Sunday, November 1, 2015

Putting the Garden to Rest for the Winter and Feeling Thankful for the Harvest

 Yesterday Mara, Aaron and I worked to clean up the garden after the end of the season. Jonathan and Megan were meanwhile raking down at a neighbors where we had arranged to haul away all the leaves so that we could cover our garden with them, use them as bedding in our chicken coop and also put a layer on our septic drain field.

   To get the garden ready for winter we pulled up the tarps that we had planted our tomatoes, peppers and various other plants in. We cut holes for the plants and then plant them through the holes. This really helps keep the weeds down in the summer, heats up the soil and retains moisture. It works very nicely. Mara also cut down all the corn stalks and we saved some for fall decorating and the others were placed in the chicken yard for them to look over. Aaron and I meanwhile mucked out the chicken and duck coop and spread the manure over the garden. Then as we picked up leaves that Jonathan and Megan had been raking we put them on the garden too. We also will be filling the chicken coop floor with leaves. I have read that you should not leave just bare dirt in the garden over winter so the layer of leaves will be very good. We will till that all in together in the Spring. All the organic matter will be a great addition to our garden soil.

    We weren't sure how well our garden would do this first year but we were very pleasantly surprised. We really had a pretty good year. We also were abundantly blessed by lots and lots of food that my parents shared from their large gardens and orchards. We were also given green peppers and a few other things from others and foraged various foods from the wild.  Starting at the end of August I decided it would be fun to keep track of all the food that we put up for winter and I set the goal of  putting something away every day. We did miss a few days in the last couple of months but not very many. Some of the days that we missed we were out of town so I think that is a pretty good excuse.

  I thought it would be fun to share what things we were blessed to be able to put away for winter this year.
 We canned:

  • Poultry Broth (Chicken and Duck- that we raised and butchered)
  • Applesauce
  • Apple Pie Filling
  • Apple Jelly
  • Dill Cucumber Pickles
  • Salsa
  • Dilly Beans
  • Apple Butter
  • Tomatoes
  • Beef Broth (From the soup bones from grass fed beef that we buy from a local farmer)
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Green Beans
  • Mince Pie Filling
  • Highbush Cranberry Juice
  • Tomato Juice
  • Chicken Thighs
  • Watermelon Rind Pickles
This list is only what we did from August 25th on so it doesn't include the jams and such that I made earlier in the summer.
 I like to can a lot of the food but we also have big freezers and freeze a lot of food as well.

 We froze:

  • Duck meat
  • Chicken meat and broth
  • Kale
  • Green Peppers
  • Apple Pie Filling
  • Fish
  • Corn
  • Shredded Zucchini
  • Salsa
  • Green Beans
  • Acorns
  • Cilantro
  • Pesto
  • Processed Tallow
  • Goat Cheese
  • Highbush Cranberry Juice
  • Whey
  • Yellow Peppers

 This year we decided to go outside for some of our corn processing again since I had my stove top filled up with canning.
 The fire really works pretty nice.
I sure was thankful for a sink to clean up with afterwards though!

We also like to dry quite a bit of things - mostly stuff for tea or medicinal use.
Here is what we dried:

  • Hyssop
  • Pineapple weed
  • Calendula
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Beans (dry beans for soup)
  • Indian corn (we use it to grind up and make corn bread etc.)
  • Lemon balm
  • Mullien leaves
  • Red Raspberry Leaves
  • Popcorn
  • Mullien flowers
  • Sage
  • Ecchinacia leaf and flower
  • Apples
  • Sunflower seeds (for the chickens this winter)
And other odds and ends of things that we harvested and stored away were:
  • Honey
  • Potatoes (the first year we have planted potatoes. It wasn't that big of a crop but it was fun to harvest and we have been enjoying them!)
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Black Walnuts (from our neighbors tree - they took like 5 and then said we could have the rest!)
  • Squash (from my parents as was a lot of the stuff that we canned and froze)
  This of course doesn't count the various things that we buy (like wheat and beef- both locally) that we also store away for the year. We are very blessed and super thankful to God for the ways He provides for us. In our storing away I believe we are following the Biblical admonition to go to the Ant though sluggard and consider her ways and be wise. However we also want to always bear in mind as well the Biblical principles of not "building bigger barns" and feeling like we have everything all taken care of and we no longer need to rely on God. We do rely on Him realizing that without him we would be and have nothing. I am thankful to Him for all that He has given us and hope to use it all to His Glory!

  I would love to hear about your harvest this year!


Simple Home Living said...

Wow! I love it!!!!

Abbi said...

Thank you! We feel very blessed.


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