WHEN YOU GARDEN YOU GROW

Looks like we are not alone in our garden assessment.  As one reader put it “we skipped a month somewhere.”  Yep, it’s like we missed summer – weird.

Many of those who commented had some things growing well, while others not so well either due to weather or not enough bees.

Last week we made the tough decision to not sell any more tomatoes to our clients.  Due to the cooler weather, the tomatoes production has tapered off.  Not only will our annual tomato harvest be affected by also our income from sales.  Instead of sales we are opting to eat and preserve the remaining tomato harvest.  Of course, we’d have liked both but this year has been an exceptionally tough growing year – thanks in part to the roller coaster weather which through everything for a loop.

Tomatoes weren’t the only ones to be pulled from the list – our popular salad greens too.  The decision sent our clients in a slight uproar!  Last year we supplied our client through the entire year with salad greens.  This year we’ve puttered out mid August and have put a hold till the young greens are able to be harvested in a few weeks time.  Though the summer was cooler the extreme heat and humidity in June (which is normally cool) threw our planting schedule off.  Not to mention the invasion of harlequin bugs – the likes of which we’ve never seen in our 20 years of gardening here.  So we are making darn sure those pesky buggers won’t have a chance to overwinter and ruin next season.

Not to be deterred, all sights and focus is on later summer and early fall.  Summer plantings mean fall and winter harvest.  So with gardening you got to be quick to adjust to what befalls – weather, insects and the likes.  Come what may, we still plant and pray for a better day.

Despite the lack luster harvest for some crops – the peppers, eggplant, squash are absolutely gorgeous and such abundance!  And we are still eating very, very well – homegrown with a few bought staples and that’s certianly a blessing.

Container gardener extraordinaire, Paulo,( mused our sentiments exactly) had this advice for gardening in a changing climate: “biodiversity in our gardens will be however key solutions for these changes.”  Divesity is what saves or salvages a mediocre year.

Fellow Freedom Gardener, So Cal Dan, so aptly sums what we gardeners grow through every year —  “Patience, Perseverance & Humility”

Amen to that.  As gardeners we are on our knees a lot, how has your garden humbled you this year.

Oh, and let’s give another one of our fellow Freedom Gardener, Chicago Mike, some encouragement on taking the plunge  (into boiling hot water!)  in home canning operation.   Any first home preservers out there, care to nudge him along?

: Field Hand Appreciation ::

$100 KH  $20 GW  HC $20  CC$50  GM $10 donations.  This generous readership support goes towards keeping this site online and for ongrowing improvements (yep, there’s still more in the works!).  Thank you.

Comments(16)

  1. Melissa says:

    I’d love to hear about what you are planting now for a fall and winter harvest.

    thanks for sharing! -melissa

  2. Melissa says:

    I’d love to hear about what you are planting now for a fall and winter harvest.

    thanks for sharing! -melissa

  3. Amy says:

    Kudos to you for feeding your family first from your harvest even when customers are so eager for your crops. When we were farming (2 acre in Veg for our CSA), if there was bad weather or poor crops, everything went to the customers and we ended up eating junk.

    Now we’re on 1 acre in a neighborhood and garden just for ourselves and we’re eating better than we ever did on the farm- with the exception of eggs. No urban poultry here. So sad.

  4. Amy says:

    Kudos to you for feeding your family first from your harvest even when customers are so eager for your crops. When we were farming (2 acre in Veg for our CSA), if there was bad weather or poor crops, everything went to the customers and we ended up eating junk.

    Now we’re on 1 acre in a neighborhood and garden just for ourselves and we’re eating better than we ever did on the farm- with the exception of eggs. No urban poultry here. So sad.

  5. Janice K says:

    Wow, tough choices, but family comes first! I’m finally switching gears out of the Corporate 9 to 5 and going into Freelance mode to earn extra income at nights (tomorrow is my last day at the Studio, it’s been 3 years 3 months!). Has Jordanne considered doing Freelance Coding for websites? I hear it makes good money. Try Guru.com Best wishes and Blessings!

    Amy, wow… I’m sorry you had to give your produce to the customers first and you having to eat junk, that’s horrible! I’m glad things are better for you now.

  6. Janice K says:

    Wow, tough choices, but family comes first! I’m finally switching gears out of the Corporate 9 to 5 and going into Freelance mode to earn extra income at nights (tomorrow is my last day at the Studio, it’s been 3 years 3 months!). Has Jordanne considered doing Freelance Coding for websites? I hear it makes good money. Try Guru.com Best wishes and Blessings!

    Amy, wow… I’m sorry you had to give your produce to the customers first and you having to eat junk, that’s horrible! I’m glad things are better for you now.

  7. KK says:

    I’ve been gardening for about 17 years now, and I think this year has me more humbled by the weather, plant pests and the plants than ever! Not so much for my own harvesting, in some areas my crops are great, but some things like rasberries and cucumbers were horrible. One of the best plants were volunteer white pumpkins that I barely watered, I thought I’d just let them sprawl and see what happened, and the plants took over and produced the most beautiful pumpkins! Of course I’d rather be eating delicious rasberries and cukes, but hopefully the flesh in the pumpkin will make decent pies and soups this coming Fall/winter. Otherwise I’ve got great halloween decorations at the very least! As for canning, I finally took the plunge myself this year, canning some applesuace and plum jams, and intend to do more applesuace, and I’d like to try some salsa and tomato sauces. Just follow the recipes and instructions, and when the jars are cooling and you hear that sound that the seal on the jar makes, you know you’re alright. I’m a little squeamish to do the pressure canning, and I don’t own a pressure cooker, but a safe and delicious way to preserve is to dry the excess. I’ve been drying figs and a huge amount of apples and they are so good. That’s what my kids will get in thier lunches at school. Happy harvesting!

  8. KK says:

    I’ve been gardening for about 17 years now, and I think this year has me more humbled by the weather, plant pests and the plants than ever! Not so much for my own harvesting, in some areas my crops are great, but some things like rasberries and cucumbers were horrible. One of the best plants were volunteer white pumpkins that I barely watered, I thought I’d just let them sprawl and see what happened, and the plants took over and produced the most beautiful pumpkins! Of course I’d rather be eating delicious rasberries and cukes, but hopefully the flesh in the pumpkin will make decent pies and soups this coming Fall/winter. Otherwise I’ve got great halloween decorations at the very least! As for canning, I finally took the plunge myself this year, canning some applesuace and plum jams, and intend to do more applesuace, and I’d like to try some salsa and tomato sauces. Just follow the recipes and instructions, and when the jars are cooling and you hear that sound that the seal on the jar makes, you know you’re alright. I’m a little squeamish to do the pressure canning, and I don’t own a pressure cooker, but a safe and delicious way to preserve is to dry the excess. I’ve been drying figs and a huge amount of apples and they are so good. That’s what my kids will get in thier lunches at school. Happy harvesting!

  9. Brianna Privett says:

    This has been my third try at gardening here in the SoCal mountains, and “humbling” is a great word for it – in the last two days I’ve discovered that the sun has moved enough again that my main garden bed no longer even gets 2 full consecutive hours of sun – that coupled with the cool nights has about done it for the tomatoes that didn’t get a very good start in the first place (late snow in May). It’s pretty much been October in August (which is sort of a blessing in itself, if you’re not a gardener – no a/c!)

    The voles have brought my strawberry bed down to 5 plants left of the original 50 I planted bareroot in April, but the herbs are doing fabulously and even though ants and aphids brought down half my chamomile and I could barely get eggplant started because it kept being eaten down to the stem, I now have cucumber and eggplant doing fairly well on our deck in containers after a final June planting, and my remaining chamomile plants in the herb bed have exploded in pineappley blossoms. My Tiny Tim tomatoes that I planted on a lark are getting the most sun of anything left in the bed, and are doing well as a result.

    I think I purchased and started enough seedlings this year to fill an acre, so it feels like decimation in a sense to see what little is left after weather, pests and inexperience, but on the other hand, I’ve been eating zucchini for a month and have gotten a few ripe tomatoes and a single delicious peapod that made it through our only heatwave this summer. And I have a chickpea plant with six whole pods on it and all those things make me so happy that I’m already planning what to cheerfully murder in the garden next year. 😀

  10. Brianna Privett says:

    This has been my third try at gardening here in the SoCal mountains, and “humbling” is a great word for it – in the last two days I’ve discovered that the sun has moved enough again that my main garden bed no longer even gets 2 full consecutive hours of sun – that coupled with the cool nights has about done it for the tomatoes that didn’t get a very good start in the first place (late snow in May). It’s pretty much been October in August (which is sort of a blessing in itself, if you’re not a gardener – no a/c!)

    The voles have brought my strawberry bed down to 5 plants left of the original 50 I planted bareroot in April, but the herbs are doing fabulously and even though ants and aphids brought down half my chamomile and I could barely get eggplant started because it kept being eaten down to the stem, I now have cucumber and eggplant doing fairly well on our deck in containers after a final June planting, and my remaining chamomile plants in the herb bed have exploded in pineappley blossoms. My Tiny Tim tomatoes that I planted on a lark are getting the most sun of anything left in the bed, and are doing well as a result.

    I think I purchased and started enough seedlings this year to fill an acre, so it feels like decimation in a sense to see what little is left after weather, pests and inexperience, but on the other hand, I’ve been eating zucchini for a month and have gotten a few ripe tomatoes and a single delicious peapod that made it through our only heatwave this summer. And I have a chickpea plant with six whole pods on it and all those things make me so happy that I’m already planning what to cheerfully murder in the garden next year. 😀

  11. Brianna Privett says:

    oh, and as a p.s. – we’ve had so many honeybees suddenly appear in the last three weeks that I would HAPPILY grow another garden with no promise of harvest, just to feed those little buzzers. They particularly love Greek oregano blossoms. 🙂

  12. Brianna Privett says:

    oh, and as a p.s. – we’ve had so many honeybees suddenly appear in the last three weeks that I would HAPPILY grow another garden with no promise of harvest, just to feed those little buzzers. They particularly love Greek oregano blossoms. 🙂

  13. Laurie says:

    My entire edamame crop was decimated by bugs. Within a few days it was down to stubs. (This was in a plot away from my house, so I didn’t see it right away…) My okra was a total failure due to floods in June, and I’m happy that I got ONE POD to save the seed. Sadly, my favorite market farmer had similar luck with his okra too, so that is “Off the Menu” for the year. I am so thankful that I grow a diversity of crops, and am not totally dependent on growing what we eat. We won’t starve, but it is definitely humbling to realize how much power Mother Nature has over us all.

    Best of luck to Chicago Mike on his canning project… it’s tomato time around here now that pickles are done for awhile. It is kind of nice that the tomato crop is a bit delayed – we’ll have cooler weather for all that hot kitchen work!

  14. Laurie says:

    My entire edamame crop was decimated by bugs. Within a few days it was down to stubs. (This was in a plot away from my house, so I didn’t see it right away…) My okra was a total failure due to floods in June, and I’m happy that I got ONE POD to save the seed. Sadly, my favorite market farmer had similar luck with his okra too, so that is “Off the Menu” for the year. I am so thankful that I grow a diversity of crops, and am not totally dependent on growing what we eat. We won’t starve, but it is definitely humbling to realize how much power Mother Nature has over us all.

    Best of luck to Chicago Mike on his canning project… it’s tomato time around here now that pickles are done for awhile. It is kind of nice that the tomato crop is a bit delayed – we’ll have cooler weather for all that hot kitchen work!

  15. Chicago Mike says:

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    I pickled two quarts of banana peppers, one quart of HOT pickles, three pints of mild peppers, and seven pints of hot veggies.

    You can check them out over at Freedomgardens.org.

    Just look for Chicago Mike and the photo albums.

    With Best Regards,

    Chicago Mike

  16. Chicago Mike says:

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    I pickled two quarts of banana peppers, one quart of HOT pickles, three pints of mild peppers, and seven pints of hot veggies.

    You can check them out over at Freedomgardens.org.

    Just look for Chicago Mike and the photo albums.

    With Best Regards,

    Chicago Mike

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