Saturday, November 27, 2010

Plans Starting For Next Year's Garden

Two Summers ago Todd made these crop row covers when we attempted to start new cucumbers after the cucumber beetle destroyed the crop we had. The past Summer Todd did not have the time for the garden as he has in the past because of his job and I did not have as much mobility yet because of my knee. We did not use the crop covers last season and we have decided very much to use them this coming up. The covers are made with some small piping, tulle, and clothes line clips. The covers will prevent the bugs destroying our crop. We will have to remove the covers once we see blooms but hopefully the bugs will be gone by then or at least less of them. I hope we are successful with the Diva cucumbers again next year, because they do not need pollinated to grow cucumbers, so I see the crop covers on through out the season except for weeding. One of our Thanksgiving weekend shopping was 2 bolts of tulle. We now have 40 yards of tulle to make crop row covers. I hope this will work.

Not only have we been planning on how to improve our crop but Todd has also been creative for containers for us to plant are seedlings come March. Can you believe it basically in 3 months we will begin to plant for next Summer's garden. I love having a creative husband. We have found our favorite light yogurt is Wal-Mart brand. The containers are not the typical round containers. Todd thought that these would make excellent containers to add the proper dirt and seeds to. He is right. How smart is that as well as recycling (going green)? We normally would just put them in the recycle bin, but now I am washing them and saving them for our future plants. Yeah Todd!

Great Buy!

Mrs. Wages we have found is the best salsa recipe for canning. This is also the same brand we use for the pasta, chili base, and pickles. We have used different brands for the pickles but Mrs. Wages taste much better. Next Summer I may experiment and make my own pasta sauce to see if I can make a low sodium one but I will not make a lot of it since we do not know if it will taste better. Todd went to the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and found a bargain. Each packet was $.25. Typically they are any where from $2.50-$2.75. I am already looking forward to canning since we did not do very much of it this year and we have a huge start already for next year. He picked up 7 salsa, 3 pasta sauce, and 6 hot salsa. Each packet makes 5 quarts. We had picked up already 4 salsa, 2 pasta sauce, and pickle packets last Spring. My goal each year is to have 15 quarts of pasta sauce, 10 pints of chili base, 10 pints each type of salsa. I would like to make baskets with canning goodies for our Mothers and any child living away from home too next year. I do not think we need to pick up any more for salsa. I hope we have a great crop of tomatoes next year. I'm sad we were unable to do no canning this year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

End of Garden Season 2010 & We Found Carrots!

The weather is getting colder and the time to prepare the garden for next year is a little over due. Threats of snow this week put Todd and I into action. We both did not want anything to do with the garden after the type of year we had, yet we want a great year for next year. On Thursday, Todd had pulled weeds and plants he also told me we still had carrots. I did not think much of it because our garden was not that much of a success this year. I do remember that he found a carrot in the ground in the Spring that was left from last year. It had no step just the carrot in the ground, so I kind of thought of that when he was talking about the carrots.

Today we put the cages and stakes away. We also took apart the container garden. The boys helped out. I love it when they help it. It is more then cutting the time down, it is more then just getting help. (Yes, I love that part too.) I love it because partly that is what family does, help out and pitch in. I also have hopes that they will pick up some of this and when they have their own place they will garden too. Right now, they do not show any interest but I do hope that they see all the benefits a garden gives one. I also hope it shows a little of "Going Green". How composting helps not only our garden but the environment. Last year we did better at recycling and compost and I hope to put this action into play once again. I need to get a container to put our waste that we can compost. The main reason I love this is that it is something they can do together (we all can do) and get away from electronic gadgets. Joshua and Ethan were taking the planters from the container garden and wheel borrowing them to the the patio where we removed what plants were left and dumping the soil into a big barrel.

The boys came to me showing me a carrot they pulled and were about to toss it at one another. This is something Todd started a few years back when cleaning out the garden. He and Joshua would take old tomatoes and see if they could hit a tree or play golf with it and seeing how far they could put it. They were laughing because it was a huge baby carrot. I mean huge, like a potato. I looked at the containers on the picnic table and noticed two tubs of carrots still and told the boys not to throw them, we could eat the carrots. Todd turned around and looked at the carrot the boys brought. We all went over to the carrots and pulled several carrots. There were a few very small ones that Todd would toss to the boys to have fun with. I loved watching them all laugh, including Todd smiling at them. We definitely had found more then a bunch of carrot today in our garden. I sliced the carrots for crock pot meals or possibly stews. Tomorrow night we do plan on chicken with veggies in the crock pot, our carrots will be an addition for sure.

I compared the baby carrot that is store bought to our baby carrots that we pulled from the garden today.