Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Buffet

*Sunday Buffet is my smorgasbord of random thoughts and observations.

 Today started out with canning my last big batch of tomatoes.

The Brandywines and German Red Strawberry's were (and still are) the heavy hitters this year.  The Abe Lincolns, Old Virginia and Tropic VFN did well enough that I'll plant them again.  The Mortgage Lifters were a shocking disappointment.  Maybe 2-3 tomatoes per plant.  

We're only picking 4-5 tomatoes now, not the huge baskets that I was picking daily for a few weeks there.  The garden isn't putting out all that much right now except for the Matt's WC.  The green and Lima beans are still developing.  I still get a random cucumber and summer squash from time to time.

I'm watching the winter squash closely too.  About once a week I harvest a squash or two.  I still haven't processed them yet and they seem fine sitting on my counter taking up space.  If they hang in there until the weather breaks, I'll store them out in the garage.  We'll see what happens.  The pumpkins are putting out male flowers right now.  Not a lot of vining.  I might get "skunked" this year on pumpkins.  (Thanks SVB's!)

With the garden on the down slide my thoughts are turning to fall.  What to plant?  What to buy?

The broccoli seeds germinated and I pulled out the grow light for them.

I've never had much luck with broccoli started from seed.  I direct sowed last year and got zip.  They take FOREVER, so these are seeds left over from last year.  (If they don't make it, who cares.)  Last year I bought broccoli and cauliflower from the nursery and planted them way too late in the year to get any harvest.  I didn't have a hoop house built, so they got zapped early on.  (BTW...The carrot seed mats are STILL in the house.  102 degrees tomorrow.  It just seems pointless.  So I'll wait a little longer.)

One of my goals this year is to work on extending the season.  We thought we'd create hoop houses over the raised beds.  Now I'm starting to think if I'm going to go through the bother making those, that I might just want to "suck it up" and get a greenhouse built.  

My preference would be one that I could leave the frame permanently around the beds and just disassemble the rest of the panels when the nice weather hits.  Keep in mind that there's really only 4-5 months that I'd need protection.  November through March.  I haven't done ANY research on this at all, so if anyone has a suggestion, toss it my way.

SM and I tackled the Annual Reorganization of the Garage later this morning.  By noon it was 93 with 101 heat index.  (Why'd we decide today was the day to work on this I'll never know.)  SM remarked that Kiki had found a nook to take his kills.  Fur and feathers all over the place but he must have eaten everything cause there was no smell or carcass remains.  Bleach to the rescue there.  (He still gets around for a 13 year old cat.)

SM also worked on cleaning out the gutters...(nice view!)

With thoughts of fall dancing in my head, I figured I'd better take a few minutes to consider my food pantry.  I had canning jars full of goodies shoved everywhere, so I tried to cluster them together a bit more.  

I also went through the dry goods and tossed a few crackers and cereals that SM didn't Ziploc so they got stale.  

"How'd ya know it was me that didn't seal em up?"  

"Ummm, Gluten Free here!  You know I don't eat that stuff!"

With the pantry and cupboards a bit more organized my thoughts are now turning to stocking up a bit more.  (Inflation coming you know....) 

I've been so busy with the preservation of fresh foods that I haven't been keeping my eye on the prices at the stores.  We spent $300 Saturday and I swear there wasn't enough items to clutter my counter tops.  Granted, there was a lot of items like bulk T-paper (should last 4-5 months) but it was $20 for the pack!  The multivitamins and fish oil capsules we take were around $18 each.  We probably spent half our money on non-food items alone!  Dog food went up $5 since last month (Was $28, now $33 and we buy the Sam's Club brand).

I really need to take advantage of this garden lull and tackle stocking up.  (Ouch!  The checking account is about to take a hit.)


  1. Wow cant believe your tomatoes are winding down already. I swear mine are mocking me and refuse to ripen. I think in your climate you would be better with hoops over the beds and a cover put over that. It is far to much expense and work to build a greenhouse over a bed for a little extension on the season. Those panels are extremely costly and going up by the day, remember they are made from oil too. You could reuse that hoop system over and over and it will pack away very nicely for minimum cost. Just a thought.

  2. I think Jane is right. Greenhouses are EXPENSIVE and then you're dealing with that framework, etc.
    I just love the pantry shelves all stuffed full of jars. What a great feeling that must be. I rely on the old freezer and boy, am I in trouble when the power goes out. It's always a scramble for the generator. I really need to start canning!

  3. Love, love, love those jars of freshly canned food! I hope you do well with your winter squash, including pumpkins. Looks like I won't get either. Like you, I'm hoping to extend my gardening season. It's a great goal!

  4. That is so wonderful that you had all those tomatos! I wish I could say the same but out 'mater plants did awful :( Too much rain after they planted...and I did have an abe lincoln too!

    Your cabinet looks awesome! i wish mine was that stocked already!

  5. Shocking that you are done with tomatoes and I haven't canned up one batch yet! I just don't get it this year! Your shelves are looking real nice tho!