Tag Archives: harvest

3 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Garden

It’s that time of year again when we plan the garden, purchase seeds and get set up to start our seeds indoor.  Each year we reevaluate what worked in previous years and plan to try something new.  We ask ourselves 3 questions…

 

  1. What do we like to eat?
    • Green Beans might grow great in your backyard, but if you don’t like eating green beans after they have been frozen and preserved…don’t grow 10 plants worth (ask me how I know…no don’t).
  2. What does our summer and fall schedule look like?
    • The idea of 20 tomato plants might seem great, but keep in mind that making sauce and canning tomatoes takes time in the fall.  Think about the time you will have to commit to preserving your harvest.
    • Each plant will need different care when it comes to pest management, watering, weed control and harvest time.  Making sure we are home and able to care for the garden at various times is important to a successful harvest.
  3. How much room do we have in the freezer?
    • Many garden items can be frozen as an easier option to canning.  However, you need a freezer big enough to store it all.

    

Wondering what we make from our garden? Here is a list of what we grow and how we use them. Our garden isn’t huge, anyone with 1/8 acre or more could grow the same amount.

  1. Lettuce – fresh eating
  2. Kale & Spinach – fresh eating, freeze for smoothies & hot winter dishes
  3. Carrots – fresh and freeze
  4. Tomatoes – fresh, can as sauce, diced, ketchup or salsa, freeze as sauce
  5. Brussels Sprouts – fresh and freeze
  6. Broccoli – fresh and freeze
  7. Strawberries – fresh, freeze and can into jam
  8. Peppers – fresh, freeze, can in salsa and hot pepper jelly
  9. Raspberry & Blackberry – fresh, frozen and can into jam
  10. Corn – fresh and freeze
  11. Asparagus – fresh and freeze
  12. Grapes – we just started last year and hope to produce grapes this year – fresh, freeze, can in jam and grape juice.  Wine??? maybe…
  13. Apples – still in the beginning stages – fresh, can into applesauce and pie filling
  14. Sunflowers – decorations and treats for chickens
  15. Herbs – fresh and dried
  16. NEW THIS YEAR Snap Peas – fresh eating
  17. NEW THIS YEAR Pumpkins – fall decor, pumpkin seeds, and perhaps pie filling.

   

A NOTE ABOUT STARTING SEEDS INDOOR: We have tried to start various seeds indoors, but only tomatoes and peppers seem to be worth the time.  Most of the other plants we started indoors would die once they were outside (even after hardening off) and replanting seeds right into the ground was just as successful.  In fact, there have been years when we planted a transplant tomato right next to a direct seed plant and they both grew to be the same size at the same time.  If your soil is warm (which will likely happen this year in PA after the mild winter) your seeds will germinate quickly anyway.

We can’t wait for another year of fresh backyard produce!  What do you like to grow?

🙂 Mama Nice

Spring 2014…. Our Growing Homestead

This is our first season with our new garden on the new homestead.  When we first started planning our projects for the summer, I thought we were undershooting.  I wanted goats… like, NOW.  I wanted acres of corn… NOW.  I wanted to double the chickens and raise meat birds…NOW.  But alas, we did not accomplish all of that and I am so…GLAD.  What we have taken on has been more consuming than I thought.  The picture perfect dream of a productive homestead where I would go out to the garden in my perfect homesteading outfit (with apron of course) and harvest the produce, cook and can and blissfully appreciate all the God has given us is well….. not exactly how it all works out.

I’m learning that in the midst of our busiest days we find ourselves harvesting carrots before they rot.  On the rainiest days, a chicken gets sick and has to be tended to.  The beautiful sunflower hideout is infested with caterpillars that need to be picked and squished.  Yes, that is the reality of homesteading.  Oh, and my homesteading outfit?  How about pajamas, uncombed hair, glasses, chicken poop shoes and a cup of coffee.  Ha!

However, amongst all the chaos and imperfections I do find myself appreciating all that God has given us.  There are those moments of beautiful sunny skies when I see my kids picking produce or running with the animals, and I realize this is the dream we set out for.  Little by little, our dream is becoming a reality.

Here is a sneak peak of what’s been going on around the homestead this season.  In a perfect world I would post amazing pictures of the carrot muffins I made, or the best way to hardboil our fresh eggs… but when I start baking and cooking the kids in my house go wild and taking pics is the LAST thing on my mind.  So enjoy the pics I did manage to take 🙂

 

Our new shed/chicken coop in the works…

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The garden…

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Peach Tree                                   Apple Tree

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Tomatoes                                    Carrots

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Beets                                            Peas

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Peppers                                             Raised Beds

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Blackberry Bush

 

Our sunflower hideaway is growing nicely…

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Our first carrot harvest….

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Thanks for reading.  Stay tuned for more updates (and hopefully recipes)!

🙂 Mama Nice