August 30, 2007

Ding Dong the Possum is Dead! I Think?

I've been busy and on the road due to work the last few weeks and unable to do much in my garden. When I returned home and started to get back to work on my yards, I happened to chat with my neighbor and asked how his tomatoes were coming along since he was also having trouble with the possum. He explained that he had spotted the possum in his french drain a few weeks ago, had closed it off with mesh and had thrown in a few gopher pellets into the drain where his dog couldn't get at them. A few days later, he saw a dead possum in the road. He proudly told me that since then he has been harvesting plenty of tomatoes! Hmm.... On the tomato front, I have two ripe tomatoes on the vine and have been watching them closely. So far, no animal has come and eaten them, even though one of the tomatoes is outside my picket fence where the vine had grown over and is in plain view. It may be that I will be able to sample a few ripe tomatoes this fall after all! I'm going to keep my fingers crossed and hope that the dead possum was the one ravaging my garden as well. If so, my possum problem might be over.

I am astounded this week by the progress my garden is making. The chiles are starting to produce like mad. I have dozens of red scotch bonnet pods, a dozen yellow fatalli pods, more lemondrops than I can count and two plants of red, ripe pepperoncinis. It is high time that I started my harvesting efforts and starting to make salsas, pickles and powders.

I went to Wal-Mart and bought a water-bath canner for $17 and a jar of pickling salt. I still need a few more tools to beginning home canning, but I am looking forward to giving this a try. The red pepperoncinis will be my first pickling attempt. I have six half pint jars in the house and I think that this would be a good starting size for slices of peppers. I'm aiming for something that could go on a sandwich or on top of a salad.