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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Garden Goodies

One of the best ways to get excellent quality, organic produce is to grow it yourself. This is a wonderful time in the outdoor garden! Despite the late start getting the beds in this year they have been quite productive. Our ADFF (average day of first frost) is quickly approaching so there is a lot to be done in the garden.

vine ripe tomatoesVine Ripe Tomatoes

I only put in 13 tomato plants this year, down considerably from my normal numbers. Despite all of the canning I do, I grow very few tomatoes specifically for canning purposes. The majority of the tomatoes I grow are those that are either unavailable in the stores or those that tend to be expensive.

The tomatoes are coming in heavy right now. Pictured is yesterday's harvest consisting of beefsteaks, Lemon Boy, slicing and cherry tomatoes. I ran the cherry and slicing tomatoes through the food mill for purée because there were too many for the two of us to use in a reasonable amount of time given that more will be picked today.

Picking tomatoes and preserving tomato products is only part of this time of year. I've also been busy saving seeds for next year's garden as well as taking a lot of clippings (16 so far) for growing tomatoes indoor through the winter months. This is part of my continuous harvest plan for year round gardening. I will be writing more about that on my gardening blog if you would like to follow my year round gardening efforts.

hot peppersHot Peppers

I planted one variety of sweet peppers and three variety of hot peppers this year, also down from my normal amount. The peppers have done well so we are enjoying a nice daily harvest now.

Pictured is yesterday's pepper harvest. Most of the hot peppers find their way into various home canned products. I also like freezing and drying prepared hot pepper pieces.

Peppers grow nicely indoors during the winter months then can be replanted outdoors. They will fruit indoors by manually pollinating. Closer towards the end of the month I will be potting some of the pepper plants for growing indoors.

cucumbers and pearsGarden Gifts

Gardeners by nature tend to be rather generous with their excess produce. Most families in our area put in some type of vegetable garden. I was gifted 3 nice cucumbers by one of our elderly neighbours. She is well into her 70's yet still gardens and cans so we have a fair amount in common. Another neighbour has a pear tree but doesn't like pears. They heard I did a lot of canning so generously offered whatever I could use. I have also been gifted with all the corn (not pictured) I can use so will be working on that shortly along with more hampers of tomatoes. I will be making extra goodies this year to give as thank-you baskets for these wonderful garden gifts.

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