We had our first frost last Tuesday while I was away, and it was a hard frost. Greg got most of the tomatoes and peppers picked the day before. I've got a little work to do to get that stuff all put up now. I made Three Pepper Hot Sauce yesterday out of the rest of the habaneros, all of the tabascos, and enough jalapenos to bring the weight up to what I needed for my recipe. We already made several bottles of straight habanero sauce and haven't finished using up the jalapeno sauce we made last year! Better start putting it on everything or giving more away I guess. Haven't decided what to do with the rest of the tomatoes yet. We've got a couple jars of fresh salsa in the frig yet and I've put up a few jars of spaghetti sauce. Maybe can some diced tomatoes?
It's pouring down rain today and I'm not doing anything outside. It's supposed to be nice again by Wednesday.
The fall colors are gorgeous and started early this year. I hope this rain doesn't turn everything brown. The drive over the pass last week was a real treat - especially the mountain ash shrubs which ran the gamut from neon yellow, soft peach, to subtle red-orange with huge clusters of red berries. The aspen, dogwoods and other underbrush shrubs were stunning on the east side. The west side was a bit behind us yet, but the vine maple was beginning its show, and the bigleaf maple was bright yellow. I love fall.
Haven't really gotten a lot of work done yet in the garden, but I have started cleaning the dead foliage etc. out of a couple of the beds. Took 3 wheelbarrows full of mostly zebra grass and siberian iris debris out of the Z5 garden. Another 4 out of the KK garden. I pruned the hydrangea back in that bed also - not sure if I did it correctly, but it's not taking over the path so bad now and looks a little tidier. Both beds are still a mess. I moved one of the russian sage from in front of the grinder to the dryer area in front of the lilacs. It was flopping all over the place. I think they like it dry, and I'm going to move a few more of them that want to flop. The one down in the windmill garden is gorgeous and it's in dry, sandy, not particularly fertile soil.
We got the septic tanks pumped out today so that area is a giant mess right now. Greg dug down to find the access hatches and we were both surprised that they were 2 feet deep. (It's probably been 15 years since we had it done last.) He dug some pretty big holes and put in some risers to make it easier next time. That equaled a butt load of dirt and sod, much of which ended up in my flower bed. I will be glad to get that backfilled and cleaned up.
I've gotten the greenhouse cleaned up and some seeds started - mainly tomatoes and peppers so far. I also moved the water plants that I overwintered in the garage frig into a tub of water. We'll see how that experiment works out. I had some dahlia tubers in there also, since I've had almost zero success overwintering those, and they are all potted up and hoping for the best. I've ordered more of all of these things in case it's a fail. It's impossible to overwinter the water plants in the pump house when we are gone for the winter, that was a complete fail.
The mice really made themselves at home in the greenhouse this winter, despite the cats being in there. They came through the usual hole in the corner (that I tried to plug up with steel wool) and made themselves a nest in the bottom pet bed. Living right under the cats! It was so mousy smelling in there that I couldn't stand it until it had been aired out for 2 days and sprayed with disinfectant. It seems as though we may have had raccoons in there as well. Sam said the water was muddy all the time. We had a couple teenage coons hanging around right before we left while we were still feeding the cats on the porch. I couldn't bring myself to shoot them because they weren't aggressive and didn't seem to be bothering the cats or anything. I can't believe they could fit through that little opening in the door! Maybe a mistake - Curly is gone, although she was apparently alive just 4 days before we got home. Mo is traumatized or lonely or something, and will barely go outside. Very skittish and quite skinny. I don't see him surviving next winter either, they were 14 years old this year. I didn't even know cats lived that long!
Today's project: Finish cutting the grasses back in various places, and get the Z5 garden back to kind of normal after the holes are backfilled. I also have some plants waiting at the post office to pick up. While I have the hose stretched out after spraying everything down after the septic project, I think I'll get my water feature going in the rock garden. Hope the little pump still works. And get out the hummingbird feeders - Greg said he saw one yesterday.
Woke up to a dusting of snow. We ended up with 2 inches after flurries all day.
We had our first frost this morning. It was pretty much a killing frost - not so much in the upper yard, but the veggie garden is brown and droopy. We'd been hovering just above freezing for several mornings in a row. Luckily, we harvested the tomatoes, peppers and onions. I should have probably picked the rest of the tomatillos, but I've canned enough green salsa to last us a year and I've got all those tomatoes to deal with. The cukes and beans were about done, there were a few more melons that we brought in, and the cabbage should be fine for a little while. Time to put her to bed.
The fall color this year is outstanding. All the sumac is brilliant and the virginia creeper is turning bright red. The trees are just beginning to turn a bit yellow, but we drove to the coast last weekend and the vine maple was gorgeous on the passes, as well as the high mountain ash bushes. The daytime weather has been sunny and warm; the smoke is pretty much gone. There is fresh snow on the northern mountains.
Finished planting the vegetable garden today. We got the tomatoes in a few days ago, the peppers yesterday, and today I just had to pop in the melons & cucumbers and plant the beans. The cold crop section has weeds so high, you can barely see the plants, but other than that, it looks pretty good. The onions look good, but the raspberries could use some attention, and I don't know what to do about the blueberries. I'm thinking about yarding them out and letting the cilantro go to town there. There was one year it self seeded itself in that raised bed and we had cilantro all summer long! On the other hand, we've each eaten about 3 blueberries off those tiny little plants in 4 years and they aren't getting any bigger. OK, I just convinced myself.