Project Green Thumbs: No tomato left behind

I'd forgive you for thinking this is a spring snap, but oh no, I took it on
October 23. What is wrong with this picture??
Yesterday was 88 degrees. On October 23. That might not sound strange if I were still living in Cactus Land. In fact, that would be lovely weather in Phoenix for this time of year. But I'm not in the desert. I'm in Sacramento and eagerly awaiting the three days of Autumn weather we're likely to see before winter sets in. The good news? At least my tomatoes are still ripening.

You see, Sacramento saw an unseasonably cool summer... just handful of days in the hundreds, highs in the upper 80s, low 90s. But what made for a delightfully mild summer for people meant that my garden was practically stunted. Tomatoes took months to turn red. Basil plants stayed puny. Beets? I don't even want to talk about the itty bitty beets. And, of course, now that it's been fall for a month, we're having unseasonably warm weather... a spot of rain here and there, but highs in the upper 80s with a day in the 90s last week. What is that?
I will admit blessings on the weather for allowing these
last few "big ones" to ripen. I chopped them into a mango salsa
to top a citrus-grilled halibut filet. Can you say yum?

Again, at least my tomatoes are ripening... my passel of still green tomatoes. Ugh.

Of course, they better hurry up because as my lovely mother-in-law, M-5, reports, it's almost time to plant the winter garden seedlings. But I can't give up on my favorite summer produce item just yet. The thought of pulling out perfectly good tomatoes is just sad! Then again, it's supposed to be dipping into the 40s over night this week. Once we hit frost, I won't have any choice. Anyone have a fried-green tomato recipe they care to share?!

In the mean time, stay tuned for more on Project Green Thumbs: The Winter Edition. We'll see if I'm more than just a fair weather gardener. (I make *no* promises!)


Until then, more pictures!

Next season, I will plant more varieties with larger fruit. I had a preponderance of dainties like the cherry and celebrity tomatoes. Delicious, yes, but tiny fruit! 

Dear basil, don't tell the tomatoes, but I will miss you most of all this winter!

The sole bell pepper of the season and *still* not ripe. That sucker is supposed to be YELLOW already.

Sad tomatoes at the end of their life cycle. Sadder still is that each one is filled with little green orbs as yet.

The sacrificial tomato. I decided earlier this summer that I'd let one plant go to the bugs. I couldn't seem to stop them but at least the critters left the rest of my crop alone. Mostly. 

The last jalapeno of the season I think

The onions that I'm guessing will never mature.

See that giant oak? It's the bane of my gardening existence.

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