Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Send the Harvest Crews

I know I'm no different than any other gardener this time of year. There is too much to do.

Someone has been coming in each night after I'm in bed and planting full-grown weeds in my garden. I can't seem to keep up with them. Nor can I keep up with the bountiful crops that want to be transformed into winter time food for the pantry shelves and freezer compartments.

The raspberries need picking every other day now.

Some of them are really large.

A couple of years ago, hubby tasted some golden raspberries and thought they were the sweetest raspberries he'd ever had. Year before last we got a few canes and planted them. They survived but that was about all until this year. The canes themselves are still not prolific or particularly sturdy looking but they are putting forth some good-sized berries that are . . . not very sweet. Hmmm . . . well, we tried. Maybe they will improve with time?

We've had these two traps in our experimental potato "cage" for a few days now. Although more varmint holes have appeared in the mulch, we haven't managed to catch anything in either of the traps. I just know those critters (whatever they may be) are down under the mulch making Hash Browns and Twice Baked Potatoes with all my half grown taters.

Can you see this droopy bush Aster near the right hand side of the bottom row of plants? Two days ago I noticed it looking kind of wilted. Today it looks as if something chopped off its roots below ground and it's on its way out. I have no idea what could have happened to it when the other plants all around it seem to be doing fine.

The blueberry patch has enough ripe blueberries for a small picking. I need to get at them before the birds or chipmunks do or before they fall off.

We're eating edible podded peas about twice a day and I'm giving some away, too, but I still have an overload of them so I gave a go today at freezing a batch. I've mentioned before that they always come out limp and mushy after being frozen but I'm trying again hoping I have better luck. I blanched them for only 1-1/2 minutes, then plunged them into ice water to cool, and then even patted them dry on a towel before packing them for the freezer. Anybody want to share how you do it?

My pickling cucs are coming along. Look at this one I found today. It's almost a whole inch long! Kosher Dills and Bread and Butter Pickles can't be too far in the future.

I've got to make time in the next couple of days for canning a few batches of pickled beets. There are beets out there that are going to get "woody" if I don't harvest and get them preserved really soon.

My shell peas. Omigosh. Are they ever prolific this year. There are only a few that have filled out so far and could be harvested. I'm purposefully ignoring them waiting for a bunch more to be ready before setting up to process them for the freezer.

I'll have to water the garden for sure sometime tomorrow if we don't get rain. The forest fire danger remains low just now thankfully but our temps in the 80s and the sun baking down all day has made the whole garden look very dry. I went out tonight after dinner to harvest some lettuce and a dew had already started to form so if we get a heavy dew overnight, that will help a bit.

Everything combines to make sure there isn't a lack of things to do this time of year. But there's also a lot of satisfaction when gardening efforts turn into healthy, nutritious food to eat and enjoy now and put by for future times.


Stephanie said...

Your cukes look like mine:) I have about 10 of them that should be ready by the end of the weekend. My garden is tiny compared to yours, but the satisfaction and excitement from seeing something come from my hard work is so cool! My tomatoes and peas are late coming in, but they are coming hehe.

Lorie said...

Your raspberries look so good. We planted last year and between the heat and the deer, they seemed like goners. Amazingly they survived, but no fruit this year.

I agree with the mushy thing. I have tried canning and freezing some vegetable that our family really likes and they do not excite me much (Like beans and squash). I think for canning I like pickling more, they seem to have more flavor too.

This year I am trying to dry more fruit and vegetables. I have been reading online and just about anything can be dried. I have a batch zucchini and summer squash in the dehydrator now. Last year I dried our green beans and liked the way they turned out. Drying really brings out the flavor. It also saves on freezer space. I bought a Food Saver sealer just for drying this year.

I have not done peas yet, as ours did not survive the intense heat we have had here this summer. Hope to plant a fall crop thought and perhaps will have better results.

Oh, the joyful days of harvest....I am off to do mine.

Erin said...

I agree, there is way too much work right now! I'm interested to see what everyone does to freeze the edible pod peas, too - I would do the same as you, just like beans. I haven't grown them before, but I am very tired of beds full of shell peas and not enough to preserve for winter. I think I'll try them this fall. Your raspberries are HUGE! Are they always that way?

Susan said...

Those rathpberries look gorgeous! I just went out and discovered a zucchini baseball bat! It's exciting and exhausting at the same time, when all this bounty comes in. I will be waiting to see how the peas come out - I've tried it, too, but they always go limp.

Deanna said...

I am just plain jealous of your bounty. I am in northern/central MN and my garden tends to make me sad. Especially the tomatoes. 4 out of 6 plants look dead. Two are putting out 2 tomatoes and 2 are putting out 1 tomato and I am guessing that will be it.
On the bright side the Swiss Chard looks good, spinach is good, some small zucchini so far and am seeing blossoms on the green beans (my favorite).
Ah veggies. I do love them.

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Hey, tiny garden is good, too. Just think of all the fresh, luscious food for the table!

Lorie - For space saving storage and economy (no freezer running) dehydrating is sure the way to go, isn't it? We're so hooked on the way frozen veggies taste though that I'm not sure we could ever switch to all dried. :o)

Erin - I plant 64' of shell peas to get enough to last us all year. So you do need much more space for them than the edible podded varieties. But I sure to love those yummy frozen peas!

We've been lucky and usually do get quite a few large raspberries. We have three different varieties and get big berries from two of the varieties. One is Boyne and I lost my sheet where I had the other two names written down. (What a slovenly record keeper!)

Susan - OH NO! Not the dreaded baseball bat sized zucchinis already!! Run, everyone, run!

Deanna - Those good, ol' green beans seem to come through every year, don't they? Gotta love 'em! Hope your tomato plants hang in there.

RuthieJ said...

It's a busy time of year for you Mama Pea! Come next January though, you will be happy to have all those delicious fruits and veggies to enjoy.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

If you've got any left by the time I make it to your place, I'll buy some pea pods from you - I love those things!

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie - As much as I may grump and complain about how busy I am right now, I really do love the whole process of preserving. Such a good feeling to see those packages in the freezer and jars on the shelves. Now AND in January!

Jen - There sure should be some pea pods left next week. For you, they're free, of course!