The Weekly Digs #37

by Becky
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The weather prediction was exactly right. We got our first freeze on October 11th getting down to 32 degrees. All the tender warm season crops were killed but luckily we got all the fruit collected the day before. It’s both a sad and a happy day. I’m sad because it means the end of lots of crops and signals winter is almost here. But I’m happy because I’m so sick and tired of eating tomatoes and peppers every single day that it’s nice to have an abrupt end. Haha! 

We are still following our plan of eating all vegetables only from our backyard. Even if it means eating the same thing over and over. I’ve learned to be really creative with the menu so it doesn’t feel like we are eating all the same vegetables. But we’ve been eating tomatoes and peppers since mid July and I’m done for a while. 

My favorite thing about eating with the seasons is that it is a natural way to eat. By the time you are sick of one seasons crop another comes to take its place. We got our first winter radish, Chinese Red Meat this week. I’ve never grow that variety before. It is colorful and delicious. Lettuce is coming in now too along with arugula. I’m very thankful for the change!

As far as the house and land hunt goes, we looked at another house this weekend. It was 50 acres and the right size house. It had mature fruit trees, a pond, and was fenced for goats. It also is located further out across the border in Missouri which means a 45 minute commute for Cameron. That part isn’t ideal but the goal is for him to eventually work from home. And the further we get from the city, the better the prices become. 

It was great on the listing but this is one of those houses where we were glad we visited in person. The land was very sloped and very poorly laid out. Any gardening would have to take place way downhill and that goes against my rule of having the garden near the house. And unfortunately, the fruit trees looked terrible. They were mature but only one apple tree had fruit and it looked like it all got nibbled by a squirrel. Then the rest had some kind of disease or worms. And they didn’t look like they had ever been pruned. Oy. 

That house got nixed from the list real quick but now we know what to look out for 🙂 Flat or at least semi-flat land is a must for us. And as much as I’d love to start with mature fruit trees because it would save 5 years, having the wrong variety in our buggy, humid area is fruit tree suicide when using organic gardening techniques. 

 Frosty Marigolds

Frosty Marigolds

In the garden:

  • Harvesting Chinese Red Meat Radish, Little Gem lettuce, arugula, peppers and green tomatoes all came in on Friday afternoon.

  • I harvested my ginger and put in all in a bucket with soil. It was really small this year and I think it was because it was planted in pure clay. The other year I grew ginger it was huge and nice rich soil. I’m going to try and keep it alive in the house as best I can but I’m not so good at house plants so we’ll see what happens. We’ve eaten a little bit of it but I’m hoping it gets bigger.

In the kitchen: 

  • I canned some apple pie slices that turned into chunky applesauce. Apparently, the Jonathan apples which I use for applesauce are not good as a firm apple. It totally makes sense now because they soften up so good for applesauce. Of course! The farm store around here will get Arkansas Black apples soon. I got them last year to try because this is the variety that is in my garden. They are rock hard and meant to be a cooking apple. I don’t remember them being tart though. I’ll report back after trying them on how the canned sliced apples go. I made 7 quarts of accidental chunky applesauce.

  • I followed an amish recipe to make apple butter. It called for some vinegar which I thought was kind of weird but I make it anyway and halved the vinegar because it doesn’t need it for safe canning. The other part was that it was baked at 250ºF to get the water to evaporate rather than the stove top. 14 hours later it finally finished but it didn’t taste quite right. I was disappointed until I tried some on bread and it was delicious. I’m thankful for that because it made 9 pints! 

  • I dehydrated green peppers and 12 whole peppers. It was a pint size jar of the slice peppers after dehydration.

  • I fermented some green tomatoes with garlic and hot peppers. I also made a fermented sweet peppers salsa. I can’t wait to try them!

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