Independence Days Challenge – Update for Jun 30 to Jul 12th
Posted by supermom on July 15, 2009
I missed posting last week’s update so this will for the past two weeks.
For Sharon Astyk’s latest post… Independence Days Update: If Summer Never Comes. Make sure to check the comments section for even more updates.
1. Plant something: Planted seven tomato plants that I bought at a local farmers’ market.
When we lived on our acreage in Alberta, I planted dozens of tomatoes and had great crops each year. But here in Georiga I haven’t been so lucky. Last year, I lost my tomatoes to worms and Mockingbirds, to blossom end rot and then to blight. I wasn’t even going to plant tomatoes this year but the old couple selling the tomato plants was so sweet and encouraging that I decided to go ahead and try again. I bought 4 Lincoln and 3 Gurny Girl.
To try to combat the blossom end rot, I’ve placed crushed egg shells around the base of each plant. And I’ll have to be watching carefully for any worms and get them picked off each day, several times a day. Then once they start to fruit we’ll have to try to construct some sort of covering to keep the birds out. As for the blight, I’ve changed to different planting spots and also changed my watering method. I guess we’ll just have to wait and hope they don’t get it this year.
We’ve also had to cover the gardens with garden fabric (cutting out holes for the plants) in order to keep one of the local cats from using them as a litter box. It only seems to be the one cat and I’ve tried spraying him with water and sprinkling cayenne pepper on the gardens but those only work for a short time before he’s back. So far the fabric has kept him out, though I did have to go out and add some more to small patches that we’d left thinking they were too small for him to bother with. Turns out we were wrong.
I also should note that I lost two of the sweet potato slips that I planted. I’m not sure why they died. The other two slips are growing well and climbing up their trellises in their containers.
And I potted up two little strawberry cuttings. In the new edition of Square Foot Gardening, he doesn’t recommend letting the strawberry shoots take root because they draw too much energy from the parent plant, but I figured if I cut those off and root them in their own little pots and then transplant them once they get well rooted, I can still grow more strawberries plants without paying for new ones.
2. Harvest something: Several basil branches to use in recipes.
On Thursdays we picked up the produce from our CSA. Potatoes, squash, cucumbers, onions, garlic and then just last week corn was added. I’ve been swapping the basil for more onions, since I have basil in our garden.
On Saturday, Jul 4th, I bought 4 more large heads of cabbage and 22 lbs of tomatoes from the farmers’ market.
Then on Saturday, July 11th, I got a really good price on tomatoes, so I came home with 75 lbs to can.
3. Preserve something: Saturday, Jul 4th, we added more shredded cabbage to the crock of sauerkraut in an attempt to correct the batch we started the week before as was turning out way too salty. It seems to have worked, but I think it’ll be at least two weeks, maybe three before it’s ready to be canned. If the batches turns out as good as I think it now will, we’ll have plenty of sauerkraut for ourselves and some leftover to perhaps trade or give away.
Sunday, Jul 5th, we canned 9 quarts of tomatoes.
Friday, Jul 10th blanched and froze the corn we didn’t eat from the CSA.
Then Jul 11th after we got cleaned up from the garage sale (see below), we started canning the 75 lbs of tomatoes. We got 7 quarts of whole tomatoes and 7 quarts of diced tomatoes canned that evening.
On Sunday, we canned the rest of the tomatoes and ended up with 23 pints of diced tomatoes and 3 quarts of tomato juice.
The juice was an after thought. I pack my jars as full as I can get them with tomatoes so the juice overflows the jars. Dave suggested we save that juice. I thought I might end up with a quart to put in the fridge but when it was more than that, I decided to can it.
4. Reduce waste: Dave made our regular trips to drop off the recycling.
Used water from canning to water plants. We also save the water when we’re waiting for the hot water to come and use that to water plants as well.
All veggie matter got composted.
5. Preparation and Storage: This past Saturday, we held a yard sale. . We didn’t make a whole lot of money but this cleared the boxes marked “for garage sale” out of the attic to give us more room to store non-perishable just as toilet paper, tissue, etc.
And in the process, we helped out a neighbour. When they heard we were having a garage sale, they decided to have one too. So I just included their address in our classified ad as well as on the signs we made up to direct people to the sale. They managed to sell a few big items to help them with their debt reduction goals.
At our sale, I also sold house plants that I grew from slips. I’ve had luck in the past selling houseplants, but this time I only sold 5. I may see about renting a table at the farmers’ market later this summer and see if they sell better there.
6. Build Community Food Systems: Supported local farmers through our CSA and by purchasing from the farmers’ market.
Had some fun talking with the nurses at the dermatology office about gardening. It was great to hear that their families are all growing gardens.
7. Eat the Food: I cook most of our meals from scratch, so the food definitely gets eaten. This is some of what I made over the last two weeks:
Red, White and Blue potatoes (from our CSA) for supper on Jul 5th. I had cooked them for supper on the 4th but everyone filled up on hot dogs and roasted marshmallows, so I sliced and fried them with onions for supper the next day.
Fried up the yellow and green squash with onions as a side dish.
We’ve been using the cucumbers from our CSA in turkey wraps. These are so yummy. Simply mix ½ c miracle whip with ¾ tsp curry powder. Use that as a spread on tortillas. Then layer sliced turkey, thinly sliced cucumbers and lettuce. Roll up and enjoy.
I added some of the squash to my recipe for Creamy Shrimp Pasta.
Ate corn on the cob from our CSA and it was so good that I arranged to buy another 6 dozen which we picked up Monday. More on that in next week’s update.
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