Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Harvest time - nearfood from own garden?

Yes, if we were lucky. Due to rainy and cold summer we aren't that lucky though but at least we got something!

This post is going to be rather long and only about the harvest. If you came here to look for craft tutorials and upcycling tips feel free to check the categories and come back on Sunday evening, I will have new tutorial for you then.

With this and the last post I have also started new publishing schedule. The idea is to publish tutorial or something DIY/crafty on Sundays and something else upcycling/ecologic or frugal related on Wednesdays. Now that I have written it here, I have to stick to it. :D

Now to our garden. We live in our own house with smallish yard and have a vegetable patch, apple trees and some berry bushes. The yard could be bigger though as there is so much other things that would be nice to grow but won't have space for them. And what is more ecological than growing your own food?

The summer started out promising; tomatoes, paprikas and chilis started growing nicely.

There were rather many paprikas, only two plants but each of them held 3-4 paprikas! As you can see from the picture they were quite big too. But... they never turned yellow or red but instead fell to the ground raw and rotten. From the tomatoes we were able to eat some as you can see in the pic above, they are yellow just as they were supposed to be. But there would have been so much more... Then this happened:

Storm. The tomatoes were growing in the buckets and they were on a table when the storm arrived here. The other plant (on right) survived and continued growing. But before actually being able to harvest anything they looked like this:

The temperature dropped below zero during the night before last. The tomatoes didn't like it very much...

With cucumbers we had more luck! Even though they had a rough start. My husband pre-grew four plants inside in pots and move them outside when it was warm enough. They were covered with some kind of veil but still the sun light was too harsh for them. Only one plant survived and three new cucumber seeds were planted on the vegetable patch. That one plant that survived went crazy after a while and all alone produced half kilograms of cucumbers!

By that time also the three others that were planted straight outside without pre-growing had started to bloom and grow new cucumbers:

Last week we harvested rest of the cucumbers with a happy result:

Almost two kilos! We thought that the cucumbers wouldn't make it this far so we bought some from the shop and made pickled cucumbers already in August:

So what to do with two kilos more? Our cellar isn't reachable at the moment and the fridge is quite full. Luckily my husband's father stopped by and he took the cucumbers and is going to pickle them, good use for them!

Then we also had peas:

None of these were preserved though,they were all eaten right from the vegetable patch by our kids.

Beans have usually had a good harvest too and last year I froze some of them. The beans aren't that picky and usually grow rather well but this year they refused to start climbing and instead grew more or less horizontally even I tried to help them up.

The harvest wasn't that big, enough for couple meals. I like to boil the beans in salty water, pour the water away, crunch garlic on top of them, some salt if needed and butter. Then I stir it a minute or two so that the butter melts and the garlic starts to smell. Goes well with a good steak!

Like I said, we have some berry bushes; raspberries, red wineberries, black wineberries and few strawberries. The strawberries got cold in the beginning of the summer and never even bloomed. Raspberries were good this year, I think I picked something like 4 liters and that's above all that was eaten right from the bush by our daughter!

I used some for my birthday cake but almost all of them I used for jam. I made bought blueberry/raspberry jam and just raspberry jam. Much better than anything you can buy from the shop!

The red wineberries is another sad story. The bush was full of raw berries when we went for a holiday trip and when we came back this was what we saw:

Nothing. Only couple berries here and there, no raw ones, no ripe ones, nothing. I have no idea what happened to that. Must have been quite a flock of birds to do that! Not to mention that the ones on our neighbor's yard were untouched. I even thought if someone had come and picked them but who would do that? I'm not worried about the berries that much, we have couple places were there are more than enough and we could pick all that we need but it would still be nice to know what happened to them.

Black wineberries:

We use wine berries just for making juice with steaming method. The steamed juice could be kept just in a fridge but not all of that fits in so we froze it. We made a lot of juice this year, must be tens of liters and it is concentrated so it will easily last over the winter without any need to buy juice from the shop.

Then there were of course some potatoes and carrots:

Garlics are still growing:

Pumpkin on the making:

This pumpkin is supposed to grow huge but I strongly suspect it will make it.

Couple brave chilis too:

That was from our garden but then there is the forest full of berries and mushrooms! We have picked some blueberries, even more lingonberries and found quite an amount of chanterelles:

All in all. Not that bad! We also bought strawberries so there are some liters of those in the freezer and I already made apple jam out of the apples that were blown away from the trees due to the storm mentioned above, also frozen now. Here is a small list:

- berry juice, tens of liters (frozen)
- strawberries, bought but from nearby (frozen)
- blue berries (couple liters, frozen)
- apple jam (few liters, frozen)
- chanterelles (for few meals, frozen)
- lingonberries (crushed, preserved in their own juice in fridge, few liters)
- pickled cucumbers (one shelf in the fridge full of them)
- raspberry and blueberry jams (couple liters)

Potatoes, carrots, beans and peas eaten. Garlics still waiting.

When you look at it like that, it isn't that bad at all! Did you grow your own food this summer?

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