Author’s Note: I wrote this post back in 2011 and since then, it’s been one of my most popular posts on Garden Betty, amassing over a million pageviews and hundreds of comments. I figured it was finally time to update it with new pictures from my garden in Central Oregon, as well as a printable recipe card (a feature that’s been a long time coming on this site!).
The original story behind the recipe brings back good memories of my old garden in Southern California, so I’m leaving the rest of it the same.
I am drowning in tomatoes. Crunchy, tart, green cherry tomatoes. Correction, I was. By the time you read this, I’m well on my way to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, via a 10-day-ish road trip through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.
But this road trip was the impetus for the mad harvest last week of my rogue tomato plants, which have been exploding with fruit all summer long. When you’re away for 10 days, things on the homefront can feel a little stressful.
Who will water the garden, who will weed the beds, who will check for pests and trim off the dead stuff and pluck all the ripe veggies so they don’t waste away?
When I saw the hundreds of green tomatoes hanging off the vines, just days away from ripening, my other thought was — who will eat all of that?!
This post is in partnership with 3-IN-ONE®. All thoughts and words are my own.
Is it just me, or does it feel like fall chores vastly outnumber my spring garden checklist? Maybe it’s because I’ve moved to a climate that actually freezes in winter, so there’s a lot more to do to “batten down the hatches” this time of year.
We’re tidying the greenhouse, piling up the compost, and putting away the majority of our planters, trellises, and tools to give the garden a good rest. It feels nice knowing that things are slowing down after several months of toiling outside, but before that happens, there’s one last push in the garden to get it ready for winter.
By putting in the work now (especially while the weather is still pleasant and mild), you’re laying the foundation for a healthy garden next spring.
Here’s my recommended fall garden checklist for the next month!
Seed saving is one of the little joys of gardening. Now that we’re nearing the end of the season, my kitchen counter is lined with tea towels and saucers of all sizes, with seeds of all kinds spread out to dry. Still more fruits, vegetables, and seed pods are sitting in baskets or paper bags, waiting to be extracted, washed, dried, and stored.
It would likely be easier to just buy new seeds every year, and sure, seed packets don’t cost all that much. But when you save seeds from your own garden, you’re preserving a piece of horticultural history — continuing the “bloodline” of your heirloom vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs to ensure they will exist another generation.
Saving your own seeds also means your future crops will be more adapted to your climate and growing conditions, and thus be more vital and productive.
It’s been quiet on the blog this summer. Though I wish it was because I was out exploring (there was a little of that, but not nearly as much as I would’ve liked), I was hunkered down at home, building fire pits and fires in my backyard, cooking and shooting five recipes a day with a toddler underfoot, and luring friends to my kitchen for rounds of taste testing.
In other words… I have a new book coming next spring!
Maybe it was my Asian upbringing that taught me never to waste food, as my family used and ate every part of the vegetable, fish, chicken, pig or cow that we brought home. Or maybe it’s my ever-growing curiosity when it comes to food from the land… but when I walk around the garden, looking at all my lovely plants, I always think, Can I eat that part?
You waited seven, maybe nine months, for all that homegrown garlic to finish growing. Now that you’ve dug it all up, you want to savor it for as long as possible until the next garlic crop is ready.
This is when curing becomes your friend.
Curing is the process of letting your garlic dry down in preparation for long-term storage. Curing and storing garlic allows you to enjoy the flavor of your summer harvest well into winter… and one of my favorite things about garlic is that it still stays fresh long after it’s been plucked from the ground. No pickling, no canning. Just a simple head of garlic that looks and tastes the same as the day you pulled it.
I’m going into my fourth season in Central Oregon soon, but only my first as a gardener. (Side note: Whoa, eight months already? Where has all that time gone?!)
If you’ve been following me since my move from Los Angeles to Bend last fall, you might remember that we’re currently in a rental home while we continue to explore all the neighborhoods here and settle into our new town. (Which, by the way, has been an absolute blast. You can see some of our local adventures on my Instagram, and I’ll be following up this post to answer some of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received since the move.)
… As my veggie-loving pug will tell you!
Most people don’t realize that broccoli leaves are just as edible as the broccoli head itself. And I can’t blame them, since store-bought broccoli comes in a neat little package with only a few tiny and uninspiring leaves stuck to the head.
Tomato planting is something I look forward to every spring. I start counting the days from the time I sow my first seed to when I might have that first vine-ripened tomato in my hand, juices dripping down as I take a bite of the sweet, succulent flesh before it even makes it back to the kitchen.
If you’ve never tasted a homegrown tomato, you haven’t truly lived. And if you’ve never started your own tomato plants from seed, you’re definitely missing out — on the thousands and thousands of beautiful, colorful heirlooms that exist in this world.
Take a look! My only advice for choosing tomato seeds is to go with ones you’ve never heard of before, and to simply start with your favorite color! (I personally love purple and black tomatoes… it might be a mental thing, but I feel the darker the flesh, the smokier and richer it tastes.)
Tomatoes are fairly fuss-free. They don’t require any special conditions to sprout and they grow relatively quickly. But once they start producing more foliage, they need a lot of love to perform their best — their best meaning lots of flowers and lots of fruit.