Super Mom – No Cape!

One mother sharing her knowledge with others

Independence Day Challenge – Joining In

Posted by supermom on June 22, 2009

Recently I came across an interesting blog called Casaubon’s Book by Sharon Astyk.  Reading back through the archives I see that she is doing a weekly post on Mondays in which she lists what she has done during the previous week to move her family closer to food self-sufficiency, hence the title: Independence Day Challenge.  She encourages readers to join her and even though I’m starting a month and a half late, here is a list of what I’ve accomplished in the past week:

1.  Plant something:  I planted four sweet potato slips.

Our CSA had been shipped more than they needed and were giving these away.  At first, I wasn’t going to take them because I know that sweet pototoes can take over a small garden, but when I learned that they can be grown in containers with a trellis, I decided to go ahead and give that a try.

2.  Harvest something:  2 zucchinis and a handful of basil from our containers and square foot garden.  We also picked 3 gallons of blueberries from a local u-pick farm.

3.  Preserve something:  Details of what we did with the blueberries can be found here.  Also later that same day, we made and canned mustard beans from the yellow beans we received from our CSA.

Then Saturday, I bought dill, pickling cukes and green beans, (as well as potatoes and sunshine squash) from our local farmer’s market.

We made four quarts of dill pickles and canned some more pints of french cut green beans.  We have a total of 11 pints of green beans now, but if there are beans available again this week, I’ll be buying more.

4.  Reduce waste:  Dave made his weekly trip to drop off the recycling we collect during the week.

Rather than buy new lumber for an additional square foot gardening box, we bought three pieces of used lumber of varying lengths from our local HomeMart (run by Habit for Humanity.)

I added another bucket of kitchen veggie and fruit scraps and trimmings to the compost bin.

And the water used for preserving from washing fruit and veggies to water-bath canning, pressure canning and blanching all got reused to water the plants (once it cools down, of course.)

5.  Preparation and Storage:  The Gamma Lids and mylar ziplock bags I ordered arrived so we transferred the rice I’ve been getting free after coupons into one of the food grade pails we picked up for $1 each.  (One of our local WalMarts sells the buckets that their icing comes in)

6.  Build Community Food Systems:  As you can see above, we are members of a CSA and I support our local farmer’s market.  I also buy eggs and honey from local farmers.

We have two 4 X 4 square foot gardens with another in the process of being built.  And I’m experimenting with growing zucchini, mint and now, sweet potatoes in containers.

7.  Eat the Food:  I cook most of our meals from scratch, so the food definitely gets eaten.

We’ve been eating blueberries with whipped cream.

The potatoes were boiled and used for two meals.

The sunshine squash were wrapped in tinfoil with onions (from our CSA), minced garlic and butter then cooked on the bbq.

We had toasted tomato sandwiches for lunch twice on the weekend.

With supper last night, we had corn on the cob (using up last year’s before the new corn is ready to be done) and we also had some of the mustard beans made on Friday and refrigerator pickles I made the week before last.

I’d love to hear how other’s gardening and preserving is coming along,  as well as, any preparedness projects you may be working on.  Please feel free to leave a comment.


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