Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Year in Vegetables

Georgia Streak, a new tomato for this year.  We will definitely grow them again.  Like a sunburst inside and out, sweet and meaty and more prolific than many heirlooms we've tried.

 I thought since the vegetable season was winding down it was time for a reckoning of how much food we grew and put by this year.  Not that the season is really over, but all the major crops are in and I'm pretty impressed with what we managed to grow in our roughly 40 by 60 square feet of garden space.

For storage crops we pulled the following from the ground:
  Onions; Yellow, white and red                          70#
  Garlic                                                              60 heads
  Potatoes; red, yellow and butterball                  20#    
  Sweet potatoes                                                50#
  Butternut squash                                              10 squash   

In the freezer we've put by:
  Tomato Sauce                                                   9 quarts
  Whole tomatoes                                                2 dozen

    Bell:  yellow and red chopped                          2 quarts
    Mixed: Roasted and peeled                              3 dozen
    Serrano chili paste                                            1 pint
    Whole serranos                                                1 quart

  Snap Beans;
    green and yellow                                              4 quarts
    Chinese yard long                                             2 quarts

  Shell beans;
    Borlotto                                                           2 quarts
    Black-eye purple hull peas                               5 quarts

  Leeks, chopped and sauteed                              2 pints
  Basil Pesto                                                         2 pints 

  Okra                                                                 1 quart
  Blueberries                                                        2 quarts
  Fig preserves                                                    30 half pints
  Dill Pickles                                                        6 quarts
On top of that we ate a mountain of veg over the course of the year starting in April with the earliest greens. Spinach, lettuce, arugula, kale, Swiss chard and beet greens filled our plates from April through June.  We had cabbage too along with sugar snap peas. I wager we harvested over 30# of asparagus but I wasn't weighing it, just eating it as fast as I could and giving the rest to friends for 5 weeks in April and May.  There were root crops; carrots, beets, radishes and turnips.  So many we couldn't eat them all.  Last night I roasted a big pan of mixed veggies including 5 big turnips that had been in the fridge since June!  They were still tasty.

When the warm weather rolled around it was beans, beans, beans; haricot verts, blue lake, yellow wax, Garden of Eden, and an Italian flat variety called Pension.  I also grow a small trellis of Chinese yard long beans, so generous and easy and great in stir fries.  There were 4 kinds of cucumbers; Diva, Tasty Jade, Suyo Long and a pickling cuke, we were required to eat one or two a day for many weeks.  There were 5 kinds of squash, three kinds of okra, 12 varieties of tomatoes, and 4 types of eggplants. 
In July we consumed loads of tomatoes and in August the peppers started rolling in along with the shell beans and the second planting of snap beans. 

Clockwise from the back, shell and snap beans, tomatoes with pasilla chiles on top, roasted peppers and fresh peppers.

In fruit we picked about 4 or 5 quarts of strawberries in late May from our small 3 by 10 foot patch.  The blueberries came next, even with the birds we picked enough to eat all we wanted for at least a month. In July we had some nice fat blackberries. Then in August the figs came on like gangbusters, so fast and furious I had to put up 2 batches of jam.  We ate so many we feared for our digestive health :-) July and August also brought the biggest cantaloupes we've ever grown. Several topped 10 pounds and all came up voluntarily from seeds in the compost I put in the beds when I planted the onions in February.  They know when to sprout and conveniently take over the onion bed after the onions have been harvested.
The corn was my only real disappointment this year.  I hadn't grown any in many years because of raccoons, but David erected an elaborate electric fence to protect both the corn patch and the fig tree so I gave it a whirl.  The plants tasseled and released their pollen before the ears had really formed and so the corn was tiny and also kind of starchy.  Maybe not a good variety, but I'll probably give it another try next year now that we have a protective enclosure.
An especially swell summer dinner plate
Now the fall crops are coming in, beautiful tender mixed lettuces, spinach, kale and beet greens. The peppers are still loaded with fruit and a few tomatoes continue to trickle in.  Broccoli and cabbage are heading up.  Beets and carrots are starting to form under ground.  The garlic for next year is in the ground and sprouting bright green shoots.  All of this food growing is a ton of work, but the rewards are great.  How fortunate we are to have more than enough food when so many go hungry.  Knowing that it is organic and fresh and nutritious right from our own back yard makes the work worthwhile.                

1 comment:

Joy said...

Being able to count your harvest is priceless! I'm so glad that you included that.