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Just Getting Started on the Winter Stores

July 18, 2012

Our maritime climate is slow as far as gardening goes.  Yeah, it’s mild on the extreme front, but it sure takes some time to get things to ripen.  We’ve been eating from the garden pretty steady now since mid-April, but mostly greens and cool weather crops with a cherry tomato here and there and some zucchini and green beans.  But as far as stocking the larder, things have been slow until now.

So far we have socked away five gallons of raspberries for winter fare, and eaten countless bowls of raspberries and cream.  The blueberries are just getting a hint of blue and soon they will need picking.

Head of  SecurityTrace

I have no idea how many berries have disappeared into “security” fund…  The deer used to eat the raspberries and laugh at us.  Not anymore.  So I guess a few berries are a small price to pay for my freezer stash of my favorite berry.

Lots and lots of scapes for the freezer.  I wrote about that project here.

Bellstar OP

And on the horizon the sauce tomatoes are getting ripe – soon it will be salsa time!  How’s the preserving going in your kitchen?


19 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2012 4:40 am

    Our garden is slow going this year…nothing but peas coming from it so far and everything seems to be a couple of weeks behind. It all looks healthy, however, so I am hopeful! Blueberries are ready here, we’ll be picking more this weekend. 🙂 Love this time of year….love to see my pantry grow! 🙂

    Now I’m going back to read what you had to say about scapes….thanks for the info! 🙂

    • July 19, 2012 4:45 am

      Question on the scapes…have you ever used them when you are canning tomatoes? I always add a bit of garlic and basil to my jars of tomatoes when I can them. Also, do you use the whole thing, even the very top? I am totally going to do this…thank you for the info! Love this idea of using more of the plant and our garlic looks awesome (first year we’ve planted it)! So excited! 🙂

      • July 19, 2012 4:59 am

        Valerie, yes I do, that blog was shutting down so I didn’t really write a full article, I just mentioned using the scapes for tomato sauce and salsa. I roast almost all my tomato products before canning and add herbs, garlic or onions and I do the same for whole canned tomatoes.

        I don’t use the flower tops – they are a little bitter, and I make sure I use a small jar to freeze them in so I don’t end up with a lot of scapes thawed and no way to use them up. One eight ounce jar does two big roasting pans perfectly 🙂 Happy canning!

        • July 19, 2012 5:06 am

          Thank you!! I’ll be working on this today! 🙂

  2. Penny permalink
    July 19, 2012 4:50 am

    Hi! I have been reading for a year or so and am so thankful for your articles. You have saved me some gardening/cooking/ and canning errors 🙂
    I am in NC (zone 8 I think) and it has been very wet and humid…I have the early blight on some varieties of tomato. 😦 I read that a solution of milk and water sprayed can help delay the effects of the blight….do you have anything you do to deter/prevent or extend the life of the plants?
    Using the organic sprays from the store is unrealistic since we are getting so much rain and reapplication is necessary (too expensive).
    Thanks for all you do, and for all you record. –Penny

    • July 19, 2012 5:08 am

      Penny, I cured our blight problem by only growing tomatoes in a hoop house 😦 I know that isn’t an option for most people though, and we grow them in a hoophouse just to insure ripe tomatoes! No blight is just a bonus. But, an old remedy I have heard of is using corn meal water to spray the plants with, soak two cups of corn meal (pantyhose or sock works good) in a bucket of water overnight and spray the plants with the water, it may help set back the fungus. Fedco carries a product called Serenade that can be used too, but like you say it gets expensive to buy things all the time. Good Luck! I haven’t heard of the milk cure but that doesn’t mean it won’t work!

      • Penny permalink
        July 19, 2012 5:58 am

        I read about the cornmeal too– and I have that and milk so I am feeling an experiment coming on! Yay for science. I’ll report back if the results are interesting- thanks!

  3. July 19, 2012 5:01 am

    You farm in the PNW? Yea! I am in Everett, Wa (north of Seattle) where we have peas and peas and peas. It is SO good to find a blog in my climate…..even though I bet you are ahead of me. We have enjoyed the fava (broad) beans planted on Halloween. Now I need to get the spring plant processed and put up. I only started planting last year, looking for protein I could grow in the chilly wet PNW. They are a fantastic discovery, so nutty and good. All my berries are coming on just when I need to get my winter garden going.

    • July 19, 2012 5:13 am

      Hi! That may be debatable, I live in the Gorge at 1400′ which gives us a whole different climate than Portland for sure. Hence the greenhouses 😉 I am always surprised to see Seattle garden blogs that are way ahead of ours. I’m jealous of your peas, I never did plant any this year, but I may now and try for a late crop.

      Busy time of year!

  4. July 19, 2012 5:02 am

    BTW, found you because of Two Frog home interview (you can delete this comment, just wanted you to know)

  5. July 19, 2012 5:44 am

    Winter stores? Freezers are packed with chicken. Pigs are growing well. Easily 400 pounds of potatoes in the cellar. We’re canning peaches right now. Peppers are coming on hard but the tomatoes are a bit slow. We’ll put up a bit of salsa soon (maybe peach salsa) but it may be October before we really put up any form of tomato. I didn’t get green beans planted so I’m looking to buy a bushel or two. I’m anxious to find a source for apples and hope I can pick pears at the same place we picked last year.

    The blueberry crop was nearly a failure. What few berries there were got skinned by the japanese beetles. We only got a gallon in the freezer. Honey crop is poor too.

    • July 19, 2012 6:37 am

      HFS, dumb question – do your potatoes keep well if you harvest them this early? We usually harvest in September for the winter keeping, is it because you are so hot early on and potatoes are a stretch to grow in hot weather?

      • July 19, 2012 8:57 am

        At the main garden the tops were dead and the potatoes were dehydrating in the ground. We got a good crop but it would have been better with a little rain. In fact, there’s some concern that they would have sprouted again with a little fall rain. Second crops of potatoes are a little iffy here though I would like to try planting a row in the late fall just to have one less thing to do in the spring.

        They do keep well. We normally pack them in rubbermaid tubs between layers of straw in the basement. This year we’re trying burlap sacks. The requirements of cool, dark and well-ventilated are met either way. We figure with the burlap we can sift through them more easily to find the ones that aren’t going to make it. Worst case the pigs eat potatoes…and since we like pork…

        • July 19, 2012 9:20 am

          HFS, amazing the difference in climate. We can barely get our potatoes in the ground by mid to late May, which really times out perfectly for harvesting in September. I’m planting some early though in the hoophouse next year, I know it will be dry in there!

  6. July 19, 2012 8:23 am

    Well, we are going to have plenty in the way of meat- still have one hog to butcher and several chickens- and we have lots of vegetables still even though all of them did not come from the garden.

  7. July 19, 2012 8:47 am


  8. July 19, 2012 11:10 am

    We are still waiting for the beans and the cucumbers have just started – the tomatoes will be awhile as well – it seems like everything will be coming at once this year. Look forward to hearing about your salsa – my husband wants to try it this year.

  9. July 19, 2012 12:10 pm

    Matronofhusbandry, we plant potatoes mid-May and ours are up by August and have kept reasonably well over winter. Ours look like they may have blight though this year which is not good news of course.

    The berries haven’t done too badly and we have had bucket loads of strawberries, just picked red currants, black currants, gooseberries and raspberries today. Peas have also done well but precious little else. We have had a cool summer so far and although not as wet as my friends in the UK, it has still been damp. Not a good year for beans but brassicas look good and healthy, just not much ready at the moment.

  10. July 19, 2012 5:22 pm

    Great Photos – love the berries – YUM:)

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