Category Archives: 2011 Vegetable Garden

Winter Projects…..Winemaking and Beermaking

I have been meaning to mention this for the past month or so; but my husband and I were just getting anxious during the cold winter and being indoors more than usual. So we picked up some new hobbies:
Home Brewing and Home Winemaking

Surprisingly, winemaking is easier to make than beer, but takes longer to get to the final product. Beer making is not that hard; just more equipment – but you get to drink it a lot sooner.

I am the winedrinker in the house and for me, the best bet was to start with a wine kit. This kit has everything, ingredient wise, to make a wine of your choice. Right up my alley with raising 3 boys too. You need a fermenting bucket with airlock and some basic tools which can often be ordered in a wine making start kit. I also joined a wine making forum: — this forum is a great forum!

They are currently having a contest too that you are able to enter at the following link:

This could give you a leg up on any future winemaking endeavors. I will keep you posted…but I’ve got a merlot bulk aging, a red zin fermenting and a cab. sav. kit sitting in the wet bar ready to be made.

This has definitely taken away some of the winter blahs….

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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in 2011 Vegetable Garden


Canning and Freezing accomplished this year

This year I canned chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, marinara sauce, apple pie filling (to just dump in pie crust then bake), jams, turkey noodle soup from leftover thanksgiving turkey, dilled beans, green beans, wax beans.

I froze chopped bell peppers, corn and peas that I shelled. We have also been busy filling the freezer with the moose my husband hunted and the deer my son provided to feed us throughout the year. We are still working on filling the freezer for the year with additional game meat harvested and butchered by my family.

This “comprehensive list” of food items was grown by me or local grown (i.e. the turkey was grown organically on a local farm; the apples – someone at church brought a bunch of boxes and I took one), or harvested/hunted by my family.

Having these experiences with our food source keeps me (and my family) mindful of wastefulness, food quality, and propels me to think more and more outside of the box with reusing or repurposing other household items that would otherwise be considered waste. I am also proud of my overall success each year with my growing baby steps and being able to share these successes (along with the few failures)with my kids. It shows them visually that even though there might be several flops, overall, the harvest is truely bountiful.


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Christmas Gifts and Planning Ahead

Yes, I have been hibernating a little bit. I have also left debris in my garden that still needs to be cleaned out! With Chrismas around the corner, remember that if you canned anything this is a GREAT time to share your bounties with family, friends, teachers, coworkers and donating to fundraisers.

I gift canned goods each year to teachers. It is appreciated by them as well as their families and it doesn’t cause clutter in their lives. And let’s face it, in these tough times, food really hits the heart, soul and the stomach at a budget friendly cost.

I just got my seed savers exchange catalog for planning next year’s garden. ALREADY! So, NOW is the time to hit your library and check out all the books you can on growing vegetables and planning a garden for refreshing your mind and to help you plan out next year’s garden. Maybe you want to start a garden? add something or some space to an existing garden plan? Do it now because in late february you won’t be able to find these books (someone will have beaten you to it!). Besides you’ll want to know what seed you want to start indoors too – you will start this in february perhaps….

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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden


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Seed Saving…..

It’s time to start thinking about shutting the garden down. This year I am going to try to save some seeds for next year’s garden. I picked up a magazine last year (heirloom gardening..or something to that effect) and there was an article on seed saving. I thought, I should be able to do this, after all the pioneers did!

Mainly, I am saving the beans and probably some tomatoes. Starting small……Really, maybe just the beans.

WAX Beans – leave unharvested beans on plant to dry for a good month. What I did was leave several wax beans on each plant behind during harvesting to “save” for seed saving. Most of those are now dry so I just plucked off these dried, withered bean pods and shelled them. The magazine said to make sure they are dry! That they should shatter with a hammer. I didn’t do this. They look pretty dry to me. I put them in paper envelopes and labeled them. We’ll see what happens next year.

GREEN Beans – well, surprisingly these are still growing. there were a few dried pods which I harvested the seeds and put in an envelope, but I still have to wait. IF these don’t dry before the first freeze (which is coming up FAST), it is suggested to pull the entire plant and hang in a garage to dry out. I don’t think I will get that far.

Tomatoes – Put the seeds (with pulp attached) into a cup and cover with water. Let sit and develop moldy film for 4 or so days then rinse in a fine mesh sieve and dry on wax paper. This process gets that pulp off and apparantly inhibits some bacterial growth…curious.

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden


Another Great Meal – Get Creative, Don’t let the boredom get you.

Smoked Salmon Pasta w/ Garlic Cream Sauce, beans & cantelope

As we move foward into Fall, our family prepares for hunting and restocking the freezer. My reserves from last year are pretty much out; having had to purchase meat for the first time in a year the other week. We still have some Kokanee and smoked fish, and thankfully my husband returned from his Alaska hunting trip bearing gifts from friends while the moose is being processed and distributed amongst the hunting party. Gifts of Smoked Alaskan Salmon! However, after awhile, it can seem a little “boring” having the same thing to eat over and over (how spoiled are we?!) I bet the real pioneers never thought this way.

Anyway, I thawed a piece of that lovely Alaskan smoked Salmon out. HUGE, too much to eat in one night. The first night I served over greens (not very creative) with onions, bell peppers and tomatoes from the garden. I still had another couple pounds to use the next day, not wanting to waste it, I turned to a tried and true site: (formerly On this site you can do an “ingredient search” and then filter for what type of course – in my case a “main dish”. I turned out the above creation for dinner. Again, a fabulous, tasty meal where the main components were wild caught or grown. AND, the meal was not complicated to make; I detest dishes that require too much work in order for it to taste good. Don’t let boredom get to you!

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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden, recipes


Too many onions?? What to do with Garden Mishaps

I planted lots of onions this year – and it was the first time…..Had a mishap; a couple of months ago a large board fell on top of many onions and knocked over their stems which stunted their growth. And instead of moving the board, I propped it up and it fell again several times over a series on months onto the onions. I was left with many small sized onions. And really, I just ended up letting the boys just harvest them all for the most part; they just love the harvesting part of gardening. So, I’ve got all these little onions that I don’t want to let stale; I’m still just learning on long storage for the larger onions. Right now I’ve got them braided in a bowl on the floor of the pantry with the potatoes.

The point is, how do I use these onions? and not waste them? I am making several large batches of stew; a few different types. Get that slow cooker out and make a double batch of old fashioned beef stew and use these little “pearl onions” in that. I am also planning on making a beef burgandy stew with these little “pearl onions” – ya know some are bigger than pearl size, but I’ll cut ’em in half. I am also going to make a beef, mushroom gravy-ish stew that will use some of the onions too. I will double batch all these recipes and then freeze half for future consumption. They likely won’t last through next month even. EASY TO DO! USE your slow cooker and throw the pearl onions, carrots, peas, potatoes in last (1hr or so before you plan to eat – you don’t want them overcooked).

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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden


Time to Start Cleaning Up!!

It’s that time of year to start pulling out the spent vegetables. Over the long weekend I decided to pull most of the squash plants (leaving 2 striped zuchinni which were planted a month or so later than the initial plantings). The left over zuchinni plants are rather small and don’t appear to be as vigorous as those planted earlier in the season; but we’ll see what happens. This year, these were all new varieties and I have some mental notes to take away with me.

The biggest plant was the ONE paddy pan squash; it was HUGE (I’d say it spread 6-7ft wide and 4 feet across and it was very heavy). It was still in the producing mode, but at this point I was just not willing to wait anymore; it just took so long to take off. Note: Next year plant 1 plant and give lots of room. Very good squash though, keeps it’s firmness when cooked; doesn’t turn soft/slimy.

Yellow squash (crookneck): Note; only 1 plant needed for my family of 5. Very vigorous, producing plant. So only plant more if you are going to donate. Nobody likes it here, so I think I will pass next year.

Striped Zuchinni: Plant 2 plants, succession plant at 2 wk intervals. Our family really liked these; not a lot of seeds and beautiful to look at. Not too vigorous at producing, so you don’t feel totally overwhelmed, but at times you do get many with a few plants.

Pickling Cucumbers: Only got one to grow – planted late. Will plant more next year to make a few jars of pickles.

Onions: We harvested most ofthem. Will plant lots next year too; great addition to the garden; very useful. Will continue to buy bulbs – would buy starts of others instead of growing myself – although I still have seeds and will use those.

Wax Beans: I am leaving for now and letting “die” out there in order to harvest bean/seeds for next year. This is a first try for me, so we will see how it goes. But, if I didn’t want to mess with collecting seeds; I would pull the first planting of these as they are at the end of their life. The second planting is still producing.

Green Beans: Are heading to their last legs, but still producing enough to feed the family. When they are no longer able to produce a large enough serving to feed the family, I will pull. I almost yanked them, but was talked out of it by my son.

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Posted by on September 6, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden


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