Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Last Days of Harvest

 Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.
Right when it seems summer and harvesting will last forever, the nighttime temps turn cold and yellow leaves signal the end. The more tender plants such as zucchini and golden squash died off a few weeks ago. But there were still so many cucumbers, tomatoes and butternut that they weren't missed in the daily harvest.

Today will see the last cucumbers taken from the vines and the last pickles and relish put up in jars. This has been a real learning season for pickling. Although we had the recipe for taste, the method wasn't perfected until near the end. We won't have as many jars to sell as we anticipated, so we're still debating on just how, where and to whom we'll market. When the labels are done, the licensing secured and the plan hatched, I'll let you know.

The rather massive butternut harvesting started and will wind up by next week. Butternut squash is a favorite on Tortuga. It's also a food we don't have to freeze or can right away. If handled properly, it should last for about six months. Once the vine is dead, it's cut off leaving about two inches of vine on the squash. After washing in a solution of water and Clorox (very weak), it's left in the sun to dry then stored in a cool place out of sun. The same process is applied to the spaghetti squash.

There are a few more onions, tomatoes and peppers to harvest. I think Lance will dig up potatoes and sweet potatoes next week.

Our good neighbor, Dave, came a few days ago with his tractor. He has a mowing attachment which we do
not have. He mowed down the weeds all around the outside of our property fence then asked if we'd like him to come inside the fence. The man loves his tractor. We welcomed him! Frank is going to bake him a pie with the end of last years apples. Dave loves Frank's pies.


  1. Sad to see this harvest season come to end, but looking forward to the stories of what happens with the summer's produce. Not to mention the fall/winter with Ms. Sadie Bell. You gotta love those neighbors who are there to help. The pie sounds like a wonderful exchange in getting your weeds mowed.

    1. I'm not so sad except that the produce I see piling up on the back patio has to be canned or frozen - my emotion is another one. LOL

  2. Hi Brenda
    Haven't visited you for ages. My life's been a bit hectic. But how nice to drop in and see your wonderful harvest. I've never heard of spaghetti squash - are you growing any?

    1. Hi Jenny! Welcome back. Yes, we are. When you cut open a spaghetti squash, it looks like...spaghetti inside. You can use it as a veggie substitute for pasta. Or season and butter like a veggie. I had never heard of it either until Lance planted some last year. Thanks for stopping in!

  3. I used to have a garden in Phoenix, but for the past decade, the weather has been so dry and hot that nothing grows anymore. No more fresh strawberries, tomatoes, melons and squash in the fall. Everything dies on the vine before maturing. Darn. Even the fruit trees died. We only have oranges now. I miss the sweet and tasty apricots and peaches and fresh vegetables.