The Word-Nerd’s Homestead – Summer 2021: Blog Edition #3-1

Welcome back to the Homestead, Happy Readers!

It’s been raining around here. A lot. Between that, mosquitos, temps in the 80-90s, and humidity in the OMG%, I have not done too much in the way of outside activities. I am so ready for FALL!

Even so, the plants don’t stop doing their thing, and neither does the bird flock.

Today’s blog is Part 1 of Edition #3. I’m just going to talk about the Garden & Canning and save the bird talk for another day.

Here’s what I’ve managed to get done.

Garden to Jar

Last time I talked about harvesting & canning stuff, I had made salsa & spaghetti sauce. Before that (pre-blog), I had put up quite a bit (30 pints) of homemade soup from all my tomatoes so far.

This time around, I couldn’t decide what to do with all the tomatoes, so first I froze a batch (about 2 gallons), and then the rains came.

After a day or two, the ones on the shelf ripened and then started to rot on me, and the ones in the garden began to split, so I had to do something with them or they would be wasted. So, I just put up more plain tomatoes. It’s not exactly what I wanted because I already had a lot left from last year. Oh well, waste not want not.

So, I gathered, cleaned and cooked up what I had fresh and then added in the frozen 2 gallons to make one big batch. I cooked the devil out of them and put them in quart jars, 7 total, with 2 quart bags back in the freezer (I didn’t want to run another pressure canner batch for just 2 quarts). That will all probably be used for homemade soup eventually.

This is probably the last of the tomatoes unless they start doing something crazy. I planted very close together (lots of plants) this year, so I removed all the sucker shoots from them all. This means that even though they are not super crowded and bushy, they are also not making nearly as many tomatoes as I’m used to per plant. I don’t think I’ll do that next year, even if it means I have a tomato jungle.

What has surprised me about the garden is the amount of purple hull peas I’ve gotten off the four 50′ rows I have. They are still producing like crazy. Much more that I thought they would. They took of an started climbing, which I didn’t know they did. I’m definitely planting more of these, and I may expand the trellis I made for the English peas just to work for these.

One thing I do need, though, is one of those Taylor pea shellers. It takes 2 to 3 hours to shell about 1 peck of these things by hand. The sheller would do it in about 5 minutes. Unfortunately, they are super expensive. Like around $600 expensive! I think I’ll shell by hand, thank you very much!

I blanched this last batch (made about a gallon) and froze it until I get enough to justify a canning. As of the writing of this blog (8/24), there are more ready to be picked, but it’s hot & I’m lazy.

Other Garden Goodies + Porch Plants

Here are pictures of my other harvested items (see captions). Also, my porch plants.

I checked on the carrot patch. It’s pretty sketchy, but I do have a few decent sized ones coming up. I’m learning how to grow these things, but the curve is long. Anyway, what have made it were being munched on by some colorful green, yellow & black dudes. I pulled them all off and was going to throw them to the chickens, but decided to do quick google search for their species.

Turns out they are Black Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars. I like those and they are pollinators, so I decided to rehome them to the canna lily bed. I have no idea if they ‘like’ cannas, but they can’t have my poor struggling carrots. Good luck boys & girls!

Fence Pumpkin

The Dill’s Giant Pumpkin is off the fence now. It’s growing well, and the rain has helped.

I have not be taking daily pics, but here are a few.

Fence Pumpkin – 8/18
Giant Pumpking – 8/24

Until next post…

That concludes Round #1 of this Homestead Update. I hope you enjoyed.

I’ll be posting Round #2 with the flock update in a day or two, so stay tuned.

This bears repeating: Be sure to ask any questions you might have in the comments. Let me know if there’s anything I mentioned that you would like more detail on. I’m just rambling for most of this, so pointing me in the direction of a topic would be helpful!

Lastly, if you want to get into canning foods and are looking for good equipment, these are thing I have bought for my own use and can recommend as good products.

BTW: if you follow the links below and end up buying something, you’ll be supporting me with a bit of a commission from the ‘zon.

Until next time…

Happy Reading, Canning, and/or Homesteading!

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    1. They were cooked some before I froze them, but I don’t know why it wouldn’t be safe. I cooked them for a long time to reduce the juice before I canned them up. I also used lemon juice to acidify them per the Ball canning books.

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