We finally got a decent shower after being in a drought for more than two months. But, thankfully, we have water and have been able to water from two wells and our irrigation system. We are hugely grateful to have those options as it is saving our gardens. Harvest season is totally upon us now, and every single day I’m bringing in tomatoes to save seed from. I’m also making dozens and dozens of jars of salsa from the tomatoes. Let me tell you a tip I’ve recently discovered. Two years ago, my son, Bill and his wife bought me a Ninja blender for Christmas. It’s big and kind of scary looking with knives all up the center, not just at the bottom. So, of course, it kind of sat on the counter for all those months. But after Bill said he doesn’t peel his tomatoes when he makes salsa and that Ninja kind of mocking me, sitting in my kitchen, I put two and two together and tried making my salsa without peeling and chopping the veggies in the Ninja. Oh my God! How fast! How easy! AND the salsa comes out great. It is more “chopped” than my old cut-by-hand salsa. But it doesn’t take all day to do one small batch either. See, I’m not too old to learn new tricks.

I pulled part of the row of our potato onions and was really pleased; they store over a year!

Our Seneca Sunrise sweet corn is now getting ripe; we’ll have some for supper tonight! I’m so happy I was able to kill those tomato earworms before they killed the corn! I was really worried for awhile there.

Aren’t these Black Beauty tomatoes, bred by Brad Gates, gorgeous?

I’m also starting to pick some beans which have dried down already. It’s so exciting! I’ve picked Folsom Indian Ruin beans (those huge white runner beans), Tiger Eye, Mesabi, and a few Italian Horticultural beans which are a stunning red and white striped shell or dry bean.

We’re wowed by these beautiful Italian Horticultural beans.

I’ve been hugely busy, as you can imagine, but had to click on Amazon when Will told me my new Jess Hazzard western, Spring of the Vultures, had three five star reviews. He said it also had two more but somehow they had disappeared. But I was happy to see even those reviews and to have nice comments from readers and fans of Jess. Thank you so much! And, yes, there IS another one coming but I can’t promise when. All the old characters and a new one; plenty of action and suspense, too. (With Jess, could it be otherwise?)

I’m already getting five star reviews on Amazon for my latest Western, Spring of the Vultures.

Our melons are stupendous this year. We have a few which are larger than basketballs and still growing by the day. (Outside, without black plastic mulch, in Northern Minnesota, and direct seeded too!) We’re so excited, especially when they’re growing in our new Sand garden!

Gotta run; I’ve got a big batch of Cowgirl Candy to make this afternoon from the mature, red sweet peppers I’m harvesting for seed. I did Cowboy Candy this morning and have doubled the syrup for the Cowgirl Candy. Yum! Life is good! — Jackie


  1. Jackie, I love “Ask Jackie” plus I have two of your books on canning & recipes. I am very interested in where you get your Potato Onions. I have had no good luck in growing other types & I am hoping that Potato On ions may be my hope.

  2. I NEVER peel tomatoes for salsa anymore, even sometimes using cherry toms! No one mentions the peels bother them, but just too much work for this ol disabled lady! lol! Down here in Iowa we got like 4-5 inches of rain on Sunday and have had Fall ever since with such mellow temps! Love it! But we are back to 90 Sat and Sun but then back to lower temps again, which is great, I am summered out! lol!

    • I can’t believe it took me so long to do salsa this way! Wow, what a difference in time! We need rain but 4-5 inches? Wow, not that much, please?

  3. Jackie..finally starting to feel better after having open heart surgery.. Tried canning some fruit the other day but was totally exhausted after one batch and just froze the rest to cann later..enjoy reading about all that you and Will do..

    • You take it a little easy, girl! Wait till your body recovers a bit. Canning can happen anytime.

  4. Jackie those Italian horticultural beans in your photo have a pod like the Italian Borlotti, my favorite bean. If they are a variety of Borlotti and they matured for you I hope you will sell seed. Real original Borlotti are a long season bean and don’t mature for me so I have to buy the dried beans on the Internet. If you have something that has that Borlotti taste and texture and a short growing season sign me up.

    • Our Italian horticultural beans are from Italy. The variety is Borlotto Di Vigevano Nano. Yes, they do have the original Borlotto taste and texture, although we only ate a small serving in order to save seed! Our beans are drying down nicely and are much earlier than many of the other Borlottos we’ve tried. Hooray!

  5. I grow potato onions too and they do keep well. I’m still using last years’ crop. No rotting and no mold. Mine dried down early this year so they are all pulled and stored. Most are the small size in your photo but they will grow large if fed fish emulsion regularly when they start to sprout. My other favorite keeper onion is Wethersfield, a red onion originally bred in Connecticut by the colonists.

    • My onions are actually larger than they appear in the photo. They’re about silver dollars size around and nice and fat. I’m tickled with them and they’ll always have a place in our garden!

  6. My husband bought me a Ninja blender as well. I have also figured out that not having to peel my tomatoes not only saved me huge amounts of time but also the skins have some good nutrients in them. Double bonus!!

  7. Had a post from you the other day labeled “test”that came up with a can’t find type message when I tried to open it. What’s up? We had frost llast Friday night but not hard enough to kill the potatoes and the sensitive stuff had heat in the greenhouse and hoop houses. We haven’t had one ripe tomato yet even in the green house. Except for two weeks that hit eighty’s we have had lots of fifty’s and sixty’s for highs and enough clouds to keep the enclosed growing only a little warmer. You can have some of our rain so I can get back to working in the woods. By the way your king of the north? Peppers are doing well.

    • Boy, I don’t know, Howard. Hopefully it was just a computer/server glitch. If that happens again, let me know and I’ll call Jessie at BWH who’s super-smart about such things. Please pass the rain! Even our poplar trees and birches are dropping their leaves because of the drought. Glad to hear your peppers are doing well. We love King of the North!

      • Jackie,

        I too received the same email as Howard. It seemed odd and I wondered if someone had sent it as a spam email, making it look like it came from you.


  8. We have such a hard time cutting through our winter squash when it’s mature. Do you have an easy way to do it? We like to collect as much seed as we can, but boy do those squash get hard!

    • Barbara try using a very sharp small short handled hatchet with a tapered blade. Goes through the squash like it was warm butter, nice clean cuts.

    • I place the squash on a cookie sheet, on the kitchen island and with a butcher knife, I stab/poke it in the center. Then I simply rock it back and forth until it comes in half nicely. Very controlled and easy. (for safety, always point the knife away from you!)

  9. Jackie!!!

    I’ve been absent for awhile now….but I’m so glad to be back and to hear of your harvest. : )

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