Bruce worked long and hard hours putting in the garden this last spring, so much so that he’s lost about 20 pounds. The garden was already huge and he added on to it. After all that labor we are beginning to see some results. Actually, we are hauling in the produce as fast as we can!
We had a huge crop of asparagus in April. We ate a lot of it, pickled some and froze about 12 pounds.
In June we had a nice crop of beautiful heads of lettuce and also some rhubarb. I’m not a fan of rhubarb but we did find a great place to pick strawberries, so we made some strawberry-rhubarb jam, and that’s good! The rhubarb is ready to be harvested again, so I think this time we’ll freeze it. We may need to get another freezer!
It looked like we would get a good crop of early plums and we did eat a few of them, but the raccoons got the rest when we went away on a short trip. That was disappointing. The blueberries plants we brought with us from California had a beautiful crop. They ripen differently here; they get blue quickly, but take a long time to ripen and they’ll stay on the stems for a longer time. We had to put netting on them because the birds love them, ripe or not.
In early July we started getting some snow peas and then they just took off and we couldn’t pick them fast enough, but we were able to freeze a large portion of them. Of course the zucchini and summer squash are doing well…they’ve been producing since June with no let up in sight. Bruce and our daughter put up some zucchini dill and bread and butter pickles. They are squeaky when first made, but soften up and become just as delicious as cucumber pickles. I also made some zucchini bread but it takes a disappointingly small amount of zucchini to make the cakes. The food pantry likes to get the giant ones. The grate them and then freeze them and use them as hash browns–frying them up in a pan. Sounds interesting but we haven’t tried it yet.
We’ve also had some kohlrabi, and fennel, which we pickled.
Next up–cucumbers! LOTS of cucumbers! Now we have many, many jars of pickles, with only two of us to eat them.
A couple of mornings ago it was cool so Bruce and I went out and picked several pounds of green beans and yellow wax beans and we canned all of them. We’ve never done that before so it was fun and interesting and also a good review of how to can low-acid vegetables and the use of the pressure canner.
That’s about all we have in the garden so far. The tomatoes are just starting to ripen and the few we had to eat were delicious. The peppers are coming along and I cooked some up for dinner. The melons are small but looking good and the winter squash look very pretty amongst the green leaves.
Oh, also Bruce dug up a few pounds of potatoes and they look just like the ones you get in the store. That’s a first time crop for Bruce and I’d say it’s a success!
We don’t have any ripe fruit yet, but the grapes, apples, plums and pears all look good and we are impatiently waiting for them to ripen.
We just couldn’t resist the peaches being sold at Brosi’s Sugartree Farm, one of the local fruit stands. We started out with part of a 20 pound box and made two jams, Peach Brandy and Peach Basil, one batch of pickled peaches and the filling for one pie. We kind of goofed up the jam recipes, but it was fun, so today we went out and got another 20 pound box. I made one more pie filling today and tomorrow we’ll can the rest and perhaps freeze some of them.
The pickled peaches are in a sugar/vinegar syrup with vanilla beans, whole allspice and cinnamon sticks.
Pie filling ready for freezing in a pie dish, and peach slices ready for freezing.
Here’s a rare scene on the farm–the Gravens Garden farmer taking some well-deserved time off.