It feels good to know exactly where your food comes from. But I have to admit, starting everything from seed and going cold turkey organic was a very scary thing. But it’s worked out very well thanks to the many homesteaders and farmers we’ve come across (or who’s blogs I read) that are ready and willing to share their secrets with us wannabes. And now the fruits (and veggies) of our labors are here.
Here’s the first real harvest out of the kitchen garden: Zucchini, crookneck, ancho (pablanos) and jalapeno peppers, chard, rosemary and basil. Up until now, I’ve picked one thing here and one thing there, but now I’m taking out full baskets of food. Awesome!
Always lots of zukes and yellow crookneck.
So I’ll just put ’em up. To freeze: Shred and squeeze out a bit of the excess water. I use Seal-A-Meal and bag up to two cups at a time. Ziplock bags or Tupperware containers work too. They thaw quick and you may have to pat them dry one more time before adding to your recipe.
We also found hidden treasures: Ripe tomatoes just waiting to be turned into salsa. Sorry bud, you can’t hide from this hungry homesteader!
We’re also finding huge poblano peppers and loads of jalapeno, cayenne and bell peppers. Here’s a tidbit: Did you know that poblano and ancho peppers are the same thing? They’re poblanos when green (and mostly used for chile rellenos) and ancho when ripe/red (usually dehydrated and ground to a powder that flavors many sauces, including enchilada sauce). Cool to know, huh?
The cayenne is starting to turn already. Can’t wait to dry it and turn it to a powder too. No more buying teeny bottles of this spice that costs an arm and a leg. Take that mega grocers!
We’ve had lots of basil already. Purple basil makes your food look… interesting. But it tastes fab. Packed with flavor. I noticed that I have to pinch off the flowers more often than the green stuff so we’re using a lot more of it right now.
In chicken garden news… the sunflowers are going bonkers. Next to the hubby (who is 6′ 1″) they look like a wild pack of godzillas… squishing cars and chomping skyscrapers.
And soon we’ll have corn. This is an heirloom variety that began tasseling very early, then it just shot up about another foot and popped these out. If the taste is worth it (hopefully very sweet) I’ll plant a lot more of it soon.
The scare eye started out taller than the corn and sunflowers, but now it needs a little help.
That’s better. These floppy props really work… the birds stay away. We’ll see when the sunflowers get going though.
The plums have been falling off the trees, but not because they’re overripe, but because the birds peck at them and knock them out. (No scare eye over here… too bad.) So I picked a bucket full to ripen inside. And yes, I’ll be making more jammy. Delish.
The walnuts seem to be doing well too. No sign of the husk fly yet. The little buggers are funny… they lay eggs in the husk that will hatch into a wormy thingy. It feeds on the husk just as the nuts are ripening and about to fall. The wormy thingy falls to the ground (with the nut) and crawls into the ground to form a cocoon of sorts; and stays there laying dormant through the winter. It then emerges in the summer as a fly… starting the cycle all over again. Crazy. That is the reason we harvest them so early and manually de-husk each nut rather than waiting for it to dry up and fall off. It’s a LOT of work but saves us from having to use a pesticide. We still haven’t found a natural remedy we’re happy with, so this is how it has to be right now. But hey, free walnuts. You know it’s still worth it in the end!
We had trouble with some of the potato plants in the market garden wilting and drying up prematurely, so we dug one up and found a gopher hole! That’s where all the water is going! Too bad for the little plant… but at least we get to enjoy a few new potatoes. Hopefully the hubby will take care of the gophers before they get too far down the row. Golly gee.
My breakfast this morning. Mmm. Chard, crookneck and sausage egg scramble, with onion and garlic potatoes. A meal that is almost entirely homegrown or raised by us. Yep. We’re on our way to becoming true homesteaders!