But luckily, we had a fairly nice day on Saturday when son, Bill, and his family came up for a visit. He and Mason had gone to the recycling center to leave off some glass bottles when they discovered a whole bin full of good canning jars! These were Ball and Mason jars without a nick or crack — good jars! So they quickly filled their bin back up with canning jars and gave me a call. Sure, I could use them. After all, I’ve been buying more new jars lately as all of mine are full. And there are still so many things to can up.

We had lots of fun harvesting carrots on Saturday.

So on Saturday they came up bearing lots and lots of jars. And, because the grandkids, Ava and Mason, love to help harvest, we headed for the main garden where two rows of big, fat carrots waited. We had fun as the kids ran around, exclaiming how this carrot was huge and that one had arms. A six-gallon plastic bucket was full all too soon. So we headed off to the potato patch in the Sand garden. I’d been digging potatoes on every decent, non-raining day, but there are still plenty of potatoes out there. Our main crop is Dakota Pearl, a blocky, nice-sized white potato which stores all winter in plastic totes in our unheated basement pantry. So Mason and Ava made quick work of filling up another big bucket. (If you’d like tips on growing lots of nice potatoes, check out my article in Issue #134 of BHM or the Twenty-Third Year Anthology.) Mason is excited as he is going deer hunting with Dad this year. He has a new youth-sized .44 revolving rifle and has been practicing for weeks. He’s become a good shot too. So it looks like we’ll be processing venison before long. This spring, when they visited previously, Ava “sneaked” into our Seed Treasures bins and took a few beans from all the varieties which took her eye. They planted them, harvesting plenty of pretty beans. So she’s all excited about next year and hit the bins again on this visit — only taking more beans. Hmmmm, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Mason and Ava know where potatoes come from!
Ava is heading for the car with her potatoes. (Dad had to help!)

Mason quickly agreed to take home our 150 pound Atlantic Giant pumpkin and David had all he could do to carry it to their SUV. They also took a couple of San Felipe pumpkins home. These pretty, orange, fat pumpkins make great Jack ‘O Lanterns, and pies, too!

Meanwhile, I’m still madly harvesting dry beans, taking seeds from our sweet peppers, and making lots more Cowgirl Candy. It went to the twenties and we only have one propane heater and that went to heat the hoop house where our hot peppers are growing. We have several very rare peppers and don’t want to lose them as they’re close to having ripe seed.

Kajari melons are so pretty and sweet too!

I’ve got to tell you about our favorite melons this year. Our Sweet Dakota Rose watermelons were simply the best we’ve ever eaten. Not only are they super juicy but as sweet as the name sounds. And they aren’t too seedy either. As a huge bonus, the rind is thick so I can make plenty of watermelon pickles too. Wow! And we have two crates full of them! Another winner was a surprise. It’s the muskmelon from India, Kajari, found by seed-explorer, Joe Simcox. These softball-sized, brightly striped orange and yellow melons were not only hugely productive and early, BUT the green flesh was oh so sweet and juicy. They’re the perfect “personal” melon. Who’d have thought Indian melons would thrive in Northern Minnesota where we have already had snow! — Jackie


  1. I m so happy for your jar find. And the price was perfect! Just wondering if you have a special trick to getting your carrot seeds to germinate.our last two years have been pathetic. We usually have great success with most everything else. We re up here in nw Montana.

    • No special trick. But I learned years ago not to be in a big hurry to get those carrot seeds planted in the spring. I wait until the soil has warmed up and rain is forecast for a couple of days after I plant. Meanwhile I keep the area where the carrots will be planted tilled a couple of times to keep the weed competition way down. I plant them about half an inch deep in nice loose soil, pat the soil down over the rows with the flat of my hoe. Then let the rain water them in well and keep the soil moist for a few days. They pop up like magic, in just less than a week. Often small carrot seeds die as they try to germinate when it’s dry. Or they rot when the soil is wet and cold, first thing in the spring. I hope your carrots do great next spring!

  2. Jacky have you eaten carrot tops as a green? I have heard that they are edible but haven’t done yet. If they are good, are they worth canning? Thanks

    • Yes, I have. Although they’re edible, I wouldn’t say they taste great. I don’t can mine for that reason. The roots sure taste MUCH better!

  3. We had down to 22 the last four nights. I decided I couldnt afford any more $20 tanks of propane for what more growth we might get and picked the last of the squash two days ago and shut down that hoop house and today I picked all the tomatoes and peppers so we don’t have to heat the greenhouse all night. I’m still drying onions in the greenhouse so I’ll put a fire in the wood stove there for a few days and cover them with a quilt when I go to bed. Any suggestion for a short season winter squash tha does ok in a hoophouse? Out of three Sweet mama plants transplanted the last week of May we got one small squash!

    • I hear you, Howard. We do save money by using a 100 pound propane cylinder instead of the smaller ones as the refill costs a lot less. But we only have one. And, after several nights in the twenties, we see the end in sight but are hoping to get some of the rare peppers mature so we can save seed from them. You might try Gete Okosamin (sp?). This is a relatively bush type winter squash said to be native to Wisconsin. We grew them for the first time this year and harvested several nice squash from each plant. They look sort of like Banana or North Georgia Candy Roasters; long and orange. But they have good flavor, are quite early. You may have to hand pollinate your squash to get more when they’re raised in your hoop house, depending on the pollinators available.

  4. It was nice to see your grandkids harvesting veggies! I live on 30 acres outside of Superior Wisconsin so I understand the weather you’ve been having! My garden did poorly this year…but there’s always next year. I’ve been blessed by your articles for many years being a long time subscribed to BWH. Thank you for carrying on with this blog. We all appreciate it!

    • Sorry to hear your garden let you down this year. Last year was our worst ever. And this year was the best so it does even out, I guess. I’m happy to hear you like the blog. Stop by often!

  5. Down here in western Iowa, we have had it down to 39, and tomorrow supposed to be back at 85!! Such a change from the last week of the 50’s! But the weather people are saying it is a last hurrah before we go back into the fall temps we usually have this time of year-wonderful,gardens you have! So jealous!

    • Wow, thirties to eighties; that’s quite a swing! We’re really, really happy to have been blessed with a great garden this year; last year kind of sucked. We’re still rushing around trying to get everything in; still have more carrots and potatoes to bring in.

  6. Jackie are any of those hot peppers the Horace Pippin Pepper Pot variety? or his Fish Pepper? and if so will you have seed for sale?

    • No. Our hot pepper we’re waiting on are: Chinese Hot Dragon, Venice Bootleg and Florida Orange Grove. We may have limited seed from these…depending on how much longer we can keep the heat in the hoop house and how fast they mature. We may have to dig a few and bring indoors to finish out. We’ll see….

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