Monday, September 24, 2012

Harvesting- a ton of fun

  The garden this year was a ton of fun. Hard work made even more challenging with the drought, but we still managed to grow a lot. We also managed to forage a lot of wonderful things. We managed to harvest over 2,000 pounds.

 With a forecast of frost (which they then said would be a freeze), we scrambled on Friday and Saturday to pick as much as we could of the warm season crops. Every bowl, bin, bucket, bag, tote, and pot was filled. In desperation, folded laundry was dumped to use those baskets and total panic... a dozen pillowcases repurposed. (Lemme tell ya... I was really irked when it didn't really frost!! It was more of a glancing blow. Just enough to barely tinge a few super sensitive plants, but not enough to stop them.) 

 All surface areas are claimed save a 2 foot section in the kitchen where I prepare meals and do my canning.

 Even the couch was not safe from the overflow. I'm amazed we got any zucchini and squash as the squash vine borers blew out the stems of everything except the butternuts. Squash bugs, and cucumber beetles in particular, were covering all the plants.

 We still got some squash, melons, and cucumbers. Enough to share with neighbors, make pickles, and feed my almost featherless diva poultry (bad roosters!)

 Due to the drought, we had to drag water in 5 gallon buckets to irrigate the plants every other day. The water source is a spring fed pond, so we had to perch on a stone to fill the buckets and then haul them all the way to the garden. I'd grab handfuls of Japanese beetles on the return trip to the pond to feed the fish. Feeding the fish was the fun part.

  The water from the pond is like a mild fertilizer due to the nitrates from the fish. With a late start, it meant many of the plants went into happy fun over obnoxious primarily foliar growth. Yellow pear tomatoes get overwhelming when exposed to this. They grew up and over the tomato cages, back down to the ground (where they set more roots), and did their best Kudzu impersonation. Rows vanished. The deer snacked away and barely made a dent. The chickens got 3 pounds everyday.. and I set out bowls for the chipmunks on the patio. One day, DV picked from just 1 yellow pear plant and had enough to make 8 quarts of venison chili. 

 He's now requested a limit on the yellow pears for next year's planting. lol I'll do a few less, but I like making sauce out of them.

 Today I'm trying to reclaim surface space. Tomatoes are roasting to make sauce, the second batch of applebutter is cooking away, some chili peppers are in the dehydrator, and I'm waiting to hear the pings of the just pickled green tomatoes.

Part of an average day's harvest once the gardens got going.

Just out of the waterbath canner. Spicy garlic & dill pickled green tomatoes.

  We yanked these pepper plants and hung them in the basement (ran out of time picking.) It'll buy me a little more time to process the other ripe veggies that can't wait. The same can be done to tomatoes and the fruit will get a little more time to ripen on the vine.

 Suggestions of good canning recipes would be very appreciated. Especially for hot peppers (of which I have 100 pounds), green tomatoes, and apples!



  1. Looks like you made some serious garden headway Anne.

    Very nice!!!

  2. We're workin' on it! Most of this wouldn't have happened without DV. Bless that man.