This is the time of year when market gardeners start secretly wishing for an early frost. I've talked with other growers and they too are a bit weary of picking produce but we'll all hang in there till frost arrives in it's own time. Many things are needing harvested right now which means also doing the work of preserving some for the winter. This past week we have frozen corn, canned spaghetti sauce and stewed tomatoes, dehydrated tomatoes, frozen peppers and made a first batch of sauerkraut. It will all taste marvelous in January and the effort will be worth it I'm sure. Mixed in with the harvesting is the rush to get all the fall salad crops in the ground and plan for cold frame plantings. As I pull out spent plants and overgrown weeds to prepare fall lettuce beds it's been interesting to watch my children start doing the same in their garden plots. They are all asking me for lettuce seedlings (heavy on their favorite, Buttercrunch, please). Three hundred plus lettuce seedlings are still awaiting planting in my beds but we'll wait till the sun is a bit less intense.
Saturday became "tour day" in my garden. Seven out-of-state relatives of my garden helper came to roam through the gardens to see what she has been up to. Shanelle was quite proud of herself that she could guide them through and name many of the plants, I was proud of her too to see what all she has learned in her 4 months of working with me. The next visitors were two of my cousins who were curious to see my gardens and stretch their plant knowledge. One even came equipped with notepad and digital camera. It was great fun to amaze them with Garden Peach tomatoes, tomatillos, Mexican sour gherkins, stevia, toothache plant and others they had never seen before. It is such a privilege to be able to share the fruits of my knowledge and work with folks who truly are interested in how food is grown, how we can eat wiser, etc. And it's extra nice when they aren't scared away by my 6 foot tall weeds.