Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gardening to the Min! (Not Max)

This year's garden has been very minimal here. At my insistence, Mr C planted more tomatoes than he normally does. We seldom have enough tomatoes to can. He planted corn TWICE... and we have like, five stalks come up, total. One wee row (maybe 6 feet?) of pole beans, a wee row of peas. Then about a dozen bush bean/ runner bean plants where the corn didn't grow.
He planted two bell peppers, four jalapeno peppers, and two "cayenne" peppers. The one jalapeno planted in a container is still alive. The other three all fell over/ were uprooted by high winds and too much rain. One bell pepper plant lives. The "cayenne" pepper plants- they are producing EXTREMELY hot peppers that are some 10"-14" inches long. Very pretty peppers. Oh, and squash. Of the six or so zucchini that came up, we have had maybe six to 10 squash off of them. The half dozen yellow squash plants have been profoundly prolific. After purchasing and eating a spaghetti squash, I planted a couple of the seeds. One squash plant came up, and is fixing to bloom!

The blight hit the garden again this year, despite the precautions we took. The tomatoes are fading fast, but we are harvesting a decent crop as the plants deteriorate. Today I brought in 30 tomatoes... including a number of green ones that had fallen from the vines. In the pressure canner at the moment, I have five pints of green beans, and two pints + four half pints of "rotel" tomatoes. Once the fire is off beneath the canner, I need to make a fast trip to town for some supplies. The next batch of goodness will be some lovely green tomato relish. This stuff is perfection used as a sauce over chicken cream cheese enchiladas.
Yesterday, I made our first batch of fresh salsa. I used ONE of the "cayenne" peppers, and it about set my mouth on fire! I haven't 'canned' salsa in more than 10 years... it is so much better fresh! But maybe I shall give it a whirl Monday or so. (Too busy in the meantime!)
I think I have "put up" at least a dozen jars of green beans from our little plot. I have frozen what squash that comes faster than we can eat it- and I have been serving a LOT of squash! I used the THM (Trim Healthy Mama) recipe for cauliflower pizza crust, but used squash instead. It is a "keeper" recipe!
Meanwhile, I have been continuing to "forage" the roadsides, making several batches of blackberry jelly. I thawed and used some of the twins home made apple cider in an attempt at cider jelly. I think I got cider syrup instead, as I didn't follow the recipe. I feared it would be waaaaay too sweet if I used as much sugar as it was calling for. But apple cider syrup is great on apple pancakes!

For our very minimal garden this year, we have been very blessed by God's abundance!

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