The first freeze is heading to Santa Fe this weekend. It will be cold for three days and then warm up to the low 40’s at night. I visited Mike and Molly’s mini-farm today to see some preparation strategies. They were harvesting green tomatoes and looking at their recycled shower door cold frames to keep hearty greens going. Watch for more tips on their projects on the blog in the next few weeks. Here are a few tips for gardeners.
1. Cover your plants with a blanket or tarp to keep them from freezing. Use rocks or bricks to keep the blanket around the plants. Sticks, small rebar or dowels could be placed into the dirt around the plants to keep the blanket from crushing the plants.
2. Frost tolerant plants like kale, swiss chard, broccoli and root vegetables should be fine through this first frost.
3. Plants like tomato, cucumber and summer squash may need extra cover to prevent damage.
4. Pick all of the fruits and vegetables to have a good harvest. Tomatoes especially can be frozen in the weather. Green tomatoes can be picked as well and stored on the counter in newspaper or a paper bag to ripen.
5. Find some green tomato recipes. Here is one that I made last year with my neighbor and Home Grown New Mexico volunteer Zahira.
Green Tomato/Green Chile Jam
Adapted from Closet Cooking
4 green chiles, chopped
1/2 cup of mint and cilantro mixed
4 cloves garlic , crushed
1 inch piece ginger
1/2 cup cider vinegar (Bragg’s is a great choice)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound green tomatoes
2 cups sugar
1. Blanch the green tomatoes to remove the skin. Cut an “X” into the bottom of each tomato and place in boiling water for three to five minutes. The skin should start to peel. Let them cool and remove as much skin as possible.
2. Puree the chile, herbs, garlic, ginger vinegar and soy sauce in a food processor.
3. Place the mixture into a sauce pan and add the tomatoes and sugar.
4. Bring to a boil and simmer until it thickens, about 45 minutes.
Amy Hetager, Home Grown New Mexico Blogger