The peek “salads n’ greens” season is petering out but the “heavy weight” crops are starting to take up the slack.

While most of the nation baked, here in So Cal we had a pretty mild (and somewhat cool) July.    It was so mild I actually felt we’ve been cheated out of a normal summer and felt sorta guilty.

The cool weather certainly threw things off a bit.  The good news was that we were able to grow and sell some salad well into July,  The bad news was the summer crops – figs, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers have been slow and about a month behind normal ripening.  We knew summer was in season and it has shown up this week with extremely hot weather.  Time to water and fill up those ollas!

On the bad bug front. So far, so good on the bagrada bugs; but we do have a serious thrip problem (setting out some “sticky traps”).  Also noticed a couple of stink bugs around the yard, which isn’t good news.

On the fruit front,  this season we were blessed with boxes and boxes of “u pick” plums.  A friend of ours has a huge tree and, as it was a good year, it  had loads of plums.   She needed to get the plums off  the trees before the bears and raccoons got them.  Don’t worry– there was plenty of plums left for nighttime foragers.

These last new weeks, we  have been quite busy in the kitchen, putting up most of the plums and other fruits and vegetables.  Don’t you just love canning season?  I certainly do, and  have been canning away!  Though not as much as these amazing ladies here.   But come the end of summer I hope to be pretty durn close.

On Monday, our lil’ Biddy (2007-2011) peacefully passed away.  It’s never easy when one of our chickens or ducks dies. She was a certainly a happy chicken, one of our best layers. Never showed any signs of anything being amiss, till Sunday. She seemed a little “off.”  On Monday morning, she ate but you could tell she was “tired.” So we brought her in and she feel asleep in Jordie’s arms. Seems the best layers are the ones to “give out” first. With death being so quick, seemed like the cause was something internal… tumor or heart condition. You can never really know unless you do an autopsy.  She never displayed any outwardly signs of something being wrong.  She was a happy and active chicken to the very end.

Life & death all the part of the ups and downs on any homestead.

Now, to the harvest numbers for July.  Justin suggested that I keep track of how many jars we put up.   Duh, didn’t know why I didn’t think of that.  Anyhow, it’s a good idea so I have added another category.

How’s everyone’s garden and preservation efforts coming along – care to share?

July Harvest Tally

565 lbs Produce (fruits, vegetables, herbs)

Eggs  134 (Duck)  58 (Chicken)

200 Jars “Put Up”

2011 Year to Date

2,641 lbs Produce (fruits, vegetables, herbs)

Eggs 856 (Duck)  372 (Chicken)

330  Jars “Put Up”



  1. Melinda says:

    No preservation yet! Our hundred degree days haven’t let up yet… the high today is 113. Tomorrow it’s suppose to cool down to 103… we’re excited about that! The chickens are laying away, the hogs will be butchered in 2 weeks, the second batch of broilers is growing like crazy, but the garden is suffering. A few tomatoes here and there, out of 200 ft of green beans, I got enough for one meal. We’ve had a few cucumbers and the watermelons actually seem to be doing well, so maybe we’ll get SOMETHING out of this garden!

  2. Jeni Vandall says:

    I too LOVE canning season!!! So far this year I have put up 6 jars of cherry pie filling, 4 jars of chicken stock, 5 jars of pickled eggs and 8 jars of strawberry jam!!! I certainly love this time of year…well actually maybe autumn is my favorite that usually means canning season is in high gear for me:) I hope to get close to your jar count though!

    I am sorry to hear about lil’ biddy. I know exactly how your family is feeling. We have sadly lost 3 chickens this year the exact same way and sadly lost 1 duck that way too.

    I was curious what kind of beans do you put up other then green beans and how?

  3. Michelle says:

    I love your blog and all that you are doing! Keep up the excellent work and spreading the word.

  4. Tim says:

    We’re getting cucumbers like crazy. My wife has pickled gallons of them. Our Mexico Midget tomatoes are producing more than we can eat, but our larger heirloom varieties are slowly coming in. We’ve seen 9 100+ degree days so far this summer in NC, and our 10th day will be today. It’s been tough to keep everything watered well. Gotta get some ollas some day! Had our best corn harvest ever, but it was still just enough for one meal. Beans have done well but are slowing down now. Apple tree leaves are turning brown. Not sure why, but it concerns me. I’d welcome any insight you have on that. We’re getting ready to dry off our milk goat in hopes of baby kids in October. Trying to figure out better ways to connect what we’re doing to our community and make what we’re doing more profitable. Thanks for all you guys share with us!

  5. Nebraska Dave says:

    Anais, the garden here hasn’t been doing well either. The green peppers had a first round of six pepper for eight plants and now no new peppers forming. The plants look good but no peppers. The cucumbers are going nuts and producing quite a bit. I’ve canned some pickles but have given away most of the harvest. Tomatoes are slow to ripen. I’ve been told that the nights are too hot which slows the process of ripening. I’ve enjoyed the four tomatoes that I have harvested. There are many pink ones that are on the way to being ripe but just not quite there yet.

    I envy your cool July. We have had hot and humid weather in Nebraska. The temperature isn’t always over 100 but the heat index has been above 110 more days than not. We have had many heat alerts though out the month of July and our hottest month is just starting. If it hadn’t been for my automatic watering system, I fear that garden would have been toast.

    Have a great heavy harvesting California day.

  6. Loretta says:

    We’re a little envious of the cooler temps…it is really hot and humid here in Georgia. I do love the preserving part of the year. My husband and I are only part time gardeners, so only 150 lbs of produce harvested (we are completely humbled by that). 52 pint jars of green beans, 12 pints wax beans, 20 – 1/2 pints of dill reish to use as gifts, 15 pints of dill relish to keep, 6 quarts of garlicy dill pickles. 2 quarts corn in freezer (we’ve eaten all that we left on the cob), 1 gallon bag of breaded okra for frying, 1 gallon bag of okra for soups and such, 15 quarts of summer squash in the freezer, 6 quarts of Tromboncino squash in the freezer, 3 quarts chopped bell peppers in the freeze, 3 quarts of chopped jalapeno in the freezer. Tomatoes are weighing down the vines and starting to blush, we continue to cheer them on. The okra is just getting started, love that stuff, like a little taste of heaven. My husband did plant the 4 rows of corn at 2 week intervals, so looking forward to more of that. Beets look like they are surviving the heat and some very nice looking cantaloupe growing. What we haven’t eaten or preserved, we have shared with a few friends and neighbors. Not sure anything brings a smile as easily as homegrown veggies.
    Thank you much for your inspiration and sharing.

  7. V Schoenwald says:

    Hot and humid here in West Central Nebraska. My garden, is doing well, but slow on some things. My early tomatoes are just starting. My cherry tomatoes are over 7 ft now, and getting tons of them. Cucumbers are slow, but I have been starting to put up salsa, and some pickles, My new “Iznik ” patio cucumber is out performing my straight eights by a mile. Peppers are doing well, my hot peppers are a little slow but doing well.
    I am looking for peaches to can, and we are just starting to get sweet corn as of last Saturday, the corn people were here, so got some corn, it was sure good too.
    I am also putting up Zucchini relish, both mild and spicy. I have squash bugs now so I will put up what I can before I pull the zuke plants. These bugs are sure a pain in the butt.
    I am not sure of how much I will get canned, but I am sure working on it. I am keeping my eyes open for some berries, pretty rare around here, but I’ll keep looking. I have apricots in the freezer I will do later in the fall, and not heat up the kitchen, and I have too much other produce coming in to worry about fruit at this time anyway.
    I am so sorry for Biddy, and I do understand. But its part of life and we grieve and then mush on.
    Please take care and wishing you wonderful harvests upon your family.

  8. melissa says:

    Do you have any time saving tips for canning? I love to put stuff up but would love to know some time saving tips from more experienced canners!

    • Loretta says:

      Hi Melissa,
      Just depends on what you are canning and/or the recipe. Just do not take shortcuts on the sanitizing of your jars and lids or processing, you don’t want contaminated food.

      You could also freeze instead of can. That only requireds preparing the food and blanching.

      You will find that the more experience you gain in canning, the less time it will take. And I think you have to love it a little too.

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