As Dennis and I have over two acres of fertile field, we’ve been trying to decide what to do with it. Currently a neighbor hays the field, but besides having a freshly cut yard twice a year, we don’t receive mush benefit.
This year we started a vegetable garden and for the most part did pretty well. We planted two types of summer squash; zucchini and yellow. We also planted two winter squashes; spaghetti and butternut. Both started out great, but just about took up the whole garden. We’ve gotten more zucchini and yellow squash than we anticipated and have been able to share with our parents. I have already made four loaves of zucchini bread and still have several quart size packages in the freezer.
Our two cucumbers did okay, but we are not eating these fast enough and it amazes me how fast fresh cucumbers go bad. We have lost several, though to early rot so we did not yield what we thought we would.
Both the cucumbers and especially the squash have now succumbed to some type of fungus and the leaves are dying off faster than new ones can grow. We spoke to a neighbor who grows his own vegetables and has a roadside stand and he told us there isn’t much we can do about the fungus and to make sure we do not use the plants in our compost. We have gotten a few winter squash and are keeping our fingers crossed that the plants will live long enough so the remaining squash will ripen.
Our beans have done amazingly well this year and I’ve determined that I prefer bush beans to pole beans. First, I just like the hearty bush beans better and second, the bush beans have stood up better to the environment. The pole beans have been very susceptible to the Japanese beetles, who I might add have been enjoying quite the buffet lately in our yard, but they don’t seem interested in the bush beans at all.
Peppers seem to be a finicky vegetable and even though our plants have done well, three of the four we have picked so far have had black spots. We’ve been able to cut around the affected area and save the rest of the pepper, but we aren’t sure what’s causing the issue, as the plants themselves look great. We have one red sweet pepper plant that has a couple of peppers on it, but the cool summer is causing a delay in the ripening.
The same is happening with our tomatoes. We grew two types of cherry tomatoes this year and two plum tomatoes. We have tons of green tomatoes but the only ones that seem to be ripening are the orange cherry tomatoes. We can seem some reddening on the plums, but they aren’t close to being pick-able yet.
Dennis and I have been discussing the potential of raising chickens. We have been weighing the pros and cons and right now we are holding off. I raised chickens for many years both as a teenager and an adult and loved it, but they do require daily management.
The farm down the road is selling off their ducks, geese and turkeys and I would love to have a couple of geese in the yard. I have never raised geese, but again, it’s that daily management and long-term commitment thing that keeps me from jumping in with both feet. That and Dennis remains non-committal. And let’s face it, you can’t keep farm animals if not everyone is on board with the idea.
To compensate this year, we are trying to buy as much farm fresh meats, dairy products and fruits and vegetables from local growers as we can. In this way we get the benefit of having some of the freshest foods around without having to do all the work.
As the summer comes to a close and we head into fall and winter, we are going to re-plan our garden space, read up on growing and rotating crops and maybe, just maybe, determine the feasibility of raising a few farm animals.
I am currently looking for any canning or freezing ideas for fresh cherry tomatoes. If anyone has any, please comment below.
Also, I posted my recipe for zucchini bread on an earlier post. If you have a food blog and wish to share some recipes using fresh ingredients, please add your link here.