Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer Vegetable Harvest

Bowl full of heirloom yellow pear tomatoes

While Eric and I and the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures' sled dogs were away at our cabin in Maine for over a month, the veggies in the vegetable garden back home received lots of rain and have been producing one of the most bountiful harvests we've had since we began growing vegetables several years ago. The vines on the tomato and tomatillo plants were so lush and overgrown that Eric and I spent yesterday pruning back the plants to let more light into the peppers growing below. And it's not just the vegetables that have benefited from all of the rain. The flowers in the garden have flourished as well with all of the recent moisture resulting in lush and thick window boxes, gigantic hydrangeas, and pretty pots full of flowers.

A sampling of tomatillos, Italian frying peppers, Early Girl tomatoes, and a Purple Beauty bell pepper

A window box full of impatiens and petunias

The vegetable garden after pruning

Super chili peppers after picking all of the ripe peppers

Bowl full of ripe Super Chilis

While we did lose a few of the veggies that were a bit too ripe when we returned, we did manage to harvest tons of tomatoes (yellow pear and early girl), several giant cucumbers, a bowl full of tomatillos, one perfect large purple beauty pepper, several Italian frying peppers (sometimes called banana peppers), and another bowl full of chili peppers. We also have Trinidad peppers that are ready for harvesting. Just keeping up with the picking has been a chore.

Purple Beauty pepper ripening in the garden

Early Girl tomato ripening on the vine

To use up some of the abundance of cucumbers, we decided to try our hand at making pickles: one batch of curry ginger pickles and one batch of spicy dill pickles. In addition to the cucumbers in the spicy dill pickles, we also grew the chili peppers and Trinidad peppers used in that recipe.

Curry Ginger Peppers and Spicy Dill Peppers

Looks like Eric and I will be eating the fruits of our harvest for quite some time this season and enjoying our canned goods (crab apple jelly, crab apple butter, pickles and Maine blackberry jam) throughout cold winter months. We also picked and froze many containers of Maine blueberries and Maine blackberries while "up ta camp" that we've brought home with us to use in making blueberry pancakes, muffins, waffles, and blackberry syrup, sauces, cheesecake, and a variety of other goodies.

While we gone, our cat, Chloe, flourished at the "D.G. Cat Spa" (our friend Dorothy's house). As you can see, it was clearly an exhausting trip to the Spa.