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September

 

Canning hot peppers, Planter Kitchen today

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Canning hot peppers, Planter Kitchen, @1987

The only thing that has changed in the past 17 years is that we have retired from Zone 7 to Zone 5 and our daughter has fledged, so we now do the labor ourselves -- although without the sunglasses.

Highlights

*  Echinacea, calendula, sunflowers, nasturtiums, dahlia
*  Covering peppers
*  Harvesting
*  Preserving
*  Drying
*  Storage preparations
*  Pruning and Dividing
*  Stacking cordwood

In the Kitchen

Our first batches of jalapeno jelly and pickled peppers are made from our garden.  As with our pepper sets, we must rely on local vendors for most peppers and roma tomatoes for our salsa.

This month is peak harvesting, canning  and drying time for tomatoes and peppers.   See next month's wrapup of yields and goals for next growing season.

Northern gardeners might try an improvised solar dryer .  We use an old terrarium handed down by our Dad.   This takes the burden off our dehydrator, which is overworked this month.  If the sun is an infrequent visitor, as it has been lately in Warner, solar drying will not work.

Solar Drying Tomatoes

In the Basement and Mud Room

Boxes, newspaper, sand, and peat moss are readied for storing vegetables this fall.

In the Garden

To increase the possibility that our hot peppers will turn red and orange, some can be covered withplastic if frost threatens.  The official (USDA) first-frost date for central NH is September 20th. In these times of extreme weather, that date is of little value.

Pepper Cloches

The row covers are made from a  6' x 50' roll of plastic, some heavy wire pushed through plastic tubing used in plumbing, and some clothespins to keep the peppers snug at night. Heavy, as in 9-guage. You need to cut it with a hacksaw. Recommended only for the cheap and obsessed pepper gardener. Once they are assembled, however, they can be stored as is and last for years.

 Putting them together is labor-intensive, so they usually are saved only for the very hot tabasco, serrano, habanero, and chiltepin (bird  and other piquin-types) peppers.  Our hot red cherry peppers are always (amended to were, 9/2006) prolific and turn red in time for  pickling season.  But the late 2005 planting season means less colorful Hungarians for pickling.  

Harvesting and Sorting

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      Wish 2006 harvest was this prolific. . . Photo taken in 1999.  Sorted for and pickling,drying, and salsa.      

Cleanup Begins

Remove dead plant material. Cucumber beetles, squash bugs, Colorado potato beetles,  European corn borers, and other larvae pass the winter in debris left in the garden.  Plant material not diseased can be composted. 

Infrastructure (plastic, hoses, and rowcover supports) are removed and stored.

Think Indoors

* Time to think about bringing in house plants when temperature reaches 40 degrees.  Buy a few degrees and a few days by covering them with 'reemay' at night.  If we are lucky, the Night-blooming Cereus will bloom this month.

Night-Blooming Cereus

*Parsley and chives from the garden can be transplanted to 5-inch pots for growing in the home this winter for culinary use.



    





Guard dog on duty.  With the price of cordwood nowadays, you can't be too safe.





 Our way of stacking cordwood, and . . .    the proper way to stack cordwood.