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September

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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

* Preserving
*  Echinacea, calendula, sunflowers, nasturtiums, dahlia
*  Covering peppers
*  Harvesting
*  Drying
* Preparing for food storage
* Pruning and Dividing

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.  It may be retired unusued in Garden 2004, since the sun has been an infrequent visitor.

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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, some of them can be covered plastic if frost threatens.  The official (USDA) first-frost date is September 20th, but it has fallen on the first week of October for the past three years.   In 2003, we planned the garden so this was necessary for only one 26-foot row containing tabasco, serrano, habanero, and chiltepin (bird  and other piquin-type peppers). 

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Harvesting

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Peppers are separated and readied for preserving.  (click to enlarge)

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. 

Bring House Plants Indoors

* Time to think about bringing in house plants when temperature lows dip into low-40's.  Stretch it a few degrees by covering them with 'reemay' at night.

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

Weather and Pest Log

September 5th

* Perhaps due to the wettest August in history, according to NOAA's weather sattelie site, tomato hornworms  make their first appearance in 2004, this time in  our pepper pots. So much for our theory that container gardening discourages this awesome predator.

As the photo shows, they took advantage of this gardener's complacency -- this one taken in the garden. 

September 24th:

Aside from a 2-day visit from Hurricane Ivan, which dumped 2 1/2" on Warner, NH, we have had more sunny days this month than last.

Green beans were depleted by mid-month, and so were Japanese beetles and squash bug.

Dahlia love the cooler, drier weather and are sulking.