Tomato and Basil Planting

Today the tomatoes, basil, and tomatillos went into the garden. These tomatoes are Stupice, Ace, Gold Nugget, and Siletz. I fit 14 basil starts, in clumps of 2 & 3, around the edge of the box- basil and tomatoes are good companions for each other! This spot gets plenty of sunshine, so I hope to get good crops this year. The plants will be a bit squashed when they get bigger, but tomatoes like to grow that way. It’s still a bit cool for tomatoes- night are in the high 40’s and low 50’s, and tomatoes like nights over 55. But, they were getting big, and I am impatient!

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The Final Basil Harvest

I planted a prodigious amount of basil this year.  Like, a LOT, a lot.  After a summer of pruning here and there to make pizzas and pestos, it was time to cut everything down and see what I had.
final basil harvest

(I apologize for the iPhone pictures- it’s just what’s close at hand when I’m covered in garden dirt!)

I peeled all the leaves off and dumped them into a sink of cool water and swished them around a bit to knock the dirt off, and let them sit a few minutes so it all could settle to the bottom of the sink.  I had to do it in 3 batches, but everything was spun through the salad spinner to get dry, and then made into pesto and frozen.  (And YES: my next batch of laundry smelled amazing.  Thanks.)

final basil harvest

I used this recipe, from Sustainable Eats, and loved it.  I normally use a recipe from my trust BHG (Better Homes and Gardens) cookbook, but any recipe that says:

“I can force about a cubic foot of loosely packed basil leaves (removed from the plant) into a cup and a half of oil.”

Nice.  THAT’S what I want to hear at the end of the growing season!

I portioned it all into quart-sized ziploc baggies and froze them flat- I ended up with 8 cups of pesto.  Not too shabby!

 

 

Harvest Season

Now that Fall is here, and it’s time to bring in the last of the garden, things are getting busy!

We had the 2 cases of peaches that were canned, and the one that was frozen.
huge red globe peace

 

 

Beets from the garden

beets, greens, and carrots from the garden

Oven-dried figs, from Mom’s tree.  I didn’t get a picture, but I’ve dried a few sheets of roma tomato halves as well- they’re stashed away in the freezer for this winter.  Drying is easy- cut the fruit in  half the long ways, lay them skin-side-down on a cookie sheet (I use a silicone mat, too) and leave them in a warm oven with the door cracked.  My tomatoes took about a day, but the figs were faster.  I literally have a “keep warm” setting on my oven- about 170 degrees.

oven dried figs

Orange tomato , basil, pesto sandwich- tomato from Mom’s greenhouse, basil from mine, and pesto…from Costco.  Heh.  These things just find their way home with me when I visit my parents!  Oh, and pickled beets.  Every sandwich needs a pickle.

basil and tomato sandwich on wheat oat bread, pickled beets

Here are the 25 quarts of canned peaches, plus a few pints of fig preserves.  Again, the figs are from Mom’s tree.25 quarts of peaches

Pickled beets.  So. Very Good.

pickled beets

 

6 quarts of apple sauce and 6 quarts of apple juice, courtesy of two crates of apples I took off my friend’s hands.  She was short on time and long on apples!  I have another case of apples in the garage, plus a few more trees that need harvesting in Mom’s garden when they ripen.

making applesauce and apple juice

Before the next week is over, I’m going to pull all the basil out of my garden and make a mondo batch of pesto for the freezer.  Now that fall rains have started, and the weather is cooling down, I’m going to harvest all my tomatoes and do what I can with them.  (Tomatoes and basil in the greenhouse, I’ll leave them there, and move in any pots I have- hopefully I can get a few more weeks of on-the-vine time, and I’m hoping the basil will last.)

We ate our first red tomato tonight with dinner, it was AMAZING, but I just know we won’t get many more.  There are a few that are pinking up, and I’ll let them ripen in newspaper.  I’ve been collecting green tomato recipes- I’ll load some gallon bags up for the freezer, to use them in curries this winter.  I’ll pickle a few quarts too, but that seems like such a leap of faith- the best recipe I could find on allrecipes.com says it takes 3 months for them to pickle in the refrigerator.  What if I don’t like the brine?  I had an AMAZING pickled green tomato from a friend a few months ago- she bought it at a store, so I can’t get the recipe.  But it had the funk of a good green olive, plus a little heat.  Oh my wow, it was good.  If anyone has a favorite pickle brine, please share!

 

 

Things To Do This Week

To Do:

  • Transplant tomatoes to gallon pots
  • Transplant gallon tomatoes to larger greenhouse pots- my early girls will live in the green house this year
  • Transplant basil to planter pots
  • Weed west garden strip
  • Spread finished compost by cucumber seedlings
  • Feed and paper the large worm bin
  • Vacuum upstairs
  • Make yogurt
  • Pit and freeze bing cherries
  • Teach 1st grade lessons 10-14, plus review of first section
  • Library
  • Wash darks, whites, kids, and towels
  • Sew baby gifts
  • Order pictures and fill frames for family photo wall
I’m hoping to get all the garden transplanting done tomorrow!  The cherries and library and half the laundry are done already, plus two of the five lessons and the vacuuming.  Not such a bad list, right?
Have I mentioned my girls are fruit fiends?  I started them on the cherries- we pulled all the stems off our 3 pounds of bings, and started pitting them.  Wonder Boy needed his dinner, so I left them on the  kitchen floor with an assortment of bowls.  Pitting cherries is one of Ernie’s favorite kitchen tasks, so this wouldn’t be a problem at all!  Umm…so why were then 40 more pits and pitted cherries when I came back?  I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to fix Mimi’s explosive digestion issues, that’s for sure.