Well it is that time of year again, time to plant the garden. We keep several very large vegetable gardens and grow a lot of our food. We work hard in the springtime preparing and planting the gardens. We work throughout the summer weeding and keeping things tidy. We work hard in August and September harvesting and storing all of the food grown. We can tomatoes, green beans, beets, jalapenos, and sauerkraut, and we freeze corn, peppers, some strawberries, and peas. Onions and potatoes are stored in the basement. Strawberries, black raspberries, and concord grapes are used to make jams and jellies and my husband uses some for wine making. Cucumber and lettuce are eaten fresh from the garden along with some of the wonderful tomatoes and peppers. I planted carrots this year, a first for our garden, I imagine if they grow nicely we will simply eat them freshly picked. I love the smell of fresh carrots, and I love the smell of tomato plants as I brush against them in the garden.
Each year we put in around 50 tomato and this year is no exception. We can the tomatoes mainly in quart size jars and we do many, many quarts, I do up about a dozen pint jars. I like to can the tomatoes as is, then I can use them for whatever I want throughout the year. We like canned tomatoes with fried eggs and toast, this is why I can up the pint jars. The quarts are used for many, many meals throughout the year, a jar dumped in the food processor with an onion, some jalapeno pepper and cilantro, a little cumin and lime juice and voila you have a wonderful salsa.. Two jars with a bit of oil, onion, basil, sugar, salt, and tomato paste and spaghetti sauce is made. Chili, a couple quart jars of tomatoes really make the chili. The tomatoes are fabulous when added to stews and soups. I feel that when I can tomatoes I am also canning summertime, because when I open a jar in the middle of winter the aroma is amazing, the tomatoes simply smell of summertime in the garden!
We still have a few items to plant, beet seeds to be planted, tomato, pepper, and cucumber plants to put out, they are currently hanging out on the front porch adjusting in a sheltered place to the great outdoors. I have planted a few rows of flowers around the garden, marigolds and zinnia, I think I will get some cosmos seeds too.
Last year we planted asparagus, it has come back this year, we were told to leave it be for the first two years and then harvest some for eating, so next spring we will enjoy!
Dave pruned all of our fruit trees and took out a sucker cherry tree and a peach tree that had died then grew many suckers and looked like a giant peach bush, it did not produce good fruit. We will purchase replacement trees to fill in the gaps.
Last spring Dave built a small raised garden for me to use as an herb garden, the mint and oregano are flourishing, the chives returned along with the cilantro. This spring I added dill and lavender, and I plan to add rosemary and sage. I like weeding the herb garden because everything I disturb while weeding smells so good.
Our chickens enjoy the fact that we keep a garden, they benefit greatly as they get to eat all kinds of good things, like lettuce that has bolted, tips and tops of green beans and strawberries, the tops of beet plants, wormy ears of corn, and many other things. The chickens are used to many scraps from the house and whenever I walk out to them they come running to the fence in the hopes that I may have something yummy for them to eat.
This weekend the weather is going to be pleasant which will allow us to finish up planting.
If you are doing a garden this year what are you planting?