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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Garden Recap

This summer I had high hopes for my garden, but this year wasn't that much of a garden year.

Part of the reason was because of the weather over the summer - a lot of people were disappointed with their gardens. In the spring there was so much rain that it was impossible to weed for two weeks, and the weeds loved it. Once it stopped raining, it stopped raining - things got pretty dry for awhile. The temperatures were also extremely cool for the summer, which in turn slowed down gardens in our area.

In addition to the weather, our summer continued to be full of farm and house set up. Even though gardening was high on my list of things to do, it was low on the list of what needed to be done.

Even so, we did get a bit of the garden in and did get a bit of produce. We enjoyed eating fresh out of the garden - cauliflower, beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, lettuce, etc., and I even got some canning/freezing done. I ended up canning 34 pints of green and wax beans, 27 pints of stew tomatoes, 18 pints of spaghetti sauce, and froze 52 - 2 cup bags of sweet corn. Right now I am digging yams and carrots and will have enough for fresh eating for awhile. I have also gotten 23 pints of apple sauce and there are more apples arriving this week from my parent's house. The kids are in the middle of harvesting their pumpkins and gourds too, which I think did the best out of everything!

Although I had higher hopes out of the garden, I am still thankful for what we were able to get and also for being blessed with some extras from others.

As a side note, it was quite interesting seeing how the garden grew this year. We planted the sweet corn, pumpkins, and gourds in the hog lot from last winter. They did tremendous. The rest of the garden went into newly plowed land. It didn't do too tremendous. There were a few plants, however, that bordered where the hog lot was, and there was no guessing which those were. I wish I had taken pictures, but the tomatoes that were in the new garden were maybe 2 feet tall with a handful of leaves and a tomato or two. The tomatoes that bordered the hog lot were over 4 feet tall, loaded with tomatoes, and tipping over the cages! The same was true with the carrots, beans, and the other plants.

Next year we are planting most of the main veggies in last year's hog lot, and the sweet corn and pumpkin/gourds/squash will go where we have let our pigs root this year (when not on pasture). We are also going to put the hogs in the new garden area for a bit this fall or winter to do some conditioning there - but we will have to give it sufficient time to rest so maybe that will be my flower holding ground until we get flower beds made.


McKrola Family said...

Despite your garden being a little sad you sure canned and froze a bunch.

My garden was very very sad. We moved into this house in june so it was a bit late to start, but we did get in two tomatos, a pepper, zuchinni and cucumbers. The Zuchinni plant was killed over night by squash bugs. I have no idea what to do to keep those beasties out! The tomato plants were taller than me, but the tomatos came on late.

I did however receive FREE, that I canned, 20 qts tomatos, 21 qts green beans, 12 qts concord grape juice, 25 Qts apple pie filling, 18 qts applesauce..(i need to do more of this)

I am so happy you are back!

McKrola Family said...

I wanted to mention to you... I am still trying to get my courage up to try your refried beans using the pressure canner! I went and bought one this summer for my birthday! :-) I did the green beans using it!

aubryz said...

Hello! I understand about your hog lot, we've been using our chickens as tillers the past two years and the garden is unbelievable!
This year is the first where I've tried canning. I used to watch my mother do it as a child, but had always been a little intimidated. I powered through and am very excited about using the water bath canner. So far I've canned applesauce, and all sorts of tomato products. I haven't used a pressure canner yet and am determined to start. Is it as easy as it sounds? Do you guys have a recommendation on which pressure canner you like?

McKrola Family said...

I bought a presto steam pressure canner. It processes 7 qts at a time.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

McKrola Family-
Sounds like you got quite a bit this year - that's great! I'm glad the green beans worked out. The great thing about dry beans is that they are fairly cheep if they don't seal.

aubryz- Starting to pressure can was a bit intimidating for me too, and it still is a little, to be honest. I've pretty much had to figure it out on my own. I would suggest doing a test run or two first. You can try dried beans, since they are cheap, but they take a bit to prepare. You can also try to can water with some food coloring. :) The food coloring will help you know if it over pressured - if it ends up in the canner water. I have used mirro canners with the weighted gauge. I like to not have to watch a dial, but since my stove is not level, it is hard to get the gauge to rock right, even with leveling the burners by putting coins under the tray. I hope to do a post on this soon. Do you have anyone you know who cans that you can have over to try a trial on your stove or at least watch? I do have to say, once you get going it is addictive!

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