Last Night, We Had Our First Frost

Garden_01_August
Combs Canyon in August

I woke up to frosty cold temperatures this morning. I knew it was coming. That’s why yesterday evening, I harvested 6 more okras and 3 impossibly small jalapeños. Folks, I’m calling it. The gardening season is over.

A few weekends ago, we had put away the tomato containers and pulled up the smaller okra plants and bell pepper plants. We left the 3 big okra plants and the jalapeño plant because they were still blooming and producing. I also made the decision to leave in my zucchini plants. They were planted late and I had hopes of getting at least one small zuke from them. This weekend we’ll probably pull up these lingering plants.

Garden_02_Tomatoes
The last of the cherry tomatoes.

I started recording my harvest this year. My hope is that I can be a better garden planner–actually put in the right number of plants so I get enough cucumbers, peppers or okras at once to pickle. I just spent some quality time with my calculator and now I have the totals for our 2017 garden.

Garden_03_Chart
I bet there’s an app for this, but there’s something satisfying about a physical chart.

Cherry Tomatoes (5 plants): 1,457 (a little less than 300 of these were picked green, but are ripening in a brown paper bag on our counter)

Yellow Squash (2 plants): 10

Bell Peppers (3 plants): 2

Okra (6 plants): 93

Pickling Cucumbers (4 plants): 84

Jalapeños (1 plant): 18

 

Lessons Learned, Ideas for Next Year & Thoughts:

+I’m so glad we only planted cherry tomatoes this year. I’m trying to convince my husband that we need another container (2 plants) of cherry tomatoes so that we can have a surplus and then I can be the “tomato lady” of the neighborhood. I’d sell fresh-picked pints of tomatoes and even deliver them. Who wouldn’t want to buy homegrown tomatoes from a neighbor? Not much tastes better!

+I’m planting zucchini earlier.

+No more bell peppers. These did not do well at all. I have some seeds for lunchbox peppers, which may do better since they’re a smaller pepper. I may try those next year before I decide to not bother with peppers altogether.

+Half of my okra plants were powerhouses. I saved the insert-thingy from them so I can remember the variety. I’m going to hold out for that particular variety next year.

+While I never harvested enough okras at once to pickle them (my dream) I have a bunch in my freezer and I’ve already made a batch of gumbo!

+Ditto with pickling cucumbers. I never had enough at once to pickle, but we pretty much ate these as we harvested. They’re really tasty. Next year, I’ll plant more and have something ready to replace them once they’re done.

+My first batch of jalapeños I made into refrigerator pickles. They were so good! I did the same thing with my second harvest and they were unbearably hot. What? I like spicy, but I don’t like food so hot that I can’t enjoy it. What to do? I just may put in another jalapeño plant next year because this year’s did so well and I really want pickled slices! Maybe I’ll figure out how to “tame” them.

Overall, this year’s garden was successful. If I didn’t get a good yield, I at least learned a lot and have notes for next year.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Last Night, We Had Our First Frost

  1. Our bell peppers did TERRIBLE this year! We only got 5 peppers. Such a disappointment. I was shocked because it grew 5ft tall. Our cucumbers did ok, I got 4 really large ones. We got a bunch of flowers, but no fruit. I had success with 1 jalapeno plant and got about 30-35 peppers. I dehydrate them for beans, our Puerto Rican food, pickles, and guacamole. I also made some into a powder 🙂 We will see how that works out. lol I never thought of keeping a record of harvest. How does that help? Our garden isn’t that large. So far I haven’t needed one, but I’m starting seeds to double the garden next year.

    1. Hi Frugal Wife,
      Thank you for your comment! It’s always fun to swap notes with a fellow gardener!

      I kept a record of my harvest so I know how many plants I need to get a canning-worthy harvest. For example, I’d harvest about 5 okras in one day with 6 plants. If it takes me 20 okras to do a batch of pickles, then I need to have 24 plants or maybe 12 plants and pickle 2 days’ worth of harvest. This also puts into perspective of whether I want to fill my garden with that many okra plants or just hit up my farmers’ market for okra to pickle! Haha!

      -T.

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