This week we’ve finished a few garden projects. The most important being we got two of the blueberry trellis’ with netting over the top built. I will finally have some blueberries! Yay! I’m working on a blog post with more details and some tips on how we built the trellis.
Fresh seasonal food has maximum flavor and nutrition. My goal is to eat as much garden food as possible while it’s in season and with the excess preserve for when there isn’t as much abundance. This year, I’ve been working extra hard to meet my goal of a year of homegrown vegetables. It’s had me thinking of all the ways I need to preserve for winter, my hardest season to complete 100% vegetables from my backyard garden.
I wanted to give you some ideas on how to preserve what you have right now. In some parts of the US you may already be done with your spring harvest and others are just beginning. I’m right at the tail end of these early crops.
I’m about to hit a bit of a lull between crops. The cool season crops are just about finished and the warm season crops have yet to arrive. I harvested garlic scapes today and still have plenty of peas. I also have some fennel bulbs that are almost ready. I hope it’s enough to cross the bridge until the warm season veggies are ready! I could also harvest new potatoes to eat if we needed.
The first time I experienced cabbage worms was on my kale plants. I planted them in May right after my last frost date and by June I was finding holes riddled throughout the leaves.
If you’ve had cabbage worms on curly kale before, you know the crop is pretty much done for. Finding those worms in the folds is about impossible and the idea of accidentally eating one never really appealed to me. My husband often says “it’s extra protein” and while he’s right, I just can't do it. At least not on purpose.
Cameron spent two years living in Korea before we got married. He loved the food there and decided to take me to a Korean restaurant. He ordered a bunch of food for us, but my favorite was the Bulgogi (Korean Beef BBQ).
I can’t believe we are already approaching June! My kids are out of school now and I’m glad to have them home. They can be good helpers when they want to be and I am grateful for the help! We had another tornado warning this week but thankfully no hail and no tornado after all.
#1 Maintains More Nutrients Than Other Food Preservation Methods
There are only small amounts of nutrient loss in comparison with other food preservation methods like canning and freezing. I found a chart HERE that compares nutrient values. It says that dehydration has a 3-5% nutrient loss after preservation. Freezing has a 40 - 60% nutrient loss and canning has 60-80% nutrient loss.
It’s been difficult to do my usual cooking and preserving since we are remodeling and have no kitchen. I still managed to make sauerkraut, and we haven’t eaten out yet. That’s an accomplishment. Honestly, I don’t know how I could eat out at a restaurant with so much abundance in the garden. We’ve been doing a lot of cooking on our outdoor propane cooker that I usually use for canning.
I’ve been trying to grow strawberries organically for the last ten years. Eight of those ten years have been complete failures. I had one good year, my second year where I was taking in bowls of healthy strawberries but every year after that I was dealing with major diseases.
I finally had a BIG breakthrough this year! I did all these things on my list and it worked! Where we live in Arkansas there is a multitude of diseases because the heat, humidity, and rain. If you are struggling with healthy strawberries just follow these tips and you will have success.
It feels like this week has gone by so fast. The heat is finally here, with a few 85 degree days.
The bad news is that my daikon radishes have gone straight to seed along with one of my napa cabbages. I’ve never had my napa cabbages go to seed but it’s definitely happened with the daikon radishes before. I think both of them are more suited to be fall crops and I’m going to try them again in fall.
When it comes to growing a lot of food in a small area, I have so many tricks and tips to share with you! My own garden is 5000 square feet right now but it wasn’t always that way.
And to tell you the truth, since we are growing a year’s worth of food for six people, I still constantly employ all my methods for growing a large amount of food in a small space. If you check out my Guide on How Much to Plant Per Person for a Year’s Worth of Food, you will see that you need to be creative to make that happen with the space you have.
Want to know the first BIG secret to growing more food in a small area?
This week has been so rainy and cold here. It’s supposed to get down to 40 degrees tonight but thankfully move up from there. I have the majority of my warm crops already in the ground so I hope it doesn’t get any colder than forecasted. We are two weeks past our average last frost date!
Mmm. Lettuce. I know, I know, it’s not something we often crave but it can be delicious. It just depends on the variety, when you harvest, and how you dress it up. The main lettuce in this salad is Little Gem. Find it HERE. And by the way, it is a Gem! Once it gets full grown it has tasty leaves and an crunchy sweet heart. This is a must grow on my list every year. If you’re sick of bitter lettuce leaves, Little Gem takes the cake for sweetness.
This week we had flooding (not in the garden just locally) and lots of storms and rain. Cameron and I did a late night tomato mulching to prepare for the wet weather. My tomatoes usually get one disease or another by the end of the season so I mulch to try and keep the soil borne diseases at bay for as long as possible.
When I set the goal to eat only the veggies from my garden for a whole year, I had one big problem. I had no idea how many plants we needed to grow for a years worth of food! Since I grow for six people in a 3500 square foot garden with some space allocated for fruits, my amounts needed to be precise.
Every year I spend many, many hours in the garden and in the kitchen. I think knowing the why behind the task can be motivating and enlightening. Why should you strive to grow as much food as you can? You’ll find the answer in the 10 reasons below.
I’ve been kind of dreading writing this post today. Sometimes I really want to gloss over the hard things that happen here. We had two sets of chicks growing and thriving in our basement. The ones we incubated and the others we bought early in the season, about 7 weeks ago.
My bigger chicks I put in the chicken tractor every day last week when it was warm and dry. My stinky basement needed some relief! The chicks were so happy. One night when it was going to stay above 60 in the evening, I decided they should start spending the night outside.
I’m a huge believer in having the right tools for the job. When you put a lot of effort into something like a garden it can be so frustrating to fail because you didn’t have the right supplies.
To be honest, I wish I would have found these tools years ago. I could have saved hundreds of hours of back breaking labor. I’m not kidding you. A great garden tool is like a shortcut to your best garden ever!
Remember my chick from last week that had curled toes? Well stretching the toes did help but it turns out there was a bigger problem at play. The chick couldn’t bend the joint where the foot meets the leg on one side. It’s definitely going to need to be culled at this point as it seems in pain and is always shaking. So sad.
I’m Becky. Gardening and eating from that garden is my passion. I’m a believer that a year-round self-sufficient homestead can begin no matter where you may live. My goal is to empower others continue on their journey toward a self- sufficient life.