There is nothing like fresh vegetables from your own garden. It is even better when you know that you grew them from seed. I have only 1.6 acres of land. A good chunk is still devoted to pine forest. We have a large area that is totally fenced in for the dogs. This allows us to grow things within the fenced area and no worry about deer. Though, the grape arbor is outside the fence, for now. The deer or something do appear to love the grapes as they are usually gone before I can get to them.
We keep experimenting around here. We try different things to try to get a decent crop from our little space. I think for now, we might just have what we need. I originally had worked the ground, tilled and dug boulders out of the original area. It never really got going as it turns out that it is kind of wet most of the time. We did get some squash and a few green beans but nothing much. The next year, I decided to try raised beds. I put in two to start and placed them on the side of the yard. I think the big oak provided too much shade. The quality of plants was not that great. Most of the tomatoes, most sourced from Home Depot, developed black spots and were rotting before they got to ripen. Once again, I think that due to the oaks, the area got too much shade. So I took those two beds and moved them to the back of the yard on the raised area in the middle. So they get the sun and drainage. The first two I repurposed for strawberries. I planted about 25 plants in each four by eight frame.
We got a lot of strawberries, but since they stopped producing berries, they have been going to town with runners. I keep cutting them back, but they are like weeds. Good thing they are contained in a raised bed.
Given the disappointing results from the last few years, I made the mistake of over-planting. I figured if I planted more, I would maybe get enough. Problem is, that when I put in the other four raised beds for veggies, I managed to get hold of composted farm debris. Does the term Holy Crap! describe it. I managed to get so much squash that we were giving it away. I canned up some squash/onion/tomato mix. I cut up some more and blanched and froze it. I had all ready processed five quarts of green beans, but the circuit for the freezer had blown and we did not know so we lost everything. Thanks to Holy Crap, we managed to recoup those lost beans too. I even put up another three quarts of green beans today.
For some, the idea of home canning or freezing can be intimidating. It really is a simple process. I learned to can a number of years ago and I would make up a big batch of spaghetti sauce and can that. We would have sauce in the pantry for the next six months or so. With the current crop, we have enough green beans to get us through the winter. I am not a big fan of squash, but my wife has plenty. I had even planted a couple of eggplant. I pulled one last week and made her Eggplant Parmesan. There are a few more coming in. I had to cull some of the squash. Just too many and more coming in.
The jalepenos came in okay. I made some salsa, but think a water bath canning instead of pressure canning would have been better. The color of the salsa is muted and there seems to be more liquid in there. Live and learn. You have to experiment and then you come up with the best processes that work for you.
The tomatoes are starting to come in and thanks to my over-planting, I think we are going to be inundated.
Some really nice Romas coming in, as well as these beautiful pink beefsteaks. Man, nothing like the taste of fresh tomatoes off the vine.
The thing is that the more I read about what they are doing to our foods, the more I want to get back to the basics. I ordered some organic seed from Johnny’s Seeds, and started them from scratch. I think the only thing I bought was the eggplant. The soil made a huge difference as well as the location. The thing is that you don’t have to have a very big area. I have seen some that use gutters attached to a rack to grow food vertically. Yes, you do have to go out and weed now and then. Let me tell you, when though, when you start harvesting your own food. When you taste that tomato fresh from the vine, you will be hooked.
So stayed tuned. I will revisit the garden over the years and share the things I found works for me. You might find you have to adjust for your own area. We will see what PineCroft starts to bring forth. We have a couple of peaches. Yes, peaches in Massachusetts. Turns out they grow pretty well here. No, I won’t be like Atlanta and start calling everything Peachtree this and Peachtree that. Besides, the PawPaws would get jealous. I have also started an orchard area with peaches, plums, pears, apples, pawpaws, cherries, and nectarines. We have blueberries started as well as grapes and hazelnuts. In another two or three years, we might just have so much fruit and vegetables, we might just have to give some food away. Oh, the neighbors will love that. Oh, yeah, there are also plans to expand to chickens and bees. All will come together in time, as money allows. In the meantime, we will enjoy the bounty we have. Hmmm, I have a feeling I will be trying to make tomato sauce from scratch. Stay tuned.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.