We knew it may be coming early, and it came. It was the steady sound of garden shears clipping basil across Minnesotan gardens before a freeze – except for our neighbor across the street, who was quietly picking grapes. We got unseasonable killing frost last night and we may see a repeat tonight. Peppers and a few butternut, acorn and delicata squash are still out there living in tents tonight.
For three evenings we picked heavily leading up to the freeze. Pictured at left are the “Bam” squash. Teeth marks in two butternuts led me to apply hot sauce to all butternuts except one that grew inside our blueberry fencing. That strategy led to new damage in an unprotected acorn (in picture). So, all of the acorns got the hot sauce treatment as well. The squash got wiped down, but we’ll need to find a cool dry place for them downstairs after those that need curing are done. Not that hot-sauce pox is catchy.
Each night we picked progressively more, as the forecast low fell further. Last night culminated in another 46 pounds of melons, peppers, tomatoes, squash and various herbs picked before the freeze. That got us over the 400 pound mark for 1/5th of a short ton! Here are some pictures of the haul. The tomatoes aren’t camera-shy. Mutti was just quick to wrap them in newspaper. I’m hesitant to simply dry the basil, so I’m trying to keep the bagged leaves as fresh as I can in the fridge until I can use them in more tomato sauce to freeze down. I may make more pesto if the tomatoes don’t ripen fast enough at the same time.