The end of the garden is always a poignant time of year. So much to do to get everything harvested, preserved and the garden cleaned up. The sun isn't as bright, the wind is cool and crisp and the leaves are dropping. Oddly, it is my favorite time of the year. I love the muted colors and diffused light and there's something about the preparation for the winter that makes these last warm, sunny days so special. So some final notes...
These are examples of the five tomatoes I grew this year, from left to right - San Marzano, German Queen, Green Zebra and in front the yellow pear and a red grape tomato that reseeded from last year. I belong to a CSA and always have plenty of fresh, organic tomatoes during the season but I like growing some of the heirlooms.
I was disappointed in the San Marzano. It was my first year growing it and they were slow, not very prolific and I didn't particularly like the taste. The German Queen on the other hand was absolutely delicious and while there were only half a dozen or so of them, they were large and tasty. The Green Zebra tomatoes just didn't stop coming, there were so many of them that I almost got tired of them. They are juicy and delicious, but enough is enough! My favorite of the season though were the yellow pears. I would just eat them right off the plant while weeding they were so delicious.
As I pulled out the plants and took the remaining tomatoes off, they all got cut up and put on a tray to slow dry in the oven. With a little olive oil, basil and garlic, this made a wonderful pasta topping for dinner that night.
The other thing that got pulled out of the garden as the nights are getting cold was all the basil. The red basil was used to make red basil vinegar as seen above. I love the color of this vinegar when it is done, and the flavor is fantastic.
Some of the rest of the basil was put in ice cube trays to freeze. I love having these cubes on hand throughout the winter for soups, sauces, or whatever I'm making.
All the tender perennials have been potted up for their winter stay inside. The scented geraniums have been cut back and potted, the lemon verbena leaves are in the dehydrator and the fruit sages are enjoying their last days out in the sun.
There's still time for more harvesting and plenty of garden cleanup left to do, but I better hurry!