Harvested Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes
The growth in the Greenhouse
The first of the onions
The first of the tomato harvest
Canned Habanero Salsa
Its been awhile since I posted anything. I am happy to announce that the dog is healthy again. I’m doing much better, my son is back to school, real work is back on the front burner and all of the produce is coming in all at the same time! Needless to say we have been very busy!
There are several projects going on in addition to all of the food processing. We figured out how to handle the grasshoppers. The biggest deterrent is making sure all of the weeds and grass around the garden are cut short so they have no where to hide. The second is to use an insecticide around the perimeter of the garden. This will help keep them down but also won’t be sprayed anywhere near the produce. The weeds themselves, particularly Goatheads, Round Up resistant Amaranth, and Kochia need to be cut back significantly. We are going to have a bumper crop harvest but the weeds are crazy making and we need to find a way to keep them kept down or this will quickly become not fun.
We lost the hard bean crop to the grasshoppers. Not only did they like to eat the leaves, they also took a fondness to the flowers. No flowers, no beans. They also tried to take the squash and melon beds but we prevailed and the melons have been awesome. We also have had an amazing crop of Acorn, Butternut and Spaghetti squash.
The carrots and beets lost their minds this year. We canned 70 pints of carrots, have made beet chips and canned pickled beets. There are still hundreds more of each. I recently bought new sand to put in our storage bins to keep them through the end of the year. Zina juiced about 3 gallons of carrot juice and is in our freezer.
We were getting to the end of our green beans from last year. Not a problem anymore. We had a huge green bean harvest and were able to put up a couple of dozen quarts of them in the pantry.
Last year’s tomato crop sucked. Totally sucked. We had freezes, made some mistakes, had hail, etc., etc. etc. This year no worries. In the last picking I have canned a dozen pints of tomato sauce, 10 pints of habanero tomato salsa, and 12 pints of canned fresh vegetable salsa. There are dozens more tomatoes in the greenhouse. We’ve had so many cherry tomatoes we have been canning them too!
The pepper harvest has been insane. We have had the best pepper plants ever this year and have picked bushels of them. They have been canned, eaten, given away and dehydrated. Its amazing how many peppers one plant can produce.
The blueberries are getting established as well as the Blackberries. The Blackberries produced a pint or two and are super tasty!
The Tomatillo plants have done well too. The grasshoppers got into them but didn’t seem to eat them. I think they just liked the cover. Because of all the hoppers we had a 4 foot Bull Snake take up residence and help keep the population down some. We have had a very nice harvest of the Tomatillos and have made one of our favorite Green Salsas in quantity.
We did an experiment to see which way to plant onions – seeds or sets – produced the best. Answer: If you have lots of compost rich in Nitrogen, seeds hands down. Our onions are incredible this year. Its a bit more work to plant seeds, but totally worth it!
As the year winds down there are many projects to contend with. The biggest project is putting the beds to bed for the winter. As we harvest and close them down we will be weeding – both physically and flame – to get the seeds out of there. We will broad fork them to loosen up the soil, put down straw for mulch and then cover them with black plastic. This past spring was a weeding nightmare. A little prevention will go a long long way.
The chickens are making lots of eggs. We raised and processed 30 broilers for the freezer and the two big pigs weighed in at 550 lbs each thus filling our freezers to the brim. We have been canning meat and eating pork and chicken to make room in the freezers as we have 2 more pigs going to freezer camp the first week of November.
So other than injuries the summer has again proven fruitful. We have a very small grocery bill as a result and the activity is much more fun than going to the gym. I hope that all of you have had a wonderful summer and are looking forward to the coolness of the fall.