Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We have a lot to learn

This is our third year of having a real garden, and in three years we can name a lot of things that grow in our yard that we couldn't name before. We can recognize an herb by scent, by leaf, by flower. We know how to get rid of ants and kill squash bugs. Sometimes, with the help of the internet, we can even identify edible weeds.

However, we still have a lot to learn. This year we are getting a lesson in more squash beetles, Colorado potato beetles, when to net the berries, when to harvest the scapes, when to transplant the strawberries, and when to start seeds indoors. You live and learn and empty the rain barrel and pray for rain.

So far we have harvested about 4 rounds of peas, a few decent size carrots, zucchinis, about 2 dozen garlic scapes, a handful of green beans, a few berries and loads of broccoli. The cucumbers. tomatoes, potatoes, beans, onions, peppers, cauliflower are coming... I hope.

In the kitchen we are knee-deep in the trenches of dairy experimenting/cheesemaking. I have wasted more milk than I will ever admit, but when it works it is a glorious achievement.  We have canned a good supply of strawberries and raspberries. We hope to pickle some cucumbers and freeze some beans, carrots and zucchini in the next few weeks. Our little garden will not supply enough for our family of five so we will pick up what is available at the nearby farms and put up as much as our budget allows.

When I look back at the way we were shopping, eating and cooking even a year ago, I laugh at myself. So much has changed in 12 months. Our opinions on food are ever-changing. Now we make every attempt to buy our groceries in cash instead of sliding a credit card so we aren't putting ourselves in our own personal food debt. We have diligently tried to cut our grocery budget, all the while supporting local and organic farms.  It hasn't been as easy for us as it was for Barbara Kingsolver.  We still slide the card when tips are low and we still find ourselves in the brightly lit aisles of Wal-mart even after we have exhausted all the local outlets. We are working on it. I don't think we will ever be able to eliminate the grocery store altogether, and I'm completely okay with this. I love pineapples and a life without pineapples seems too extreme and a little depressing. I will continue to buy bananas, oranges, pineapples and coconut milk because I love those thing and I want to enjoy as much delicious food as I can... and really that is what it comes down to for us at this moment...The best tasting food we can afford in our stomachs as much as possible.

Here is a look at our garden on this beautiful, albeit humid, fourth of July.... and no, our corn is not knee-high. We only got about 4 stalks of corn out of the 30 we planted thanks to the birds, and they are struggling to say the least. We did plant a second attempt in a raised bed, but I can already see little beak holes where there once was seed.

Three Sisters (Beans, Squash, Corn)

Potatoes, Beans, random Squash



Peas & Carrots


Golden Buffs



Raised beds





Roma Tomatoes


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