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Food Growing Mamas (and papas!)... Holy moley it's been a long winter! I sure have missed you guys


I set up my seed starting "room" and planted my tomato & pepper seeds yesterday (May 15th last hard frost date here). The rest will wait until next week. I will be planting squash (not pumpkin) this year for the first time! How about you guys? What are you growing? What are your goals for this year? Did you learn anything from last season that you can share with us all?

The cupboards are pretty much bare of any homegrown produce. I can see why in the past people have referred to early spring as "the hungry season". Since we ran out of canned tomatoes last week, I guess I either need to step up my production or eat less next winter
. I figure I have got to put up at least 50 quarts. *sigh*. We still have some jams & jellies, pear honey, one jar of pickles, a bag of sun dried tomatoes and some frozen bell peppers... that's it!

I learned that I need to make & can applesauce and pickles even if I think I am too busy and no one will eat them anyway. This is untrue; the minute we run out someone will ask for it, including neighbors, and family members will pout if there is not sauce or pickles in their holiday gift baskets. I learned not to make more than one batch of hot pepper jelly per year and to put it in 4 oz. jars. I learned pear honey is divine on pancakes. I learned that a sandwich baggie of sun dried tomatoes is the *perfect* size for us and they freeze really well. Also, tomatillo salsa freezes very well and takes up way less room than whole frozen tomatillos
Speaking of tomatillos, I learned last year that once I plant the darn things I can be pretty much assured of a bumper crop the next year too


Looking forward to hearing how you all are doing!!!!
 

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I still have gallon bags full of frozen tomatillos left from last year.
I think my momma overplanted them a bit! She is cutting back on them this year, and I am not planting a single tomatillo in my garden. haha Hopefully that will keep the overabundance from being a problem!!

Does anyone stagger their plantings to have more fresh produce throughout the growing season? If so, how? Do you plant in the same spot? Or do you plant one section and then a week or two later plant the next section?
 

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You are such an inspiration!

My greatest hope is that this drought lifts and we don't have another 50+ days over 100* this summer.
I've started more of everything, probably more plants than I'll find room to plant!
I may just make room though!
My friend gifted me several kinds of beans (winged beans, dragon tongue, christmas lima and one other I can't remember!) and I want to save seed so they will be grown far enough away from each other. I need to look this up in Seed to Seed.
I'm growing dh a little forest of hot peppers. And a few sweet peppers for me! I've got my dozen or so varieties of tomatoes. Just one eggplant variety, rosa bianca. I bought Renee's tomatillo seeds with purple and green, couldn't resist! I'm just hoping our garlic and onions are ready around when we have tomatoes for sauce and salsa use. I am going to try lemon squash, and butternut squash (saved the b.s. from one at the HFS, so that's an experiment). I've planted 5 artichoke plants, plus the one that regrows I hopefully will get my first artichokes this year! I don't have any pumpkin seeds yet, I wanted some of those beautiful crazy bumpy or funky colored ones or turks cap. Oh and I'm going to have melons as well! I can't wait to make pickles. My dill is blooming, so I'm guessing I need to save the dill seeds soon for summer pickles?
Our citrus (navel orange, satsuma, lemon drop) are flowering like crazy now and my lone peach is starting to flower. We planted more fruit trees and a raspberry patch for ds. Our fruit role call is getting crazy, bananas that need more protection than I've given them, limes, the citrus above, plums, apples, loquats, elderberry, blackberry, fig, pomegranate, pineapple guava and grapes. I need a nut tree, but couldn't get the almond I wanted this year. I'm starting to save avocado seeds because I have a sheltered spot waiting for a container family of avocados! I'm excited about how much our fruit trees could produce for us!
Not just food, we planted an herb spiral recently. Some of the herbs are from seeds I got from MDC Mamas.

I think our LFD is around TODAY! Except we can count on an Easter cool snap, but maybe not this year?
 

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Yeah! I love this thread!
: Well, I was going to be growing down the street on 1/2 acre, but now going back to the farm and planting a 1 acre. I can't wait to get back there. I will be trying to sell all I can at Farmers' Market and feed us. Will definately be canning up everything I can, esp. if they don't let me sell tomatoes this year (new people don't get to sell what others already there are primarily selling). Anyway, will be trying new lettuce that can take our summer heat.
: Also, growing more herbs. So exciting!

What I learned last year, well, that I need to grow two crops of beans for green beans all summer. Yum! I only need to grow Marquee de Provence winter squash once every two years. It's so prolific it's crazy. 10+ pumpkins per plant.
: Oh, and that I love drip irrigation. So nice!
:

I can't think of anything else. Good luck mamas on your gardens. I'm so looking forward to this year.
 

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I ventured out into my garden for the first time this year yesterday. While I was taking down the fence (we're expanding this year) I found 6 little onion sprouts coming up! I live in southern Idaho, where it snowed just days ago so I was shocked to find them. Now what to do with them. They're right on the edge of the old garden so they'll have to moved before we till the new area. Can I dig them up and replant? I have no idea.

My garden is going to be much bigger this year and I'm planning to start canning. I froze everything last year and while it worked fine, I'd like to store things in jars instead of taking up all that freezer space. I learned a ton last year and I can't wait to get planting. I've missed my garden this winter!

My goats destroyed two of my peach trees so I'm very upset about that. I only have one left now.

My freezers are looking a little bare in the home made produce department. I've got some plums and some roasted tomatoes and that's it. So we'll definitely need more for next year.
 

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I'm still waiting to get approved for a community garden in our new city. I'm psyched for it -- I'll be getting *crosses fingers* a 60x20 space, which seems HUGE coming from our old 18x12. I'm really getting excited. Plus, I have to decide whether I'm going to put any beds in at our current rental house -- our landlords are persnickety people and we're not sure we'll be here next year, but I'd love to expand the planting space, especially since there are some crops that I'd like to keep a closer eye on, you know?

We will ALSO be reducing the tomatillos in our garden this year, since green salsa is about the only thing I've still got on the shelves. I'm planting WAY more tomatoes, since I just read a terrible article in Gourmet about using slave labor to pick tomatoes in Florida. I don't want to be a part of that, no siree, so I'm hoping to grow 100% of our tomato products for the year in the garden. We canned 36 pints of sauce and another 15 of salsa and they barely lasted through Janurary, so I've got my work cut out for me!

I'm hearing through the grapevine that we might be in for a drought this year, so I'm looking for particularly drought-tolerant strains to plant. I know it's late, but I'm still finalizing the seed order for anything we direct-sow and thinking about starting some seeds. We're zone 4 here so we can't get anything into the ground until mid-may anyway.
 

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have started broc, kale, cabbage, onion, leek, tomato 4 varities, pep 4 varities, eggplant, & herbs.
This is round 1 of 4 things to plant-getting dirt load on Tue
:
I can't wait-o and the baby plants are doing great!!!!
 

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like the op our last frost is mid may, my seeds should be arriving this week...and I am bursting at the seams excited!

I will start my tomatoes, peppers, basil, pumpkins, eggplants, zuccini, and acorn squash. garlic was planted last fall.

I am trying black beans this year.

I will directly sow all my lettuces, radishes, onions, leeks, beans, peas, beets, chard, spinach, and corn.

Should I start cucumbers indoors? Hadn't given much thought to them yet...
 

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Oh what fun spring is!

I'm just about to get out all my seeds and start planting a few things. It is time! YES! I'm doing an expanded garden this year at our home, despite the impending birth of our second son in June
We'll see how that goes! I would also like to grow and preserve 100% of our tomato use this year. I tried it for the first time last year and didn't can much since I didn't think we'd use much but I found out home canned is SO superior to store canned that we really would eat a lot of it if we had the option. So lots of tomatoes this year, and none of them are going in the raised beds. All will be incorporated into the children's garden where there is more room. I would like to dry sun drying them as well. I have a pressure canner now so I'm excited to make vegetable soups and vinegar-less salsas and just a WHOLE LOT of everything. This year I have a big goal to push towards much more self-sustainablity. It would be great to go to the store for nothing more than butter, cream, milk, and cheese
And next year I'd like to get a goat or two to wipe out the need for that!

Very excited to see the weather turning in favor of seedlings! Merry gardening wishes to all of us!!!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by onthemove View Post
Should I start cucumbers indoors? Hadn't given much thought to them yet...
They like to be started outside best. They don't like thier roots transplanted.
 

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Yay, we're back!!

I haven't really run out of anything yet from last year... I have a tendency to over-estimate (not necessarily a bad thing with 3 males in the house!), plus I've been a little stingy here and there with doling stuff out.

Sent all the boys off to Home Depot or Lowe's for a small bag of peat moss so I can make my own seed starting mix, and start getting things planted or ready to plant today and this week. Slightly late start, but eh, not like I can put anything like tomatoes and peppers outside until June anyway.

I actually did a blog post not too long about about what my goals were for this year... what I want to put in the freezer, what I want canned, dehydrated, and what I could put in dry/live root cellar-type storage. Ah, C&P'd... sorry in advance for how long it is. I'm a freak.


Food Storage 2009 Plan

Dry/Live Storage:
Wheat
Oats
Garlic ~ aim for 70+ bulbs, plus some to replant ~
Sunflower seeds ~ maybe aim for 2-3lbs hulled, plus some to replant ~
Quinoa
Winter Squashes (butternut, acorn, delicata, etc.) ~ heavens, whatever I can grow and see how long I can keep it during the winter ~
Onions ~ at least 70-100; I go through a lot with the stocks and cooking, plus drying some would be a fun outdoor adventure ~
Kidney beans ~ aim for 2-4lbs this first year with 'em, we'll see what happens ~
Roasted Dandelion Root (for un-caffeinated coffee) ~ aim for 1-4lbs to try it out - no lack of dandelions! ~
Carrots ~ ideally, 2-3 crates if we had a root cellar, but 3-6lbs is probably more likely this year ~
Apples ~ ideally I'd love a ton in a root cellar... but if I can store 30-50lbs for a few months that would be groovy ~
Potatoes ~ ideally 4-8 crates if we had a root cellar, but no real idea if I'll get much of a harvest this year ~
* Seeds for the following season of everything I can yank seeds from

In the Freezer:
Spinach ~ 2-3lbs of chopped, frozen spinach ~
Jams (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, possibly strazzberry?) ~ 28-48 8oz jars - most likely half-pints, maybe a few pints ~
Strawberries - sliced and whole ~ 4-6lbs whole, 4-6lbs sliced ~
Huckleberries ~ 2-3 gallons ~
Blueberries ~ 1-3 gallons ~
Asparagus ~ 1-3lbs, we'll see what the harvest is like ~
Trout, hopefully - possibly some smoked if we can get our hands on a smoker to borrow/buy gently used
Steelhead, hopefully
Peas ~ 1-8lbs, we'll see what I can come up with ~
Corn (on the cob or cut, not sure yet) ~ um, yeah, we'll see what I feel like doing ~
Cauliflower ~ 1-3lbs, we'll see what damage I can do ~
Broccoli ~ same as broccoli, who knows how much we'll eat fresh ~
Zucchini in 1-cup portions ~ 12-18 cups total, give or take ~
Basil squares, maybe ~ 3-6 dozen teaspoon sized squares? ~
Lemon zest ~ 1/2 cup if not more ~
Lime zest ~ 1/4 cup or so ~

Dehydrated:
Apple rings, apple slices ~ 3-8lbs ~
Peach slices ~ 1-3lbs ~
Strawberry slices ~ 2-6lbs ~
Zucchini, shredded (for muffins, soups) ~ 1/2-1lb ~
Blueberries ~ 1-2lbs ~
Huckleberries ~ 1-2lbs ~
Spinach (to try for sauces/casseroles/whatever) ~ 1/4lb or so, maybe ~
Pear slices ~ 2-6lbs ~
Apricot halves ~ 1-4lbs ~
Cherries ~ 1-4lbs ~
Melon slices (watermelon, cantelope/muskmelon especially) ~ 2-8lbs ~
Raisins ~ 1-2lbs until I get my seedless grape vines a goin' ~
Jerky - elk, hopefully ~ as much as possible, 25-50lbs would certainly help keep the boys stocked for snacks ~
Peas, Corn, Carrots, Celery, Onions, Peppers - mostly for soups/crockpot/casserole needs ~ 1/2-1lb each, more of onions ~
Tomatoes ~ as many as I can stand... 2-8+lbs I suppose ~
Herbs: Basil, oregano, chives, Thyme, stevia, feverfew, chamomile, celery seed, ?paprika?, parsley, dill, poppy seed, sesame seed, garlic powder, sage, rosemary ~ 1-2 pint jars of the major herbages, 4oz or half-pints for the rest ~

Canned:
Applesauce ~ 100qts ~
Apple slices ~ 7-14qts ~
Pear halves or slices ~ 21-42qts ~
Peach halves or slices ~ 14-35qts ~
Apricot halves ~ 7-35pts ~
Relish ~ 14ish pints ~
Some jams (a batch of strawberry, raspberry and blackberry I'd guess) ~ 28-48 jars - most likely half-pints, maybe a few pints ~
Strawberry lemonade concentrate ~ 14-21pts ~
Cherry limeade concentrate ~ 7-14pts ~
Raspberry lemonade concentrate ~ 7-14pts ~
Chicken Noodle Soup (with noodles on the side to add later) ~ 14-35pts ~
Green beans ~ 50qts ~
Vegetable stock ~ 14-21qts ~
Spaghetti sauce ~ 21-42pts to start ~
Kidney beans ~ 14-35pts, made from dry kidney beans above ~
Beef Stew ~ 14-42pts, whatever gets thrown together ~
Tomato sauce ~ 14-21pts, 14-21qts ~
Asparagus ~ just try a few jars if that just to see how it reacts ~
Creamed corn ~ maybe 3-7pts, not sure whether it's worth a repeat yet ~
Chili ~ 14-21pts ~
Boneless, skinless chicken pieces (clean out freezer!) ~ whatever we've got that needs dealing with ~
Chicken stock ~ this is a year-round happening dealie... overall, I think 14qts, 35pts, 63 halt-pints ~
Apple Cider ~ 63+qts ~
Grape juice ~ 48+qts ~
Grape - Black Cherry juice ~ 12-24qts ~
Trout - maybe
Salsa ~ 4-12pts, maybe a few half-pints ~
Pickled Beets ~ maybe a few pints, this'd be a first, depends on how many beets we get ~
Italian prunes/plums - halves ~ whatever we manage to get from the tree before they fall ~
Cherries - pitted ~ whatever we manage to scavenge throughout the neighborhood ~

And then to cap it all off, I've got 5 dormant fruit trees in the garage. One Red Gold Nectarine, one Reliance peach, one Granny Smith apple, one Honeycrisp apple, and one 4-in-1 because I couldn't resist (Honeycrisp, Honeygold, Fiju, Gala). Teehee. I'm nuts.
 

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Wow, you guys are amazing! I am such a newbie.
We live in an older suburb and have a VERY small lot, so I'm making do with a 3x3-foot raised bed and some five-gallon buckets for now. But I just bought a shop light to help me start plants inside (I did a few last year with the help of the sun, but I think this will work better) and hope to keep learning and doing more each year.
:
 

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serenetabbe, you're my hero. We live in PA too, and we're buying an acre and a half of land on which we'll homestead. I'm trying really hard to get our seeds started, but relying mostly on books and the internet, so I love hearing your stories and what you guys have learned. I'm going to sub this year, because we've finally got our land.
 

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What a neat thread!
:

We are prepping for this years garden. We have some of the seedlings started- tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, and cabbage, broccoli, eggplants. I planted the cold frames a few weeks ago and the lettuce is already coming up. I'm hope to top off the raised beds this week and get some of the cabbage into the cold frame out there.

This year for the first time I'm going to attempt canning a lot of our own food. I have been collecting up canning jars and such. We also have gotten 2 new garden plots at the community gardens so we will have an extra 20X40 this year.

I'm doing corn for the first time this year. Any tips or tricks>
 

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I'm hoping to finally take the canning plunge this year! And the sun drying one too. (I have 3 healthy pricipe borghese plants just for sun drying) I swear I have started more plants this year than I remember from last year, but maybe I'm just wrong and it *seems* like a lot? Dh better be ready for the masses of hot peppers to start rolling in.... I think we may have too many....
I did not know that about tomato harvesters in Florida,
. We rarely buy fresh tomatoes anymore they just don't taste good if you've had the real deal. Still we use ketchup and paste and sauce enough.
:
Farmer Cathy, did you find someone to take over your 1/2 acre? I was so impressed by that project it's a bummer to see it go...
: Hey, your acre back must be nice though!
:
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jessaries View Post
Farmer Cathy, did you find someone to take over your 1/2 acre? I was so impressed by that project it's a bummer to see it go...
: Hey, your acre back must be nice though!
:
Yeah, I found someone to take it over. I know, kinda threw some money away on that project. Yeah, it will be so nice to get back on my acre garden. Heck, it will be nice to get back on all the 10 acres. I'm thinking about getting some pigs for the Fall/Winter/early Spring to move around and till up the garden and fertilize it.

I'm really looking forward to harvesting the blackberries for canning, drying and making cobbler. Yum!

Oh yeah, forgot about dehydrator. I will be dehydrating just about everything I can too.
 

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Wow, I hope I can get productive enough to have the kind of yield you ladies have!!! I just created a post on this board about free online garden planners...take a gander, let me know which ones you like best! Also, if anyone has a grid plan to share I'd love to see it, I'm always trying to learn the most efficient use of my space for getting plants to be prolific. I try to do companion planting but I have the dangdest time with getting it to work out correctly!!!
 

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Growveg is really cool for kinda visually seeing what plants are going where. I had fun using it to put my entire yard in color - I don't have graph paper big enough for my whole yard. But once the free trial's up, it's up. I can't even make myself commit to magazine subscriptions because I could buy more trees/plants instead.

My yard, my neighbor's yard.
(hopefully those links work)

And no worries, a bunch of the stuff I'm planning to put up for the winter are from outside of my garden... like a neighbor with cherry trees I need to go chat with, a few neighbors with pear and apple trees, more apples and peaches from my farmer's market orchard hookup, strawberries from a u-pick place about an hour away, raspberries from our yard, a friend's yard and a u-pick place, huckleberries from the forest, etc. I'm just really all over the place during summertime.


(if the above links don't work, try this one...)
 

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Nevermind... I tried the second link


Can I join??? I have very ambitious plans for this year
:. Hopefully I'll be able to realize them all!
 
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