Vegetables - Growing and Preserving

 

We have grown vegetables longer than we have done any other farming venture.  We love fresh veggies!  We always try something new each year.  We start our own plants indoors, then put them in our small greenhouse, then the garden.  We preserve by canning, freezing and dehydrating.  We always have extra produce to sell in the summer.  We also love to teach others how to preserve.

 

Vegetables and CSA

A "short" list of vegetables we are growing and hope to have enough for to sell in CSA shares or in bulk include: four varieties of snap beans, four varieties of potatoes, summer squashes, winter squashes, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, sweet corn (limited), okra, kale, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes of many heirloom varieties including cherries, tomatillos, ground cherries, popcorn (saved and dried from last year), lettuce, Swiss Chard, other experimental greens, peppers - both sweet and hot, possibly beets,  possibly celery, various herbs and hopefully flowers.  I started the peppers, eggplants, some herbs and flowers around March 20, 2018.  The tomatoes and more flowers were started April 7, 2018.  The brassicas will be direct started in the greenhouse when it gets a little warmer.

Fruits and nuts

We are adding more strawberry and rhubarb plants to our beds this spring.  Because strawberries are one of our favorite fruits, we will probably never have extras to share, but hopefully in the next two or three years we will have extra rhubarb.  Our mushroom logs are doing well and we hope to have extra mushrooms this season to put in the CSA and perhaps to sell. See more details on my mushroom page.

I added two heirloom apples to the front yard and two heirloom pear trees to our existing orchard area in 2016.  We cleared out dead trees which died in the winter of 2013-2014 and cleaned up the area prior to new planting.  The remaining live trees are mostly plums and one lonely pear that gave us one fruit in 2015.  Hopefully adding some new pears will give it some cross-pollination.  There is one peach and two young persimmons over there, too.  We added some new blueberries and raspberries. The Austrian Scythe helped us keep the orchard in better shape last year, and with a spring cleanup, hopefully this year we can do an even better job. The scythe helped me keep it under control all season.  Some critter got most of the blackberries and the blueberries and also the plums in 2016.  I did some pruning to make it harder to climb the branches and steal the fruit.

I also harvested some wild willow and I am dried it out to make into baskets.  I planted 30 young willows for future basket making in 2016, but it will be 2-3 years before those will be ready.  I have three instructional books and I am excited to try my hand at this because it seems so practical and useful.  I will practice with some purchased willow and other basket making materials to hone my skills. I made a first small harvest of 

cultivated willow as I pruned in early spring 2018.  Those 

are drying now and I will experiment with them in the

late spring or summer. I also harvested some red dogwood

which I hope to use as accents.  Stay tuned.

 

The picture on the left is my first attempt at a basket made with wild willow harvested from our property.  The basket on the right is my most recent basket made from cultivated willow purchased from a grower in Iowa.  This willow is from the same farm that I got starts from to grow my own, so I should be able to provide my own willow to make this type of basket in a year or two.  The cultivated willow was easier to work with and I am learning more with each basket I make.