We arrived home late from an evening spent with friends on Thursday, October 27 to the realization that several plants and crops would be spoiled or dead by the morning if we did not act fast. So it was in a panic that we bundled up and headed outside with flashlights and bowls to collect as many of the remaining green tomatoes as we could manage, along with pots of tender perennials that were meant to be overwintered inside. I’m so grateful that we got home when we did because some of the most exposed plants were already covered in frost and others were slightly frozen!
The kitchen was a disaster for days afterward. Every large bowl in the house was filled to overflowing! The basement and fridge doors along with the coffee machine were inaccessible. Guess which hurdle was tackled first?
I am slowly managing to get the chaos under control. Most of the potted plants have been settled into their winter locations. I sorted the tomatoes by size and ripeness while watching old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and retired them to the basement for safe, short term keeping. On Saturday I pickled jars of cherry green tomatoes that will be used as garnishes for Bloody Marys next summer, (the recipe for my homegrown, home-made version of this classic cocktail is in my forthcoming book) and experimented with a few jars of pickled ripe currant tomatoes flavoured with fresh tarragon (also harvested from the garden in heaps) rather than dill.
There is still much left to do. The lemongrass is sat in a bucket waiting to be dried or chopped and frozen. The kitchen and dining room tables are makeshift holding centres for bowls of seed that need to be packaged up and green beans whose fate remain undetermined.
Last week marked our first year here. The quantity of bounty that has been banked from such a small, urban backyard (especially given that there was pretty much no garden as recently as May) is almost hard to believe. I may be overwhelmed with food to put up, but I am proud of the little garden Davin and I have built together and feel very fortunate to have it. A year ago I was disassembling the roof garden and worrying my hands about what would come next. Now that I know, I can’t say that I miss my old garden space one bit.