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Garden 2013 Review and 2014 Plans

No, this is not our yard with a random, runaway cucumber plant that just popped up, this is a pic of our sorely neglected 2013 garden. 

We finally harvested the last of our garden veggies and fruits last week, and I can’t say I’m sad that the tedious task is done.  If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, is that gardening for survival purposes is a heck of a lot of work.  There were days this summer, after dealing with storms, chopping wood, repairing our 125 year old house and all the other “fun” stuff we did as first-year homesteaders, where I couldn’t even bring myself to look at the garden.  Alas, in spite of our neglect, we did manage to harvest a fair amount of veggies.

We canned:

24 jars of pickles

14 – 16oz. jars of salsa

6 – 8oz. jars of salsa

4 jars of bruschetta (16 oz.)

Not a ton, but pretty good for a newbie.

We froze:

A fair amount of green beans, green peppers, onions, and carrots.  Not a ton here either, but all in all, I’m happy with what we’ve accomplished in year one.

After contemplating our plan, we’ve decided that we’re going to try and NOT consume most of the canned goods downstairs, saving it for any possible emergencies.  Home-canned goods can last many years, so this is a great way for us to have food stockpiles.

Garden 2014

After getting a grasp of how much what we planted would produce, we have a better idea of what we’ll plant next year.  Our comparison chart looks something like this:

2013

4 Cherry Tomato Plants

4 Roma Tomato Plants

4 Green Pepper Plants

4 Jalapeno Plants

4 Habanero Plants

18 Red Onion Plants

16 Green Bean Plants

16 Pea Plants  (they all died; due to our overly rainy spring, I’m told)

3 Cucumber Plants

1 Healthy Row of Carrots

3 broccoli plants – these didn’t do so well for us.  Will try again next year.

2014

1 Cherry Tomato Plant – we really didn’t use a ton of these this year

8 Roma Tomato Plants.  Romas are terrific for canning and grow really well out here.  By doubling our number and taking better care of our garden, I hope to have LOTS more cans of tomatoes in some form for 2014

8 Green Pepper Plants.

4 Jalapeno Plants

2 Habanero Plants

36 Red Onion Plants

32 Green Bean Plants

32 Pea Plants

3 Cucumber Plants

2 Healthy Row of Carrots

6 broccoli plants

16 red potato plants

So, for the most part, we’ll be doubling our garden size.  We’ll also work hard on taking better care of our garden, thereby increasing our yield.  If all goes well, we should be able to, with the above number of plants, freeze and can enough veggies to last us a whole year – yea!!!

Any thoughts or helpful tips from veteran gardeners for us?  Do you have plans for a garden of any size next year?

 

17 comments

  1. Kathy says:

    When we lived on 5 acres in the country, we had a huge garden plus fruit trees. I canned, I froze, I gave away tons of fruit and veges. It finally became a chore and what we got in end product, no matter how much, didn’t equal the drudgery it had become. Our lives revolved around either cutting grass, spraying trees or working in the garden. So 4 years ago, we sold our country home and purchased a duplex in town. We have a tiny yard, and no garden. We are loving it. Just as much as we started out loving our country place. That lasted for 20 years. I hope you love your situation even longer.

    • Laurie says:

      Great story, Kathy! Thanks for sharing! Yes, we are loving the country life, but I can see how it could become drudgery – LOTS of work! So glad you are happy in your new place. 🙂

  2. Iforonwy says:

    Our garden got away from me a bit this year. We were away travelling early in the year and so some items went into the ground rather late. It is only a small fruit and veg patch but a large garden by UK standards.

    I was looking at the list of what we had harvested earlier today and the results are:-
    Potatoes – 6.5 pounds
    Beans – they got waterlogged and damped off but hopefully put some nitrogen into the soil.
    Strawberries – also waterlogged but I have rescued plenty of runners for next season and will try growing them in hanging baskets as they seem to be a variety that would thrive in that environment.
    Red and black currants – one bush of each and I have frozen about 4 pounds of each.
    Raspberries – picked on a daily basis and still some out there on the autumn varieties – just think fresh raspberries on our breakfast cereal and its November!
    Blueberries – 3 bushes 2 given to us by a neighbour who does not like them. Again picked on a daily basis.
    Bramley cooking apples – not such a good year although the fruit is of a much better quality this year. 3 large trays stored in the garage to date and a neighbour had lots of windfalls to make jelly.
    Pears – a disaster – lots of blossom but one measly pear!
    Cherries – a small crop as the tree is young – again picked on a daily basis.
    Asparagus – the plant surprised me as I thought it was dead – I will nurture it next year.
    Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) still in the ground.
    Garlic – grew just fine and we enjoyed the scapes but then the plants just disappeared – I think the mice had them.
    Lots of herbs – rosemary, oregano, lemon balm, marjoram – great year for these.
    Grapes – my great sucess this year! Last weekend we made 4 pots of grape jelly – we have never made jelly before just lots of jams and conserves – it was a long, long job but worth it. I also prepared and froze over 6 pounds of grapes.

    I like to try a new crop each year and bought a lingonberry plant in Lidl yesterday. I now need to take a look at what growing conditions it will like. I think it can go into the large pot that used to house the broad beans.

    Most of our veg is grown in large pots making it a bit easier on my aged bones!

    • Laurie says:

      Wow – you guys did great!! I really would love to do garlic too, as we eat lots of it. I’m surprised yours was eaten, I always thought most pests stayed away from the garlic due to the pungent odor. Hmmmm. Thanks for sharing – I appreciate hearing how you did!

  3. That’s great Laurie! You are right– gardening is LOTS of work, especially starting from square one. I can’t imagine doing all of that on top of all the work on the house!

    We have done a garden everywhere we had lived and have always done some canning and freezing. This year (now that we have moved into my in-laws’ basement so we can pay off student loans asap) we were spoiled in the gardening department. My in-laws are very avid gardeners. They let us use several rows in their nice fertile garden complete with a drip system and gopher fence. They also shared their harvest of the things we didn’t plant.

    I am planning to do a garden post as soon as I go take inventory of our canned produce (though some of the canned stuff isn’t from the garden), hopefully by the end of the week.

    In short, for eating we had: watermelon, zucchini, tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, cantaloupe, carrots, lettuce, spinach, kale, peas, green beans, raspberries, and strawberries.

    My in-laws share: garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, asparagus, onions, grapes and blackberries.

    • Laurie says:

      Wow, Stephanie, quite the bounty! Yeah, it would be nice to have master gardeners as parents/in-laws, that’s for sure. I think it’s great that you guys have always done gardening, etc. I wish we would’ve started earlier!

  4. Matt Becker says:

    Never done any gardening. The thought is appealing, but I’m not sure it’s work I’d actually enjoy. I think it’s really cool when people can do it though, and you sound like you’re off to a great start. Fresh veggies are delicious.

  5. kelly @stayingonbudget says:

    That’s great, Laurie! I can’t wait to hear more about your garden in the spring. I will hopefully graduate out of container gardening next year!

  6. moneystepper says:

    Oh, I love this. Can’t wait to hear more about the garden. When we get back to the UK in October 2014, this is going to be a massive goal of ours. That gives me a full year to learn from you!! Keep on teaching! 🙂

  7. That’s awesome! And it made me hungry! 🙂 I think next year I might hire a task rabbit or someone to teach me how to properly plant and maintain a garden. I can grow tomatoes OK, but I haven’t had luck with anything else.

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, we’re not too far ahead of you, Tonya! Our tomatoes did well, but everything else could’ve used some help. Maybe next year, huh? 🙂

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