Giving the garden a rest

Two nights ago we had our first hard frost which was very close to the Farmer’s Almanac prediction for Zone 3 where I live. The day before I picked all the remaining tomatoes. Seventeen quarts later I had put up the last of the harvest for 2013. In my picking there were some green ones which made wonderful Fried Green Tomatoes for dinner.

Today I will be cleaning out the dead vines, A-frames and other vegetable supports. Because of an infestation of slugs late in the season, we have decided to burn the 30 foot round garden in the hope that these ravenous critters and any other possible soil-born diseases don’t winter over. Then the garden can rest for 6 months. I usually start my seeds indoors in February but I won’t put them into the garden until late April to May. This 6-month period gives me a chance to evaluate the soil and to do a bit of rotation on the planting sections for the 2014 garden.

In the meantime I traveled to Gays Mills, Wisconsin. Gays Mills is an area of Wisconsin where apple orchards, cranberry bogs and everything to do with apples abound. My favorite orchard in that region is a place called Sunrise Orchard. Check out the website www.sunriseapples.com and see what you think! I came back with 1/2 bushel of McIntosh apples. Apple crisp, apple pie, apple cake and apple sauce are all on the agenda for this weekend. There is nothing more wonderful than bringing out the homemade applesauce in February when the mercury dips to -10 degrees Fahrenheit here. These apples are gorgeous and very flavorful. Each apple is 4-5″ in diameter so I can expect to have 20-25 apples in a 1/2 bushel.

There will definitely be no need for scented candles today. The house is already filling up with a rich apple/cinnamon smell which will linger for several days.

Happy Canning!!

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