Garden Goals

I wrote a post at the beginning of the season before I knew how this summer would turn out listing what I hoped to get planted and successfully raise and preserve.

It’s been an interesting summer. One of the hottest and driest on record here in Western NY with 20 days over 90 degrees and very, very little in the way of precipitation.

I really got sick of watering my garden and so did everyone else. It was hard for me to enjoy going outside because I actually prefer colder temps so hubby and I spent most of the summer in our air conditioned bedroom binge watching Netflix and Hulu.

One part of my list of goals was to add to my herb collection with not only more cooking herbs but with medicinal herbs as well. Unfortunately though I had a difficult time finding most of these herbs at my local green houses. Even common herbs like lemon balm were not available. I was a little frustrated. Next year I plan on growing my own either from seed or from plants that I get from catalogs. That should do the trick right?

Another difficulty this year was late in the spring we had a major frost where the temps got down to 28 degrees or so. This frost doomed our fruit trees. No peaches, apricots, cherries, or pears this year. The apples produced fruit but they are very small and damaged beyond repair from the drought. Bummer huh? Thank the Lord we do not depend on them for our winter food supply like they would have in the past. We can buy canned apple sauce if we have to. (Not that i’m going to but you know what I mean).

Our goal this year was to not buy any bulk fruits and veggies from any outside farmers. I wanted to raise and preserve what we needed ourselves or get it free by trading. What a year to start this journey!

With all that said I didn’t get everything planted that I wanted nor did our fruit trees produce for us. However, amazingly by God’s wonderful blessing we really did have everything we needed and I have gotten a lot preserved despite the rough conditions.

Here is a review of our summer goals list:

Herbs we grew

Chives, garlic, cilantro, lavender,  basil, parsley,  purslane, sage, and dandelion. All we preserved either by drying, freezing or using fresh. I made the most fantastic dandelion jelly. We loved it so much I will make much more than one batch next year. I just planted garlic a couple of days ago so we will be swimming in garlic scapes and bulbs come next spring.

Veggies we planted and harvested

Sweet peppers, onions, shallots,  bush green beans, peas, beets, carrots, pumpkins, gourds, zucchini,  watermelons, tomatoes both paste and regular, celery and jalapenos. That was not a lot of variety for us but we will expand more next year.

Our red raspberries produced a bumper crop and we do have some grapes.

What we have preserved so far

Canned chili sauce, crushed tomatoes and vegetable soup, dandelion jelly, strawberry jam, frozen red raspberries and wild black raspberries, frozen beet greens and frozen chives and frozen green peppers. I made a big pot of chili with all of our garden harvests and used our venison sausage from November hunting season as the meat for it. I also stuffed the jalapenos with the sausage and some cream cheese and popped them in the freezer so we can have them for appetizers at our winter get togethers. I had the dehydrator going with basil, sage, celery leaves, dandelion flowers and lavender. I also made and froze pesto.

Luckily we still have grape juice, grape jelly, peach jam, peach pie filling and canned peaches left over from last year so that should really help.

I still have more to go but it’s a start. I’ll update you as autumn progresses. How did your summer go? What did you get preserved? -MM

Published by marymargaretripley

I am a professional Bakery Manager at a privately owned grocery store. I also owned my own bakery for over four years. I have been baking for 15+ years professionally. I also teach canning and preserving classes and have been gardening since I was 5 years old. I live in Western, NY with my husband, teenage son, Bernie the Cat and Muffins the Hamster.

2 thoughts on “Garden Goals

  1. When I read what you produced, it sounds like a very bountiful harvest. I think that flexibility is key to successfully producing all the fruits and vegetables needed. I’ve very intrigued by the dandelion jelly. I love to try foods made from foraged plants..


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