Monday, June 18, 2012

Bounty from the Garden

Our two months of dry weather was finally broken by a 3/4 inch rain about a week ago, and then over this past weekend, we got over an inch! We are so thankful to the Lord for all of the rain! And thankful that we can take a break from watering the garden for awhile. :) Despite the lack of rain, though, the garden has been thriving . . . most of these photos are older, so just imagine the plants about twice the size . . . 

Tomatoes, Mangel Beets, Onions, Carrots, Broccoli and Green Beans

These are the best onions we've grown in all our years of gardening, and I've already started harvesting a bunch of them.

A 'top view' of the garden (as seen from the 'tower' of our old swing set my Dad had built when we were kids.) What is in the garden this year: zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, peppers, celery, dill, cilantro, green beans, beets, carrots, mangel beets, Swiss chard, onions, broccoli, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, lettuce, and spinach. And then back in the very back, kind of in the orchard, are a number of hills of winter squash and then there are more tomatoes and peppers on the backside of the orchard and to the right of it as well.

Innovation . . . tepee tomato 'cages' made out of branches . . . and they work! 
(When I ran out of tomato cages, I made these for the remaining plants . . . I wish I would have done it on all of them as the strong winds that we had recently blew over most of the caged ones.)

The zucchini and yellow squash patch lined with marigolds (which are some of the ones that were volunteers early in the spring and that were transplanted in many different places around the garden.)

Last evening, we lost a zucchini plant . . . here, I am trying to figure out what caused it . . . and discovered that about seven inches of the stem had turned to mush near the base. The plant pretty much fell apart when I pulled it out to discard it. I had wondered if it might be a squash vine borer, but when we had them before, I had never seen anything like this. Any ideas?

 A bunch of growing yellow squash.
Several of the larger ones were harvested this morning as well as a lot of zucchini. I think squash casserole will be on the menu for this week :) . . . .

The green beans are getting close to being ready to pick

Jalapeno peppers . . . the only reason I grow these is for salsa and a few other canned goods, but since the tomatoes aren't ready yet, these will have to wait awhile to be harvested.

The back part of the garden . . . between the green beans and cucumber trellises, watermelon and cantaloupe are planted. My hope is that the green beans will be finished and ready to be tilled under by the time the melon plants are ready to spread out. It will be interesting to see how the timing works with that!

Slicing cucumbers crawling up the trellis

The green onions from last year went to seed, so once again, I am saving seed from them.

The peaches are slowly ripening! And when walking by the trees you can begin to smell the delicious scent of them now.

The beet row ready to be harvested . . . the first crop of 2012 for preservation!

First I pulled all of the sizeable ones and left the few small ones to grow some more (it was 46 pounds of beets once the tops were all cut off!)

A rather full compost bin :)

A new method for washing beets . . . once the tray is full like this I spray them well with a hose, flip the tray around, spray again, and they're done! It is so much faster than handwashing each of them.

Beautiful beets

And the results of a LONG day spent in the kitchen! 19 quarts worth of beets. (Thanks Mom and Leah for your help with all of the peeling and chopping!) And yes, there is liquid loss from the jars - I still haven't been able to prevent that with beets.

Next to harvest were the carrots, and like the onions, these are the best we have ever been able to grow. I've been harvesting and preserving them in small batches so this was one of three loads - so far 37 pounds have been canned, and I hope to do more this week.

All washed and ready for us to peel and chop.

While working in the garden, I love having the company of the goats close by . . . they are all so sweet, not to mention entertaining!

I also enjoy being able to glance over and see the busy bee activity around the hives . . . this is our largest of the hives so far, and they are working on filling the second super with honey. If all continues to go as well as it has, we'll have our own honey this fall!

The vegetable garden isn't the only garden that I have been giving time to as I have continued to work in the little garden that I made near our front door early this spring. It has been enjoyable to see it beginning to fill out!

And while not garden related, I found this photo when editing the garden ones and thought I'd share about our second cheese making experience . . .

It was a success! It went much better than last time. All I needed to do was let the rennet/milk mixture set longer to form the curd. And was this cheese ever delicious! Cheesemaking has quickly become something that I very much enjoy doing . . . and I hope to eventually expand my horizons a bit and try cheddar cheese, but I think I'll wait a bit longer before attempting that!

So . . . all of this is one of the reasons why I haven't been blogging a great deal lately. :) Farm life is certainly a busy one, but so enjoyable and satisfying, too!

Linking up to the "Homestead Barn Hop"


  1. Once again I must say I wish I had your drive and energy. Normally by now we are getting pumpkins and tomatoes. This winter we have not had success. Not even one tomato plant has grown.

    I love that you are using your land in this manner and that you are preserving food and skills too.

  2. What bounty you have! I have been slowly expanding our garden every year but yours is simply astounding!
    Thanks for sharing your pictures.

  3. Your comments always brighten my day, Suze! And thank you for this one and for all that you shared. :) I am sorry that you haven’t had a successful growing winter! Some years are like that . . . and last year was that way for us. It can be disheartening after all of the time and effort put into it, but there is always the hope for next year. And I hope that it will be a much better for you!

  4. Welcome to my blog, Natalie, and thank you for your comment! That is wonderful that you are able to expand your garden . . . I am sure you are enjoying that. :) Hopefully it will produce bountifully for you!

    You’re welcome for sharing!

  5. AnonymousJune 21, 2012

    Sarah, you must be one of the most industrious people I know of! I am amazed at all you set out to endeavor and accomplish. Your garden is a beautiful thing to behold! Knowing the work that goes into it and the harvesting and canning, etc. that follows is a testimony to the valuable skills you have learned...skills that bring a satisfaction and fulfillment very few young ladies these days even value let alone acquire. My hat is off to you! Keep up the good work! (I also enjoyed the photo shoot pictures of you and Leah...such happy hearts and good times reflected in those faces!)

    God Bless,

  6. Oh Sarah! Your family's garden is looking so beautiful! It reminds me of the year that I grew a garden with my mother-in-law. We had a good time and I learned a lot from her wisdom! How is the taste of the canned beets like? I really enjoy beets a lot. Have you eaten the beet greens before? As always beautiful pictures! Wish I could come and help you! :)

  7. My goodness won't you look at that garden!
    Well tended to for sure!

  8. I loved these photos of your beautiful garden, Sarah. It must be so rewarding for you to see all your hard work and patience paying off!


  9. What an inspiring post! :)

  10. Your garden is doing fantastically well, Sarah! Oh how I would love to spend a morning helping you harvest. We are not quite at the point to do that here yet and the anticipation is brewing. In the meantime, other projects and activites are keeping me quite busy. It seems I find very few moments for "screen time" these days, but I so enjoy seeing your posts.

  11. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, Rachel! You are so sweet. Thank you!

    The garden is a lot of work, but it is such satisfying work (as I am sure you can relate to :) . . . especially once the produce is being harvested and the pantry shelves and freezer are filling up!

    I’m glad that you enjoyed the photo shoot pictures . . . we were having a wonderful time together!

  12. Thank you, Nabila! How special that you were able to garden with your mother-in-law. I am sure you had wonderful and memorable times together! And it is always a blessing being able to learn from the wisdom of the "older women" in our lives. They have so much to shar!

    We really like the taste of the canned beets . . . they’re actually not much different than enjoying them freshly cooked. No, I haven’t eaten beet greens before . . . have you? What are they like?

    Thank you for your kind words! I wish you could come help as well . . . what fun we would have together!

  13. Thank you for your comment, Amanda! It made me smile. :)

  14. I am glad that you enjoyed them, Anna! And yes, it is rewarding . . . and we are so thankful for the bounty the Lord is providing!

  15. I'm glad it could be, Joy!

  16. It is, Renee, which we are so thankful for! How I would enjoy it as well if you could spend a morning with us harvesting . . . working in the garden together and visiting would be such a treat.

    I am sure you are looking forward to harvest time! I hope your plants will produce abundantly for you.

    I can well relate to being busy and having a lack of time on the computer. I’m glad, though, that you still have been enjoying the posts. :) It makes blogging much more enjoyable knowing that others enjoy seeing them!

  17. Yes I have eaten them :) They taste like most any other greens and are really healthy for you. :) You can saute them with onions, garlic and mushrooms or whatever you might like. Or just cook them like other greens. You will have to let me know if you try them. :) Can't complain about a vegetable that you can you both the root and the green! :)


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)