The garden is producing like crazy and we are harvesting daily. Cucumbers and peppers are ready to be picked every 2-3 days or so. We harvested most of the tomatillos but there are still a few still waiting to be picked. The bush beans are done, but the pole beans are still producing. We gave up on the broccoli – we pulled the sunburnt and pest-eaten plants and planted seeds for a fall crop in the middle field. There are still collards, kale, and strawberry spinach to be picked and carrots to be dug. Almost all of the potatoes have been dug. We did our best to pick as many of the wild blackberries as we could which meant braving the thorns, heat, ticks, and poison ivy on the brushy hillside about every other day for 2 weeks. TOMATO season has begun and I am picking pounds of tomatoes every other day. Our corn seems to be growing well and there are small ears on every plant. All but one small patch of lettuce has bolted and dill has gone to seed. We still have more beautiful rainbow chard than we can eat. We have dug up a few onions, but the rest are still growing along with the leeks. The strawberries got a little deer-eaten but are now protected by row covers. The asparagus bed is full of tall fern-like asparagus plants. It’s in need of weeding, but an active yellow jacket nest is currently keeping me out of the area. The garlic cloves I impulsively stuck in the ground last Fall and forgot about actually grew into useable garlic bulbs! The cabbage plants are finally forming heads but I have no idea if they will be edible – there were so many cabbage moth eggs on them that they could be full of caterpillars. Overall, our first growing season has been a success, even without the use of any synthetic fertilizers or insecticides.
All this harvesting means I am spending lots of time preserving food. I am pickling, jam-making, canning, blanching, and freezing at least SOMETHING just about every day. Many of the potatoes have been made into a delicious soup for the freezer. The tomatillos became many pints of salsa verde. I have lost count of how many pints of pickles we have. We haven’t harvested our corn yet, but Trav bought some beautiful corn at the and used it to create a delicious corn chowder. I made as much blackberry jam as I could while the wild blackberries were producing, but we are gifting it and eating it so fast that it will be gone soon. I have overcome my fear of the pressure canner! There are a lot of things that are not safe to be water-bath canned, but can be pressure-canned, like beans, potatoes, corn, and meat. The pressure canner is the only way to safely can those items. We are eating many of the tomatoes fresh, but a lot are going into tomato sauce. We have plenty of basil, oregano, and Italian parsley as well!
We have other projects going on as well – increasing rabbit production, yarn-spinning, soap-making, and other things that I will have to write about later. I have tomatoes waiting to be processed!