Pre-frost action

A quick walk through the yard today added urgency to my pre-frost list of to-dos.  Last night’s temperature dropped low enough to slightly burn the top edges of a cherry tomato plant – the temperature at 6:30 am was 39 degrees – so a good hard freeze is not too far off.  So what’s done and what’s left on my to do list? 

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  1. Most of the abundant crop of cucumbers have been used in salads, canned to dill pickles, or canned to relish.  I still hope to try brining a few into pickles – something I’ve not tried before – and if this doesn’t work, I can still make more dills or relish.
  2. Most of my meager crop of hot peppers have also been canned for winter use, though I still hope to can at least a couple more pints.
  3. Just a few eggplant, plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and Pruden’s purple tomatoes, and yellow and purple string beans remain on their plants.  I’ll pick all before frost gets them.
  4. A good amount of sage is cut, tied into bunches, and hanging to dry.  I’ll use this in winter recipes, but hope to cut and dry more, perhaps for the kids to use.
  5. Marjoram is drying in a borrowed dehydrator.
  6. Basil is mostly picked (any remaining outside gets covered to protect from night temperatures below 50 degrees), and either dried,made into pesto, or frozen into a blended mash for use in soups.  Some plant will live on for a while in a small hot house, other plants have already been moved to an inside sunny window.
  7. My rosemary plant is also inside after rejuvenating outdoors in the warm summer sun.  I’ll use fresh cut rosemary in winter recipes.
  8. Thyme has yet to be cut and dried.
  9. Fall raspberries continue to produce.  Those not eaten get frozen on a cookie sheet then stored in an airtight baggie.
  10. The 80 pounds of peaches we picked at a local orchard were peeled, sliced, covered with a mild sugar/water solution, and frozen in airtight bags.  Eating these in the dead of winter is like eating summer.
  11. A similar amount of blueberries from a local farm have also been frozen for winter use.
  12. I still need to pick apples from a local orchard.  They will become applesauce or apple butter.
  13. Pumpkins, from a local farm, now sit outside as seasonal decoration, but will be cooked down, mashed, and frozen for later soups and pies.
  14. There’s still some hosta to move and new purchases to plant.
  15. The Siberian iris are in desperate need of thinning.
  16. Spring blooming bulbs need to be dug up, thinned out, and replanted.
  17. Volunteer lamb’s ear, foxglove, and sedum need to find better homes.
  18. Finished compost must be screened and spread on lawn and planting areas.
  19. Every last garlic chive blossom must be cut off and burned, otherwise I’ll be overrun with unwanted volunteers in the spring.
  20. And, finally, if I get the chance, I’d like to set up a small cold frame in an inconspicuous sunny spot so I can encourage some late planted lettuce and overwinter some cilantro seedlings.

So forgive me if blog posts come just every few days … at this time of year, end of season garden chores beckon … and I know I’ve forgotten something!

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