How to harvest it, clean it, dry it, can it, cook it, bake it, butcher it and freeze it. Mostly I worry about how to PRESERVE it so we can eat more of our own food and less from some unknown farm 1500 miles away.
Now, at the end of August, we must take account and it's not nearly as good as we had hoped. Excuses. We have hundreds. Keith was working off farm this year, which gifted me with additional livestock chores. I also got sidetracked with my writing career (which was equally sidetracked by my livestock tending "career"). We were busy building a barn from scratch. We didn't get enough rain. We had family needs, and of course my favorite;
the sun was in our eyes.
Where else would it be in summer, I don't know. Regardless, our garden production was about half of what we had hoped. Tomatoes so slow, we're just eating them as they ripen, won't be any leftover for canning. Beans did get canned, but only about 2/3 of what I did last summer. Apple trees produced very little fruit and our sole pear tree died. Peppers are getting there, I may have enough to chop and freeze, but broccoli never really saw the light of day. Beets were planted THREE times and never sprouted. (Bad seed? Bad Soil? Bad Beet vibes?) Onions got in late and are in limited supply. Zucchini died before producing anything. We hardly knew she was sick.
You would think we were brand new gardeners. But no, we've been at this for over two decades. Looking back we've had tons of years with so much garden produce we could've fed five families, so I suppose statistically, we were due for a partial garden fail.
On the flip side: potatoes are being dug and providing great meals. Should have enough to store for a couple months. Sweet potatoes look great, we expect copious amounts. My holy basil and regular basil plants will provide tea and pesto all winter and we ate TONS of peas. Our cabbage patch is producing nicely and today I made sauerkraut. I'll make lots more in the coming weeks. Garlic did extremely well. We'll have enough to plant another fall crop soon and the rest is stored in cheesecloth and hung from our kitchen rafters. Vampires won't have a chance here. Finally, the bees have been very busy. We expect a good supply of honey.
On the protein side:
The chickens are laying well so we have many eggs, much of which I scramble and freeze for baking. Our broilers are gaining weight so we'll have wonderful chicken to last until next fall. We'll start butchering them in October. Two beef are going to the locker in October as well, having grown well this summer which will fill our freezers with burger, roasts and steaks and our three hogs set for the locker September 13, are HUGE. We will soon be flush in bacon, pork chops and sausage.
So I guess we won't starve but how I hate the idea of having to buy any tomato products these next few months. Anyone got a recipe for making spaghetti sauce out of sweet potatoes?