This years vegetable garden was potted in April, four months later, we had plenty to harvest. We have picked hundreds of peppers and cherry tomatoes throughout this season and just this month we finally got to harvest the tomatillos, some were over ripe and past their prime, but the others were just right.
The Jalapeños were the last of the peppers to really take off this year. These plants started producing peppers at the beginning of July and have been going strong ever since. We have picked enough to pickle!
The Guajillo peppers were some of the first to take form, but the slowest to grow. In a short amount of time the Guajillo peppers grew to be 5-6 inches long, but it took several more weeks for them to bask in the sun and transform from a dark green into a deep red. You can see in the picture below that all of the energy of these plants has gone straight to the beautiful peppers, the leaves are sparse and there are no new buds forming. It’s time to harvest now, and we’ll hope for a few more peppers too!
Here is how the potted garden looked this August. It’s pretty full and has a ton of fruit growing within. A few small pots of grape tomatoes have really spiked up by now and are producing a lot of little tomatoes. These were grown from seed and then lazily thrown into some small pots late in the game- kind of an afterthought, so I’m happy to see that they are thriving. Also, you can sort of see, tucked in between the blue pots there is some Swiss Chard, also grown from seed. I have paid very little attention to the chard and kind of assumed it would not amount to much, however, it’s looking like some hearty leaves are beginning to form. We’ll root for the Rainbow Swiss Chard and hope for some gorgeous rainbow vein leaves to grow.
Just below we have some picture of Augusts bounty, lots of Hot Cherry Peppers, Guajillo Peppers, Cayenne Peppers, Chiltepin Peppers, Jalapeños, and Tomatillos.
The tiny Chiltepin peppers have been growing by the hundreds – these little suckers really pack a punch of heat!
Harvesting peppers and tomatoes is easy, but this was my first time growing and harvesting Tomatillos and I think I could have done a little better with my timing. I had a handful of Tomatillos that were over ripe and a handful that were just right. All of them were eaten and made into a delicious tomatillo sauce.
Since I was growing four Tomatillo plants in one large planter box, I knew I wasn’t going to get a million ripe tomatillos at once. There was indeed many fruits forming on these plants and they were all growing at slightly different rates, so I let some of them go a bit longer than they should. The first few were the largest and the most fun to watch grow. As they were growing and ripening their husks would change in shape, color, texture, and density – the riper they got the more pronounced the veins would become, some even turning a deep purple, the base of the stem would become stiff and hard to help with holding on to the heavier fruit, the papery husk would open up towards the bottom and turn from green to pale yellow. The fruit inside would do the same.
Here are some of the oldest tomatillos from the garden, still really beautiful, but not quite as green as I am used to seeing tomatillos. They grew to be larger than a golf ball, which is a pretty good size considering the growing quarters were somewhat crowded. Their husks are dry and pale, the fruit is no longer green. The riper they get the sweeter they taste, which is not preferred.
Luckily, at the same time we were also able to harvest a handful of perfectly ripe tomatillos. The green husks were supple and fresh, they resembled tomatillos you might select at the market. Success! Check out how incredible they are!
If you have never opened a tomatillo, you may be surprised that they have a sticky film covering the fruit. This film can easily be rinsed off.
The veins of the husk are just beautiful…
I was able to harvest about 10 tomatillos this round and turn them into a delicious tomatillo sauce. Because I included a few over ripe yellow tomatillos, the sauce was sweeter than usual. It still tasted great, but I think in the future I will be sure to pick them before they turn, the tangy green tomatillos is what I prefer.
And so we harvest some more of the same, August was full of success!
After a great month of homegrown vegetables, I’m starting to see my backyard garden slow down for the season. The fruit is still plentiful, but the limbs are looking long and worn.
If you would like to see more about this years garden, check out the updates here: