Saturday, August 21, 2010

That Time Again

Yes, I know it's been a while since I've written, way too long, but that being said, I'm doing the best I can..I live alone and wear quite a number of different hats in my so called retirement..
Our growing season started late this year and now summer is winding down and the garden is coming on like gang busters and I'm picking and starting to put up vegetables and berries for the winter months ahead.

Actually the berries have been coming for some time now and are starting their second wind, so I can hopefully get more squirreled away for those delightful fruit smoothies I like to make all year long. These are the easiest of all to prepare, I just cut out the cores and trim off the bad spots or not quite ripe tips and wash, drain and freeze. No need to use any sugar or lemon juice, though if you wanted to prepare them for shortcakes later on it's possible to slice them first and add the sugar, mix and freeze together so that as they defrost the sugar will make the juice just right. I just like to put mine into a gallon Ziploc and freeze them flat on a cookie sheet, then I can take out as many as I want for each day and just re zip.

I thought I would share some of the process with you so as to encourage some of you that may be wanting to try something new out there. It's fun and super easy to grow and save and best of all, enjoy the healthy bounty, whether your garden plot is large, medium or small(even container gardening on your deck) if that's the only space you have, it's still something you can do with great reward and self satisfaction. It really does save money if you do it without all those chemicals, and it's better for you. I recommend a compost collector in the house which when full you can transfer to the one in the yard and in no time you will have your rich organic compost to feed and enliven your soil, best of all it's free, great for the planet and a good way to cut down on stinky garbage.

This week I'm working on peas, both pole and bush beans and zucchini. I've been picking peas for a while already and mostly enjoying them fresh daily eating the sugar pods in salads, or stir fry um, yummy!! But now the shell peas are ready and so my neighbor and I picked yesterday and I divided my bounty with him and his wife(they are in their 70's and no longer have a big garden, so I share) for the help with the picking.
It took the better part of the morning to get all the picking done and I spent the rest of the afternoon shelling the peas and cutting off the tips of the beans , cutting them into bite size pieces and washing it all to bag for today so I could blanch and freeze them in quart size bags.

I start by boiling the water meanwhile filling the sink with cold
water and adding some ice cubes for the cold bath. As soon as the water boils I lower in the colander of peas, wait till the water regains a full boil, stir them gently so they start to turn a slightly darker shade of green(approx. 1 minute) and then lift them out to drain and immediately stick them in the ice water. I stir them with my fingers and test to make sure they are cold, then lift them out and let them drain all the water off in another colander while I start the next batch.
In between rotations I fill the bags, label them and set them on a cookie sheet. I prefer to freeze them flat so they can stack well and don't end up all lumped together like a rock.

The beans need more time in the boiling water, but not more than another minute because you don't want them to be soggy. Just enough to turn the color darker. By the way, I don't just dump this water down the drain after I'm through, I let it cool and feed it to my house plants.
Well, I hope this helps inspire you to want to start growing next season. Even if you just start with your most favorite thing and only plant that one, you will be hooked. The taste is so much better with home grown, trust me..
Tomorrow I will tackle the zucchini, and soon the beets and other root crops will be ready to harvest, I'm sure I'll still get more beans as well. Unfortunately, my favorite crop of all, the tomatoes were planted too late and have only started flowering and are showing one or two tiny fruits, not near what I usually expect at this time of year so I doubt I'll have anything to put up this year. This was mainly due to a very late in the season frost that came so unexpected that it caught us all off guard and many gardeners in this area lost all that they had set in. I had waited, but since I don't start indoors it just took too long for the plants to mature and start setting fruit. Lesson learned, thanks, Mother year I may opt to buy some seedlings to get a jump on things.Thanks for stopping by and I wish you all a happy gardening experience..


  1. Love this blog entry Carol :) your fruits of your labour certainly pay off! our garden is a complete bomb this year :( hardly anything to speak of! maybe a few peas :P

  2. Wonderful... i look forward to hearing about Zuchini and Tomatoes.

    I had hoped to borrow a dehydrator for my apples this year but its in another county so I may not get it in time. Should be picking apples & pears. Quinces are awefully small this year. It has been an odd summer - late start as you say but... there it is.

    You do very well indeed in your garden of delights.

    best wishes,

  3. That was just lovely! I felt like I was right there in your kitchen!

  4. How delicious it all looks Carol - I'd say you have two green thumbs!