Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our backyard garden harvest is coming to an end for the summer. We made a lot of positive work towards our gardening plans this summer, including Clay building a few raised beds for veggies in the backyard, and prepping garden beds for planting strawberries, blueberries, etc. next spring.

 I am a BIG fan of the raised bed gardening approach. We didn't plant very much this year but, as opposed to the past couple years, we actually stayed on top of watering, weeding and eating the vegetables that we did plant. And we got a pretty good harvest, despite the blister beetles, drought, and hornworms.

A good harvest meant that I actually had to find ways to use the vegetables that we grew. Sometimes I forget that the logical result of growing fun little plants is that we get food that we should eat and save. Having a positive attitude about picking and cooking and canning the food that is available to us is one of my works in progress.

With three kids and all of my other daily tasks I can't bring myself to get excited about canning. Freezing seems like a much more manageable alternative. So this summer I managed to freeze a few bags of hot peppers, cherry tomatoes and tomato sauce. It felt like an easy and good start and gave me some motivation to do more (hopefully) next summer.

It also gave me a good excuse to use my beautiful new cutting board that was my anniversary gift, made locally by a friend from church. I love it.

For both the tomatoes and the peppers I simply froze them on lined cookie sheets and pans and then, after they were frozen, I poured them all into labeled baggies. Spreading them out to freeze before putting them in baggies prevents them from sticking together in a big clump. I chopped the peppers up before freezing (note to self: wear gloves before spending all afternoon chopping hot peppers) but the cherry tomatoes I froze whole.

There is something so cheerful and festive about peppers, even after they are all chopped up.

 What gardening tips and experiences do you have from this summer?


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