Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Organic Garden Carnival

I know that I really should not be taking part in this carnival this week, I just have so many posts going out but I wanted to share my gardening experience with you all from this past summer.
This was the first summer we had a "sizable" garden. My grandparents offered us a plot of their land. The only catch was that if it wasn't taken proper care of, they were going to plow it under.

Here are the vegetables we planted:
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • green beans
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • peppers
  • onions
  • various herbs
  • corn-- family combined and did multiple acres and divided work.
And here are a few things I learned this year:
  • Potatoes-1)I need to put my potatoes in earlier. I didn't get them in until around July. By the time it was starting to really get cold and wet around here, they were not as big as I would have liked. 2) Do not dig as closely to the potatoes. I speared a lot of them when I was trying to dig them out. 3) When harvesting them, do not stack them on top of one another (if one goes bad, all that are around it go bad).
  • Carrots- Weeding is vital especially in the beginning. The weeds suck the nourishment right out of the ground. Also, plant with radishes in between. I don't like radishes so I kept telling my Grandpa "no", but it would have been oh so much easier to see them.
  • Beets- See carrots.
  • Broccoli- I really needed to use nets. The broccoli got some kind of bug/worm in them. I tried soaking them in salt water but by the time I was done (and there were STILL inhabitants), I was so grossed out, I couldn't even eat them.
  • Green Beans- I really don't like to put anything on my garden but the Japanese beatles were eating my green beans alive. I went to Lowe's and though it's not organic, I bought Sevin-5. I sprinkled it as lightly as possible, actually I used hardly any at all, and the insects RAN as fast as the could. I've never seen anything like it.
  • Tomatoes- OH tomatoes... I bought out too many tomato bushes. The lesson I learned this year, don't put out as many and take better care of fewer. I put out 47 plants. That is way too many to stake and they fell and they rotted and I was so upset. I still got a lot of tomatoes off but I just felt so wasteful. So next year, I am being more choosy with my variety and I am taking better care of less. Here is a post on how to easily cook-down tomatoes.
  • Cucumbers- Cucumber plants bear a lot of cucumbers. I would say cut back on the number of plants (I had 9). I have way too much relish and pickles.
  • Peppers- I never have much problem with peppers. I would like to put more out next year.
  • Onions- I did not plant enough (believe it or not, I didn't plant enough of something!). I would have liked more onions to keep for through winter but I just didn't plant enough. Maybe next year?
  • Various herbs- I am still learning and could use a lot of help in this area. Any takers? :
  • Corn- We got our own corn planter so next year we will be spreading the planting out. This year all the family rushed to put out like 4 acres of sweet corn in like three weeks. It was raining like crazy. We had our big ol' rubber boots on and were tromping through the mud. I think that was the three most unhappiest weeks I've ever seen from my children. Oh does anyone want to sure how to get all those blasted silks off corn?!? UGH!! I'm still finding silks everywhere!!
I have shared here and here how blessed we were by our garden. We not only put up a ton of food for ourselves but were able to give to others in the family(a lot of our family has been laid off) and others in the community who cannot afford fresh produce. It was truly amazing!

Now I am going to re-run some pictures from this summers canning. If you've seen them all, go ahead and "hit the x". :)

Here are just a FEW of my jars, click here to see them all.

For more hard-earned wisdom, head over to Stephanie's blog.


Courtney said...

Holy toledo, woman! That's an ENORMOUS garden!! You planted all that by HAND?! We thought our measly 800 square feet was quite a bit of garden. Next year when we've got garden questions I will definitely know who to call.

Oh... our broccoli had the same issues. Only, get this, I didn't REALIZE it until after I had already eaten mine. Ian was like oh...look, there's a little green worm on my plate. Then, everyone else realized that ALL the broccoli had little worms. And mine was already in my tummy. EWWW!!! That did it for us. Luckily we only had three broccoli plants so it wasn't a ton of waste, but I still felt bad throwing it all out.

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home said...

That sounds very sizable! Wow! :)

I can appreciate feeling frustrated at planting too much of something and having it wasted. In my (much smaller) garden that isn't usually an issue, but I know that it would really bother me it it happened.

Your preserving looks just beautiful! There is nothing quite like rows of canning, is there? I'm sure you'll enjoy eating all of that hard earned food this winter!

Thanks so much for sharing about your garden this year and joining in the carnival!

Becky said...

You have an amazing garden. I only dream of having that much space to plant in!

I would recommend the book Great Garden Companions for ways to work herbs into your garden. I grew a lot of basil and oregano under my tomato plants this year. They did a good job of keeping the weeds down. She also has several ways to use companion planting to invite in the predatory bugs that eat the bad bugs, maybe there is something that can help with the broccoli bugs.