Sunday, October 3, 2010

time to ripen

the calendar says early october but it STILL looks and feels like mid-august in my back yard. around town a few trees are taking on fall color, but overall, this early-autumn is bizarre. there’s nothing even close to a frost in the seven-day forecast--nothing below 50, even with a cold front coming in. it was 90 both yesterday and today.

on friday i picked 5.25lbs of tomatoes, .25lbs of beans and pole peas, and a pound of zucchini.

today i got another 7.5lbs of tomatoes.

my first eggplant is just about ready.

ground cherries! yay! i thought these would be fail fodder.

swiss chard is doing great, but it mysteriously changed colors. it used to be bright green with red stems and veins, now the leaves are turning sort of burgundy. anyone know if this is normal? i’ve never grown chard before.

most of the garden looks summery, but there are some little hints of fall creeping in...

ornamental grasses doing their autumn thing.

corn stalks finished drying so i cut them down.

the lettuce flowers are forming seed heads.

this is my first time collecting lettuce seeds. before i got into gardening i used to be so confused about lettuce reproduction--i couldn’t fathom how any part of a leafy veggie plant would produce seeds. for some reason i never looked it up or asked anyone, i just wallowed in mystery until i saw some bolting lettuce.

the last sunflower seed heads are curing.

the one and only mammoth sunflower i grew that wasn’t nabbed by squirrels produced a really impressive pile of seeds.

i have to keep reminding myself that it really is october, it really is going to freeze sometime soon. i’m still planting seeds for the fall garden--whether they’ll have time i’m not sure, but it certainly doesn’t seem like there’s any rush at this point.

i foraged some quince. i’ve never done anything with quince before--they smell weird, very peppery. they’re not supposed to be any good eaten raw but i’m curious what they taste like, so i have to try it...the rest i’ll make into some kind of preserve.

i’m trying to get up to mccall pretty soon because i want to plant garlic up there, and maybe transplant some raspberry canes. also i need to harvest hops, and maybe go pick berries unless the season’s completely over. mccall’s 2010 growing season was nasty, brutish and short.

yesterday i went to a harvest festival at the botanical gardens. it didn’t feel much like a harvest festival--super hot out, summer flowers still in bloom, and unfortunately the co-op couldn’t get any of their vendors to show up so the produce selection was pretty meager.

the “scarecrow stroll” is on display at the gardens right now. there are some pretty cute ones. this sock monkey is probably my favorite...

i also really liked this group of scarecrows--there’s a grave stone in front of each one with quotes from michael pollan’s “the omnivore’s dilemma.”

NPR’s “national story project” scarecrow. NPR is bringing back paul auster’s story project, with a big ad campaign to promote it which apparently involves scarecrows. when they did the first round of this project a decade ago my mom had one of her stories published in the “i thought my father was god” anthology--her story was highlighted in the wall street journal book review. at the time i was too young to understand the significance or care, but i get it now. it’s a great project, kind of like “this american life.”

jason and i agreed this one looks like our friend liz, especially from far away. the glasses should be horn-rimmed, though, for it to be a true lizcrow.

despite the heat and lack of harvest food i had such a great time. i loved the smallness of it. not much of a crowd, either. they didn’t do a good job of advertising. fine by me, i don’t like huge crowds--some of the summer festivals here have gotten out of control.


Jessica said...

It's so funny what you said about lettuce reproduction. I was the same exact way! Now I may be able to harvest some of my own lettuce seeds as well. But at first, I was like, "Where do these seeds come from?" Haha!

I'll have to check out the NPR short story project.

camillap said...

The Harvest Festival might have been skimpy but your harvest certainly hasn't been! What abundance... have you tried quince jelly with cheese, Spanish style? It's the main reason I would like to grow a quince tree. Loving those scarecrows by the way. x

Emily said...

jessica--glad i'm not alone on the lettuce thing...i remember one time trying to work it out, picturing a head of iceberg lettuce, thinking maybe the centers develop seeds if they're allowed to mature. the only reason that didn't seem plausible to me was that i'd never cut into a head of lettuce and seen seeds in it. god, that sounds so stupid now.

camilla--i haven't tried that, in fact i've never had any kind of quince anything. quince jelly sounds good though, maybe that's what i'll turn these into. thanks for the suggestion.

Amy said...

Your garden looks like the definition of harvest time! How big is your vegetable plot? I wonder if that chard is one of the plants that turns purple-ish when the temperatures start dropping.

Emily said...

yeah, maybe chard is like that, although i've seen pictures of it still green in cold weather. i have two little veggie plots and numerous containers--i measured the plots once and it was something like 9x16' and 1.5x50'. the long skinny one runs along a picket fence between the yard and the creek. i squeeze a whole lot into every inch of available space.