Summer days are flying by and our days are full with harvesting and preserving vegetables.
In June, I was so thankful for a bountiful pea harvest. We were able to freeze 21 pints. I am always interested in learning new information about gardening. A friend of mine asked me if I was going to cook the pods with the peas. I had never done this and thought it sounded a bit odd. We have always grown shell peas. In talking to several gardeners, I discovered that sugar snap peas are commonly grown here in the mountains. Another friend brought me a “mess” of sugar snap peas to sample. I really enjoyed them. You string them and snap them like green beans. As was suggested, I cooked them with chunks of potatoes and a bit of butter.
We consumed bags and bags of a mixture of leaf lettuces and spinach, fresh cilantro, and parsley. The lettuce and spinach have now bolted and are going to seed. From another homemaker’s blog, I read that if you let the plants drop their seed, you will get a fall crop of spinach and lettuce; so I am going to try that this year.
Our broccoli and cabbage plants were not as prolific as I had hoped. Slugs were doing quite a bit of damage until I scattered broken egg shells around the base of the plants. We have been able to harvest a few small heads of cabbage and a few pieces of broccoli. Those plants were a bit of an experiment this year, so I cannot complain.
July ushered in the green bean crop. We planted eleven rows this year, and I was praying that the Mexican bean beetles would leave us alone. Last year the insects were devastating. While there are plenty of the little furry yellow creatures on the plants, they have not eaten the beans. I am so thankful! Our first major picking took three and a half hours and yielded 42 quarts for the freezer. It was a family affair with the children helping to pick and break beans. When my husband came home from work, he pitched in and the last bag of beans was tucked in the freezer at 11 PM. It was a record day for us, but I am glad every day in the garden is not that intense. We are now up to 71 quarts of green beans in the freezer. Green beans are our main vegetable through the winter.
The potatoes, onions, and carrots are growing. Some of the corn in our joint patch is beginning to tassel. I believe we have 9 rows that will be shared among several families. The first zucchini and cucumbers are forming. There are green tomatoes and peppers on the vine. Red beets are ready to harvest when I have the time. Butternut squash plants and Lima beans are growing.
I should report on my celery experiment. This year I planted seeds in peat pots. The plants grew; but months after they sprouted, they were still very small and fragile looking. Although I knew they would probably not survive, I decided to plant them in the soil. Needless to say, the first hot day, they fried in the sun. I had also grown two celery plants from the cut-off ends of celery stalks. I planted those. One died, but the other is living and starting to send up new shoots; so we shall see what comes from that one remaining plant.
This time of year, at the end of the day, I am often bone tired; but I would not trade the satisfaction of producing, preserving, and eating our own food. Working in the garden and engaging in the process of field to table keeps us in tune with our Creator God and reminds us of our dependence on our Heavenly Father.