Sunday, October 9, 2011

Two entire seasons have passed....

So much has happened, so much has changed.

One of our new projects was our high tunnel.
We built it to extend our growing season here in zone 5A,

and to grow winter greens.

We toured as many local hoop houses as we could find in our quest to learn,
and we read every book we could find.

Eliot Coleman's books were our major inspiration...

The first year was filled with lessons.

I planted the house full of tomatoes, various peppers, summer squash, tomatillo's, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pickling cucumbers.

We pickled so many cucumbers. The tomatoes over grew everything, and we are still getting hot and sweet peppers in October, not to mention the best watermelons I have had since I was kid. They just don't grow these melons for market anymore.

What a delight.

This summer was hot, humid, and rainy...
unusual for our climate here.

Most of our best food came from the house. I think if it hadn't been for our hoop house I would have been extremely disappointed with a lot of our food production this year. The heavy spring rains caused moldy strawberries, lots of summer rain led to bouts of late blight on the tomatoes and potatoes in the field...
and then there were the deer, my poor pea crop disappeared.

We have had a few hard frosts already. All of the remaining Brassica are doing great in the field. In the hoop house, all is well. The cantaloupe and cucumbers are wilted but the peppers and tomatoes are doing fine, and still producing.

Early on in the season we tied up all of the vining plants. It worked out great. Next year I will prune back the tomatoes and grow fewer of them! I am still making my roasted tomato sauce now... I have been making it for over 4 weeks. I didn't get many tomatoes in the field at all this year and it seemed to take them so long to ripen. My window sill is full of green field tomatoes.

My sister-in-law turned me on to a great recipe.
I roast sliced, whole tomatoes (skin, seeds, and all) with garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a 425 degree oven for about 35 minutes. I drain some of the water from the tomatoes and let them cool. Freeze them flat, put them into a freezer bag, and store them in a stack in the freezer. I add other ingredients like basil or peppers too.

Very delicious and always so yummy in January.

I hope your summer was wonderful and