Where oh where does the time go?? It seems like it was just late spring, and we were just planting! This summer was a crazy one, with trying to get more square footage planted, using the new hand tractor, trying to build a root cellar for storage, and numerous other projects that did–or did not–get done.
We planted about 6000 square feet of garden this year. The harvest turned out fairly well: 80 pounds of potatoes, 120 pounds of carrots, 30 pounds of turnips, and 160 pounds of winter squash (mostly spaghetti squash). Radishes did really well, and I have a whole bin full.
But some things did not work. We lost about 150 pounds of potatoes to the Colorado Potato Beetle and Wireworm, our beets were eaten by shrews, and our cabbages were eaten by deer. We lost our onions one afternoon to the chickens. So we bought storage onions from a local farm. Our tomatoes got in too late and did not do well at all. We had enough to eat, but not to can. (Many of our neighbors had the same problem with their tomatoes.) Our cucumbers were almost missing in action, and we had planted a lot to be able to make a lot of pickles. Very disappointing, until we found a zucchini pickle recipe. Wow! And our zucchini were prolific, so, we ended up with 36 jars of pickled zucchini. We had never tried zucchini pickles before, but now we actually like them even better than traditional cucumber pickles! We made several different kinds, including an Italian version and a mustard version. All good. So next year, we are going to plant lots more zucchini so we can have even more.
Since our tomatoes didn’t turn out, we did manage to get some tomato seconds from the St. Johnsbury farmer’s market, as well as some tomatillos from there and from our neighbor with the tractor, and we made some good salsa and green sauce. Next year, we’re going to do some earlier planting and try some black plastic and other techniques to hopefully get lots of tomatoes (and tomatillos) of our own.
We realized we would have storage issues before we planted so we built a root cellar about 60 feet away from the yurt. I was going to build two cellars, but had a hard time finding a spot that didn’t have bedrock after two feet of digging. The cellar is 6 ft by 6 ft by 6 ft, made from cinder block with a reinforced metal roof. It seems to be holding around 40 degrees F, even with it 20 degrees outside right now. My neighbor let me use his Kubota tractor with backhoe, which really helped in the building. Next year we will add a shed for cider making and rabbit pens.
So yet again, this year was a learning experience. But isn’t life in general, after all?
For those of you wondering, Callie and Alice are doing fine (even if Alice looks tired in the picture up top after helping with the carrot harvest). Callie has discovered a couple new shrew veins on the property and is busy mining them. After all, the holiday shrew shopping season is just around the corner! And remember, when it comes to choosing your holiday gifts, shop local for the best quality fresh organic shrews. Shop Callie’s Quality Shrews. There’s none better! Yup. Woof!