Getting the Garden in Before the Snow

Matt's friendly vegetable art.
We just got back from visiting our friends in Arkansas for a week.  I danced barefoot and ran around in shorts.  It was sunny and warm, getting up to the mid 80s even.  When we landed back in Montana on Monday the local temperature was 32 degrees and it was snowing.  I was still wearing shorts.  Oops.
Railroad Earth at Hillberry 2021.
I didn't plan ahead there.  More importantly though, we DID plan ahead with the garden.  We'd been checking the extended forecast leading up to the trip and, ultimately, realized that we were going to have to harvest all the warm weather crops before we left.  Good thing, too.  The forecast was correct!
A man and his tomato haul.  There are two boxes of tomatillos in there, too, I guess.
We have so many tomatoes this year it is crazy.  We had to pick a lot of them still green, but have pretty good luck getting them to ripen in cardboard boxes. They're temporarily taking over the library/spare bedroom. This week we're making salsa and tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes and...well, a bunch of stuff with tomatoes.  We're also delivering some to Matt's parents for Sharon to process.  Matt has set aside all of the Green Zebra tomatoes for his special Homegrown Green Ketchup.
A rainbow of tomato variety:  Speckled Roman, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Moonglow, Roma
I whipped up a batch of Thai-style chili sauce yesterday.  We have a half-dozen quart bags in the freezer each containing a mix of red and green sweet peppers and a jalapeno or two.  They're so handy for tacos or enchiladas or stir-fry.  I also dehydrated a bunch of peppers and tried a new recipe for candied jalapenos that Matt saw in America's Test Kitchen.
We primarily grown the slim Asian style eggplants, but we plant a couple of the more "classic" varieties, too.  This one was particularly gorgeous.  So glossy and firm and huge!
Since we're using beer cans as scale...we saw a wild tarantula while we were camping in Arkansas.  I associate them with the desert country and was certainly surprised.  Photo credit--and initially spotting the little guy in the grass credit--to our camp neighbor Blake and his friends.  
The end of the eggplant is in sight.  It has been an especially good year for them.  At times it seemed like a race to eat them faster and faster as we struggled to keep up with the production.  We've modified our roast vegetable and balsamic tomato sauce to include eggplant now.  We freeze those jars though because we're not sure how much the eggplant affects the acidity levels for canning purposes.  It is delicious and we've made several batches already, including a double batch Matt prepared last night.
This year we may have grown the most vibrantly purple potatoes yet!
The garden isn't totally put to rest for the yet though.  We still have the greenhouse plants going strong, plus some carrots and potatoes to dig in the main garden.  We still need to plant garlic, too.  We usually do that in October...and somehow...October is not only here, but halfway over already!  Holy smokes.  The snow is almost gone.
The back garden on Tuesday, October 12.


  1. Oh my goodness Beth,
    ...that is a LOT of tomatoes...hope you like fried green tomatoes as much as I do...and your eggplant is absolutely gorgeous...I'm glad you got all of your veg safely in before the snow...
    ~Have a lovely day!

    1. You know...we've never tried a Fried Green Tomato! This might be the year though! My step-sister LOVES 'em. I like the book/movie.

  2. What a beautiful colourful blog post. i love the veg art and those green tomatoes - wowzer i really have no words but yes the Green Ketchup sounds like a good idea to bottle some of them up an dmaybe some green tomato chutney Also agree with Teresa, the aubergine is absolutely gorgeous and so is the colour of your purple potatoes - so many marvellous things coming out of your garden.

    1. Thanks, Shaheen. Gardening especially feels like an artform when the bounty is so bright and beautiful!

      And double thanks for the chutney recipe. You timing is truly impeccable. Not only are we swimming in green tomatoes, but we've been reading through our various cookbooks and asking friends for their favorite chutney recipes. We've never made any ourselves for some reason. This year we're gonna fix that!


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