beet seeds next spring.
The cantaloupes are, of course, finished, but I did run one through the dehydrator so I’ll have a teeny, tiny batch of dried cantaloupe to savor over the winter.
I’m going to have to try pumpkins again next year. I think this year’s plants were too crowded or they didn’t have enough organic matter in the dirt (note to self, the topsoil that is sold commercially is NOT adequate for gardening). There are a few pumpkins for carving and I ended up with enough sugar pumpkins for the annual pumpkin cheesecake, but beyond that the pumpkins kind of fizzled.
And I’m not sure whether or not it counts as ‘harvest’ since it’s not for edible, or at least not human edible, purposes, but we ended up with a LOT of sunflowers. I didn’t harvest the seeds this year because I’ve still got a half gallon yogurt container of seeds left over from LAST year (or the year before, I can’t remember), but we’re having a ton of fun watching the squirrels scale the sunflower stems, chew off the mature seed heads and run off with them. If the leavings are any indication, I may end up with a whole forest of squirrel planted sunflowers next year. Little buggers are leaving them all over both in front and in back. I’m also pleased to report that the squirrels are climbing over the back fence and eating their sunflower heads in the undeveloped lots behind our property. There was a pretty decent crop of sunflowers back there this summer and next summer should be even better.
A good summer, a good harvest. I hope it’s enough to keep me occupied over the winter.

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