Category Archives: Independence Days

Independence Days Update #2

Plant something:  Peppers (g), tomatoes (h & g), tomatillos (g), sweet potatoes (g), peanuts (g), painted pony beans (g), lazy housewife beans (h), bush green beans (h), cowpeas (h & g), watermelon (h), canteloupe (h), strawberries (h), herb garden (you name it, it’s in there), 3 or 4 types of squash (h & g), zucchini (g), sunflowers (g).  I think that’s all. And it will be for a while as most of my space is full.  At least until I start pulling cool weather crops in a month or two.

Harvest something: Eggs, lettuce, spinach.

Preserve something: I preserved my sanity when I stayed home 4 days last week with my kids.  Ha!

Reduce waste: I have started adding the cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels to the compost pile.  I used them as holders for plants (which seems to be working out great) but when I had enough I was just recycling them.  I think composting is a better use for them.

Preparation and Storage: Nothing.  Cleaned up the storage shelves so they are ready to start accepting new food stores.

Build local food systems: Continued with previous efforts.  Received this great new book to read called A Nation of Farmers.  I’m looking forward to it!

Eat the food: About the same.  With Cub Scouts and baseball we are eating less meals at the table and more sandwiches (well, not me, I’m not eating bread right now) so we aren’t really eating our stores up like I would like.  But, it’s a trade off between doing activities and doing this.

Independence Days Update

Sharon has once again challenged her readers to do an Independence Days challenge this summer.  This past winter was perhaps our best winter in using home preserved foods, and I think this challenge had a lot to do with this.  So I’m participating again in the hopes that we’ll have another good winter.  We ate almost all home preserved food this winter (except carrots and celery), until I ran out of potatoes in March. But other than potatoes we had enough of everything else, and actually I’m trying to get items in the freezer eaten before more needs to be put away next month.

I do have a huge block of time in late June-July that will be dead as I’m traveling to Canada for my brother’s wedding, which makes it even more important that I stay organized and keep things rolling.

In the interest of catching up what I’ve done so far I’ll be including all plantings to date in this post.

Plant something: So far I’ve planted 4 apple trees (small), 3 cranberry bushes, 3 blueberry bushes, 1 cherry tree (replaced a deceased tree), a bunch of broccoli, herbs (didn’t label my starts so I’ll be surprised when I see what grows), carrots (h& g), parsnips, cabbage, lettuces, tons of onions, kale, swiss chard, garlic last fall, spinach, scallions, potatoes (tons)(h & g), oats (g), and peas (h& g).  (Items labeled with a ‘g’ are planted at my garden plot, which hasn’t flooded so far this year)  I also planted a lot more flowers this year than in year’s past.  The flower beds are finally starting to take on some good permaculture organization.

Harvest something: Nothing to harvest yet.  Rhubarb should be ready next week it appears.  Oh, harvesting eggs.  Usually 2 a day.  The chickens have been enjoying the fresh green grass, as well as some lettuce when they snuck into the cold frame.  Who knew they could get through such a small window opening?

Preserve something: Nothing

Reduce waste: I got nothing.  I had a lot of onions go bad this year, so I need to either buy less, use them faster or pay attention enough that I can get them chopped and frozen before they go bad.  Same with the squash.

Preparation and Storage: Nothing comes to mind right now.

Build local food systems: I’m working on a few things but I’m not ready to spill the beans on them yet.

Eat the food: We seen to be doing good on this besides the aforementioned onions and squash.  In baseball this year so our spring is busier than usual, not to mention some of my activities.

This coming week should be a busy one as I plant out the rest of the garden here and at the plot.

If you’re wondering about the oats, I’ll explain.  I’m trying to grow some of my own food for the chickens heading into this winter.  (I’m also going to try to grow field peas and sunflower seeds)  On top of that, the soil at the garden plot is awful.  I’ve planted 40% or so of it and I’ve come across one worm.  At home I’ll dig up a dozen or more a handful of soil.  My plan is to use massive amounts of compost on it through the summer (it’s free) as well as round up some manure to apply in the fall.  Growing items with a lot of plant matter should help as will as plants with a lot of roots.  We’ll see how it turns out.  In the fall I’ll spread a fall manure crop and then let the city till it and all the leftover plant matter into the soil when they do their tilling in the fall.

Independence Days Update

Plant something: Since my last update, which was 2 weeks ago, at least. I’ve planted broccoli, all my salad greens, some parsnips and carrots. Brussel sprouts and one other thing with the broccoli that I can’t remember. I’ve also planted some chicory. I can’t get my carrots to germinate so they may be getting replaced very soon. I had planned to plant more swiss chard and kale, but they are still chugging along from this spring so I’m going to leave those alone.

Harvest something: I’ve been harvesting tomatoes. All sorts of tomatoes. I cut some kale and swiss chard. The green beans aren’t ready yet (they were planted very late) and the second round of broccoli is still chugging along. Last weekend I was at a friend’s dad’s garden and we did some garden work for him. We harvested beets, carrots, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cukes and zucchinni. He has a nice little farmstead with animals and I enjoyed tearing up all his old plants and feeding them to the goats. They are strange animals.

Preserve something: I did pickles, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes in the canner. Even lacto fermented some pickles. Funny thing, I don’t like pickles. This will probably be too many pickles. Froze some sweet peppers, corn and shredded zucchini. Today is the big day for corn. I’m going to do a bushel or two.

Prep something: Can’t remember anything. I’m trying to talk my wife into moving the swing set so I can expand the garden there. It would add another 500 sq ft or so. There is no other good spot for the swing set though. Some are OK spots but not great. We’ll work something out. If we do I’ll be busy working on that spot. I still can’t decide about the garden plot and renting it for next year.

Cook something new: Don’t think so. I had some beets last night which were OK. I didn’t love them but I didn’t hate them either. They may be something I start growing.

Manage your resources: Same as always. Eating things to move them around.

Local food systems: I’m still delivering the food for the local farmer. Hit the Storage tab for a run down of all my deliveries. We’ve delivered a lot of food to needy groups that would have been wasted. Great success so far. I’m also talking to a friend about adding chickens. I built them a worm bin for Christmas one year and they are digging it. We’ll see about chickens.

Reduce waste: The chickens are turning kitchen scraps into fertilizer much faster than the compost pile.

Learn a new skill: Nope. I keep adding things to my list but no time. This winter I’m going to learn to brew beer. End of story. I’m going to do it.

Independence Days update

Plant something: I haven’t planted anything. I’ve been meaning too but haven’t gotten it done. I have some potatoes to plant still and I want to plant more broccoli. I think I’ll need to plant the fall greens in the next two weeks, I just have to find a bed that’s open for them.

Harvest something: Dug some potatoes and onions, pulled up some cabbage and broccoli, a zucchini, swiss chard, kale and have picked some sungold tomatoes. They usually don’t make it on the vine to be ripe so it’s hard to keep an accurate measurement of how many of them I harvest. I also harvested my carrots (pathetic) and parsnips (also pathetic). I harvested one lone turnip (which I must have dropped into the bed because I don’t remember planting it in the spot it was in) but it was so bug/worm eaten that I fed it to the chickens.

Preserve something: More chicken for the freezer. Canned 3 quarts of chicken stock. Also froze some, maybe 6 or 7 quarts. Froze 3 quarts of chicken picked from carcasses that made the stock. Canned perhaps 12 pints of green beans. I froze a ton of peas that I bought from my food distro partner. She was giving away pounds and pounds of them after she served all her CSA customers so I purchased some.

Prep something: I don’t think anything this time around.

Cook something new: I cooked some braised cabbage. I haven’t cooked the parsnips yet, but will soon.

Manage your resources: I haven’t done anything new or different here.

Local food systems: Other than talking incessantly about local foods and gardening I haven’t done anything different.

Reduce waste: Nope.

Learn a new skill: Nope.

Independence Days Update

It’s sweet corn season here and it’s just glorious! Coming up on muskmelon time too!

Plant something: Started some of the long maturing cool weather crops. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots & chicory. I’ve got a lot more to put in over the next few weeks. Planted some potatoes that were sprouting in the kitchen cabinet in the ground, which I’m sure they appreciate.

Harvest something: I dug up my carrots (they were puny little things), some fingerling potatoes (also puny but probably picked too early), garlic (47 heads), cabbage, broccoli, swiss chard, an onion and some sungold tomatoes.

Preserve something: Froze some kale, spinach and broccoli. Bought some chickens for the freezer.

Prep something: I built another 6×12 bed which is part of my garden beds that are due for cold frame conversion this fall. Cleared out a bunch of volunteer plants to make room for fall plants in the existing beds.

Cook something new: I tried cooking cabbage this week in a stir fry. It was picked out. I’ve never cooked with cabbage before so if you have any recipes send them over. I’m not a sauerkraut or kimchi fan though Sharon so you can just keep those! 😉  My cabbages were in a bed that must have been poor soil because they are pretty small too.  I was thinking maybe cabbage rolls?

I’ve tried some other recipes too, but I can’t remember them. Mostly they are variations of similar recipes so that doesn’t really count.

My MIL bought me an electric rotiessirie last year sometime which I finally tried last Sunday. I put it outside on the patio and stuck the chicken in and let it go. All the heat was outside which was just fine with me. It wasn’t something new, but it was a new way to cook it, using this Goodwill find. I liked it very much. Sunday night chicken might be back in style in this family!

Manage your resources: Chili mentioned how she used the jar sealer on her Foodsaver to dry seal some storage items. It sounded good so I tried it. It was hit or miss. Some jars would seal, and some wouldn’t. Either way, at least I finally vaccum sealed up the rice and beans in the basement. Well, most of them. That’s all I’ve done, except stock up a little each week.

Local food systems: Well 2 local CSAs have surplus produce so I’ve volunteers to be it’s chauffeur to some local food kitchens and deliver it for use. I don’t think I’m developing any food systems, simply helping this nice, local, organic produce not go to waste.

I got the chickens too so I’m assisting in changing the mindsets of what’s acceptable in an urban setting.

Reduce waste: See above. That’s about all.

Learn a new skill: I got a pellet gun to remove the rabbit problem from the garden. I guess I’m learning how to hunt, sort of. This should be interesting.

On the chickens: Why doesn’t everyone have chickens? They take like no time to take care of. Maybe 15 minutes a day. And they are fun to watch. I like how they walk around and CHIRP! at things. They do dig some watermelon rinds though. I need a couple more I think…

Independence Days Update

Plant something: Beans, beans and more beans. As peas and greens get pulled from their spots beans go into their location (I know I’m following a legume with a legume but after the beans that spot will be done until next year). I’m really digging this garden size. It allows me to have quite a bit of stuff going. However, I would like more potatoes and sweet potatoes. I’m also running out of things to plant that are short growing but still productive so I can rotate back in the fall to cool weather crops. All I can come up with for the most part is beans. I’ve got more squash than I need in the ground already (which reminds me that I planted three more patty pans squashes), and same goes for cucumbers. So I’m left with beans as my short growing crop? I figure if they are overplanted I can yank up what I need in the fall and put in the fall crops. Also planted some sprouting potatoes into an old onion spot.

Planted this week: beans (green, lima and dried), squashes, potatoes.

Harvested: peas, greens (lettuce, kale, swiss chard), onions (the onions were messing up my weed patch so I had to pull them…), 2 sungold tomatoes (which went to my visiting mother) and broccoli.

Preserve something: Froze peas, spinach and broccoli.

Prep something: Hmm, I staked up the rest of the tomato plants I’m going to make sure deliver the goods. The rest I’ll be happy to pick but don’t care to a great extent if they produce or not. I’m up to 26 tomato plants now that are staked. Last week I mentioned the animal traps, which are not working. The chipmunks are getting the food and not getting caught. The rabbits just don’t care. I’m ready to introduce a pellet gun. I also got some potent urine. We’ll see.

Cook something new: I tried a cooked swiss chard recipe. Blech. Bad stuff. We like it raw in salads but not as a cooked side dish. That’s fine. It’s still healthy that way. We had kale tonight (recipe here). It was kind of a “stoup”, which is strange when it’s so hot, but that seems to be the most common way people eat kale, and I have enough to do that I liked letting this cook away while I was working on other things. The recipe was very good, although I thought it needed a little more spice. (you can seem my comment as Fat Guy in the Kitchen)

I’ve been enjoying baby new potatoes boiled and then rolled in butter, salt and parsley. Very good. I also made strawberry ice cream for the first time. It was very good as well, though I liked the vanilla better.

Manage your reserves: I haven’t done anything here but start to stock back up and rotate things around. I do need to call the chicken people though and get an order placed. Need to look for their card…

Local food system: Nothing. I can tell you though, the flood has really devastated the local food system here that was growing massively. Look for more on this in the future.

Reduce waste: Nothing new.

Learn a new skill: Hmm, I’m learning to trap but you can see how well that’s going. This is strange, but I’m learning how to move water around the yard to water the garden from the rain barrels in buckets. In the past I used a hose hooked to the house with a sprinkler. But now I’m carrying buckets around to pour water on the base of the plants. This won’t work so well in August when the whole thing has to be watered, but it’s OK for now. The barrels are on the front of the house and the garden is in the back. Hoses to reach that far are in short supply. Plus I don’t think there is enough pressure to push it that far. So carry the water I do.

I also learned how to make ice cream with the ice cream maker I got at a flea market. I’m very happy to learn this skill. Now I can pick the ingrediants and it takes soo darn good.

Independence Days Update

Planted something: Planted more squash/cantaloupe/watermelon, I can’t remember which one it is that’s growing there now.

Harvest something: Harvested peas and lettuce. Rhubarb and a few onions. Also onion and garlic scapes. Spinach, swiss chard, broccoli also.

Preserve something: Made up quite a bit of strawberry jam, and some with rhubarb in it. (check my storing tab. I’m trying to keep it updated) Froze .75 lbs of rhubarb, 1.25 pounds of broccoli and 1lb of peas. Canned 9 pints and 10 half pints of jam.

Prep something: I ripped out the peas that the rabbits killed and I’m prepping that bed for beans (probably). Preparing some traps to catch the chipmunks and rabbits so they can be transported to a new location. I keep trying to build one more bed for potatoes but it seems to keep getting put off.

Cook something new: Well I made two new jam recipes. And this time the jam actually jammed so that’s a positive. Tried a new recipe for creamed peas, but haven’t actually eaten them yet. Haven’t had a lot of time to cook this past week.

Manage your reserves: I don’t think I ate anything from our storage this whole 10 days or so. It’s been mostly fresh.

Local food systems: Haven’t done anything I don’t already do.

Reduce waste: Nothing new.

Learn a new skill: Nothing new.