This year, I opted to expand my sweet potato horizons by ordering three different varieties to plant and explore. Although I haven’t taste tested them yet, I have a darn good idea of how the sweet potatoes did in the garden before getting to the plate based on the quantity of each that a friend and I pulled pulled from the ground.
As I described in a post on how to use stock panels as trellises six weeks ago, we set up stock panels with rebar and a mile (okay, not quite) of twine as our pole-bean trellises this year. While six weeks may not be long enough to dub an experiment a rousing success, I am certainly quite pleased with the results so far.
We planted three beds of green beans this year, all different varieties. My Landreth Bush Beans hit the ground running, and we ate delicious fresh green beans in stir fries and as sides before I admitted defeat and canned two quarts of them using the raw-pack method. Now, my Cherokee Trail of Tear and Purple Podded pole beans are producing an equally abundant amount of green beans just in time for the July Food in Jars Mastery Challenge for Hot Pack Preserving.
This year’s harvest of garlic outperformed last year’s paltry crop in ways that aren’t really comparable. We might have hoped this year’s bulbs would be a touch larger than they were, but, really, I’m still quite pleased. Last year’s harvest was so abysmal and small that we didn’t even eat them. The effort of peeling the cloves wasn’t worth mincing such little things, so we just kind of let them sit in a bin in the garage until we disposed of them furtively and with no small amount of hope for bulbs growing away under layers and layers of mulch.
Our garden is looking full and vibrant, and I hope to start raking in more produce than I know what to do with shortly. (The answer, by the way, is can, can, can, can, can! Can everything! I’d have to have a lot of produce not to know what to do with it…)
Saving turnip seeds is quite the commitment to self-sufficiency because turnips are biennial plants, which means that they go to seed in their second year of life. The turnips you eat (or pretend to eat or just nibble at to be polite) are in their first year of life. To save turnip seeds, you have to leave a couple of beautiful looking turnips in the ground overwinter, preferably intentionally rather than forgetting a turnip and discovering it again in the spring. Whoops! That’s certainly never happened to me!
Last year, I made the regrettable decision of attempting to use my popcorn variety of corn as a trellis for pole beans. Did we still get green beans? Absolutely. Was I disappointed in the experiment? Absolutely. So, I needed to learn how to trellis green beans differently this year as cheaply as I could. For about $20, my husband and I made trellises for two 4 x 8 foot beds of pole green beans. I’m hoping for a bumper crop this year. This year, we’re growing Cherokee Trail of Tears and Purple Pod pole varieties of green beans.