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Proceed with Caution April 1, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, How to tips.
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organic20produceIt seems like everyone is looking for ways to save money, and many have decided that growing their own food would be a great way to do that.  I agree, I haven’t bought a tomato product in years.  But if your new to vegetable gardening please proceed with caution.

One local gardening expert was on the news saying anyone could grow their own vegetables with an investment of $30 or less.  I think the money estimate may be kind of low. 

And besides money you need to consider time.  Watering, mulching, weeding, pruning, staking and even harvesting, it all takes time.  I love doing it but my husband considers it a form of punishment.  He helps with fence building and greenhouse building and then heads inside and waits to eat the fresh produce.

In order for the garden to be sustainable through the winter you need to plant a lot, and know how to store it.  Last year I had about 12 tomato plants for 2 people.  That’s a lot of tomatoes,  and they’d rot if I didn’t preserve them.  My favorite way of persevering is drying.  I dried pounds of tomatoes and zucchini which I then froze in single serving.  Their great in all sorts of dishes.

Trust me, I want everyone that has a yard, patio or window sill to grow a garden.  But I also realize that as fun as I think my growing gardens are, they aren’t every ones idea of fun.  I also want all these new gardeners to keep gardening for years to come. 

So plant your seed, but realize the true cost pay off may be a couple years down the road.

Gardening Mourning October 14, 2008

Posted by liajo in general.
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Well it happened, we had a frost last night.  The zucchini is all wilted and sad looking.  So are most of the morning glory vines.  There are a couple of ones that have more protection that don’t look to bad.  Most of the leaves have fallen off the grapevines on the back fence.

I heard on the local weather forecast that A Basin, a local ski area, will be opening on Wednesday.  I bet all the skiers are jumping up and down in their ski boots. 

As a gardener all I can do is mourn.   Where did all my 80 and 90 degree days go?  Where are the days with 12 hours of sunshine?  Can it be six more months before I have beautiful blooms on the flowers and vegetables? 

Let the skiers rejoice, I’ll read my seed catalogs and dream of next summer.

Summer to Winter in 60 Seconds October 11, 2008

Posted by liajo in general.
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One day we are enjoying 80 degrees and sunshine, next day its 40 degrees and rainy.  I know once this cold snap is over we will back up and actually have fall.  But its a shock to go from summer to winter if not in 60 seconds at least over night.  I am very glad I got the zucchini out of the vegetable garden on Thursday afternoon.  I worked to long on Friday to do it after work and it would have been a miserable job today.  I don’t think there is any doubt it is going to freeze tonight.

I went to our local Farmers Market today.  It really is a farm, up the road about three miles from our house.  How cool is that.  They told me that tomorrow will be their last day for the season.  Just one more sign that summer really is over.  My husband thinks we should go back tomorrow.  They have lots of nice peppers.  If you read my last post then you’ll know that my own crop of peppers was almost a complete failure.  We’re thinking of stocking up on peppers from the farmers market and roasting them to enjoy later this winter.

Freeze in the forecast October 9, 2008

Posted by liajo in general.
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We have a freeze warning in the forecast and even a chance of snow.  With that in mind I just got done picking the last of the zucchini.  I didn’t want to take any chances.  I had eleven not so small zucchini.  That was kind of a surprise.  They certainly can do a good job of hiding in their foliage.  There are still a lot blooms on the plants.  We’ll just have to see if the freeze happens and if they make it through it. 

With all this zucchini I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.  I’ll make at least one loaf of bread and grade and freeze zucchini for a couple of more loaves.  I’ll also be using the dehydrator.  Drying food is my favorite way of preserving it. 

I knew that the outside gardening season was coming to an end and October 10th is at least average if not a little late in the season.  It just always comes as such a shock to realize that once again summer really is over.

Eye to the future October 1, 2008

Posted by liajo in general.
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No matter how successful the gardening year has been, I always start to think about “next year” as soon as the weather starts to cool down.  This year is no different. 

I plan on making big changes next year and really expanding the vegetable garden.  Mostly this is because I love to grow and eat vegetables.  But I’ll be honest with you, it is also a hedge bet against the future.  I’m beginning to wonder if anyone will be able to afford to buy vegetables next year.  I plan on not having to worry about it by growing my own.  I’ll take out about half of the front lawn and put in beds for herbs and salad greens.  I’ll be expanding the strawberry bed and building new beds in the backyard for zucchini and potatoes.  I can grow and preserve enough vegetables for my family and still have enough to share with several friends that don’t garden.  

It may be making things seem too simple, but this is my way of dealing with the present economic mess we seem to be in.  At least I know I’ll have vegetables to eat.