Hello, friends! I sure have missed you. It's hard to believe an entire summer has gone by, and we are now heading into the season of shorter days and cooler weather. Along with the change of season, our routines and focus change as well. Much of my days are now spent in the house cleaning and organizing for our soon-to-come winter "hibernation", preserving the last of the garden produce, helping the Littles through their daily lessons at home, and running to soccer practices and games. As hard as it is for this summer-loving mama to see the garden come to an end, it is a bit of a relief, as my attentions are drawn and pulled into so many other directions once the rhythm of autumn settles in.
This year's garden did very well in some areas, but, unfortunately, we had a number of crops that did not do so well. Each year I learn more about gardening. I try to implement the age-old techniques that I learned as a child from my grandparents as well as new ideas I may read about in books, magazines or on the web. Gardening is a journey of learning, and, even though, I have, and will no doubt, continue to encounter failures and disappointments along the way, I am thoroughly enjoying this process of feeding my family from the food I have planted, harvested and preserved.
It was a good year for...
Chard -- Oh, I love this green, leafy vegetable! I have always had problems with spinach bolting too quickly and never end up having enough for even one meal (granted it does take a lot of spinach to feed this family of twelve, but one meal?). This year I replaced the spinach with Bright Lights Swiss Chard, and I have never been so satisfied with a green, leafy vegetable. We have eaten many meals of its tasty green leaves, and it is still growing strong, never bolting, even during the hottest days of summer. The Littles all love it steamed with salt, pepper, butter and a dash of vinegar. Yes, Swiss chard is, indeed, a winner in my book.
Kale -- Winterbore kale never disappoints, giving us meal after meal all summer long, even well into the fall when the rest of the garden is killed by the frost. In fact, those lovely green leaves taste even sweeter once they have been touched by a frost.
Brussels Sprouts -- Although we haven't harvested our little sprouts yet, the plants are loaded, and we are all looking forward to feasting on one of our families all-time favorite vegetables. I know, Brussels sprouts...who would have ever guessed ten children would all agree that Brussel sprouts are a favorite?
Lettuce, Arugula, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage -- All of these did well, and we are still enjoying them, except for the lettuce and arugula. I did, however, plant a second crop of arugula, but it is taking its time growing. The beets will soon be harvested for preserving...we all love pickled beets! I only planted late cabbage this year, and so we will soon be enjoying the lovely crunch of our first cabbage, and the carrots have been harvested and stored in the shed in moist sawdust.
Onions and Garlic -- I am pleased to say that after a couple of failed attempts to grow onions and garlic I finally succeeded in growing successful crops of both!
Cucumbers -- In spite of being affected by a disease (I believe it's one that lives in my soil, and I have plans for a brand new cucumber garden next year), the cucumbers did amazingly well. They have now succumbed to the disease, but while they were still healthy, they produced enough for us to eat fresh cucumbers on a daily basis for the last month and a half, and I also made forty quarts of pickles for the pantry. So, I would say a success for sure, even though they were infected with a possible fungus.
Not such a good year for...
Potatoes -- I don't know what happened to my potatoes. I was faithful in feeding (for a healthy root) and hilling them. The plants were beautiful, some taller than Little #10 (as you can see in this post). I was ecstatic, thinking our harvest would be the best one yet, but to my great disappointment, we harvested only a few potatoes. In some rows we only found four or five potatoes. I have no idea what went wrong! I guess I know what I will be researching this winter.
Beans -- This was an unusual year for beans. We usually have green beans (Provider and pole beans) coming out of our ears, but this year the bushes turned brown and died very quickly. Again, not sure what happened to them.
Winter Squash -- Much to my disappointment I don't believe we will be eating any buttercup or butternut squash from our garden this year. It looks like we may have a few Delicata squash on the vines, but, unfortunately, not very many. The pumpkins never even germinated.
How did your garden grow this year? I would love to hear what may or may not have worked for you.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by my little corner and visit for a bit. I do hope to be spending more time here now that we are changing our routine and finding ourselves indoors a bit more. I have been trying to keep updated on Instagram, so if you like, you can visit me there as well.