12 - September - Harvesting the Garden Bounty #1


Emily Herb  0:02  
Well welcome everybody to this round, a September 1 version of veggie q&a from the Linn Benton County master gardeners, and we just got our our final master gardener. Sue joined in the room right on time here at noon. So, um, today's session, I believe Jennifer is about harvesting and preserving the produce. And so we're interested in hearing what your questions are about this great harvest time of August in September and what questions you might have about harvesting and putting up food and preserving the harvest. And we'll give you a few moments to type your questions into the chat and we have somebody who is going to be monitoring that chat and saying those questions out loud But before that maybe we should just do kind of a roundtable and talk about what it is we are harvesting ourselves right now the most and and what we're doing with our bounty. Does anybody want to go for that?

Oh, you're on mute. Judith.

Unknown Speaker  1:28  
Jennifer, do you want to do the slideshow?

Jennifer Klammer  1:31  
I can start with the slideshow. So I have a force a slideshow. I think totally September 1. It is tomato season. I mean, there's there's no way about this. Let me see if I can figure out how to do the share screen thing.

Elizabeth Records  2:00  
Hey Jennifer, while you're sharing, I do see a quick question that I'll comment on. And so somebody's asking about canning. So we're Master Gardeners. Most of us aren't master food preservers, which is like the extension branch that handles food preserving. But what I can do is put you in touch through a link with Master food preservers, and they can really answer all your questions about food preservation safety. So I'm going to give you a link within the chat Kareena and anyone else who's interested.

Jennifer Klammer  2:37  
I didn't see the chat question. Sorry.

Unknown Speaker  2:42  
There's, there's another chat question. In fact, there's two people who want more information formation on ideas for plums, plums, plums, plums everywhere. What can you do? That's from Lauren and then from Lori? Yes, I'd like more info on ideas for planning too I have the tiny cherry style trees and I can only can so many jars of Plum jellies and jams. Well one of the things I love to do with plums is make chutney it makes really really good chutney so if you can find a recipe online for any kind of fruit chutney and then you can adapt it and you can add other things like apricot or apples or pears and you can definitely add plumps.

Emily Herb  3:40  
Talk about your slides, Jennifer.

Jennifer Klammer  3:44  
So, like I said to me, end of August lights up into September. To me it's total tomato season. And really the key to harvesting tomatoes is if they pull off the bind somewhat easily. If they hold on really tight, they're probably not all the way right? This one is cosmin, not volkoff. You can see his giant this year is very happy and those slabs for condiments are amazing. And it was, I think this is a banner year for cosmonaut volkoff. Some years it's not so good, but this one's awesome. One is from Crimea. It's an open pollinated variety. So you could save seeds if you're into that too. So I'm going to try exploring some seed saving options with that. So the other tomato, we have three tomato slides here. The other thing I like to do with tomatoes is make a Ratatouille. So this, you can see in the left hand picture is a mix of summer squashes, so there's green and yellow summer squash. The eggplant I like to use is that it's not the not Italian kind of Asian kind. So they're long and skinny. So he Pick the cylindrical sizes, you know, you don't want the gigantic huge zucchinis you want everything about the same diameter. And then you can see I have a purple pepper in there too. Along with slices. This was a smaller slicer. So this slicer is the fourth of July hybrid. So I have three, usually three different sizes of tomatoes that I like to do. I like to do two cherries, a small slicer and a big slicer. And you can see the Ratatouille baked up and

Elizabeth Records  5:28  
it is amazing.

Jennifer Klammer  5:31  
You know that's my favorite thing is to at dinnertime. I'll go and list everything that came from bitter. I'll say this came from my garden and I mean even the garlic and the onions on this one came from my garden. So yeah, it was pretty satisfying to be able to have a mix like that and everything except all the way I didn't. I didn't do my own. But um yeah, that was off

Unknown Speaker  5:59  
Jennifer Can I add something here I was just telling them before we got started about this Ratatouille recipe that my sister sent me from England. That is the best Ratatouille I've ever tasted because she cook everything separately. They it uses cherry tomatoes, and eggplant and summer squash and onion and garlic but you cook everything separately, and then you put it together at the end and so it's not saucy and it's not squishy. It's just you just taste all of the flavors separately and it's really really good.

Jennifer Klammer  6:34  
Yeah, that would be good too. Yeah, this one has bazelon to kind of like vegetable casserole, you can do a Judas story.

Unknown Speaker  6:45  
Okay, so yeah, I mean, Jennifer was talking about how this is tomato season and of course we work really hard all through the summer to make sure that our tomatoes are doing well and growing and we can't wait and Till we can harvest them and so ours were all cute do beautiful turning red, and we were thinking, yay, we're gonna have more tomatoes than we could eat and then the rats discovered them. And so first they went after the red ones and they just decimated all of the red ones. And then I I put up some hoops and a cover over the whole bed and they still got in and they started going after the green ones. And then the next night I closed up the cover with duct tape and I stapled it down and I did everything I possibly could because I couldn't see any sign of anything getting in and which is why I'm pretty sure it's rats because if it had been raccoons there would have been some some evidence of them ripping up the plastic on the the tent or something. And it that didn't work either. And they did on your right the right picture you can see they even got to the charity tomatoes and then the left was a big old tomato that we were really looking forward to eating. So very very sad and not sure what we're going to do about it next year except my husband has been doing research on these cages that hinge on and off of your raised garden beds and so that you and they keep the rats out because they have a ceiling and the rats can climb they climbed all the way up 18 inches up the tomato vines to to get the tomatoes and they can climb on anything and they can knock through things. So very sad.

Emily Herb  8:39  
Man, that is bad news. I have my biggest problem is nutria not racks and stuff. No I'm thinking Oh man, I don't know I I don't think I'd trade my nutrient for the rats because I found a solution for now I feel like I should knock on wood. But I'll show you my picture later. nutrient solution

Jennifer Klammer  9:06  
I think I have one more slide. This is a personal quit help question for me. Um, somebody was talking about plumps Well, I also work in a church garden and there's a little orchard there and we started with trees that were grown organically without spray and they've been in five years. And this is, this is what happened this year. I have it they've never been sprayed. And so I don't even know what it is. Is there a suggestion that I can do anything without spraying or am I going to have to resort to doing durmand spray?

Unknown Speaker  9:46  
Oh, genuine to figure out you need to figure out which pest it is first for sure. You know, basic IPM before you know whether there's something that you can do before they get into them, there probably is something you can do. But you know, get the get the critters out of there get the caterpillars out or find the mods or something you know and see what it is for sure. When

Unknown Speaker  10:12  
we didn't want it clipping this year of, of the nesting caterpillars or whatever the bugs were, so we just did a lot more of clipping those out and our pears seem to be a lot better.

Jennifer Klammer  10:26  
There were I never saw any of those nesting anything. So I think that something smaller than burrows and early so this was gonna be my project. So master gardeners are research based science based with this. I literally just cut that open and took a picture this morning so I didn't have time to look it up. But we have a database of Pacific Northwest pets, pests, not pets

Unknown Speaker  10:53  

Jennifer Klammer  10:54  
and diseases. So anytime you would call in to ask for The Help Desk through Benton County Master Gardeners in county master gardeners, it would be going to these databases to help you be able to identify what kind of corporate it is. So it's also always helpful to have a picture if you're going to be asking for advice so that people can see it. And if you have a record of, you know, this one, obviously there was a hole on the outside edge it crawled out. So that would be helpful in identifying what it might be too. So this will be my project is to go through the database and look more that way.

Sue Domingues  11:37  
One suggestion with something like that is to keep your orchard really clean, don't leave fruit on the ground after this season and really clean it up and get rid of those pears and those pests out out of your garden. Just, you know general sanitation I guess helps that not get together.

Jennifer Klammer  12:00  
Yes, I think we weren't as good last year this year, they're all going in, all the drops are going into the yard debris bins. So hopefully will contain that. And I've also seen that you should do the same thing with the leaves in the fall is put them in not into your compost pile, but put them into taken. I mean, unless you're willing to accomplish speaking, which I'm not because I'm really lazy, so it doesn't get hot enough to kill stuff. So I won't be putting the fruit. Usually I do put it in the compost, but I'm not going to do that anymore.

Elizabeth Records  12:34  
I there so I just shared a really useful extension resource in the chat called managing diseases and insects and home orchards. And this actually has tables with kind of a timeline of different pests that can attack various fruit or nut trees, and then a timeline of different methods that you can use to deal with those. So this is a super helpful publication for a person with some fruit trees where they live.

Unknown Speaker  13:00  

Unknown Speaker  13:02  
And we have another question on the chat. Oops, I just lost it from

Unknown Speaker  13:10  
Petco. Oh, that's okay.

Unknown Speaker  13:14  
From Lauren I'm growing watermelon and musk and Crenshaw melons and I don't know when they are ripe do they pull off to

Emily Herb  13:26  
somebody have experienced growing melons out here

Jennifer Klammer  13:32  
soon it must right

Sue Domingues  13:35  
yeah I do have some one thing is that the melon is a lot of times is green with a watermelons that's not you know that doesn't count but when the watermelons I mean when the other type of melons are kind of a green tinge and when they start to turn yellow, that's when they're getting ripe and they usually do come off the vine really Easy when they're right, there's one right there. And that circle owns that. Actually when you want to eat it is when that green turns more of a yellow.

Unknown Speaker  14:17  
Yeah, you look like you were looking at something but I don't see what you were looking at.

Sue Domingues  14:21  
Looking at Jennifer's some video that she has, right Jennifer is showing her melon.

Jennifer Klammer  14:30  
So this melon, um, I just pulled off. I mean it literally fell off the vine yesterday and you can see then of the is not even there. So if you try to take them off when they're too green, you end up ripping it and there's a stem piece that stays on it. Wait, wait, this comes clean off. Now this is like a I don't know the family's very well. It's more like a cantaloupe. It's not like and also I was showing the spa side so you can see The top side was greenish, but the bottom side was yellow. So this one the end is not soft yet is still pretty firm. So I'm going to just leave this on the counter and you can generally smell them. It does smell pretty sweet. But I'm going to leave it on the counter for another day or two. This is my personal size melon. I haven't grown this one. I don't unfortunately don't have the name of it right off. But yeah, that's how muskmelons in cantaloupes okay.

Unknown Speaker  15:32  
Yeah, I just this is I first time I tried to do a lot of melons in my hoop house and lots of vines send some melons. But, yeah, I pulled one watermelon off, because I saw the spot. Right so it had a you know, whitish yellow spot on the bottom and it hadn't seemed to be growing as much, but the flesh on the inside was very white, like almost all white and not very sweet. So I think We tried it early.

Unknown Speaker  16:03  
Um, Lauren, you said you're growing your melons in a hoop house? Are you and more vine and not so many melons? Are you accommodating pollinators to get in there? You know how well sealed up? Is it?

Unknown Speaker  16:15  
Yeah, it's not it's not sealed up. I mean, the sides are up. And it's chicken wire and the window is open. fully open on the end. There's the berries in there do fine. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  16:30  
So while I'm doing it, I've grown melons for a few years in my greenhouse, and I leave all the windows wide open, but I I seem to get very poor pollination, I'll get a few melons, but most of the flowers don't seem to be getting pollinated unless I go in and do it. So

Unknown Speaker  16:45  
yeah, yeah, no, I mean, I know there's things in there. Just because there's, there's other flowering stuff. But yeah, it's okay. Anyway, this is my first year. I have some i have i've trellises for Each one of those and some are up on the trellis and some have gone down on the ground.

Unknown Speaker  17:05  
Well in some of your other flowering things may also be attracting the pollinators that also come to your melons too, right? I only have the melons and a tomato in there, so I may not be attracting enough of them. Right, interesting.

Unknown Speaker  17:20  

Unknown Speaker  17:27  

Emily Herb  17:28  
I could go ahead and share my show and tell that I brought today. Um, so I'll try the screen sharing thing. I just went outside and took these pictures so that I could share them.

Okay, so I'm, what I'm showing is, for the very first time this year, I use some floating row cover and I'm really excited about it because I have struggled with getting the fall crop to make in my backyard and I seem to have a whole variety of problems with actually getting fall brassicas, fall cabbage and broccoli, and all of that. And one of my problems is, um, I've had problem with birds, so I planted a whole bunch of baby brassicas before and just come out and starlings or something would have just gone down the row and, and snipped all my little starts to bit so I've had a fail from birds. I had a fail just from bugs. I think that we've got more bugs, you know, in the main season and so I've had to fail from that before. And then last year when I really had some great stars sewing, I had a complete fail from nutria and the nutrient I came in and I'd actually gotten some pretty good sized stars and then just came in and decimated them. And so this year I decided to try the floating row cover and I'm just so excited because as the first picture is the plants that are smaller and what you see in there are January King cabbages are going down the sides. And then in the middle I have alternating cauliflower and Swiss chard and they're doing really really well. And then the bigger picture if you can see it is a is not January King, it's standard broccoli and cabbages in there and they're just huge. And so I'm putting in a plug for floating row covers because it's at least you know, this is my very first year using them, but it's really changed. It's really changed it for me and it doesn't make any sense but it seems the slugs don't even get in there. At the same level. I haven't thrown any slug bait in there. And I of course they haven't been bought By the cabbage moths and they haven't they don't seem to have any issues with flea beetles and other stuff that I've had issues with. So I'm, I'm pretty excited. So that's my show and tell. And I'll stop sharing now. Oh, you're still on mute Judiths.

Judith Kenner  20:25  
I keep doing that. I we have more questions in the chat, too yellow jackets and paper wasps pollinate.

Unknown Speaker  20:34  
Anybody want to?

Elizabeth Records  20:42  
So I've been looking for possible answers for this. I'm going to continue to research this. They do play an important role in the ecosystem and some of them may pollinate so the answer is probably some of them sometimes. But I will try to get more details and provide that

Unknown Speaker  21:02  
Okay, and then Patty asks, Can you share what you found this? I'm not sure what you're referring to Patty. So if you could unmute yourself and tell us what you mean.

Unknown Speaker  21:16  
Okay, I meant the floating row covers. I haven't seen any bad

Unknown Speaker  21:20  

Emily Herb  21:22  
Yeah, um, Amazon. I found it Amazon. The tricky thing that I noticed on Amazon is you really have to read the description because some of them don't let in as much light and as much water and are much heavier. And so because I was using it during this season, I didn't want something that was like a blanket, I was looking for a blankie I was looking for this sort of protection and so I think that this one that I purchased, they are 30 feet long or more like that, because My rows are 30 feet. So it has to be more than 30 feet because I was able to get down to the ends. But um, yeah, they were able they sold them big enough. And for my hoops I have four foot beds and so it's a six foot wide cover. And then I chose the one where I think that the light, it said light permeability and reg permeability were up in the 70 or 80%. And so just the one that let everything in, and yeah, it's been it's been loving it. It's really exciting.

Unknown Speaker  22:31  

Sue Domingues  22:36  
I do I do have a show and tell also if, if I can do with that. Yeah, um, so one thing I was going to talk about when it's getting time to harvest your tomatoes, um, a lot of times you'll see blossom end rot on the end of your tomato and This is actually a roma tomato, and I find that Roma the type just, you know, aroma paste tomato has a lot of blossom and drop there's a lot of other varieties that are more resistant to it. So um so And the thing about the blossom end rot is you can cut off that end and get rid of that black spot there and you can eat the tomato, it's perfectly fine to eat. Um, so I wanted to show that and I also have

Unknown Speaker  23:42  

Sue Domingues  23:45  
so vain way outside in the top there, it's starting to be blossom in rot. But again, these are all the Roma tomatoes. I don't think you could see that because the this the way it's grouped together there but then they all had blossom. Hundred and out of all the tomatoes. In the garden that I have. It was the Roma's, that were really affected by the blossom Andhra. So you find this a lot and tomatoes and sometimes you see it on peppers and sometimes even squash will have blossom and drop. But it's actually not a disease, it's a physiological disorder. So it's because the soil is calcium deficient. And so you have to get the right amount of calcium in the soil where you're going to grow your tomatoes or any of those other things that are affected by blossom Andra. And one way to do that is to make sure your pH is the right pH for vegetables for growing vegetables. And you should line in the fall if you do a pH test and you do need line falls the best time to line your garden. And another thing that happens is the water isn't coming up into the tomato plant, you know, it's like it's not consistent, the water isn't consistent into the plant. So sometimes you know it, it might be because you plant really early and it rains a lot or something and then it kind of dries out and you know, different things, but just to get your watering consistently. Yeah, of course you can plant varieties that are more resistant to blossom end rot. So the other thing is, the calcium won't be taken up by the roots into the plants if you plant them really too early in the soil temperatures too cold so it's kind of good to wait for your tomato plant up late if you're dealing with a lot of blossom end rot. But one thing about blossom end rot is You could still eat the tomatoes you just cut off the ugly part, but they're still edible.

Jennifer Klammer  26:04  
So they do tend to spoil a lot faster. So if you are planning on preserving them cut off, cut them off and use them right away. Because otherwise the ultimate like if you had a few of those in a giant box, they would rot pretty fast. Yeah.

Sue Domingues  26:24  
Another thing I wanted to show you is another clip now actually I went oh actually this is these are some beats that I planted. And this is the leaf miners in the beat leaves and the leaf miner actually is like a fly looking insect and it goes and lands lays an egg on the leaf of the plan and it's usually things like beets or chard, Swiss chard or spinach The eggs turn into these larvae and the larvae are kind of crawl in between the layers of the leaves. So if you actually peel those leaves apart you could see this little larva in there but they like if you're going to eat spinach or beet greens that they're not very pleasant to eat in like this. But but like usually beats you'll still get beats even if you have a lot of leaf miners but a lot of times what I'll do is I'll go and I'll clip off all the leaves that have the leaf miner and it kind of cleans up them and hopefully keeps it from you know, spreading and also, using those row covers is actually a good idea for for the leaf miners. But if you put if you have your your beats in the same place you hadn't before and you had leaf miners and you put a row cover you might have grown that You know flies in there to get started so sometimes that's not going to work. I was going to show you one more. One more slide I have and this one is I went away camping for a week and I came back and my my zucchini looked great when I left when I came back, it had powdery mildew on it. So um, so powdery mildew is actually a fungus. That happens a lot on a lot of the, like melons and squash, and pumpkins and cucumbers. And again, you can plant resistant varieties. So if you look at a seed packet or a plant in a store, and and you see resistant to powdery mildew, that's a good way to kind of manage that. Planting in full sun is a good idea. And my garden in my backyard doesn't have full sun. It's kind of there's sunnier spots. So next year I'm going to move by zucchini to a better place and actually having a good airflow helps prevent powdery mildew and too much fertilizer some times can cause powdery mildew. There are like oils that you can use that can help control it. But again I like to when I first see powdery mildew which you know I was gone for a week so I didn't see it right away. But if I go and just snip those leaves off and get rid of them in the yard debris instead of my compost, but I'll get rid of them. And that usually you know the new leaves come back and they're fine and it usually gets rid of it. But if you do want to use like plant based oil, neem oil actually works on powdery mildew and also I read some That this x you know, like retired extension agent in some other state was doing some tests on using a milk spray so I've never tried that but I thought it was interesting because it was research based because he you know was an extension agent so it's just something to think about. Again you know this does affect your, your yield in your plants so if you get rid of it as soon as possible you'll have more zucchini but maybe at this point you don't really need anymore. So

Unknown Speaker  30:42  
soon here's a question for you on the chat about the powdery mildew. Is it better to have morning sun versus afternoon sun if you don't have a full sun spot?

Sue Domingues  30:54  
Um, I think the afternoon sun is a lot brighter and stronger. So I would Guess the afternoon sun would be better. I don't know if somebody has a better answer than that but you know, it would dry things out better the afternoon sun so

Jennifer Klammer  31:12  
and also you can Oh sorry, you can get plants that are resistant to powered powdery mildew. So if you have a consistent problem, you can get seeds or when you're buying seedlings, make sure that it usually just says like, when it lists disease resistance will say pm on it. So that's another option or planted bunch of different varieties and see which ones work best.

Unknown Speaker  31:39  
So here's another question for everybody up and going back to tomatoes. Does the red plastic tomato mulch work or is it just a gimmick? I've never used it. I see it around a lot.

Sue Domingues  31:58  
Many donated a whole Bunch of that to the garden and I had a whole roll of it and I never used it but I have read a few things that it's supposed to be good and it does keep the weeds down. So I would rather mulch with like I used I'm with the kind of strike I'm trying to take distro alfalfa straw, alfalfa straw to mulch my tomatoes with and that adds a little bit of extra nutrients to the soil and it works is a really good mulch and then you're kind of building up your soil as your so I tend away from plastic mulches, even though I know there has been some research that says it's good, but

Unknown Speaker  32:49  
I also just wanted to point out that Elizabeth has put a lot of links to some really great information that's available from OSU Extension. The chat function. So if you make sure you check that out, and if there's something that you're interested in, get that link. And also Cigna has put in a request on the chat about working about coming over and taking pictures of people's gardens. And if you are interested, she wants you to contact her directly and gives her email address.

Elizabeth Records  33:25  
Hey, Cigna, would you say a few more words about who you are and what this project is? I think many people are familiar with it, but may not connect the dots. Okay,

Unknown Speaker  33:35  
cool. I teach. I teach the online Master Gardener trainings, which some of you have probably taken some of the modules and may take other ones next year. But it's a it's a whole if for people who can't actually go to the live classes. It's been an alternative for a number of years and I'm in the process of updating various Modules every year and this year, right, right at this moment, I'm working on the vegetable gardening module. And I'm always always in need of good photos. And if I take it myself that I don't have to worry about copyright. So if anyone has anything interesting, anything unique you're doing in your garden or just you know, as I said in the, in my posts there, I'm looking for containers, small spaces, trellising irrigation systems. Also pests and diseases and also really good healthy vegetables are always nice too. So and I'm in Corvallis and I'd prefer not to travel too far these days. So just contact me if you would be have something I could come over and take photos of Thank you.

Jennifer Klammer  34:51  
All right, I do have another show and tell so when I first started growing winter squashes is sometimes hard to tell When they're just lucky green things, or lucky, orange things are just big things in general, and then when they're ripe, because they're, they're just hard little things. So really the best way to do that and they don't pop off the stem make, like melons do when they're right. So, the best way to do is take your fingernail and kind of push it into the skin. If your fingernail pushes quite easily into the skin of a winter squash then it's not right. So it should be pretty firm and hard. And some some winter squashes do better with a little bit of churning and some are just fine eating right away. But of course winter squashes are great because they do store well and you can use them all winter so hence the name but yeah, so these are unlike zucchinis and the yellow clip next and things like that where this out edges smooth, smooth and soft, or art should be firm. This one's really dense so you can tell it's ready.

Elizabeth Records  36:15  
In response to that, I'm going to share a publication called storing pumpkin and winter squash at home. So after you've picked your pumpkin and squash, this has some really good directions for what it takes to keep those fresh for as long as possible. I have a sweet meat squash that's lasted for over a year just on the shelf in the pantry. Not all of them last as long. But this has really good helpful directions for you.

Emily Herb  36:46  
Well, that makes me think about what other things store Well, um, we had the canning question come earlier and we're not going to get much into canning since that isn't our area of expertise, but there are Other ways to store food, um, for example, my carrots I don't harvest them that's how I store them is I just keep them out in the garden and I've had success going outside and pulling up my carrots deep into the winter. So we might talk about some things like that like winter squash what, how how it's best to keep them and I've also kept cabbages downstairs in my basement on a shelf for quite a while and just had to remove some of the outer leaves to use them. onions and, and garlic I've seen on local gardening Facebook groups people asking about how to store their onions and how to store their garlic. And I had one funny exchange with a guy where I said well how I store them as in pantyhose. So I will harvest my garlic garlic and then I'll dry it and then I take Mihai pantyhose, and I put one in the bottom and then I tie a knot and then put another Tai Chi Tai Chi. And then this guy on this post responded to me and says, Well, I don't wear pantyhose. And I replied, I don't either, but I buy him at biomart and put my garlic in them. So I will do that method of storage for garlic and onions and can get them you know, put them in a kind of a cool, dark place. So anybody else have ideas about how to store things, not necessarily with canning, but just what's worked for you. I'm

Unknown Speaker  38:43  
sorry, I

Elizabeth Records  38:43  
was just gonna say here's my creative solution for potatoes. So I have a basket in my kitchen where I keep potatoes but I want to keep them dark. And so I put the potatoes into a pillowcase and fold the top over, and then I can just unfold that pillowcase and reach into the basket. To get my potatoes and then they don't turn green or make sprouts that I had to offer that after Emily offered the pantyhose for garlic.

Sue Domingues  39:12  
I have two plum trees in my yard, but they're Italian prune plums. And I dry those and, and they store for a really long time, especially if I put the dried plums or prunes into my freezer. They can really last long.

Jennifer Klammer  39:36  
So I like to make pesto I just harvested a bunch of bazel today and I put them into the jars the small jam jars. Oh man. Oh, that's good. And so in the pesto keeps very well I keep them frozen so that at the top of them I put olive oil on top and keep them frozen. And so in the middle of winter, I'll pull up That little jar of looks I'm making any kind of soup or, or spaghetti sauce or things like that and that that burst of summer bazel pesto is awesome.

Emily Herb  40:14  
I've also frozen

Jennifer Klammer  40:15  
I also use a bunch of Yeah, for the freezer as well and I I'm actually using my last jar up, it's has a few tablespoons in the bottom. So that's why I was like, Oh, I better make them put some more up. So I don't totally run out. Because you don't want to be edging out too late a feed if I don't do bazel sometimes I've done it, you know, eking out in October, but if it gets below 40 degrees, all of a sudden that all that bazel will just go black, so it's better to do some pesto in September when you know you've got your bazel and it's not going to be airy on the edge. I'm sorry,

Unknown Speaker  40:58  
go ahead. I tried to share a photo we found these mesh bags that we hang from the ceiling in a hall closet that I hang all the garlic and the onions. So we found them my husband found them at Ross. I did find crochet patterns for them, but they're quite time consuming.

Jennifer Klammer  41:23  
Yeah, it flashed up there. I like those niche bags. So good.

Emily Herb  41:28  
And I was gonna second um, Elizabeth was saying that she uses ice cube trays for her pesto and I've done that before too because then you can take out it's about you know, a tablespoon or two tablespoons of pesto and that can work really well for single serving. I'm seeing in the chat a question about freezing tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, all speak to the bell pepper. I I freeze all of my peppers and love that and so what I'll do is I'll hop The peppers and see them and clean them and then slice them and then lay them out on a cookie sheet on a sheet pan, freeze them like that then once they're frozen gathered them up and put them into a gallon ziplock and then that's worked really well for me. I haven't had to buy peppers throughout the winter to do stuff like you know fajitas or pepper steak or put some peppers on pizza. And I I kind of have a value system somewhat for for my vegetables and has to do with money and organic peppers are really expensive. And so this trick of being able to use frozen peppers works well for me and so I devote quite a bit of space in my garden to peppers just so that I have access to organic peppers. I also really value is going to go back to the potato that I really value potatoes and organic potatoes are also very expensive. And so my husband has devised a way that we've been able to keep potatoes the whole season rehab. I have a lot of chickens. And so because of that I've had a couple different iterations of chicken coops on my in my backyard. And so we use an iteration where the chickens aren't there anymore, but it's a kind of a secure location. And in there we buy at Wilco, the straw bales. And so just make a big cube out of straw bales and then cover that with a piece of board so and put all the potatoes in the middle. And so it's kind of it's a sort of a cold storage because the straw keeps it dark and it also protects it from freezing. And so we've been able to keep our potatoes all season long that way.

Elizabeth Records  43:50  
That's incredibly clever. I'm seeing a few more questions. I see a question from Cigna about a problem with with pairs Cigna, do you want to speak your question? Do you want me to read it off?

Unknown Speaker  44:03  
I'm just I have a small circle pear tree, which is the little tiny sweet pears, which this year yay finally bloomed and produced its first little handful of pears. And then just yesterday or the day before I went out and said, Where are my parents? They're all gone. And I looked down on the ground and they had all fall on the ground just pop. They're still hard as a rock, you know? Not right. So I just I brought them in, and I'm hoping they'll ripe it on the counter. But I've never had or seen a pear tree of any sort, dropping its fruit on right. So I just wondered if anyone knows anything about that is something that cycle pears do or something my tree did or

Elizabeth Records  44:47  
I'm hearing quiet here is a real fruit tree Maven.

Unknown Speaker  44:53  
Well. This is. Oh, yeah, this is a vegetable group. I'll have to do some research.

Emily Herb  45:00  
And my pear tree drops them unripe and i don't i don't know what variety it is, you know, I kind of assume it's like the bark of Bartlett or something. It's a pretty, pretty just normal pear tree and, and my husband always picks them green picks them from the tree green and brings them inside to ripen because of that, because he he says, like, we were going away on vacation, he was really worried that they would just all drop. And so he got up there and picked them and then has let them ripen in the house. And we also dehydrate them in order to preserve them. But yeah, I kind of wonder if that is just a pair thing. I don't know very much but he comes from a fruit farming family and so he carries the war with him and that's in his family. That's what they do. You pick them green, and

Unknown Speaker  45:51  
well I know you're supposed to pick pears unripe they develop their flavor after they're picked. I just know i mean if they're going to go throwing them on the ground. These remarking up, they didn't bruise but a larger pair might bruise. I had a grabbing seen apple tree that would do that. And that's one reason I ended up cutting it down because it would just drop all its fruit and it would be bruised and unusable and it just wasn't worth the hassle. So yeah,

Emily Herb  46:13  
we have grabenstein apple tree as well. And we make a whole lot of cider because most of those apples are on the ground. I have to convince somebody to go up in the tree and pick them if I want to make an apple cobbler so that I don't have to deal with the root thing.

Unknown Speaker  46:30  
I put I cut most of the tree down and put a treehouse for my granddaughter in the scaffold. At least it's serving some purpose. Okay, well, thanks. I'm about says it's probably a fairly normal thing. And I'll just fortunately it's a small tree and I can keep it small and I'll just pick them if I need to.

Unknown Speaker  46:47  
Hey, same question from densa about freezing other things. Tomatoes, bell peppers or zucchini. I think we address the peppers and then Elizabeth gave us a link to something about zucchinis for tomatoes, there's lots of different things you can do if you want to freeze tomatoes, you can either make sauce and then freeze it or you can dry them and then freeze dried tomatoes or one of the things I tried a couple years ago with small pace tomatoes to just throw them in the freezer as they ripen in a bag. And because it seemed to me like there were never enough of them ripe at the same time to make tomato sauce. And if I waited for the more to ripen then the ones I had already picked would start getting cushy. So I was just put them all in a bag in the freezer and then you can take them out and when they do frost the skins all come off and so it makes it really easy to make into sauce.

Sue Domingues  47:52  
And I wanted to go back to the peppers. I take like hot peppers, jalapenos. Rado or any of the hot peppers, and I just throw them whole into Ziploc bags and freeze them like that. And then I'll take a jalapeno like I don't even cut the stem off of the seeds off or anything, but I'll take a jalapeno when it's still frozen and I'll grade it with a grater and use that in salsas later on in the year and it works really good especially, you know, those smaller peppers. They work really fine like that.

Unknown Speaker  48:27  
That's a great idea and it made me think of something that I do with bazel. Also besides making pesto, sometimes I just freeze, I make pesto and then I also freeze some of the leaves because if you just throw them into a plastic container, and then throw that in the freezer, then you're making something in the wintertime that calls for pesto that's cooked, you can just take a few of them out and chop them up and put them in whatever you're cooking.

Elizabeth Records  48:55  
I have a comment which is for folks that really want to take a deep dive in To food safety stuff, right? The things that we're talking about are stuff that pretty much anyone can do safely. But if it's about things like canning, tuna fish, or canning, especially something that's not acidic, or really wet the best practices for freezing something that lasts as long as possible, I would strongly encourage you to contact food safety and preservation hotline. So this is a free service of OSU Extension is staffed by professionals and also volunteers who go through a special training that is really focused on food safety and quality and they will be able to coach you through the safest and best means of food preservation. I think most of us here are avid Home Food preservers. I don't think most of us are trained as master food preservers. So this is linked in the chat there number is 800 354 7319 and they're open through October 9, so they're taking calls right now. But yeah, I just wanted to offer that as a resource for folks that really want to take a deeper dive into the food preservation topic.

Unknown Speaker  50:17  
Here's another question says, Can you grill pretty much anything and then freeze it like cabbage, squash, onion, etc. and then use it in a stew or veggie stock later? I don't see why not. Does anybody have any comments about that?

Sue Domingues  50:37  
No, I wanted to mention go back to peppers again. I like to make chili. I like to make chili Reno's and I take the peppers and I roast them because somebody was asking about roasting peppers. I roast them and peel the skins off. Like you know you do when you make chili or in as if I use Anaheim peppers anyway, and I peel the skin off. Then I, I freeze them just like that. And then later on in the season, I can make chili Reno's out of those roasted, peeled, earthy skin, whatever they are a peppers, and they come out really good.

Elizabeth Records  51:17  
This is Elizabeth and I'll comment further on the grill and freeze. Especially for folks that have a grill. I think that this is a pretty good, straightforward way to bring some extra flavors in and also to preserve food when it's relatively hot. And cooking in the home kitchen may not be as appealing if you have access to grill, especially for things such as eggplants, or summer squashes. One thing that I do is to cut kind of a grid into the surface of it, so there's more room for the juices to get between the cut pieces. But then I still have the whole unit right so I'm cutting like a tic tac toe grid into it. And then I grill it and let it cool down a little bit and freeze it. And yeah, I use for soups and stews used for lasagna. Pretty much any dish that requires some pre preparation.

Jennifer Klammer  52:15  
So I do, I don't grill but that's a good idea. I might I think I will try that because when it's hot, it's it's hard to do in the oven. I usually roast vegetables. So I'll roast peppers, chopped peppers, and onions and garlic and tomatoes. And I'll and I found that it's faster for me to roast them in. I have a convection oven, so it's faster for me to roast them in there than to do them to make a sauce in the pan. And then I'll puree it and then freeze it because I don't follow a recipe. It's too iffy to freeze. I don't want to poison my family. So I'll freeze them into two or four, two cup or four cup size containers. But it does add a lot more flavor roasting him ahead of time before freezing.

Unknown Speaker  53:08  
And I'm Patty I think you have your hand raised to to one ask a question.

Unknown Speaker  53:13  
Yes, I wasn't sure how to do it without just jumping on top of someone. A lot of y'all are talking about growing peppers. This year I actually got some bell peppers, but they're very tiny and deformed looking. I've grown them in pots. I'm wondering if y'all know off the top of your head if I need to put them at a larger container if it was variety. If you all have seen anything like this.

Jennifer Klammer  53:41  
I think they might just need more fertilizer. So when you grow things in containers, you're watering them pretty often because it's so hot and dry. I mean, yes, you do want a good sized container to start with. So for peppers, I would probably do at least 12 inches. I can't remember Have that seat two separate chart. But um, so you want probably at least a 12 by 12 inch container for peppers. But again, in containers, when you're watering all the time, the fertilizer this gets leached out. So I think peppers like a little more fertilizer, so instead of transplanting and now would maybe shock them, especially when it's 90 something degrees out. So you might try doing like a full year fertilizer or something in the mix in some in the soil and add some compost on top. Because if they're setting fruit, they're obviously being pollinated. But if they're misshapen, sometimes they just don't have enough energy to keep them going. So I would do a fertilizer that is pretty decent on the nitrogen scale, but maybe not equal and balanced. Does anybody have any more weigh in on peppers that are already fruiting, maybe equally balanced one

Unknown Speaker  55:03  
Thank you.

Unknown Speaker  55:04  
Yeah, I

Emily Herb  55:05  
just think about peppers as they really like to be fed, they might do really well when they've been planted with a bunch of compost. They also really like water. And I noticed in my garden this year I have one line of peppers that is, is on some of the micro irrigation and they're getting water but they're not getting as much water as they want. And on some of those pepper plants, I'm seeing those misshapen peppers like you're talking about, and I'm also seeing on the bell peppers that they're that the walls of the fruit are just not as thick, you know, it's like they haven't had enough water to make really nice thick walled fruit. And then on some peppers that I have at a different location when they're getting more water. They're you know, they set more it's not as misshapen The walls are thicker. And so I think that it I would say it's a combination of Getting them in a place where they get enough nutrients and enough and plenty of water. The tomatoes in the same space are getting kind of a similar amount of water and are doing fine but I think the peppers want more.

Unknown Speaker  56:13  
Hey, this is this is Vince. I don't know. Can anyone hear me? Yes. Okay. We did a lot of container gardening this year we use the five gallon foodsafe containers and made sure we drilled lots of holes in the bottom for drainage but we've had really good success with all kinds of peppers in the five gallon containers, bells, a bunch of different spicy peppers. The one thing we did differently this year that we haven't done a lot of years past is fertilizing and we used a particular blend. I think it was 1210 five on a recommendation from a nursery that we visited in the garden, the guy who owned the place and this is what he uses for his vegetables. He has great success with it and We use the 1210 five fertilizer and we've had really, really good luck with all of our peppers using that and of course, watering fairly regularly because they do like a lot of water, especially in the heat.

Unknown Speaker  57:13  
Thank you.

Unknown Speaker  57:15  
Thank you.

Unknown Speaker  57:21  
We're almost out of time. But there was one question back here that we didn't address. It was about apples. Now I don't think I can find it. Um, it was about somebody who said that she had a, an abundance of really small apples, not the kind that are big and chunky and good for making applesauce or cider or whatever. And she wanted to know what would be a good thing to do with them.

Sue Domingues  57:57  
You can still make cider or out starts with really small apples. That's a good way to use that really small apples to actually is to put them through a cider press or make your apple sauce roasted because it's a really easy way and it adds the kind of more sweetener to it. You just put it in a big pot pan, like a roasting pan in the oven and roasted until it really gets soft and then foot, put it through a food mill. And it's a really easy way to use really small fruit like that.

Elizabeth Records  58:30  
This is Elizabeth and I'll just add that creative thought. If you contact master food preservers, they have a recipe for sweet pickles made from apples, which is something that I've had but not yet tried. And it was really delicious like on a cracker with cheese. So I would encourage you to seek out such a recipe from the Home Food Preservation arm of OSU.

Emily Herb  59:06  
Okay, well, I see that we have reached our one o'clock hour. And thank you all so much for joining us today. This has been kind of a fun thing that we started back at the beginning of our COVID-19 days and we have continued through this season. And it's very exciting to be able to meet together in this way and answer all of these questions and continue to be relevant in your lives in your backyards and your growing of food. And so we're going to keep doing these meetups and so look for next one, and we'll take on another topic.

Elizabeth Records  59:47  
We're coming up on September 22. And the topic is going to be getting ready for fall and winter. And I think a lot of the same folks who are with us today will be joining us then and it will be in the evening from seven to eight so if you had friends that weren't able to come in the middle of the day, do let them know about this. It's on our Facebook page and also if you search for us, we're Linn and Benton County Master Gardener program at Oregon State University Extension Service. I'd like to say a super special thanks to all the folks who are here today. Judith Kenner, Emily herb, Sue Domingus. Jennifer Klammer and somewhat informally Signe Danler, all of OSU Extension Master Gardener program. Thank you. And I'm Elizabeth Records with OSU Extension.

Emily Herb  1:00:40  
Bye Bye, everybody.

Elizabeth Records  1:00:41  
Bye bye.


This episode focuses on harvesting and preserving the garden bounty in the Willamette Valley and features Benton County Master Gardeners and special guests Sue Domingues, Emily Herb, Jennifer Klammer, Judith Kenner, Signe Danler, and Elizabeth Records. This session was recorded live online on September 1, 2020.

Some questions featured include does how to preserve the plum harvest, when are melons ripe, using floating row cover on the fall & winter garden, and more.

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