Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August Garden Update

July and August may be the best months of the year for our garden - if you are looking for good fresh eating and don't mind the work! We have been blessed with abundant rain this summer and our garden is thriving. But that results in some busy days preserving the abundance. I bounce from being overwhelmed with busyness to being overwhelmed by the blessings!














This is what my kitchen counter looked like one day last week when I happened to have peaches (from a local orchard), kidney beans, and blackberries all ready to can on one day! I was a little weary that evening. But what a beautiful sight on our pantry shelves!



Our onion and garlic crop was excellent this year. The children had such fun picking the onions and laying them out to dry.

 

After they dried down a few days, I braided the tops together and hung them in our woodshed. I am still having trouble keeping the onions. Some are already beginning to rot. Hopefully since we grew so many, we'll still have many to enjoy.



One of the summer delights is fresh corn on the cob. This year a coon or ground hog got into our patch one night and pulled some corn down, but thankfully, he left most of it for us! We were worried he would keep returning on future nights but apparently did not.

 

Since our early garden (which included beets, sugar peas, lettuce, broccoli, onions, and garlic) was over, we cleaned up this area.

 

We replanted with fall crops (broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, turnips, and cauliflower).



We planted thornless blackberries several years ago but this was the first year we enjoyed a crop.

 

We are still experimenting with canning, freezing, and jam making with blackberries. Any hints?

 

The green beans were finished and tilled under. Ed broadcasted some buck wheat seed in this area for a cover crop. The potato plants are starting to die back. We are finding some nice size potatoes just for eating and plan to dig the whole patch once the plants are completely dead, probably late August or early September.



The tomato plants are looking rather well. There are a few signs of blight on the lower leaves but not nearly as bad as last year's blight.



But the tomatoes are very slow in ripening. We've picked a few tomatoes but most are quite green. I'm trying to be patient.

I'm rather pleased with how well we've kept after our vegetable garden this year. I'm actually not ashamed to photograph it. Definitely fewer weeds then some years.  But in case you think we don't have weeds, I'll turn the camera and show you some neglected areas.



This is the herb garden. At least it was this spring. Not sure what has survived the neglect.



And somewhere under these huge weeds is our compost pile and a garden wagon. My second trimester of pregnancy has brought much more energy than I had in early summer. So watch out weeds, your days are numbered!

How does your garden grow?


21 comments :

  1. Our tomatoes did well this year I was blessed with enough to give a lot away to family and friends. We had problems with our onions rotting too once we pulled them, they looked so nice and big and we laid them out to dry and they were soon rotting. I just thought we didn't know how to keep onions. Blessings to you as you provide canned/frozen food for your family.

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  2. Do you have a dehydrator? You can dry your onions and use all winter. You can also grind them for onion powder if you use it in your cooking. Just be sure to dry them outside or the whole house will smell like onion lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have dehydrated onions other years and love the convenience of onion powder. I just haven't got it done this year but thanks for the reminder!
      Gina

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  3. My garden is doing much better this year than last year. I grew a few things I haven't before with success.(garlic,corn) I pick wild blackberry every year and make jelly(I don't like seeds)and syrup with them. To help preserve your onions have you tried canning caramelized onions. The recipe is here: http://canninggranny.blogspot.com/2011/05/canning-caramelized-onions.html

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    Replies
    1. Canning caramelized onions? I never thought of it! LOVE the idea! Thanks!
      Gina

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  4. I froze all my onions that we planted. I diced them up and spread them on a pan to freeze and them put them in bags.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for another great idea! Do you have any trouble with them stinking up your freezer?
      Gina

      Delete
  5. I don't have much of a garden at the moment, but if I had as many green tomatoes as you do, I'd definitely be making green tomato pickles! Yum.
    I'm amazed by all that you do, and I love reading this blog :)

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  6. That looks so wonderful. What a great harvest and so much canned food. I wish I knew how to can. Have to learn ; )
    Have a great day.

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  7. Gina: First, I want to say congratulations on your pregnancy... I follow your blog but must have missed that announcement! God bless you and baby Five 8~D
    About the onions, I was getting on comments to tell you about how wonderful it is to have dehydrated onions on hand but saw someone else had! Then, to tell you how convenient to have frozen -- but that you have to freezer-bag-seal or freeze in mason jars -- otherwise, your freezer does take on onion oders.
    Amazing to see the big difference in this nation's gardening/putting-by schedule... Here in the land down under, ha, we are pretty much dormant in the 100+ weather of July/August. By end of June, all my tomatoes are canned, my bell peppers diced/frozen, potatoes dryed or canned, etc.
    I'm not sure I could take waiting until the middle of August to have a juicy ripe tomato dribbling down my forearm!
    Thanks for the great garden pics... In the future, be careful about being on your feet canning the live-long day!
    Lori
    Texas

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  8. I love your garden updates. I am having a bad problem with tomato blight. Would you please tell me which tomato variety you are growing? Thank you! Sue

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    Replies
    1. Sorry about the blight. I know that is no fun! Most of my tomato plants are San Marzano but the others plants I'm not sure of since my mother-in-law started several different varieties and gave some to me.
      Gina

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  9. Thank you so much for your help, Gina.

    Sue

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  10. If you want to get away from pectin you can make jam with crab apples
    http://www.ichef.com/recipe.cfm/recipe/Homemade%20Crab%20Apple%20Pectin/task/display/itemid/94687/recipeid/94336

    or sweet cherries (Bing work great). I use low or no sugar pectin, it is so much easer then the regular pectin type. I suggest you cut back on the seeds by running about half of the berries through a blender and then a fine colander or cheese cloth. I hope this was helpful!

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  11. I like to freeze my berries. I spread them single layer on a cookie sheet until they are frozen. Then I put them in a container. I like to use them in pancakes. Delicious!

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  12. We try to pick our tomatoes green as we prefer to use them in Green Tomato Salsa and Piccalilli; both are delicious. Our tomatoes are very slow this year, also, which is good for us :).

    I just found your blog and am enjoying it immensely. Thank you for sharing.

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  13. Hi, I love blackberry and apple jam...(i'm in the uk so know its a little different from your jelly) but its easy to make, 1 lb apples, peeled cored and sliced, 1 lb blackcurrants, 4 Tablespoons of water, very slowly stew down to get as much pectin out of the fruit naturally as possible. Then when all the fruit is really soft add 2 lb of warmed sugar. when the sugar has dissolved then boil the jam rapidly without stirring. Just test setting after about 5mins and keep testing on a saucer when setting quality arises then bottle into steralised jars seal with wax disks and leave to cool and set. Maybe you already do this but just thought I'd add it incase its something different to try. Should make up to three and half pound jars.

    still really enjoy reading your blog, thanks
    shelley p
    from over the pond

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  14. Hello.
    I've just found your blog and am enjoying reading through.
    I love making seedless blackberry jam - I simmer the fruit, then push the lot through a mouli before measuring for sugar and doing the usual. It has more texture than the clear jelly and doesn't waste so much.
    We've been blight free here in Essex, UK, so far . . .
    x

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  15. Wow, your garden is looking nice! Ours had a great start, but has turned out to be disappointing. Due to the rain and cool weather, our tomatoes got completely wiped out by late blight, like yours last year. So disappointing! Peppers, green beans, popcorn, and onions have done well so far. I remind myself that it's all about learning through experience.

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  16. Is it common practice to lay your onions out to dry? I never lay mine out to dry. I just hang them up in my pantry. Granted, I live in Texas and that would probably ruin the onions. I have only had one onion rot, but I believe it had too much sun this summer being that my pantry is close to the back door window. I have been hanging onions in my pantry for years. Plus I still have a garden going at half production, praying the tomatoes will kick back in once it cools off in Texas.

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    Replies
    1. The common recommendation here is to lay them out to dry. But I'm sure that climate differences would change things!
      Gina

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