|Pomegranate on the tree|
Of all the current garden tasks, harvesting is creating the heaviest load. The particular combination of fruits and veggies on our homestead means we are now in full harvest and processing mode, more so than in September or October. This is mostly due to our large pomegranate tree. So far Mr. English has harvested a little over half the pomegranates from the tree and already we have three burlap sacks full of fruit in the garage, not including the crate I already dealt with.
If you love pomegranates, you know about the painstakingly delicate process involved in extracting the seeds without crushing them. I have a system I like, but it still takes one person about one hour to pull all the seeds from six large pomegranates. Do the math on several hundred pieces of fruit and you begin to see what a task I still have ahead of me if I want to process all of it. This is why we give away lots of pomegranates this time of year (let me know if you'd like any!)
|Pomegranate seed pockets|
|About 4 hours worth of seeding|
In addition to the pomegranates, we're also happily dealing with about 50 pounds of English walnuts. Mr. English's father owns a walnut orchard up near Chico, so every fall we gratefully receive the gift of enough walnuts to get us through a year's worth of baking and cooking. Of course, the nuts arrive in the shell, still needing to be cured, shelled and frozen. A Davebilt #43 cracker would get the job done in about an hour, but at $150, that's not a justifiable expense when we only crack one 50-lb bag per year. So, instead we use the one-at-a-time nutcracker, and it takes one person about 45 minutes to create a pound of shelled nuts. This is when it helps to get the whole family (and friends) involved.
With the gorgeous weather we've been having, we're also still harvesting and processing lots of eggplant and peppers, and even basil. Most of the winter squash is still on the vines and will need to be pulled, cured and stored before the first frost arrives, probably later this month. In addition to the harvesting, I'm also ripping out summer plants as they finish up and amending the soil before cover cropping or planting with winter crops like garlic, onions, peas and greens of all kinds. That will mean another trip out to the horse barn on the outskirts of town to get another free load of aged horse manure, probably this week before it starts to rain. Those forecast showers are probably the first break I'll get in the garden!
If it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm not. I love the harvest season, it's just that since ours comes a tad later around here, it means we are still in full swing and will be for a few weeks, when others have been winding down for the last month. Not everybody is winding down, though. Just yesterday we joined about 40 other people at Frate Sole olive orchard to pick olives for another Foods Resource Bank fundraiser. We picked about 500 pounds of olives in an afternoon, but most of the trees there are still loaded with fruit and they will be harvesting for a number of weeks to come. So, we are in good company.
What are you still working on in your garden this month? Any relief in sight?