Gardening is on my mind

My goal is to make the garden pay for what we put into it this year, which will take some careful planning and also staying on top of harvesting.  We just invested $420 into raised beds for growing raspberries, grapes, and herbs.  If the weather allows and my husband has enough time and energy I hope to have the grape beds completed in the next few days so I can purchase the plants to go in them.  Spring in our area doesn’t last long.

Things that did well for us in the garden last year:

  • Butterhead lettuce
  • Green cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Anaheim peppers – bell peppers did okay but the Anaheim produced more per plant
  • Radishes (didn’t plant nearly enough, and no succession planting last year)
  • Black cherry tomatoes
  • Big Beef tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Onions (sort of did okay but I learned a lot)
  • Lettuce mix (butter lettuce was better, but after it bolted the leaf lettuce was still growing)
  • Kale
  • Beets (with proper thinning should do well)

I would like to try planting green beans, peas, garlic, and carrots.  I am not planning to grow broccoli, chard, melons, or any winter squash or pumpkins until we can get the soil treated for fungus.  My plan is to purchase winter squash and corn for canning.  I will plant cayenne peppers for tincture.  I would like to gather rose hips in the fall.

I won’t need to make any jam this year as there is plenty left over from 2016.  In another year our berry patch should be producing enough to make jam from our own fruit.  I will need to make salsa this year but not chili sauce or sweet salsa.  Last year I purchased two bushel of tomatoes when my peppers came on, and did a final batch of tomato paste for the freezer with the last of my fall tomato crop.  I would like to bottle some peaches and apple pie filling, green beans.  Make apple cider vinegar and another batch or two of wine.  Freeze corn and cooked beets.  Dry some prunes.

I plan to bottle diced potatoes/carrots for making soup, and try bottling chili when I find a recipe we like, and chicken breast.  It might also be nice to try freezing diced onions and peppers.

We dried quite a bit of sliced apples last year.  The ones we liked the best had sugar on them.  I dried cherries but they were very labor intensive, so I will only make pie filling with whatever cherries I get.  We have quite a bit of applesauce in storage so there isn’t a need to bottle any applesauce this year.

It could be that bottling enough of any particular product to last two years is a good plan, reducing the number of different foods that need to be canned in any season.

Reading over the list of what canning and growing I was able to accomplish last year makes me feel pretty good.

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