Friday, September 4, 2015

Our 2015 Garden

It has been an unusual gardening year here in Missouri! With a very wet spring and July, as well as high heat through July and August, gardens suffered significantly. Our friends at the farmers market have said this is the worst gardening year they have ever had. Some friends plowed their gardens under back in July without having really any harvest to speak of.

Our garden suffered quite a bit as well, though we are so thankful for the produce we have been able to harvest! While we lost the carrot crop, most of the cucumbers and squash, and we will likely have only a very small tomato harvest, many crops did well such as our first harvest of beets and the beans. There are many jars or bags of both of those canned or in the freezer!

The garden as it is now - the bare dirt is where the potatoes, spring/summer beans, and summer squash used to be

Vegetable gardening is one of my favorite things to do, though this year, after developing the systemic bee sting allergy, I have not done much at all out there other than some harvesting (like the potatoes) as most of the garden is very close to the hives (as you can see in the photo. We still plan on moving the hives somewhere else, though needed to wait until either this fall or early spring next year.)

Mom, who also loves gardening, did an amazing job caring for it and helped the struggling plants along through the wet spells and the bug invasions. Thanks to her, our tomato, cucumber and squash harvests are/were larger than they would have been!

Some of the tomatoes

The basil is one of the plants that didn't mind all of the wet weather. I dried a bunch of it so far, and plan to dry more soon.

One of the winter squash plants that survived. We're going to have at least a few delicata squash to enjoy over the winter!

Black Hungarian Jalapenos

Sweet Bell Peppers

The peppers are one crop that has done very well this year and have been producing prolifically! So much so that Mom not only put a bunch in the freezer and dried a lot, but we have also started giving them away and bringing them to the farmers market to sell.

The celery plants limped along through the hot July and August, and with some cooler weather we have had recently, have finally started to perk up a bit.

The fall crop of beans

One of the watermelons. We enjoyed the first one of the year the other day, and it was so good! Deliciously sweet and juicy.

The sunflowers certainly have been brightening up the garden! They are nearing their end now, and it has been fun to watch the goldfinches enjoying the seeds. I think next year, I'll try bagging the heads so we can have some of the seeds for ourselves. :)

A pollen-laden honeybee on one of the sunflowers

One crop that far exceeded our expectations this year was the potatoes!

One of the wagon loads that Leah and I dug

We were skeptical about how they would produce as with all of the rain, the plants were suffering. One section was even in standing water several times through July. The plants kept growing, though, so we waited in expectation to dig those first ones.

When the first plants were ready to harvest, I started digging in the worst section of the garden and that had been in standing water. Unfortunately, most of them were rotten and the ones that weren't, were quite small. Once I made it up past that section, though, they were almost all in good condition and good sized potatoes . . .


Many were this size or close to it.

There are still a few plants left to dig, but as of now, we have harvested 284 lbs. Such a blessing! They have been cured, are now stored, and are ready to be used throughout the fall, winter and into next spring.

One vegetable crop that we do not grow ourselves is sweet corn so we like to get some from a local farmer to put up in the freezer. This year with everything that was going on, we lost track of time, and by the time we remembered, the farmer we usually get it from was sold out. We were thankful when the following Saturday at the farmers market a fellow vendor had their last 30 or so ears to sell!


Leah and I had a fun time together husking the corn and putting it up in the freezer. As we didn't get a lot, we'll be rationing it out over the fall and winter!


Gardening season is overall beginning to wind down now, though our tomatoes have just started to produce. We haven't had enough to can, but Mom put some in the dehydrator last night. This is our first time drying them so it will be interesting to see how it works.

Soon we'll be putting in the fall crops of lettuce, spinach, and kale and can look forward to enjoying fresh from the garden salads again!

How did your all's gardens do this year?

6 comments:

  1. I think it must be a world wide problem this year, Sarah, as so many people here have had terrible crops of vegetables. My tomatoes are the only thing that has done really well.

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  2. I love your garden, Sarah, even in a tough year!

    It's early spring here, so the season's just beginning... the jasmine is in bloom and my veg seedlings are tiny! I'm having a go at unusual greens this year - summer savory, sorrel, red-leaved amaranth, and mustards. Should be fun :)

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  3. Perhaps it is, Elizabeth! I am sorry to hear that you have struggled with your garden, too. Thankfully, at least your tomatoes produced well!

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  4. Thank you, Rena! It's always interesting to hear how different our seasons are. :) We are looking forward to our fall, as I am sure you are to your spring! How fun to try growing more unusual greens this year . . . enjoy your gardening ventures, and I hope your garden produces well for you!

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  5. It's been a rough year for gardening in Iowa as well!
    Squash borers got to all our zucchini, pumpkins, and spaghetti squash. It's always so sad to see them wilting, dying, and struggling along. Do you ever have problems with those?
    This year has been especially hard. My husband got very, very sick right at the start of August. I've been so busy taking care of him that most of our produce went to the bugs and birds. That's been very hard. I feel like the Lord has been putting a hard test before me -- choosing to love my family more than fresh produce. Maybe it sounds silly. They are just vegetables. xD Lol! But boy has it been hard in my heart!!!

    Seems like your beets always does well. :) I know how you and your family enjoy them. What do you do with beets? I tried pickling some, but it didn't end very well... LOL!

    This year just reminds me of what my grandma-in-law told me; "Every year is going to be different. Be thankful for abundance now, because next year you never know if you'll get the same good crop again." I know that's proved true for us! We had a fabulous crop of cucumbers the first year we started. People kept telling us we'd never be able to eat all the pickles we made. Well, that last two years since we have barely even gotten a handful of edible cucumbers. Thankfully, our pickle supply is still holding strong! :) God is so good to give us what we need in advance in preparing for hard times.

    So glad to be back commenting! It's been too long!
    -Christina

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  6. It was good to hear from you again, Christina! I am so sorry to hear about your husband being so sick! Thank the Lord he is doing better now. How well I can relate to the lessons learned during seasons like that! Thank you for sharing all that you did and the lessons the Lord is teaching you . . . it was encouraging!

    We lost nearly all of our squash this year both to squash bugs and squash vine borers as well as plants rotting from all the rain we had at the start of the gardening season. So you are not alone in that!

    So far all we've done with beets is slice them and can them, and then also put them in a baked root vegetable dish. We haven't tried pickling them before, though everyone tells us we should!

    What you shared in your last paragraph fits so well with us, too . . . for example, we had a bad tomato year, but we still have a lot of tomatoes canned from our previous bountiful year! I am realizing even more the wisdom in canning more than you need in preparation for those years when the garden may not do as well. And then be thankful for whatever we do get from our gardens! Any amount of produce is a blessing.

    Thank you again for your comment, Christina, and I hope you are having a wonderful fall so far!

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