Home Family Art Homemade Frugal Living Travel

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Garden Recap 2020

What worked:

  • Tomatoes - we have canned over 40 quarts, 15 salsa and 10+ sauce and juice pints 
  • Tomatillos - we've canned a few 1/2 pints, maybe 4 or 5 jars, these came in late so I've also got several freezer batches of Salsa Verde
  • Jalapenos - we have 4-5 pickled pints and 2 quarts of fermented probiotic jalapenos
  • Green Bell Peppers - we had enough for one large pan of stuffed peppers and the rest we diced and froze for later
  • Anaheim Pepper - only one plant grew and we used it for the Salsa Verde
  • Pinto Beans - we got just over a pound
  • Black Beans - about two cups of beans, so far, I still have some waiting to be shelled
  • Zucchini - outstanding, we had fresh zucs from June - August
  • Purple Sweet Potatoes - outstanding crop this year, we didn't weigh it but was 3 boxes spread evenly
  • Marigolds - they got huge and attracted bees
What didn't work:
  • White potatoes were small and the taste was not my preference, they seemed very earthy if that makes any sense
  • Strawberries - the purple sweet potatoes took over their space and when I tried to transplant them they died
  • Butternut Squash - came out very tiny and dense, a nearby farmer said we didn't get enough rain and too much sun.  Last year we got too much rain and didn't have a good local crop.  I guess these are pretty finicky on their rain balance. 
  • Poblano Peppers - never grew
  • Squash from our compost bin - it took up a huge amount of space but never generated any squash, the flowers would grow and fall off, something happened that made it not get to the next stage.  I didn't see very many bugs so I'm not sure what caused this.
  • Next year we want to try some container sweet potatoes of new varieties.  I was inspired by my friends videos on You Tube and all the types they grow.  You can see his videos here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgX2wKnEwHCv0qVDQ0IRAlw
  • We learned it was completely not necessary to start beans inside, they do perfectly fine when planted straight into the ground.  That's good to know because they were tall and unwieldy to take in and out during the hardening process.  
  • I heard it's best to use a heating mat for peppers so I'll try that next year if I can find one.  They were impossible to find this year.
  • We tied up our tomato plants with stakes and twine, it worked for two rows, the third row we waited too long and they got extremely messy and hard to walk through.  I want to emphasize how important it is to have neat rows for picking tomatoes later in season so the vines don't get trampled when little ones are helping and tomatoes are not falling down in the ground area for easy access to critters.  
  • We didn't trim our tomatoes at the base and they got rather heavy near the bottom, I'd like to be more vigilant on this next year.
  • We plan to cut back on the number of crops in our 16 x 16' garden area, we will probably narrow it down to Pinto's, Tomatoes, and Purple Sweet Potatoes.  The strawberries and white potatoes didn't do well so I think we had too many things in there.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

From Phase 4 to 1 in two weeks!

On October 29th it was reported we'd be entering Phase 4 the Monday after Thanksgiving.  This week we got the news Maryland is going back to Phase 1 due to a recent spike in Covid 19 cases.

In our church, three people went to the hospital today and at least 1/3 of the congregation is reporting some variation of illness, including my mom - who we believe has a cold and we call her every day to check on her.  I stopped by today with a plant and she was pretty chipper, I'm really hoping it's just a cold.

Our kids school, which is supported by the church, closed on Monday due to a case that was made known at the end of last school week.  

So going back to Phase 1 seems like a rather logical step to me.  I'm just in shock that it happened so fast, in our state and local community.  I'm guessing Halloween and the election may have been contributing factors.  

My kids are panicked about getting enough books.  I'm off work tomorrow so we are hitting the library when they open to stock up, if they open.  The last time Maryland went to Phase 1 they closed faster than you can say quarantine!  I'm not even kidding, Phase one was announced in March and they closed at noon that day!  

The world is falling apart and all my kids care about is having enough books.  I guess I know what we need for our future apocalypse shelter - books, lots of books!  

Meanwhile, I'll be stress baking, praying and checking my phone constantly for updates.