It’s December. I am supposed to be thinking about Christmas and school and work, but all that I can think about is the upcoming growing season. I was in the garden on Saturday and I was ready to start the new year. I have a lot of goals for myself next year. The first full summer in the garden was quite productive, but I still find myself wanting more. I know I can do more and better. This year I am going to:
- Construct my first irrigation system
- Use three of my beds for an experiment with beans, perennial greens, potatoes and flowers (stay tuned for more horticultural excitement)
- Start selling perennials and tomato plants
- Experiment with plant towers that include “living mulch” perennials
Last year I also ended up with a lot of lost crops because I did not have the equipment needed to preserve them.
This year, I plan to purchase a dehydrator.
We are also going to get a freezer. I need to be able to freeze beans, broccoli and spinach (among other things). I know I could buy a pressure cooker, but I am not so keen on the idea. They are expensive and I don’t necessarily trust myself. I think a freezer would be better because then when certain things are on sale, I can stock up.
A canning rack is also a “must have”. Last year I used a kitchen towel. It worked, but was rather annoying and sometimes dangerous. In a pinch, it can be done, but I do not necessarily recommend it and especially not for canning large amounts.
Other than that, I should buy an apple peeler/slicer. It would make life just that much simpler and faster. Maybe I would have made more apple sauce. Instead, I ended up burying a fair amount of apples throughout the garden.
With these new items (and the ones I already have), my goals for preserving in 2016 are as followed:
- tomatoes (dried, canned [natural, tomato jam, salsa, sauce], freezer sauce)
- onions (dried, dry storage, in canning recipes)
- cucumbers (pickles, relish)
- peppers (dried, pickled)
- cherries (preserves, pie filling, dried [I burnt last year’s attempt])
- brussel sprouts (frozen)
- herbs (dried, + mixes, vinegar)
- radishes (pickled)
- beets (pickled)
- strawberries, raspberries & blackberries (jam, frozen)
- spinach & other greens (frozen, dried)
- beans (dried, frozen)
- apples (apple sauce pure/cinnamon, apple butter, apple pie filling, vinegar, wine)
- tea (dried [mint, bergamont, lemon balm, chamomile])
- at least 50 kilos of potatoes (1/2 early, 1/2 middle)
- quinoa & amaranth (dried – experiment on yield, first year)
- grapes (wine)
I also need to find a recipe that makes peaches taste good or a place to donate the peaches because I think they taste yucky (suggestions anyone?). And finally, I am really going to start saving seed this year. Last year I only collected seed from flowers and beans. This year I want seeds from every type of plant that I grow.
I am sure that there are other things that I will end up doing, but I just needed to get that off my chest. I am so excited (especially because it is seed ordering time) I can barely contain myself. So, thanks for listening and have a great day!