Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Feature: Where I am Now

Fall has arrived and so have the last of the homegrown tomatoes we’ve nurtured all summer.  Where I am this week– approximately 7000 ft. altitude in the Northern Rocky Mountains, summers are short-lived, very short as in 6 – 8 weeks. This translates to very short growing seasons.  

If you reside anywhere in the Northern hemisphere, fall officially began at 10:49 a.m. EDT. Also known as the autumnal equinox (equinox is Latin for "equal night"), it’s one of the two equinoxes in which the Sun crosses the celestial equator so, as a result, the number of night hours and day hours are equal.

So what does this have to do with tomatoes? Simple – as the growing season shuts down in cooler agricultural zones, grab the last of your harvest before frost does. Besides, the threat of frost – already a nightly event here at higher elevations, the decreased daylight hours means your edible bounty probably won’t ripen much more outside.

My solution: 
Create a “mini-greenhouse” of sorts using 2 clear glass baking pans to nudge along any potential ripening. I placed mine on the kitchen counter moving it, mid-day, to a coffee table near a sunny window.  I rotate the tomatoes a bit for an even “suntan.” But that noted, smaller green tomatoes may not ripen at all. Those are the ones I’ve committed to the pickling jar and the soup pot.  My mini-greenhouse solution works well for green-peppers that will morph into red after being exposed to extra sunlight.  Enjoy your crop and future pickles!

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