I have very little time to whip out a post this morning.? I have to get the boy ready for school and get us both to the church soon.? But I promised a whole week of gardening so I’ll follow through.
If you’ve ever vegetable gardened before you know it is a bit of trial by fire.? Some years you’ll get a ton and some years nothing.? Then there are some years it looks like you aren’t going to get anything and then half way through the season your zucchini plant starts churning out giant fruit that you can’t compost fast enough.? The question becomes how much to plant.
The ideal answer would be no more than you can eat.? If only it were that easy.? Mainly because of the aforementioned viability issue.? So I thought I’d share how I figure out how much to plant.
I start by picking the veg I’d like to grow and think we can eat.? This year I opted for peas, spinach, green beans, lettuce, carrots, beets, tomatoes, butternut squash and pumpkins.? This is in addition to the 4000 strawberry plants, rhubarb and currants we already have.? We also added 2 blueberry plants (but those won’t produce fruit this year).? I opted out of zucchini this year because we simply cannot eat it fast enough.? It grows too big too fast and I always have bug problems with it.? I am trying the pumpkins and squash because I’ve never done them before and thought the boy would enjoy them.
Peas are easy.? Normally we can’t eat enough.? I do successive plantings to spread out the harvest.? In one 5’x10′ bed 3/4 is peas, the other 1/4 is spinach (which is nearly done).? When the spinach is done I’ll dig it up and put something else in.
Carrots are another we can’t eat enough of.? I also can’t grow enough.? I don’t have the space.? I always over grow on tomatoes, but the boy and I eat those for snacks.
But what happens to the stuff we can’t eat?? There are a few options.
1) you can preserve it.? Freezing is the best, but you need space.? We have a stand up freezer and assuming the plug doesn’t fall out of the wall again anything freezable will be frozen.
2) can it.? I typically only can jam.? I don’t own a pressure canner so I can only do certain things.? I plan to make my own salsa, and tomato sauces and purees.? Those can be hot water canned.
3) give it away.? When we lived in that apartment without an outside the trusty husband would bring home bags of vegetables from a co-worker.? It was like our own little CSA share.? I loved it.? Now I give away extra stuff to people who will take it and for the most part they are happy.? They will be even happier to know that I didn’t plant zucchini and did plant extra peas.
The best thing to do with all of those edibles is to eat it.? Vegetable stir-frys, giant salads, or just grazing in the garden.? You planted it for a reason.? Now enjoy it.
Jealous here! I know I wouldn’t be able to do much gardening this year (bending is becoming an issue) and the heat might make summer gardening less pleasant but I want to just because I can’t. (We rent and I don’t think the owners would be pleased if I dug up a big patch of yard.)
Boxed gardening is great for those with bad knees and backs. Make a wish list (Honey Do) for some user friendly raised beds. They’re wonderful! Elle’s advice is great. Many physicians now advise their patients to grow their own food… peace of mind is bliss. Consuming healthy and guaranteed organic home grown vegys always tastes better.