September means garden harvest is coming around full swing. The season is bittersweet for me, but definitely more sweet than not. A lot of work here on our little 5 acre farm. If I am not harvesting and processing something out of the garden every day, I feel I am failing. (a fresh bowl of salsa qualifies as success -I know to go easy on myself) I also feel completely blessed to have the opportunity to fail or succeed. I know it is a privilege.
Every year our garden space gets more organized, and with that, more productive. Finding my grove when it comes to bringing the harvest to table, as year around as possible, takes time... and I am impatient. Lessons all around, I guess.
I take notes, if only mentally, of what my family really does eat and how we can maximize our garden's potential. I did not plant any eggplant this year, but the garlic was doubled. Tomatoes add up to 65 plants and the bell peppers have never been so big. (perhaps it was the drink of compost tea we gave them earlier in the season) The pole beans are so-so --should've had them picked before now, same with the pickling cucumbers. The okra is over ripe, might have only a handful to fry up. And although fried okra is one of my favorites, it may not make the garden cut next year. I think more cutting flowers in the okra's garden space will bring me more enjoyment -I really do.
Our basil plants have had 3 cuttings equaling up to 2lbs basil butter (this stuff is delicious) and 20 cups of cashew pesto in the freezer. This makes me happy. Imagine me grinning really big -because I am. This last weekend I processed 15lbs of tomatoes into jam, and another 15lbs cored and in the freezer. The onions, potatoes, carrots, beets and pumpkins are all growing nicely. This evening I picked a large tote full of bell and hot peppers, the first big pepper picking of 2012. Take a guess at my to-do list tomorrow.
The other day I slipped out to the garden, picked 2 lbs of peppers and then made some of my favorite "Mama's Hot Sauce!" Yep, that's what we call it - and nothing beats a bit spooned over a farm fresh fried egg! (or anything really)
This recipe comes
from one of my very favorite preserving books by Karen Solomon... Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Other Kitchen Projects. (no, it's not really this mama's hot sauce, but hey -that's it's name around these parts) Oh the season is sneaking up on us, the time that I get lost in baskets of fresh tomatoes and peppers, green beans and corn!
Somehow managed to have the farm all to myself this past weekend.
I spent it in the garden harvesting basil and tomatoes.
With the 2nd cutting of basil, I put away 12 -2 cup portions of the yummiest pesto I have ever made. (from beauty that moves) I've already got my eye on the basil for another harvest.
Garden freshness is really starting to pop. The first big flush on tomatoes have me thinking about tomato jam, preserved whole tomatoes, salsa, and freshly roasted toms. Teddy bear sunflowers make a nice back drop to the many (55!) tomato plants we have this year.
Cut flowers in the kitchen window, above the sink. This year, our garden keeps these fresh. (went a little crazy with the zinnias, but I would never admit that to my husband!) Green beans are on, peppers are hot and ready for a big first harvest, onion and red potatoes happy, and the corn is taller than me. The pumpkins are looking nice and the squash is off the hook as well.
Trying to keep it contained is a good problem to have.
Took a vacation. It was a long time coming. Too long. Came home to lots of chores: a rental that needs addressed, a remodel to push forward with and lots of farm life happening. Garden harvest on my mind and school is just around the corner. Trying to remember to breathe properly.
It's important to do so, you know.
Oh and, did I mention? My boy spent his 2nd Birthday on the beach -Happy Birthday Finn!!
We really did have a lovely trip to the beach, with lots of fun stops
along the way. Yep, just can't seem to get my feet outta the ocean and
back here on land in the desert.
4th of July celebration this year: worked in the garden (because growing our own food celebrates a freedom that ripples), sipped spiked lemonade (try this!), good food, a surprise visit from a friend driving through town (I love good surprises like that), and watching fireworks.
A family that gardens together, eats good food together!
I love this time of year in the garden, so much potential and hope.
This spring, Lance began to transform our garden into raised beds. We have a large garden and he was only able to complete 4 of the 12 rows before we (he) ran out of time and we needed to get plants in the ground. Once the beds are in place (maybe this fall?), the irrigation will be top of the list. Not including the 4 new raised beds, we water through irrigation pipes and gates. Not efficient at all. Soil is constantly moving. Raised beds will also help keep our soil warmer, extending our growing season.
We are constantly thinking about the health of our garden soil, so last week our plants got their first drink of compost tea! I was very (very) excited about this. It can only get better from here!