We are really seeing the fruits of our labor now with zucchini, yellow squash, peppers and tomatoes being picked on pretty much a daily basis.
Picking means it’s not just time to eat, but also time to break out the canning and freezing supplies.
Last weekend I canned 7 pints of Bread-n-Butter zucchini pickles. Yesterday I started shredding and freezing zucchini. Today I’ll be freezing squash and peppers.
Tomato canning time is even more exciting for me. The tomatoes are just starting to ripen. I picked about a dozen tomatoes today, but with 14 tomato plants, there is a lot of canning in my future – tomatoes, salsa, ketchup, and tomato sauce.
Having not gardened for the last several years, this has definitely been a year of re-learning. For example, we really don’t need multiple zucchini and squash plants. Do you know how much zucchini and squash you can get from one plant!!!! Holy zucchini!!!! We’ll be eating a lot of pickles, squash and zucchini bread this fall, winter and spring. And did I happen to mention that Naomi planted cucumbers in her little garden. They have just recently started blooming. Guess I need to be doing some searches on Pinterest for new recipes.
We also used built some tomato cages this year. They are working so much better than those cheap wire cages. Problem is, the holes are not quite big enough to get the bigger tomatoes thru, so it’s taking some creativity on my part to pick the low hanging fruite. We also cut the cages a little short and the tops of the plants were getting really heavy and hanging over the sides. Dave put some fence posts next to the cages and I created my own version of the Florida weave for the tops of the plants. I’m calling it my Illinois weave because quite honestly, it looks nothing like a Florida weave, but serves the same purpose. We’ll need to remember this for next year and set things up a little sooner.
Next year will also have more color in the garden as I will be putting in companion plants to help fight off the bad bugs and bring in the good. I’m also hoping that I’ll have more success with herbs next year. This year was minimally successful with only a little bit of basil and dill that popped up.
Overall, I’d have to say that the renewal of our garden has gone very well and we are certainly enjoying the fruits of our labor.