August 27, 2008

Taking Stock

I've been under the weather for the past couple of days - either a summer cold or allergies?? So on this rainy Wednesday in Iowa it's a good time to think through where we are in the garden and what still needs doing. Even though the garden looks dilapidated and weed choked, it's still pushing out the produce - eggplant, green peppers, hot peppers, cantaloupe, zucchini (one at a time!), rhubarb, green beans, a second round of chard, and of course tomatoes!

We've been thinking about what varieties of veggies we liked this year and what we didn't, how much of each do we really want or need, and then there are other aspects like the garden layout to think over. We've had to reconsider our tomato cage choices once again this year. Last year we used the useless ones you see at every garden store. They were overwhelmed in no time by our vigorous plants and after one big storm mid-summer, the whole business blew over into a giant heap of tomato plants. We thought we had it licked this year by making our own cages out of the wire shown in this shot:

BUT - when you've got these monsters coming out of the garden, this size cage is a big problem!

This is one of the heirlooms we grew this year (don't ask what kind they are - see Turnip Town). They are huge, meaty and wonderful but you can't get them out of the cages! DH had to resort to cutting the cages apart to free the tomatoes and we both have the scratch marks from the exposed wire edges to attest to the fact that this solution is not optimal! Back to the drawing board.

Taking stock of what we've put up so far - we've frozen pesto, roasted tomatoes, tomato juice, beet slices, beet puree, strawberries, and succotash. This week my plan is to add more roasted tomatoes, rhubarb, corn, peppers, and applesauce to the freezer as well. I've canned pickles and salsa, and we've stored turnips, onions and shallots. Depending on how many apples we get from Uncle J, I'd love to make some apple butter too - such a treat for Thanksgiving especially. Once I get brave enough I'll also try that elusive currant jam again! Hmm...Lord willing, it promises to be a tasty winter. I feel better already!

Well, this is all then.


  1. Jill, I know it's a lot of work, and I don't envy that part, but it is so worth it during the winter when you have AWESOME food to eat!

  2. Oh yes! And the thing is that the more you preserve foods, the easier it gets. Plus over time you learn what's worth the effort for your family and what's not. Of course if you're talking about being able to have organic food vs. not having it - almost anything is worth the effort!