Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Living in a commune/vegetable gardens and canning
Okay, so I guess the title doesn't have that much to do with what I wanted to talk about, but here goes.
My wife and I are all granola crunchy when it comes to our food going mostly organic and home grown when we can. Our current place doesn't have all that much space (townhouse) for gardens, but we have a good sized 8x4 planter where we have a number of vegetables growing and we belong to a CSA that is organic.
Well we have just gotten in to pickling as we are growing some pickling cuccumbers and the CSA is giving us ridiculous numbers of regular cuccumbers right now. Things seemed to have gone well, though they need a couple more weeks of pickling before they can be sampled. Next project is jam and apple sauce this fall. I've made applesauce innumerable times before, but I've never canned it (simply thrown it in the fridge or freezer). I am going to try canning it this year, since frankly I love it and my son is a huge fan as well. I could easily can a dozen quart jars of applesauce this year. For the jam, frankly I occasionally find a good grape or strawberry jam I like from some place, but I don't like the store bought stuff very much. Overly sweet and not very berry like. So I have a local farm that does 'you pick' stuff for strawberries, blue berries, black berries and apples (among others) at very low prices and they are semi-organic (they use pesticides, but drip feed, not sprayed on which is significantly better). I think I am going to try canning a bunch this year.
Now that aside, I am having a hard time from dreaming of my next house. The wife and I want to move further west in our county where it is semi-rural and get around 3-4 acres. Plans are already hatched for 2,000-3,000sq-ft garden (probably 40x50 or 40x60). That is at least a starting point, we may go larger of it works out well. Including drip lines, timers and rain water cisterns to feed it all. The garden is more of a perk of moving 'out west' then it is the reason for wanting, but it is a big perk.
Nothing quite like pulling some sugar snap peas off the vine and eating them or grabbing some cukes and cutting them up for a salad that night. Going to need a lot more canning supplies and actually going to need a pressure cooker (a big one!) if the large garden plans ever come to, pardon the pun, fruition. Also in the garden plans are several fruit tress (probably dwarf bartlet pear and dwarf apple).
Currently we have a single pickling cuke that is pumping out about 4-5 big (about half regular cuke size) pickling cukes a week (about enough for 1 quart pickled), a couple of tomato plants, a bunch of leaks, a couple of egg plants and a few variety of peppers in the bed. Outside of the bed we have Rosmary in the ground and in pots on the deck with have a bunch of sugar snap peas, basil and oregano. The peppers are not doing well (they've done well in pots before for us, I am thinking over watering here, but everything else in the planter loves the water), everything else is flourishing like crazy. The bed is under planted and we are going to do carrots in there shortly.
next year I think we are probably going to change up where things are planted and go with 3-4 tomato plants, 2 eggplant, 3-4 pickling cuccumbers, 4-6 brocoli, carrots later in the season and possibly leaks again.
Anyone else do canning or do large vegetable gardens?