Leaving our large home garden the beginning of July to go on vacation was an act of faith! We could see that the blackberries and tomatoes were ready to ripen and that the final potatoes and golden beets were ready to harvest. We were already harvesting some squash and green beans and many herbs. The carrots were growing like mad, and the flowers were getting ready to really put on their summer display.
Although April and May were full of rain June was the exact opposite! The rain barrels were dry and we really wondered how the garden would fair while we were away. Well, it's as simple as driving away and hoping everything isn't crispy on your return.
Even though there was just a bit of rainfall while away, the entire yard seemed a jungle, albeit dry, when we got back. The blackberries had begun to turn and were ready for immediate harvest, but I was surprised that my Roma tomatoes weren't red and ready for picking. That would soon change.
Purple Viking potatoes
Overall, this month has been just what July should be: a dance of harvesting from the garden and finding time in the mornings to process it. Berries are easy: wash, lay on a cookie sheet to freeze, then bag and put in the deep freeze. Roma tomatoes I slice, roast and then bag and freeze. Carrots are washed, sliced, blanched and frozen. Potatoes are dug up, the excess dirt shaken off (not washed) and then put in bags and stored in the basement. Although there is a lot of work involved this really is the fun part of having the garden ~ eating fresh vegetables every day and storing the excess.
Jesse purchased a scale for me to weigh our produce, and it has been a delight to see how much we are actually harvesting. These are the totals so far for the year.
- 95 lbs ~ Potatoes
- 54 lbs ~ Roma Tomatos
- 39 lbs ~ Blackberries
- 12 lbs ~ Beefsteak Tomatoes
- 10 lbs ~ Carrots
- 10 lbs ~ Garlic
- 9 lbs ~ Onions
- 3 lbs ~ Golden Beets
- 3 lbs ~ Squash
- 1 lb ~ Cucumbers
- 1 lb ~ Bush Beans
- 1 lb ~ Tomatillo Tomatoes
I haven't taken the time to weigh any greens (kale, spinach, lettuce) or herbs, but so far having 238 pounds of produce is an accomplishment I'm very proud of. Obviously, the potatoes are a heavyweight and they have such versatility in the kitchen that they are more than welcome. The Romas are a staple for sauces and soups and I hope to have a good 100 pounds by the end of the growing season. I have many more carrots to harvest, am hopeful to have more green beans and squash and haven't even begun to harvest lima or red beans.
Overall, I'm filled with gratitude. Maintaining a home garden blesses me so because my work is in my home. The easy access to fresh vegetables in spring and summer and then the stored vegetables through the cold weather months makes my work in the home go that much more smoothly. Simply going to the garden or to the freezer instead of hopping out to the grocery store for that one missing item is a blessing. The taste of fresh produce speaks for itself. There is also an economic benefit. I haven't taken the time to add up how much purchasing these types and amounts of organic produce would cost us at the grocery store or farmer's market (Jesse guesses a good $1,000), but I know that having purchased our twelve blackberry plants for $60 that the thirty-nine pounds we've already harvested this year has easily paid for them and we're not done harvesting!
To me, the garden isn't complete without some color and the yard is bursting right now. The greenery of the vegetable garden is beautiful knowing all the produce growing within, but the color of the blooms speaks to me too. Pinks, reds, whites, purples, oranges, greens, yellows ~ flowers really are easy to grow and should be added to the vegetable garden if there is space.
The August garden has the reputation of being crispy and brown, hopefully we can hold that off and have a harvest similar to that of July.
View from the Kitchen