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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Go to apple butter

[posted by risa]Cleaning up the summer garden

What did I learn this year (as reported to The Growing Challenge)?

1. we rediscovered home grown spuds. The Yukons are fabulous.

2. We don’t know that the runner beans had anything to do with it, but we put them in the same beds with the snap peas, only a few weeks later, and let them climb the peas … anyway, we had peas all the way into September from all three spring plantings! A record.

3. Spinach and beets did fabulously in the shade of the peas and beans.

4. We winter gardened last year, right out in the ground without row covers, and did OK even though it was really cold, so we’re expanding that effort this year.

5. Large tomatoes did poorly but salad sizes did well.

6. Not such a great squash year here, either; yet the bell peppers and eggplant are doing great!!

7. Beds were dug once by hand and then given a permanent mulch, and that went OK; we’re looking at no-dig for next year, or only with a broadfork.

8. Corn grew very slowly, and our having selected older varieties like Country Gentleman seemed to compound the problem. We’re eating corn, but it didn’t come in until last week. Next time someone says la niƱa, we’re listening.

9. When you’re tired, tired, tired of making applesauce, go to apple butter.

10. We are following TMEN’s advice on getting apricots and peaches from pits — but nothing to report yet — so that’s our “new” seeds …

And what did we do this week?

Plant something: We put in more bok choi, kale, red cabbage, beets, radishes.

Harvest Something: !! -- tomatoes, apples, lettuce, beets, celery, zukes, corn, apples, cukes, radishes, potatoes, apples, blackberries, pears, bok choi, apples, cabbage, basil, peas (!!) beans, dry runner beans, apples, trout, pikeminnows, eggs, pears,onions, apples. And LOTSA eggplant.

Preserve Something: frozen blackberries, apples, zukes, applesauce. Dried tomatoes, basil. Solar, on the dashboard of the Saturn wagon in 85 degree late September weather -- weird.

Store Something: apples, roofing supplies, cardboard, am now starting to gather up pallets and such with the new pickup, watching Craig's List for opportunities.

Manage Reserves: acquired 1999 Ford Ranger pickup from my mom and dad.

Prepped: roofing, painting house.

Cooked Something New: It's been so long since I made applesauce that it was like new. Used Rombauer & Becker's very simple directions.

Worked on Local Food Systems: Much of the above, and selling eggs,and giving away veggies at work, while explaining how we grow them, complete with handouts.

Reduced Waste: pulling other people's cardboard and waste wood from the waste stream.

Learned a Skill: how to sleep at rest areas (don't ask).

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