September is always a busy time for me in the garden and in the kitchen, as I imagine it is for most vegetable gardeners in our Northern-ish climate. Perhaps some folks are able harvest and preserve stuff more regularly throughout the growing season, but I always seem to get behind. And with the book requiring most of my attention this summer, I got even more behind than usual–rescuing crops from the garden and getting ’em in the freezer just barely before they went to seed, or got too ridiculously huge to eat. And now, in September, I’m scrambling to harvest and put up all of the cold-sensitive veggies as fast as I can before the frost. As far as I’m concerned, all veggies fall into pre-frost and post-frost categories. Only those that will absolutely die with the frost get my attention now….anything that can hold out for just a bit longer will have to wait. Kind of like vegetable triage, I suppose. Not ideal for sure, but that’s just how it’s been this season.
Amazingly, given my lack of attention paid to the garden this summer, and the fact that this is the first year of our garden in this particular spot and our soil is definitely not what it should be yet, we ended up with a surprising amount of produce. And oddly, some of the vegetables that did very well are some that I’ve had only mixed success with in the past–peppers and eggplant in particular. Likewise, some of our long-time favorites that have always done well for us–kale, chard, and tomatoes specifically–did remarkably poorly this year. (We had to buy tomatoes from a local farm this year to be able to make our salsa!) Even so, the boys and I had plenty of produce to pick and preserve, and as usual, we had a lot of fun doing it.