I already miss warm summer evenings, call me crazy. But time is ticking away for my tomato plants as the evenings get chilly and the nights become perfect for bonfires and terrible for cold intolerant plants.
I pruned back the tomato plants that survived the summer around September, and now we have pounds and pounds of green tomatoes hanging heavily from lanky branches. I keep waiting to see the first signs of ripeness. No luck yet. At worst, we hit a cold snap and these precious heirlooms will turn into fried green tomatoes and roasted green tomatoes with feta.
What I really long for are ripe tomatoes, the last bites of summer.
In the meantime, my family has enjoyed several bell peppers from a plant that also survived the summer heat and began putting off blooms as soon as temperatures averaged around 80 degrees.
It’s not just the bell peppers that have been productive this year but all the peppers, especially the cayenne and habanero plants.
So far, I’ve made habanero vinegar and a wonderful green chile hot sauce, which I’ll have to post a recipe for soon. It was killer on eggs at breakfast and mixed in Spanish rice.
Another joy from our fall garden has been the burgeoning cilantro. In the photo you can see the cilantro mixed in with red clover, which also took off after the most recent rains.
We seeded clover in the bed along with cilantro in hopes that the two crops would form a nice winter ground cover. The cilantro we will harvest several leaves at a time so we don’t kill the plant and it can continue to produce.
The red clover — we will cross our fingers and hope it blooms soon so that 1) I can harvest red clover blossoms for tea and 2) it reseeds itself for more clover (and more tea) in the spring. Also, clover is nitrogen fixing.
We have many other things ready to eat as well: Thai eggplant (pictured below), turnip greens, radishes, a few figs, bok choy, and carrots. Soon those crops will be joined by broccoli, cabbage, more carrots, peas, green beans, cucumbers, spinach, Swiss chard, and winter squashes.
I think, perhaps, I’m going to mourn the loss of summer by eating away my sorrows. There isn’t much that roasted vegetables, winter greens and goat cheese, and pumpkin pie can’t fix.
If I can’t have summer, at least I can start taste testing recipes for Thanksgiving. Right?