This is to remind me that while I look out to see the garden is mostly dirt, skeletal trees, and canes with a few sad leaves still clinging to them, this is what it will be again.
I shall enjoy the surprisingly late harvest of raspberries from our second-year canes. We ended up with about two gallon-size bags of the plump red berries. They are snuggled in the freezer between the peaches and the packages of pumpkin puree. I have to decide if they will be used as whole berries or converted into jam for biscuits, scones, and toast. Our small peach harvest would make a few jars of preserves, a small pie, several tasty smoothies, or some fabulous ice cream.
Despite a full tree, we didn’t get any good apples. Our trees are going to have to be sprayed or dusted for us to get any that don’t have critters. Our multi-pear tree set fruit for the first time and we ate those right off of the tree! Most of them were Bartlets, but we did get one rogue Comice.
We have also started to expand our herb garden, both culinary and medicinal. This is the bed that is dedicated to mint and some bronze fennel. Both the peppermint and spearmint were quite refreshing in our iced tea this summer, and they have dried nicely for our winter use. It is hard to believe that the fennel grows to six feet, but there it is.
Our blueberry bushes are looking better after a few hard years. We had a lovely crop of berries that the birds ate in one afternoon. They were there, all dusky blue and juicy at morning chore time, and when I went to pick them for supper (blueberry pancakes) the bushes were stripped bare! Eric constructed a row cover of netting and we did manage to get a few later in the season.
We planted more pickling cucumbers and some Mexican Sour Gherkins. The pickles turned out pretty great this year, except for the MSGs. They look so cute, almost like tiny watermelons, but they have the worst texture once pickled! If we grow them again, they will be eaten fresh.
The cherry-type tomatoes were mislabeled. I thought we had Sweet 100’s, but we ended up with SunGolds. They only get to orange when ripe, so I lost a few waiting for them to turn red. They are like sugar bombs! Very tasty in salads or pasta, if they make it in the house. We had one “standard” tomato ripen this year. We are going back to the Oregon Spring variety. It is the only one we have had any success with here.
The strawberry bed was completely redone this season. The berries had become odd shaped and scarce on the plants. The old plants were pulled up and used as ground cover in other areas of the farm. Aged compost was mixed in with some bonemeal and fresh starts were set. We didn’t keep up with them as well as we should and I will have to figure out a way to keep the heavy clusters off of the dirt. Row covers and slug bait will also be our friends in this bed next spring. I prefer Corey’s Slug & Snail Death along the edges of the pathways to keep the monsters out of the beds in the first place and then the “Slug Saloon” in the bed. (Saloon =modified soda bottle with dead beer inside.)
The beans and the peppers did fairly well this year. While the taste is fine, I have decided I don’t like bush beans. I would rather stand up to pick the green beans than crouch down to rummage under the leaves for them. I will find more panels for another bean trellis.
Finally, this is the stand of comfrey I planted in 2012. These were starts from Don & Judi Hoy’s farm. I know this stuff can go wild and crazy, similar to mints, so it was planted accordingly. They looked really bad at first, and I wasn’t sure they were going to handle the transplant. As you can see, they survived the winter and have decided to thrive here. The goats love to snack on a few leaves, and that pruning helps keep them in check!
I don’t have any photos up loaded of the sunflowers or the pumpkins that we grew in the beds with the garlic & fruit trees. The goats were very interested in the sunflowers! I will have to stake them if we grow them in the same place next year. The two old lady goats would wait for the breeze to blow and then snatch leaves off of the plants as the stalks leaned over the hot wire into their pasture!
This will remind me of our successes and give me incentive to do some more planing for next year’s garden!