September 29, 2022

Garden Notes: September 2022

Another month has flown by!


  • 4th: 1"
  • 5th: *1.3+"
  • 7th: 0.05"
  • 10th: 1.65"
  • 11th: 2" 
  • 30th: 0.35" (Ian)
  • Total: 6.35+ inches
* The plus (+) is because it started raining on the 4th, but the next morning I found the rain gauge down on the ground. The 1.3 inches happened after that, but I have no idea how much we got overnight.


  • nighttime range: 47-74°F (8-23°C)
  • daytime range: 67-91°F (19-33°C)
  • winter wheat
  • Daikons
  • Carrots
    • Cosmic Purple
    • Purple Dragon
  • Turnips
    • Purple Top
    • Tokinashi
  • Kale
    • Siberian
    • Tronchuda
  • Lettuce, Jericho
  • Collards
  • Beets, Ruby Queen
  • Broccoli, Waltham 29
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Salsify
  • Garlic
  • Multiplier onions
  • Parsnips, Harris Model
  • Cabbage, Nero Di Toscana
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard, Japanese Giant Red

I think that's the most ambitious fall garden I've ever planted, but it seems prudent in these times to do so. It's in later than the regional planting guides suggest because I was tied up in the kitchen for all of August. But the soil is still warm for germination, and we hopefully have time before first frost. 

How long a fall garden lasts will depend on what kind of winter we have. Winter here can go either way: mild or cold. Last winter was cold, so most of my fall garden died off. If we have a mild winter, I'll be able to harvest greens and root crops all winter long. 

Picking and Eating

We got our first picking of green beans earlier in the month.

Cornfield pole beans

Late, I know, but the plan was to plant them when the corn was about six inches tall. Then the corn didn't germinate well. After two unsuccessful plantings of corn, I finally planted a few pole bean seeds under the porch trellis. We won't get a lot, but fresh steamed green beans with a little butter and salt is a real treat.

Also harvesting by the handful . . .

Late summer okra, tomatoes, and peppers, both bell and sweet banana type.

Herbs: rosemary, thyme, and oregano

September salad: cherry tomatoes, daikon leaves, turnip thinnings,
hard boiled egg, and farmers cheese with my ricotta/kefir dressing.

Of fruit, 

Late figs, which is unusual for September. They were slow to ripen but sweet.

Fall picking of red raspberries (with more on the canes).

This is the first time I got an autumn crop of red raspberries. I added them to the spring raspberries in the freezer for jelly, but only after juicing some and trying the juice in popsicles.

Raspberry-banana popsicle. A really good flavor combination.

Sadly, I missed most of the muscadines.

Foraged, wild muscadines

I knew when they first started ripening, and then we had that heavy deluge. The next time I checked on them most of them had been knocked off the vines and there was nothing left but hundreds of empty skins all over the ground. Disappointing, because production isn't consistent from year to year. The few I got were put into the freezer for a mixed fruit jelly in the future.

First Japanese persimmon

We have about two dozen persimmons on the persimmon tree. A first! This was the first to ripen. It was mild and sweet. I'm not sure what to do with all of them. Anyone have some recipes?

The first of the winter squash are ready to harvest.

Sweet potato squash. The dimpled one is odd, isn't it? I'm not
sure how well it will keep, so it's a candidate for preserving.

Dan's first cushaw.

This year Dan decided to do some gardening. He's usually busy with projects, but the projects are getting smaller as we get things accomplished, so he picked a spot and planted sunflowers, corn, and cushaw winter squash. I've already mentioned that the corn was a fail, but the sunflowers and cushaw did well, and that's the first one. To celebrate his success, it became a "pumpkin" pie!

I don't usually top pie with whipped cream, but since
this was a special pie it deserved a special topping!

It was really good. And actually, few folks would have known it wasn't actual pumpkin by the texture and taste.

That cushaw yielded 8 pints of puree, of which one pint was used to make the pie. The remaining six pints were dehydrated to make powder.


Most of the winter squash will go into the pantry for feeding us, chickens, and goats. Sometimes, I freeze pints of puree. Occasionally, I can chunks. This year I'm learning about making fruit and vegetable powders (like tomatoes and pear sauce), so I wanted to try winter squash powder. I made it the same way I made the dried pear sauce: cooked it, pureed it, spread it onto parchment paper, dried until crisp in my dehydrator, and then powdered it in my blender

Powdered mixture of cushaw and sweet potato squash.

Drying time was much quicker than for the pear sauce, because winter squash don't contain the sugar pears do. I think the powder will be lovely for making pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, etc. Next, I want to add pumpkin pie spices to the puree before dehydrating and make pumpkin spice powder. Sounds like that would make good Christmas gifts, doesn't it?

[To rehydrate for puree, 2 cups hot water and 1/2 cup powder. Start with some of the water and stir in powder. Let sit for about 10 minutes and stir again. May adjust by adding either more hot water or more squash powder.]

Extra cherry tomatoes (those we don't eat) have been going into the freezer. Then Nancy, from Little Homestead in Boise, made a comment on my "Experiments in Ketchup Making" post and mentioned preserving cherry tomatoes in olive oil. I thought that was a great idea! Something new to try! I remembered that Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning has a chapter on preserving in oil, where I found a recipe on page 98.

Cherry tomatoes, multiplier onions, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.

It calls for cherry tomatoes, small onions or shallots, and fresh herbs. These are layered in scalded pint jars leaving 1.5 inches headspace. Course salt is sprinkled over the tomatoes, and a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice is added (I used my pear vinegar). Then the jar is filled with extra virgin olive oil and stored in a cool place (50-59°F / 10-15°C).

Cherry tomatoes preserved in olive oil.

It's ready to eat in two or three months and keeps for up to a year. 

I made two pints to see how it turns out. This promises to be great addition to our winter green salads. The bonus is that the olive oil is flavored too, and so good for cooking or salad dressing.

Parting Shot

Buckwheat cover crop in the lower garden for soil building.

I think that covers it for September. Are you still with me? Good, because now it's your turn. What's happening in your September garden?


daisy g said...

What a great idea to turn your squash into a powder form. You'll have soup for months! I like that it's an added way to add nutrients to baked goods.

Curious to see how you like your tomatoes preserved that way.

Congrats to Dan on growing his Cushaws! I've heard great things about them.

Enjoy the weekend.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, I am cleaning up the remainder of the Summer garden (which pretty much got wiped out by the heat this year). Black Eyed peas were the big producer and it appears most of my daikons are still going, which need to be harvested soon. The Sweet Potatoes will remain until the vines start to die off. For the Autumn, I have garlic coming and will try for more leafy greens this year, as we eat a lot of them.

Of all the years I have been here, I think this is first picture I have seen of Dan (except for his hand)!

Ed said...

We don't plant fall gardens. Our summer garden just lasts too long and it is always a rush to put it to bed before it freezes solid anyway.

Right now, we are still getting okra, peppers, cherry tomatoes, bitter melon and I have yet to pick one variety of our dry shell beans. They are finally starting to die.

For preservation, I am working on canning Hubbard squash. I'm about to write a post on it to go up maybe sometime next week. I'm doing it differently this year based on past experience and new information and it didn't start out the best but I think I'll get the kinks worked out.

Leigh said...

Daisy, the powdered vegetables are all pretty neat. And they're very easy to use, which I like, especially for last minute menus.

I really like growing cushaws. They don't have the bug and disease problems other squashes do! So they're a keeper. :)

TB, it's too bad about the heat damage to your garden. Heat with no rain is always a killer. Hopefully, our fall gardens will do better!

Ed, I suspect your winters are too cold for fall planting anyway. I try to leave some beds vacant for fall planting, but it's always a gamble!

I'm really looking forward to you squash canning post! I love canned foods because they are so ready to use. That makes them convenience foods in my book. :)

Annie in Ocala said...

Persimmons! I have lots. In the past I have pureed it and used in persimmon bread, pancakes, some in cake batter, etc but these days I just drop them whole in the freezer and either slurp one a day or blend it in smoothie fashion. Might try a fruit leather with them in the future. Bananas, I got 4 stalks of them (cut in 1" pieces an freeze) and 4 pineapples this month that just got eaten. And the guavas held on longer than they ever have.... Normally they start ripening first week of July and done by first week of aug. But they were a full month late this year. And just recently got the last of them in the freezer.
If you are in Ians path it was kind to me but many others are suffering greatly... keep close eye on it!
It knocked a few persimmons off the trees but still probably 100 hanging

Leigh said...

Annie, I'm glad you were spared a lot of damage from Ian! We are far enough inland so that we never get a direct hit; it's always downgraded to a tropical storm if it crosses our path. We can get heavy deluges, high winds, flooding in low areas, and occasional tornadoes from hurricanes. It's supposed to start all that tomorrow morning.

Thanks for the tips on the persimmons! I only have the one tree, so I don't know if I'll ever get a harvest like yours, but knowing what to do with them makes me think about propagating the one we've got.

Kaelin Fleming said...

I have fermented cherry tomatoes before, a recipe I saw somewhere called “cherry bombs”. Filled a quart jar with tomatoes, some herbs, and a cucumber salt ratio brine. They got very fizzy and interesting, like little tomato bombs, so aptly named. Good use for a handful amount here or there, and they stored for a long time in the fridge

Leigh said...

Kaelin, hello and welcome! That definitely sounds interesting, so I'll have to research it. Thanks! We like our fermented foods too.

Mama Pea said...

Oh, my! The size of your fall garden is amazing. Looks almost bigger than what I planted for my main season garden! I've said before that I'm kinda glad at this time of year that I can't grow any kind of a fall garden up here in Minnesota as I'm working on destructing my garden and am looking forward to the no gardening, rest time of winter. (Does that make me a wimp?) Your picture of the Japanese persimmon looks like an oil painting. Beautiful. I can't imagine serving pumpkin (or squash) pie without whipped cream. To heck with the calories. And that's a good lookin' guy you have growing your cushaw squash! ;o)

wyomingheart said...

We have been putting up beans, and watching the sweet potato squash spreading its wings! Watching the storm approaching y’all, and praying for your safety. We should get some welcomed rain this weekend. Please take care.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! Cherry tomatoes can certainly grow in abundance. I like this "tomolives" recipe for green ones: and I like this salsa recipe for ripe ones: I haven't ever tried anything in the way of preserving, but I am inspired by your recipes!

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, thanks! I hear you about taking a break from gardening, but in my climate, I can't help it. :) I did kinda go seed crazy, but things just seem so unsettling around the world. Gardening is something positive I can do when I can't do anything else.

I confess that not serving whipped cream with pumpkin pie is less about calories and more about laziness. I don't frost cakes either, except for special occasion. But that's about the sugar.

Wyomingheart, prayers appreciated! We need the rain too; just hoping it isn't a gully washer.

It's amazing how those squash spread, isn't it? And how they seem to kick into production gear at the end of summer! Makes me happy to see all of them.

Anonymous, hello and welcome! And thank you so much for the recipes! I still have enough tomato gardening time to give them a try.

Preserving opens up a whole new aspect of cooking. Very fun. And very rewarding. :)

Rosalea said...

What lovely photos, Leigh. You have been practicing your photography skills! I will be back to enjoying your pictures of produce, as white frost here the last two mornings, and only the hardy stuff carries on. Clearing up and putting the gardens to bed now. Love the pic of Dan and his squash...a piece of that pie, please?

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I just found your blog while searching for answers to leaving comments unsuccessfully and am now following. I just tore out my vegetable garden. My garden suffered this year due to extreme high temps here in MO. I really only harvested tomatoes and a couple of cucumbers- oh and two peppers. I am going to post some of my garden pictures (including flowers) soon at The Ruralhood. Your post reminded me that I need to post my pictures and feel blessed by what I did achieve.


The Ruralhood -
T. Powell Coltrin Writes @

Leigh said...

Rosalea, frost! Oh gosh, I'm not ready for frost yet. How did the squash do? Did they every ripen?

I'm sad to say that I've been so busy with garden and kitchen for the past two months that I haven't done much with my photography course. I'm looking forward to getting back to it when things slow down.

Teresa, hello and welcome! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I'm sorry to hear your garden had so problems with heat this summer. Even summer plants have their limits. You must have been under that heat dome that was so oppressive. I'm glad you salvaged something. I will definitely be interested in your photos!

Noel said...

Something else to do with cherry tomatoes: dry them for tomato chips. They are a pain to slice (as thin as you can, 3-4 slices depending on the size), but then laid on the dryer tray, brushed with oil and sprinkled with whatever spices you like (I use onion and garlic powder, some seasoning salt). They are better than potato chips!

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I missed it, what zone are you in?

Leigh said...

Noel, since my cherry tomatoes are about the size of a small marble, I'll probably wait on that idea. :) Good one, though!

Anonymous, 7b.

Rosalea said...

Leigh. The squash's colour was changing. I got two good sized ones. They are residing with the other squash and pumpkins now, and hope they will continue to ripen like pumpkins do if harvested early. Heavier frost last night...white all over this morning. Only brassicas, lettuce, spinach and chard survive now.

Leigh said...

Rosalea, I hope they do continue to ripen. Seems most of them do if they're far enough into the ripening process.

I reckon you're getting ready to hunker down for winter! Nice to hear you have some fall crops growing.

Nina said...

For a fall garden, I'd have to plant it in mid to late July, when the other plants are either in full production, or almost ripening. We realistically have kale and celeriac left in the garden, although there are a few tomatoes still ripening on the vine. I consider them bonus tomatoes. Something ate all the remaining cherry tomatoes off the vine one night last week, and that was disappointing since there were a ton of them, finally almost ripe! We've already had our first frost, had the woodstove running most evenings for more than a week now. We can get our first snow anytime from late October on, but luckily it generally doesn't stay until December. I'm ready to pull my garden up and call it done.

Leigh said...

Nina, how disappointing about your cherry tomatoes! Dang critters.

My cooperative extension says to plant a fall garden in July and August for our region too, but it's just too hot then, so the wisdom of that escapes me. I can see it in a colder climate like yours. Interesting that the cherry tomatoes survive a few light frosts. I hope mine will as well.