Monday, October 19, 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The Sheffers have been running at full steam for weeks now. It is amazing just how much work needs to be done in the short time left before Old Man Winter blows into town.

This year was the year of the pumpkin for us. We had planned on keeping things small this year in the garden and only using the western garden which is much smaller than the one to the east of the house. The plan was to just work on turning the compost, putting in raised beds for the garden, and fixing the fencing. Charlie tossed a couple of very, um, overripe pumpkins in the area intending for them to just compost. Before we even realized what was happening, we had pumpkin vines growing over almost the entire garden. So much for raised beds. Yesterday, I went out to the garden to harvest the pumpkins that we had literally done no work to raise.
We didn't even water it. The result of this serendipitous turn of events was almost four dozen pumpkins. They filled a 20 gallon tote to overflowing. We'll obviously save some seeds for next year (which probably won't grow nearly as nicely), and I will be spending the winter making lots of pumpkin goodies. I am thinking that pies and bread will likely be in abundance for us. Although, I have a huge pile of summer squash to be grated for breads too.

It is a really good thing that the pumpkins grew like crazy because the tomatoes did not, and they were really the only thing that I planted besides a few herbs. A variety of 20 heirloom plants and 5 volunteer cherry tomato plants that I transplanted (plus a few that I didn't) went into the ground with all sorts of warnings that we would have more tomatoes than we could handle. I would have to check my records to verify, but I would be surprised if we averaged even six pounds per plant - definitely not what we had expected although the summer was rather cool. Sure, more than a hundred pounds of tomatoes is not a tiny amount. My recipe for spaghetti sauce uses 25 pounds though. Plus, the plan had been to have enough tomatoes to have stewed tomatoes and sauce canned for chilli all winter, slices for sandwiches this summer, and a bunch of salsa too. At least I can hopefully salvage the situation by making some green tomato salsa. I am currently enjoying the sound of jars pinging as they seal. We will taste test a couple of versions of the recipe before making the rest of the salsa. There is a good chance that this will make more than a year's worth for us.

Last but not least, the garden that Dad had out at the Farm this summer produced a LOT of beans and cukes. I made dill pickle slices, dill pickle spears, sweet pickles, and dilly beans from them. Guess what we are bringing for Thanksgiving....

Make it a fantastic day!