It has been a pretty spectacular fall in Minnesota. Up until the middle of last week, the garden was still going strong: zinnia and calendula blossoms brightened up the pollinator garden, alpine strawberries and peppers ripened in garden, fresh herbs and a bumper crop of kale were just a few steps away when it was time to start dinner–this November has been a gardener’s dream! …and I haven’t blogged any of it.
Just a quick post tonight to share the October prompts for the #garden365 Photo Challenge. Even though many of our gardens will slow down considerably this month, there is still a lot of inspiration to be found as we make the transition into fall and beyond. I hope you’ll join me in seeking it out and sharing it on Instagram and Twitter!
We might be flirting with early morning temperatures in the upper 30s this week, but you couldn’t tell by looking at the pepper plants. Last night’s harvest was entirely composed of fiery red heirloom peppers. From the top, clockwise, the varieties are: Pimento, Fish, Cyklon, Red Mushroom, Cayenne, Joe’s Round, and Black Hungarian. Most of these pretty peppers are destined for the salsa pot tomorrow and the remaining peppers will be strung up to dry in the kitchen window, which means that all of them will be providing heat for the months ahead when the weather does eventually catch up to the calendar. In the meantime, I will gladly soak up all the pepper-ripening weather we can get!
As far as first days of fall go, today was a pretty great day in the garden. A beautiful morning (and a well-timed baby nap) provided the opportunity to capture a some long-overdue garden updates and harvest tomatoes before a soaking rain moved in this afternoon. As much as a full day of warm sunshine would have been nice, there have been years that we’ve entered fall with a threat of frost or two already under our belt, so if a soaking rain is what it takes to keep things growing a little longer, I’ll definitely take it!
And the garden certainly is still growing along! A few things have been cleared out and pruned back, but for the most part, summer still has a good hold in the garden.
Salsa Week wouldn’t be complete without at least one canning safe salsa recipe, and so today I’m bringing you the latest recipe to make it into my regular summer canning rotation. It is a classic rich tomato salsa with a little more zing thanks to a variety of beautiful heirloom peppers.
I don’t know about you, but during Salsa Week, I find myself craving a good old fashioned margarita. Chips and salsa are such a classic happy hour staple, it is only natural to pair it up with a cocktail. And so I started to think, if margaritas go so well with salsa, perhaps I ought to try incorporating some of the classic flavor of a margarita into my salsa.
Salsa Week continues today with a recipe that is packed with late summer flavor!
One of my favorite late summer childhood memories is when my mom would take us with her to the orchard to pick up a big bunch of peaches. We canned most of them, but we also enjoyed fresh peaches for days on end. To this day, a bite of juicy peach brings me right back to those last days of summer vacation.
Happy Labor Day! And more importantly, Happy Salsa Week!
This year I’m kicking off Salsa Week with the least labor-intensive Salsa recipe ever. If you can fill a mason jar with chopped salsa ingredients, set it aside, and forget about it for about a week, you can definitely achieve the depth of flavor that comes from lacto-fermentation.
For years I have been succession planting a variety of heirloom radishes in my garden. I can usually get 2-3 plantings in before the summer heat kicks in and another 1-2 plantings in the fall. This means 1) I go through a lot of radish seed in a single year , and 2) I have had a lot of opportunity to find the varieties I would like to plant again and again.
Luckily, when I start to run out of one of those favorite varieties, I can easily replenish my supply from my own garden.
There are a lot of reasons why I love September so much, not the least of which is that the garden is at its peak here in Minnesota in September. The tomatoes and peppers hit full production, the fall crop of raspberries ripen, pumpkins and squash mature into beautiful shades of orange and green, and many of the summer crops that have been looking a little worse for wear get a second wind as the summer heat loses a bit of its intensity.
I am excited to continue the #garden365 Photo Challenge for all these reasons and many more that I hope to capture throughout the month. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating my favorite time of the year in the garden by taking a photo a day using the following prompts and posting it with the hashtag #garden365: