Gardening and the Unexpected

| 9/2/2009 4:55:05 PM

Tags: gardening, canning, dogs,

A photo of Vickie MorganThis year after two floods – second one happened in July with 4 inches of rain – I can’t believe my garden is producing this well. So far I’ve managed to get 3 dozen ears of corn, some peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes. Sadly, it’s those precious heirloom beans that didn’t quite make it through the second flood. I managed to pick one mess, so we had a medley of sorts for dinner with white-half runner, rattlesnake, and goose beans. It was soo good. I think I will just leave the rest on the vine and save them for seed for next year.

So, it was a nice surprise one day when some good friends called and said to come out to their country garden and pick beans. Well we couldn’t pass that up and we jumped in our truck and drove 40 minutes out to their garden that day. They received the same amount of rain as we did but their garden sits on a hill – so they still have a bountiful garden.

Picking beans in the shade.

We picked a bushel that day and I canned 14 quarts – there is nothing like good friends.

Jars of canned beans

This year I’ve become used to all the weeds, bugs, floods, and frosts. It’s when something quite out of the ordinary happened (like floods are ordinary) that I just threw up my hands, laughed, and thought, What next? Quite unenexpectedly one day while working in the garden, I heard big paws thumping on the ground, and then I heard someone holler, “TANNER!” I should have realized he was coming after me, his favorite neighbor, but it was too late. The neighbor’s big, brown, 120-pound Lab, Tanner, dashed through the vegetable garden stomping on plants as he ran to greet me, with his big tongue hanging out. He loves me what can I say. Except now the onions are not standing up so pretty and straight, and the poor corn plant on the end... Oh well, I straightened them up the best I could – they’ll grow.

9/14/2009 2:36:19 PM

Alice, That's a good way to grow tomatoes in a short summer climate-If it frosts before they ripe you could try wrapping your green tomatoes in newspaper--they will ripen slowly -be sure to check them often. I done this for many years with great success. Vickie

alice p._1
9/14/2009 9:13:17 AM

I grew some beautiful tomato plants this year in containers. Our growing season in Butte, MT is very short and was even shorter this year due to a cold wet spring thru June. I will have abountiful crop if they ever ripen or else will have a lot of fried green tomatoes.

9/7/2009 4:15:11 PM

Dave, Gardening is so much fun --my garden is really not that large but with bean tepees and cucumber trellis I'm able to fit a lot in my small garden. It was amazing what we did get out of the garden after the flood and it was so nice what was given to us. It's good that your trying to can again--canning jars are found sometimes at yard sales - I was lucky and found four dozen canning jars at a yard sale this weekend for $1.25! Just in time for the peaches we bought. Hope you have a fantastic garden next year! Vickie

nebraska dave
9/7/2009 8:28:01 AM

Vickie, I have made life’s full circle. This year I have planted a garden after probably 15 years of not having one. Well it’s sort of a garden. It’s a 4 foot by 8 foot spot where three tomatoes and three green pepper plants reside. Of course there were all the challenges that go with gardens as you described in you blog entry. The rains came, the wind blew, and the plants were a tangled mess. With the help of plant poles big and small I resurrected the damaged plants the best I could. The tomatoes grew so well this year they invaded the green pepper spot and smothered out two of the plants. I suppose I could have trimmed back the tomatoes, but I decided to just let them go. Of course raising tomatoes rekindled my desire to preserve the bounty. It seems that the electrical service reliability to my area has decreased in the last five years. I just don’t trust freezing as a valid way to preserve food. Since I had given all the canning equipment away, I had to collect all the needed things to begin canning the harvest. So far this year I’ve just canned a few quarts and pints of basically seasoned tomatoes. I thought I would start simple and small until my canning skills come back. It’s really kind of amazing to see that with all the technological advances that have happened in the last 20 years, the equipment and process for home food preservation has not changed much at all. I’m totally ready for next year to expand the garden. I’m in the process of collecting jars. I cleaned gutters this last weekend for a friend. In exchange she gave me a box of assorted Mason jars. This summer has really sped by but it has really been a productive gratifying back to the soil kind of a summer that just makes me feel good inside. Thanks so much for sharing your gardening adventures.

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