September 22, 2009

Fall Harvest

This was a picture perfect first day of fall! It was a perfect day for a picnic in the park with a dear friend, and a great day to be out in our own back yard as well. This is our garden from a new view. We're still getting a nice bit of harvest from it too!

Our tomatoes are still producing, especially all the cherry tomato varieties. This little heirloom cherry was originally in our "tomato nursery", in other words it was one of the seedlings that DH grew, gave up on, and which I insisted we go ahead and plant outside and protect with one of the tin cans we used for fragile little plants. It's simply called a red grape, a non-hybrid variety, and you may recognize that these are the type of tomato that cost an arm and a leg at the grocery store, but they never taste like this!
These little plants in this picture all lived, and we almost waited too long to transplant them to the fence trellis area of the garden, since they eventually grew far out over the cans. I hauled water out to them and babied them for a while and then we just let them go without much hope that there would be time for fruit to form and ripen. However...the payoff came this week when we were picking other cherry tomatoes, and DH was surprised to come across an abundant load of tomatoes on this transplant. Without a doubt, these are absolutely the sweetest tomatoes we've ever eaten, EVER. We took some to a church BBQ this weekend and one friend claimed they tasted like candy!

Then we have our adorable carrot people recently harvested! Most of our carrots have been absolutely gorgeous and very sweet, but we think these little fingered/legged creatures are testament to the fact that the sand layer in which they were planted, probably wasn't deep enough in some spots. As they fought their way through the clay-like garden dirt, they did what they had to do to thrive - divide and conquer!

Now for another odd little fall harvest - the hedge apple. Ever heard of it? We hadn't until we came here. It's tree is part of the Mulberry family and is called an Osage-orange. It's rather interesting in its twisty, gnarly nature. In Iowa's history, it was once planted as a living fence and was impenetrable to livestock. The wood is very tough, and doesn't swell or shrink much, making it good for everything from fence posts to archery bows. And the fruit of this tree is oddly pretty. It's sold around for as much as a dollar each in the grocery store and some people swear by it for warding off bugs, especially in basements. O.K., if you say so! I just like the knobby, green skin as a contrast to all the orange and yellow pumpkins and gourds of the season."As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." Gen.8:22

Happy Fall!

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