Our first freeze is predicted for Sunday night, and we've had intermittent rain sprinkles the past couple of days (the guineas must have felt something in the wind - they didn't fly out of the chicken pen today, instead staying in, close to cover, and bossing the chickens all day). If we get a dry cold snap in September, I'll usually cover the fruiting bed crops - buying myself a couple more weeks time. I've got a bunch of old draperies that work well - heavy enough to stay put if it's windy and big enough to wrap around and drape over support cages and all. But by October, I'm ready to bring it all in, especially if it's going to be wet (I really don't like wrestling with half-frozen sodden draperies the next morning).
So the past few days I've started getting the tender crops in. This is what my kitchen counter looked like this morning - a variety of peppers to process. I have mostly open-pollinated (not hybrid) crops, so I put the biggest, ripest, prettiest-colored couple of each type aside to save the seeds. By this afternoon, I had most of the bell peppers cut into 3/4" chunks, the jalapenos in slices, and both into the freezer (no need to blanch peppers). I did save quite a few bells for a couple more batches of gazpacho, since I've got enough Early Girl tomatoes and cucumbers still out there. The chiles, red bells, and banana peppers I roasted, now cooling in bags in the refrigerator, ready to peel. The red cayennes I strung into a ristra, using a big needle threaded with a doubled length of carpet thread, and hung up to dry. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with the green cayennes and habaneros just yet. I have a recipe for jalapeno green sauce I think I'm going to adapt, and maybe do another adaptation with oranges and the habaneros. More on that later.