While fall has brought us a few gorgeous sunny days, temperatures have dropped and the garden is winding down.
I took a quick look at what was growing, what was dying, and what could be harvested. The cantaloupe vines were dying way back and part of the zucchini looked crumpled and diseased.
So while I doubt that the melons were truly ripe, I figured it was time to bring them in.
Yesterday, I began the process of figuring out what to do with our bounty. I made zucchini chips in the dehydrator and shredded the rest for cupcakes and bread this winter. We enjoyed cantaloupe for dinner. It was a touch under ripe, but much better than the one I picked a few weeks back. I’ll leave the rest on the counter to ripen for awhile.
I also have the better part of 40 pounds of apples we bought from a local grower through Baby Girl’s FFA club. Honeycrisp apples for a dollar a pound–they are amazingly sweet and juicy. Now that the zucchini chips are done, it’s time for apple chips, too.
The watermelon and pumpkin vines are still looking healthy, so I decided to leave them to ripen in the field and on the tennis court. Of course the forecast is for temperatures in the mid- to high 50’s for the next 10 days. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking that the watermelons will ripen outside, or maybe I’m running out of room on my countertops. I’ll need to keep an eye on them.
Since the yard and the gardens require a little less attention this time of year, I had time to go to a seminar on extending the growing season. While I liked author Bill Thorness’ tips on edible gardening during the fall and winter, I was most excited to learn that King Conservation District offers free soil testing. Each address receives up to five soil tests. With the headaches we had with the top soil we brought in last spring, and flower beds lined by firs and pines, I’m sure our soil needs some help. A specific test showing what’s lacking is such a great idea. If you’re local, you can learn more about soil testing at this link.
I have visions of cold frames, soil tests, and lush gardens dancing in my head. I do like a challenge; then again, I have a huge box of apples on the counter in need of some attention.
Is your vegetable garden winding down? How is fall shaping up for you?