Today was the perfect late summer day. Temperatures were cool and we had a nice ocean breeze all day, which kicked around the first of the fall leaves. Now that the sun is lower in the sky, the light in our backyard has changed dramatically since the beginning of summer. Our garden now only gets about 5 - 6 hours of full sunlight. And the rest of our yard seems to glow in dappled shade as the sun passes through the tall uppermost branches of the surrounding oaks. I'm sure we'll be busy during the next two months getting the garden and yard ready for winter and starting work on some new gardening projects for next year.
Last week, during one of our hot muggy days, I decided to pick all of our 'Oaxacan Green Dent' corn. For the most part, each of the plants produced at least one decent ear of corn. The kernels felt very firm to the touch, though they will require an additional few weeks of drying indoors.
Looking at the kernels, I could tell that some of the corn had cross-pollinated with the sweet corn in my garden. Oh well. Next year, I will have to grow them farther apart. I'm really looking forward to grinding the kernels into cornmeal and making some corn bread. I think I'll try to make tortillas as well using a mixture of the cornmeal and wheat flour. Now I just have to figure out how to grind the corn. I can't justify buying a Vitamix or some fancy grinder just for this. Any suggestions?
The paste tomatoes in our garden have been producing consistently since late July. Both the 'Speckled Roman' and 'Amish Paste' have been incredibly productive this year. Now that we are fully stocked with tomato sauce, I'm using the rest of the tomatoes to make plain tomato puree, which will act as a great base for tomato soup or salsa.
Our other tomatoes have slowed way down, though we still pick more than enough to meet our fresh eating needs.
Our peppers are going strong right now. In addition to the poblanos, we started picking our 'Lipstick' sweet red peppers. "Lipstick" is probably one of the sweetest peppers I've ever tasted. We also have a ton of hot chilies as well, which I've left unpicked.
This is a picture of our spring planted broccoli. This variety is 'Arcadia'. I've never had broccoli make it though the summer looking this good. I don't know if it's the variety or if it's because our summer has been so mild this year, but normally our spring broccoli would have faded to nothing by now. Hopefully these will go on producing into late fall.
This past week, I was able to harvest a decent amount of side-shoots.
Finally, the first of our figs are starting to ripen. It seems to happen out of the blue and relatively quickly. They tend to stay green all summer long, and then just like that, they will change color and triple in size over the span of a week.
This is an 'Italian Honey' fig. I've picked two so far and they were very sweet and delicious. Two of my small trees have fruit on them. Within the next week or two, I may remove most of the leaves from both trees in order to try coaxing both into ripening their fruit before the weather gets too cold.