Summer may have officially come to a close, but that doesn’t mean it is time to get lazy in the garden. Now is the time to harvest your produce and preserve it so you can enjoy your hard work throughout the winter months. Now that temperatures have dropped out of the 90s, tomatoes are ripening.

One way to preserve your tomatoes is by making salsa. A quick internet search for salsa recipes will yield hundreds of options, so you can find a recipe that suits your individual taste.

Farm stands, farmers’ markets, and neighbors who have extras are great resources for additional ingredients you may need. In order to safely can produce by using the water bath method, the produce should be acidic, meaning it should have a pH of 4.6 or lower.

Tomatoes are right on the boarder of being acidic, so to ensure safe canning for long term storage, follow a tested recipe that includes added acid. When you are harvesting your ripe tomatoes, make sure to pick some of the green fruit too. Green tomatoes can be used in everything from traditional fried green tomatoes, to green tomato salsa, to breads and pies.

Try something new and explore green tomato recipes.

In addition to harvesting your fruits and vegetables, take some time to harvest some of the gorgeous foliage and flowers around your landscape and create amazing fall-themed flower arrangements. You can make beautiful arrangements with the colorful leaves on the trees and bushes around the yard. Dress up your arrangement with a few flowers, amaranth, or look for pumpkin on stick, which is actually an ornamental eggplant, but looks like mini orange pumpkins on a stick.

Don’t let all of your hard work over the summer go to waste; make sure to check your garden every day to see what has ripened so you can pick your produce at its peak. Enjoy it fresh from the garden and if you haven’t experimented with new ways to use and preserve your produce, make this the year you try something new!