Thursday, July 25, 2013

Garden Update

I have mentioned before that this year's weather has been unusual.  Last year we had an uncommonly early spring and by late May/early June the garden gave up in the heat.  I am fortunate to have Mr. Marvelous, because he started planting early ~ ignoring the weatherman (who was wrong, of course!).  We had a good harvest in by the time the garden quit.

This year has been late, wet, and cool.  It's been interesting to compare it to other years; this year has been very similar to 2009 when we moved into the Homestead.

Remember the funny squash we had?  That is now our absolute favorite!  It's tasty, but it is also a very, very hard worker.  Our crookneck varieties couldn't handle the weather.  They would sprout up, bloom, look around, and give up and die.  I think we harvested 6 squash total from all those plants.  The zucchini did a little better.  I managed to get 12-15 pounds of them which translates into about 6 bags in the freezer.  I'd rather have 12 and be able to have my favorite casserole once a month, but I'm thankful for the 6.  But the Zephyr; oh my!  I have canned a total of 47 pints....

(they are stacked 5 deep)

...from those two plants!

Talk about your hard-workers!

The peas have only just now started producing.   We raise zipper peas rather than English peas.  They are more efficient in yield per space and Mr. Marvelous prefers them.  They are looking pretty, and producing some great blooms for our bees.

Yeah, there's a lot of weeds in there too.  Did I mention that it has been a really wet year?!

So far I have gotten 10 bags in the freezer.  Peas and beans are vegetables that I like to be able to pull out and fix about every week, so I would like to get at least another 30 or so bags put up of these.

Then there's the beans.  Mr. Marvelous discovered a variety a couple of years ago called Scarlett Runners.  They are beautiful!

Imagine a whole fence of these surrounding the property.

Unfortunately, they have a very low-yield.  And the beans that they produce are, well...

We also planted some McCaslin Pole beans.  Now these guys produce and the beans are some of the best we have had.  They are struggling with the wet, but we have a second planting in and are hopeful.  So far I have gotten 1 quart and 17 pints.

I got a few more after this picture

I'd like to have about 5-9 more quarts for family gatherings, and another 30 or so pints for the weekly meals.  Since they are still producing and we were able to get a second planting done, I might be able to pull that off.

The tomatoes are only just now starting to get ripe.  Again, that's pretty late in the year.  


With tomatoes I can, if I have to, go up Chandler Mountain and buy a box pretty cheap.  But we really prefer to have our own.  So far I've been able to get 6 quarts and 1 pint put up.  I really don't know how many I will need exactly, but I do know that I use a lot of tomato puree and tomato sauce in my cooking.  I can them whole or in large chunks and then when I need puree or sauce I will pull out a jar and mash them up.  It's a lot easier and quicker that way.  I'm hopeful that we will be able to take care of all our tomato needs from our own garden.

Like the beans, I have gotten some more done since I took this picture

Cucumbers are not doing as well this year.  I think it's partly because we are doing different varieties and I just have to get used to this new kind.  Still, we have gotten enough harvested that I have made 14 pints of kosher dills and 8 pints of sweet pickles.  I do know that I need about 15 pints of sweets for Mr. Marvelous.  These are one of my more popular items, so another 15-20 pints to have on hand for gifts would be useful.  I think my twin could eat that many jars by herself!

I'd love to get another few watermelons and put up some more of those pickles too; they are also rather popular and make great gift items.  Plus I love to eat watermelon.

We did manage to put up 37 bags of creamed corn in the freezer already.  That we had to buy at the farmer's market.  We have decided to give up on growing corn.  Our soil and our climate just don't do well with that.  Corn is space-intensive and one of the Princess Crops (high maintenance).  We'll support a local small farmer for corn.

 When you stack your bags of corn in the freezer, put paper towels between every third bag or so.  That way if they leak, you can still manage to get the bags separated from each other.  I'm passing that hard-learned lesson along to you as a freebie.  You're welcome.

Finally, there are the potatoes.  Oh my, the potatoes!  We have harvested less than half of the crop so far.  You know those nice red buckets you can buy at Firehouse Subs?  We have two of them almost full!  We also have a friend who is a wood-worker, so we'll be getting sawdust from him for packing the potatoes.  I'm curious to see how long the potatoes will keep that way.

Apart from the herbs, eggs and the bunnies, that sums up our harvest.  So far!

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