Freeze Warning and Frenzied Chilli Harvest
It’s been a busy few days. Late last week we had a freeze (not just frost) warning which in early October is a little early. I wasn’t expecting a freeze until the 15th or so. If you’re in the US you can use this handy tool to get an approximation of when to expect fall frosts as well as spring thaws. Anyway, with the freeze warning it was time to pull in some crops. The chillies in particular need to come in, as they are the least frost tolerant. Cabbages and Brussels sprouts can wait a bit. The carrots and beets could have also waited but once I got going there was no stopping me.
On Friday evening I must have been an awful sight for the next door neighbors returning after dark to see their crazed gardener neighbor standing in the harsh glare of the spotlight, feverishly stripping and sorting peppers, head obscured by hot breath swirling in the crisp air. They gave a quick nervous hello and scurried into the warmth of their house. Sometimes I think they are the smart ones.
Stripping pepper plants by hand takes longer than you might expect (this was a recurring theme by the time it was all over.) It is not a leisurely stroll out to the garden, glass of wine in hand, picking a few choice veggies for dinner in the soft evening sunlight as it is in the summer. It was a mad dash in the dark to save the vegetables!
I must admit, after about an hour and a half, I was not so fastidious in my work and the driveway looks like a pepper-killing field. But oh the bounty! I pulled in nearly 20 lbs of peppers, and almost 5 lbs of Indian peppers alone from two plants. Unfortunately after this
picture the battery in the camera died.
That done, I staggered around, dragging the wired halogen spotlight around the garden, stripping the last of the green beans (2.5 lbs), green tomatoes (7+ lbs), pulled the carrots (another 7+ lbs) and the beets (13 lbs). I gave the stripped potato bed another going through and dug up another nearly 4 lbs. I‘m very glad I checked!
At some point, the Accountant poked her head out the back door, “Are you wearing shorts?” Rolling her eyes and shaking her head, she retreated into the warmth of the house.
When I finally finished, it was deep into the evening. I was sweaty, tired, my hands dirty and thumbnails stained green from severing stems but I was happy. I’d pulled in more than 55 lbs in a single evening to bring the current total to just under 320 lbs or about 145 Kg. That’s in 188 square feet of planting beds.
Sure there are others who produce (I love that pun) far more. But to get almost 1.7 lbs/sq ft in a small suburban garden, while working full time seems quite satisfactory to me.
It would be great if the story stopped here, but….
It has to go into jars, the freezer or the dehydrator before it spoils. But that’s another post.
Have had a freeze yet?
Until next time, Keep Digging and Eat Well!