Wow. Status report number seven. It’s amazing what has happened in the garden over the past few months. From tiny seeds in our front porch to nearly a half acre of food in just a few months. It was often more than we could eat, and still more than we could have preserved. People ask us all the time how we have time to do all this, especially with three kids. I’m not really sure, but we did it.
The past few weeks have been great. The mad production of august and september have slowed down and left us with some simple tasks here and there. We’ve spent the time collecting seed, smoking and drying peppers, and rounding out our preserves with things we didn’t grow.
Growing your own food is as exciting as it is unpredictable. In our culture where we’ve tried as hard as possible to remove all risk, surprise, and danger, a garden can be one of the most exciting and humbling projects to take on.
The pumpkin patch has been the star of the past few weeks. It laid low at the back of the garden all summer, but now they’re all picked, still dirty from the field, and waiting to be carved for halloween or better yet, turned into pie or soup. Although the two “giant” pumpkins are to only be used as seats by decree of our son.
The drying beans have had it rough. After planting them late because of the wet spring, the summer drought slowed their growth, and now, with such a wet fall, they’re having a terrible time drying out. Many of the pods are mouldy and possibly a half will be discarded. We’ve picked them all, and they’re spread out in our window-filled front room in hopes they’ll finish drying before any other mould takes hold.
The onions, the few that we ended up with, will be eaten within a couple weeks. The spring rains washed away most of our seedlings, so we’ve only had enough to eat this summer.
There are still some things left to do out there. Potatoes need to be dug. The last of the herbs need to be picked and dried, peppers need to be gleaned by the end of the week if there is no killer frost, and all the carrots need to be pulled.
It was a lot of labour mixed with time. But in the end, very worth it. Every time we would compare the price of potatoes in the grocery store to, say, picking potato beetles by the hundred by hand for our own crop of potatoes, we’d have to catch ourselves. Because that time investment isn’t just producing potatoes, it’s producing knowledge, full-disclosure, and most of all, respect for food.