Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Picking Apples & Tomatoes


It occurs to me that I haven't said much about the garden lately. It's still there of course, and we are still out there on a regular basis. It's mostly weeding and watering at the moment, interspersed with picking things. Our property came with 7 or 8 ancient old apple trees, from the time it was a commercial orchard. Last year they hardly produced an apple, but this year a couple of the trees are bearing reasonably well, so we decided to pick some of them. Well, we... Mr. Ferdzy picked, I supervised.


From the one tree we picked these two baskets of 40 pounds each, plus another bucket of 10 pounds. At least a bushel. We don't know what kind of tree it is, but suspect that it's Northern Spy, Empire or Ida Red. My immediate impression was that they were afflicted with every disease known to apples, but a brief cruise on the internet showed me that all they have is scab. Scab is enough, mind you, but given the impressively long list of apple diseases and pests it could have been much worse. After last year we were sort of writing them off, but this reasonably clean bill of health will encourage us to fertilize, prune and possibly spray the trees (organically).

We've turned one of the baskets into applesauce, and will do the same with the rest. Thanks to the scab, these won't keep too well and that's really all they are suited for. Still, it's good applesauce.


Our other big project for the fall is to get this load of composted elk manure onto the vegetable beds. The big hold-up at this point is that we still haven't dug most of them. However, we need to get this shifted before the snow flies, so it will be back to the digging shortly.



Here are the main veggie beds. At this point their main feature is the strange maze-like set up of electric fence around them. We had placed a wide arc of single strand electric fence around the yard in the early summer. For a while it seemed to work. Then at some point in the late summer, the deer figured out how to sneak under it. Mr. Ferdzy set this rat maze up around most of the remaining vegetables that had survived their depradations, and that they seemed most interested in. Of course, this didn't include the soy beans or peanuts which they had not even sniffed at so far as we could see at that point, but deer are practical as well as sneaky, and they promptly ate them in lieu of their more desired treats. Rat-bastards. Giant rat-bastards.


We started some late spinach and lettuce in this enriched bed and it has done far, far better than the ones we planted in the spring thus far. If we can keep the deer out of it, it should keep us going for another month or so. We may try mulching some of the spinach and overwintering it.



And finally, here are the tomatoes. We picked our biggest harvest yet from them; about 4 quarts. They are looking a little ratty as we had a light frost the night before, somewhat to our shock. The weather forcast said it was only going to get down to 6°C, so we were not expecting it. Had we known we would have covered them with some blankets. Still, they survived and now it looks like we should have at least a week of considerably warmer temperatures. Hopefully we will be able to harvest a bunch more ripe tomatoes. Even so I expect there will be a lot of green ones at the end. I had better haul out some of my recipes for them.



Here's the tomato haul displayed by variety. Being tomato barbarians we just canned them all up. Shocking, I know.

11 comments:

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Best food blog ever!
Hope you try your hand at cider making, the real stuff not the sweet freshly pressed apple juice.

Ferdzy said...

Why thank you!

I'm not likely to try making cider, since I really don't drink alcohol, and besides if I ever decide I do want the indigestion, there's a small craft cidery that just opened up in the next village over - I'd feel obliged to support them.

If you are interested in cider making though, you should click the link on the side of my blog to "Stuff to Read" where Kevin has been building and using a cider press lately. (Down towards the bottom of the first page.)

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Have you ever tried to make "brine pickles"?

Ferdzy said...

Yes, a couple different ways. I've got one recipe up here, also I just made sauerkraut for the first time recently. I'll be posting about it tomorrow.)

Melynda said...

Your tomatoes are so beautiful! We had a little maroon colored heirloom cherry tomato that produced delicious tomatoes. They turned the granddaughter into a tomato eating machine.

Melynda said...

Oh by the way, look what I finally made...

http://momssundaycafe.blogspot.com/2009/09/jam-sweet-loaf.html

thanks.

Ferdzy said...

Melynda, yes. Those dark tomatoes are so good. Glad to see you tried the tea loaf. Hope you enjoy it.

Charlene Austin said...

I have a gazillion apples this year. I think everyone I know is going to be sick of pies once I force them on to everyone..Haha! I made 4 for my sister the other day and that wasn't even a dent in the apples. I think I will go make and bake one right now actually! Do you bother with pies? I like to have rhubarb and apple in the freezer for those winter months that I crave sweetness.

Ferdzy said...

Well our apples are poor enough that we are actually running out of them. Mind you, we canned 20 litres of applesauce, and I made 6 little apple crisps that I popped in the freezer, and one that went to a pot luck today, so it was a far better harvest than last years (which pretty much didn't exist.) There are enough orchards around here being run by people who know what they are doing, I will be happy to buy some. I try to avoid too much pie though, I just don't need the calories.

Charlene Austin said...

Calories? Pies have calories? Uh oh!

A friend at work made applesauce and told me she also made an Applesauce Cupcake that was light and delish. She's promised me the recipe and if she ever delivers I will share it will you.

Ferdzy said...

I hear rumours about pies and calories. I try not to believe them, but...