Hootenanny Homestead

A Homesteading Journey

Category: Garden (page 1 of 3)

Reviewing Last Year’s Garden

As we did last year, it is good to look back and see just how the garden did.  You can check out our 2016 garden recap, but we will be looking into the 2017 garden to see how we did.  As you can note from last year, we did much better on the simple fact that we kept better notes.

This year we drafted up some sheets to let us easily note down what we harvested and how much.  The thing is that we counted and looking back on it,  I’m not sure if that was the best way to go about it.  For the 2018 garden, I’m thinking that we might want to switch over to a system that records the weight of the produce that we bring in.

2017 Garden Totals

Garden18 Zucchini

25 Yellow Summer Squash

3 Acorn Squash

9 Patty Pan Squash

6 Radishes

2 Colanders of Beans

11 Garlic Bulbs

1 Cucumber

69 Peppers

353 Tomatoes

6 Sweet Potatoes

Garden83 Purple Potatoes

45 Yellow Potatoes

9 Potatoes (We didn’t note down the type)

12 Beets

13 Carrots

2 Bunches of Peanuts

13 Turnips

 

Plus a decent amount of basil, mint, catnip and salad greens.

Review

Snowy GardenNow, I know for a fact that the list above is incomplete.  Yes, I think I only got 1 cucumber, but I picked more than 6 radishes, I know that there was some broccoli, but my notes are incomplete.  I had both bell peppers and little sweet peppers and I didn’t note the differences.  However, seeing as how last January I sat down and was like, well, gee we grew a lot of corn, we have improved.

This year we fought squash bugs again as well as some potato beetles. The biggest best was some kind of bug on our corn.  We ended up losing all the corn that had been planted.  That was rather a sad loss.  By the time that our butternut squash was coming up the bugs chewed them to bits.  And for whatever reason, the pumpkin and watermelon just didn’t want to grow for me last year.

But as it goes, you just have to learn.  I’ll go over this year’s plans in a future piece, but the seed catalogs have begun to come in, so the planning has begun.

Fall Garden Update

Well, as we move into the colder weather it is time to consider what to do with the garden.  I’ve seen some people write about how you need to clear everything out of the garden so that pests don’t winter there.  Well, I definitely don’t want a lot of pests in my garden.  Others write that you shouldn’t clear everything out, that way beneficial insects have a place to winter.  Shoot, beneficial insects sound like just the kind of bug I’d like in the garden.
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Making Salsa

So I would say that the tomato harvest hasn’t been too shabby this year.  Even now into October, we are still getting some that are turning red and ready to be picked.  Sure, we’ve had some split open on the vine or have bugs get to a few.  Last year these would have gone into the compost pile and there is nothing wrong with that, but it is soo much more rewarding to toss them to the chickens and ducks.  It is a lot of fun to see the flock run after them and how everyone tries to get a piece of the treat.
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Fall Gardening

There is no reason that when the plants you put in the garden in the spring start to give up you have to be done.  If you start planting as we get to August you will have another bounty in the fall.  I’ve found some space in my garden, some for happy reasons, some not so happy.  But it was time to plant the next round.
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July Totals – Just How Much Did We Grow

Last year was our first year with really having a garden and as such there was a lot of figuring things out and trying to determine the best way to do things.  That hasn’t really changed dramatically, as we are still learning different approaches.  One should keep learning through out one’s life.  However, I am happy to say that I have remembered an improvement that we’ve implemented.  Last year we grew stuff and didn’t really have a good tally at the end of the year.
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Making Rustic Spaghetti Sauce

So one of the things that I’ve been growing in the garden is tomatoes.  Last year we mostly grew big beefsteak ones, but the majority of what we did with them was can them and make spaghetti sauce.  This year we switched it up some and have more sauce varieties.  Well, they have started to come in and that means there is but one thing to do, make sauce!
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Should I Pick This: Broccoli

As we move into the summer it is time for things to start getting ready to be pulled out of the garden.  Undoubtedly we have all pulled a number of things up so far.  Radishes and salad greens tend to be some of the first harvests, but just as we’ve done for some other garden goodies, like butternut squash and watermelon it is time to take a look at broccoli.

How Did I Grow Broccoli This Year

Growing BroccoliThis year I started with some broccoli transplants and then added a few direct seeded plants.  I can tell you that my transplants got their leaves to a rather large size, one of my missions is to see if I can use those leaves for something else.  But then again, even if I can’t I’m guessing the ducks might enjoy them.

If you are out checking your garden somewhat regularly you’ll notice a little crown of broccoli start to form.  This will continue to get bigger and form a nice tight crown.  Then you will start to wonder, should I pick it now or do I wait a bit longer.

Time to Harvest Broccoli

Growing BroccoliYou can truly harvest your broccoli whenever you see the crown form.  The longer you let it grow the bigger it will end up getting though.  Once it reaches a fairly good size you’ll want to keep an eye on the color.  If you notice that it is beginning to show yellow spots that is your signal that it needs to be picked right away.  That is the broccoli preparing to go to seed.

You’ll want to use a knife to cut off the crowns that you are harvesting but leave the plant to continue growing.  The plant will continue to grow more crowns so that you and your family can continue to enjoy the veggie all through the season.

How to Cook Broccoli

Growing BroccoliYou can serve broccoli a number of different ways.  Like anything from the garden, you’ll want to wash it off before looking to eat it.  After that, you have choices to make.  You can just serve it raw, perhaps with some kind of dip or you can cook it in any number of different ways.  Here is how we like to prepare it.

Heat your oven to somewhere around 425 (I’ve done 400 and 450 at times).

Cut your washed broccoli crown into bite sized florets.

Spread them over a sheet pan.

Drizzle with toasted sesame oil

Cook long enough, you probably want to check after 20 minutes, you want them to be cooked, some people like a slight char on the tips, others prefer to pull them before that point.

 

I’d like to hear from you, are you growing broccoli this year in your garden?  How do you prepare it?  Let me know in the comments section below.

First Harvest of the Year: Radishes

I can happily say that I have had my first harvest of things that I planted this season!  Well, kinda the first.  I had gotten some lettuce and kale plants that I’ve pulled off some leaves to add to salads.  But I have some radishes that are ready to be picked.  Mostly I planted them as a companion plant since at some point I remember reading something about the radishes helping to keep away some sort of bug from tomatoes.  However, now I can’t find a darn thing on it, so it might just be that there is nothing to it and I just sprinkled radishes around for having radishes.
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