Tag Archives: tomatoes

Garden Season Ends With Success

I’ve not had a lot of time to write posts this summer because I’ve been doing this:

Fresh tomatoes

Apples from July through October unless the weather changes drastically!

In years past I’ve not had much luck with green peppers but this year I’ve frozen 30 packs of peppers in small dices, strips and large chunks. They are like onions in our kitchen, we use them in everything!

Yellow onions grew and grew. We got a sack full of them and have them hanging in the smoke house until the weather starts to freeze. At that point I bring them in my laundry room (cool spot) to use all winter.

One crop failed miserably this summer and we’ve never had this happen before. We got one egg basket of white potatoes. Thankfully I canned all of those from last year so we won’t have to buy many!

We had some type of bug that bores through the roots of cucumbers and squash. Our cucumbers were used mainly for fresh eating and in salads this summer. I had plenty of pickles left over last summer and with the help of two very special friends we got18 pints of pickle relish and then they were gone.

Fresh peaches and first crop from our young trees. I canned 21 quarts!

The squash faired better than our cucumbers and I froze 12 packs of sliced put in the freezer. We ate fresh squash all summer.

Fresh raspberries gave us 12 quart bags full and the blackberry crop was non-existent due to the weather again.

Dicing green and banana peppers

Canned cabbage

Squirrel season came in two weeks ago and I’ve froze over 12 bags so far. We love squirrel and rabbit meat!

I froze over 40 bags of fresh corn and everyone that we’ve shared it with says it’s the sweetest corn they’ve ever eaten.

Green pepper strips

I’ve tried just about every apple in our orchards in the last two months to find the best for apple pies and fried pies but all of them are great for fresh applesauce every meal!!

While I was canning tomatoes I was also canning cabbage and freezing it. I canned 14 quarts and froze 24 quarts. We’ll use both in vegetable soup and cabbage is a great favorite side dish at our house with pinto beans, fried potatoes and cornbread!!

Our tomatoe crop wasn’t the best because of the rains coming in when they were ripening. They split, cracked and had hard black spots on the outside. I did manage to can 18 quarts of tomato juice. This winter when it’s cold outside I’ll make pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce from what we preserved this summer.

We raised some of the sweetest cantaloupes I’ve ever tasted this year and their my favorite of all the melons.

This wooden crate is full of all types of apples we have on the farm. They’re all somewhat tart and we will buy sweet apples from a nearby orchard to make our cider in the coming weeks.
We didn’t grow a lot of watermelons this year but got good return on the seed we planted.

The crate is filled to the brim with cider apples from our orchards. We think it holds about 15 bushel of apples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course we also had green beans this year but I didn’t can very many because we had a lot left over so about four canners (28 quarts) was enough to fill up the shelves.

You will never starve as long as there’s green beans on hand!!!

Left-hand side of the cellar shelves are overflowing!

Right-hand side of the cellar is catching the overflow! I normally store all of the empty jars on that side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then to sum it all up we have these:

Canned white and yellow peaches

Frozen broccoli

Frozen corn off the cob

Yellow summer squash

New white potatoes-This was the most we got from the first plants!!

Onions drying for winter use.

Wonderful pickle relish that we use in pinto beans, on hotdogs, and in tuna or chicken salad. Hubby loves it on peanut butter sandwiches!!!

Our favorite pizza sauce of which I only made a few half pints and one pint. I’ll make more throughout the winter.

Two crates of sweet potatoes. One of the potatoes was the size of a football. We’ll have several meals from that monster!

Gorgeous canned peaches, I can’t wait to open the first jar!

 

What a garden shouldn’t look like

I love to work in the garden early in the morning or late in the evening after the sun has gone behind the mountain.  Hubby does most of the gardening in the last three years and I’ve help do the harvesting and putting away for winter stores.  This year doesn’t seem to be much of a gardening year.  I noted in an earlier post that we had gotten unusual amounts of rain for our area and cooler temps and that we hadn’t been able to get our hay harvest complete.  Well, we haven’t had much luck gardening either.  This is what a garden is NOT supposed to look like.

Anybody see any beans in this mess?

Anybody see any beans in this mess?  Weeds will grow with plenty of rain and no sunshine!

Corn that should be four or five feet tall is bearly a foot tall.

Corn that should be four or five feet tall is barely  a foot tall.

Eggplant is beautiful but the weeds are starting to choke them out.

Eggplant is beautiful but the weeds are starting to choke them out.

Easy to find the mole beans!

Easy to find the mole beans!

Hubby decided it will be best to salvage the onions and potatoes.  We started pulling onions because some are rotting in the ground.  He pulled one row and I laid them out to dry and we’ll pray they dry good and keep over the winter.

This is the best onion crop we've had in a long time.

This is the best onion crop we’ve had in a long time.

These all came from one row in the garden and most of them are white onions.

These all came from one row in the garden and most of them are white onions.

Most of them are nice 3-4 inch heads.

Most of them are nice 3-4 inch heads.

The end of the row had a few red onions.  The other row we haven't pulled is yellow and red onions.

The end of the row had a few red onions. The other row we haven’t pulled is yellow and red onions.

Hubby dug a two hills of potatoes to check on their growth and to make sure they weren’t rotting too.  They’re  much nicer than last years crop and they’re Yukon Gold potatoes.

New potatoes from the garden.

New potatoes from the garden.

We’re not terribly concerned about our lack of a garden this year though we love to be fixing fresh vegies straight out of the garden but we have so much canned goods in the cellar from last year that is still so good.    We definitely won’t go hungry this winter.

Greenhouse fun

This year is going to be a little different in the garden.  We still have so much left in the freezer and cellar so we’ve decided to cut back.  I didn’t start up the greenhouse this year and instead have just planted a few of the things that we’ll eat as it comes in.  I’ve planted some tomato, cucumber, cabbage, squash, cantaloupe and watermelon for the garden and have several of my herbs in cups.

Southeast window for seed growth

 

Two varieties of cabbage and squash

 

seed cups

GermanJohnsonPink and Roma 2013

Four varieties of tomato

I haven’t started my periennial flowers yet but think I have plenty of time for that.  I also like to put some directly in the ground.  It will be late May before we can safely put anything in the garden.   My rhubarb is up and doing better than it did last year but it’s new and will take a couple years to get established.  I started it these huge tractor tires  and I need to work some manure into the dirt soon.

rhubarb spring 2013 (1)

I also started some garlic in a tire last year and I haven’t pulled any of it yet.  The stems are greening up and hopefully they’ll  do as well as the rhubarb is.  I was very afraid the moles and voles would eat up both but it doesn’t look like it so far.

rhubarb spring 2013 (2)

 

I read on someone’s blog and on Pinterest that if you buy celery in the store and cut the root end off and place it in a cup of dirt that it would grow!!  Believe me it works and I can’t wait until this gets big enough to eat.

Starting another celery_time to go in the dirt DSCN3360

One plant is one month old and the other is about two weeks old.  I use a lot of celery when I cook and a lot of onions.

I have a very special friend that heard my plea for a purple and green shamrock and she came through for me.  Here’s the plant she gave me along with some that I found at Food Lion around St. Patricks Day.

Purple shamrock

Purple shamrock

Green and purple shamrock

Green and purple shamrock

Gardening time is just around the corner and I still have to clean up the yard and clear out the flower beds.  There I go again wishing my life away!!  Happy gardening everyone.

What to do with all those tomatoes

Plum tomatoes

We seem to have an abundance of plum tomatoes this year and I’m trying to find new canning/freezing recipes for them.  On Friday I picked about 20# of the little critters and cleaned them up.

I pulled out an old recipe I had used when the kids were little and made 10 pints of spaghetti sauce.  The recipe ingredients were tomatoes (of course) which had been cooked and run through a sieve.  When I cooked them I didn’t use any extra water because I wanted the tomato juice and pulp only.  To the pulp I added sugar, salt, oregano, basil, garlic, onions, green peppers, and red wine vinegar.  I can’t tell you the exact amounts because I played with the ingredients until hubby liked the taste and consistency.  I started with 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup salt, oregano, and basil (remember this is 20 pounds of tomatoes).

Cooking it down!

I used four medium onions, four green peppers, four cloves of garlic (minced) and 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar.  This smelled heavenly while cooking down but the taste was a little sour and bland so I added more of the first four ingredients until we thought it was perfect.  I cooked it down some more until it was pourable but a thicker consistency than tomato juice.  I poured it in the jars, put the lids on to seal and processed them in my pressure canner for twenty minutes.  They’re beautiful, don’t you think!!

Spaghetti sauce

10 pints of beautiful spaghetti sauce

Next batch will be canned as barbecue sauce.