Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Our poor garden has really struggled this year. This crazy wet Spring and Summer we've had has not provided ideal growing conditions in this Missouri clay. The tomatoes struggled, the green beans were pitiful, the peppers did a little bit better. Even the zinnias took until September to reach the height they were a year ago. Only 2 out of 15 sunflowers made an appearance - beautiful, but not the spectacular show we had hoped for.
But, on the bright side, we had cucumbers coming out our ears! We were really in a pickle . . . well, surrounded by them, anyway! This has been dubbed 'The Year of the Cucumber'. We've had a poor crop the last couple of years, so everyone is celebrating -- they do love my dill pickles. We've also put up plenty of relish and bread&butter pickles as well. For something a little different, we canned a couple gallon-sized jars with nice, big cucs -- like those you might find in the barrel at the old-fashioned General Store. Gabe requested a batch of 'fancy slices' (he likes the 'crinkle' cut pattern on them).
It's the first year I've tried growing herbs (other than dill). The rosemary disintigrated, the parsley turned yellow and withered, the sage disappeared. The lemon balm got a slow start, but then really took off. 3 out of 4 hissop plants survived. The echinacea (purple coneflower) hardly grew, only producing 1 flower. But the basil was lush and gorgeous. I LOVE LOVE LOVE basil -- having it fresh is wonderful. I dried some in the dehydrator for use throughout the year. I use it almost daily, so I am very happy having my own.
Speaking of the dehydrator, I also dried the last of our pepper crop -- a few jalapenos, couple of red and green peppers and plenty of habaneros, along with a couple of onions. Once dehydrated, I crumbled them up together in a glass jar, and voila! My own spicy seasoning mixture!
We were able to put up about 30 quarts of salsa. That is about a third of what we use each year, but we will enjoy it while it lasts. We were also blessed to find a source of peaches, so we were able to get 30 quarts of peach halves put up, along with a couple batches of peach preserves. And I don't even think I've mentioned the 20 quarts of applesauce we put into the freezer!
The season is changing, and so we are looking forward to the winter holidays and special events, making plans for next years' garden and projects. Thankful for what God has provided this year, hopeful for what is to come next year.