Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gardens are Great!

Around the Farm, we love a good garden and I don't just mean Farmer Ron and I in that "we." If you ask the young'uns, I think they would admit to having fond feelings for that piece of land.

Yes, the garden involves a good deal of work - getting the plots ready, planting, weeding (although with the way we garden, this is pretty minimal), harvesting and getting the harvest ready to store. It is some work, especially when you have a garden on the larger side of the scale and are trying to get a sizable portion of your yearly food from it. But it is really worth it!

A word of warning: I am going to try to convince you to take a stab at growing some food in this post and in others. Keep reading at your own risk!

You can get some great food from your garden. We ate LOTS of fresh veggies all summer and into the fall last year. In fact, I didn't really buy any fresh veggies except for carrots, onions and garlic. We all love going out to the garden and picking a snack when we're hungry. If we're all outside and we can't find Abby in the summer, she is always in the garden eating something. Thankfully, she knows which plants are the jalepenos.

Here's a list of what we canned or froze last year:

12 pints strawberry jam
1.5 gallons of whole strawberries
7 cups of rhubarb
10 cups of cherries
180 cups of shredded zucchini
36 cups of green beans
5 pints of dilly beans
14 quarts of dilly beans
140 cups of corn
12 cups of swiss chard
8 cups of kale
8 pints pizza sauce
7 quarts of Italian tomatoes
8 quarts of spaghetti sauce
18 quarts of diced tomatoes
5 quarts of tomato sauce
3 quarts of dried Roma tomatoes
20 quarts of apple sauce
21 quarts of apple pie filling
7 pints of jalapeno jelly
10 pints of green tomato salsa
1 gallon ziploc full of pesto cubes
1 gallon of ratitoulle, see here
1gallon bag of diced green bell peppers
1 quart bag of diced jaelpenos
Here is what we ate fresh all summer:
homemade salsa (I have dreams about this stuff!)
green beans
mixed greens - arugula, lettuces, spincach, etc.
egg plant
various herbs
sugar snap peas
swiss chard

You get the idea. Doesn't even some of that make your mouth water?
So, you need to do some gardening. You don't have to dig up your whole backyard. In fact, I think you are smart to start small your first year. Garden plants are quite pretty. Start by setting aside a portion of your already existing flower beds and use them to garden. Put in a few tomato plants. Grow beans up a trellis on the side of your garage. Sow some salad greens. Put herbs in pots. Put tomatoes in pots for that matter. You can get lots of produce from a few plants.
Fresh veggies taste great, but they taste excellent if you and your family have grown them on your own little farm.
What are you planting this year?
By the way, the photo is of our garden this past Monday. The snow is all gone now. The bike is just to show how good my kids do at putting away their things...


  1. Wow! Did you get ALL that from your own garden?

    Last year we had our first good size garden (we'd grown a few things before but never really had a garden). It was more successful than we thought possible. (We're not known for our green thumbs.)

    We are looking forward to another garden this year. I will be planting fewer cucumbers and more peas. I need to find a pea variety that you can cook in the pod (like for stir-fry), any suggestions?

    We had a little strawberry patch at our old house. I planted a few here plants in the corner of our yard here at the new house but they didn't do very well. I hope they survive but if not I'll try again. We really miss our home-grown strawberries!

    And we love fresh homemade salsa too! I can't can it... it's got to be fresh! :)

    Looking forward to more gardening posts!!

  2. We also had some Acorn squash and Butternut squash. Since I am the only one in the family that likes it, I guess it doesn't make the list. :-)

    We also grow raspberries, but our three youngest eat them all before we get a chance to harvest!

  3. We're finally out of apartment-life and major transitions (we moved 11 times in 11 years) - I'm SO ready to garden! We've got a sunny little plot in the backyard I've had my eye on. Now I just need to get "Farmer Mick" to help me build a couple of raised beds and we'll get crackin'.

    Love reading about your successes in gardening, and I look forward to future posts.

  4. You have inspired me to have more than rhubarb and horseradish this year Wendy.

  5. I need to put a disclaimer on this...I just type up the list I had kept in my calendar from last fall of what I processed. We didn't grow the corn, strawberries or apples. We got the corn and apples from good friends and we picked the strawberries at a farm.

    Sorry to be misleading! :)

  6. Shelly - if you grown some type of sugar snap peas and pick them when they are on the younger side, they'll be great in stir-fry. A word of warning though, my kids rarely let us get many of these in the house. They were prime snack food.

    Anj - would love to see your garden! You're probably all over it, but Ron's favorite garden book when we started out was "The Square Foot Gardener."

    Matt - if you can convert a school bus to an RV you can grow a garden. I'll be Sam would love to help!