“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Well, it’s clear that we won’t starve this fall. in fact, we’ve been blown away at the bounty of our harvest from our gardens this year. And it’s not over yet!
Over the past couple of weeks, between working on a few projects around the house, we’ve been slowly harvesting our crops as they become ready.
We picked our first variety of sweet corn last week and blanched and froze the majority of it. Yes, we ate a lot of it fresh as well – and we shared a couple dozen among friends and neighbors, too.
The later-maturing variety is almost ready now – perhaps by this time next week. That will be another 90-100 ears to process as well.
I think we can call our potatoes a success, too. We grew four varieties: red, yellow, russet and purple. The Purple Chieftain was the most plentiful – in sheer number of potatoes harvested – although they were probably the smallest ones on average.
After that was the Russet. These turned out a bit smaller than I expected but will be great baked and french fried. The yellow and red were the largest of all.
Each individual potato is a handful. We’ll certainly be growing more of the red ones especially.
All in all, we dug up over 150 pounds of spuds from the ground last week, That doesn’t include the who-knows-how-many pounds of new potatoes we took as we needed previously.
I never weighed the cucumbers and zucchini we grew – but we have pickled almost 30 pints and/or quarts of them.
We’ve also enjoyed fresh green beans and yellow wax beans for the past few weeks but with the plants producing more than we can eat fresh, we picked, blanched and froze the remainder – over fifteen pounds!
But sadly, not everything went so swimmingly. I’ve already written about the issues we had with our tomatoes – then last week a cold snap claimed the sweet potatoes and winter squash plants. Unfortunately, even though we covered the plants that evening, the cold was too much and these plants were beyond recovery.
But, like the second corn harvest, we still have cabbage, rutabaga, carrots, parsnip, onions, pole beans, leeks, beets and swiss chard to pick as needed – and then to harvest for long-term storage as well.
Then we have some of the more unusual crops to enjoy. Like these little guys:
Ground Cherries (or Cape Gooseberries or Husk Berries depending on your preference). A member of the tomato family, ground cherries grow in a little papery husk while on the plant and are ready for harvest when they fall to the ground.
Sweet and juicy and pineappley – I love them over vanilla ice cream.
The berries can be prepared in a tart or pie-shell as well – I’ll let Vanessa take care of that bit of research and let you know.
Other than some fruit, we haven’t bought any produce to speak of since the end of July. And frankly, like most people know of home-grown tomatoes, there’s nothing like picking and preparing vegetables fresh from the garden. And it’s good knowing that there’s no pesticides or chemical fertilizers to worry about.
Today, we did a big cleanup on the harvested beds and planted a cover-crop of buckwheat to replenish some of the nutrients and organic matter in the beds. Left in the bed to die as the cold approaches, it will also help protect the soil from wind-erosion through the winter.
And already, we’re planning what and how to plant the beds next year. Until then we continue to enjoy this bounty.
Thank you, Lord.