Few things are as soul satisfying to me as growing, picking, preserving, and cooking food for others. Actually, I’m not sure anything is as satisfying to me as those things. I love the entire process from start to finish. I even like grocery shopping and meal planning. Reading cookbooks in bed is not foreign to me.
Food warms bellies, shares a story, shows love, offers a welcome and consumes my thoughts more often than not. Even reading the history of food is fascinating to me.
We aren’t a homestead, nor are we legit homesteaders, not even farmers, and we’re not urban gardeners. There’s not really a label for us, we just grow food and believe that good, healthy food is what our Creator intended for us. And we think…just maybe…that food education and food wealth can change communities and empower generations for the better.
We garden organically. So everything we grow ourselves hasn’t been treated with chemicals.
Each year we add and plan and add and plan and then begin to plan for the next year, just after this years seeds are planted. I’ve decided on crop rotations already and have simplified our space.
Our goal? To grow as much food as we can on the space we are responsible for and my personal goal is to grow food that keeps going year after year so to work myself out of a job-rather let the ground work for me. What food we can’t grow, we like to buy local to can, freeze or dry.
Our Perennial Garden got a lot of attention this year. We’ll still add about three plants this fall and add a grass barrier as well as mulch, then cut back the flowers for winter. I’m really very happy with it. It’s not food, but it is pretty and there’s a place for pretty, just as much as there is for food. The Bee Bath is in this garden, as well as a couple of lavender plants we harvest. I’ve found more than a few Bumble Bees doing what Bumble Bees should do. Now that yellow jacket that I stepped on…he’s a different story.
Speaking of bees…We decided to pull our strawberry plants this year. As much as I love having my own organic strawberries, the bunnies loved them even more. It was a lot of space with little reward. In it’s place we planted a perennial Bee and Butterfly Garden. It didn’t do so well this year, flower wise. We need to add some soil at the end of the fall, to ensure the health of all of the beds for next year. We’ll get a load of mushroom soil and spread it around to get good and comfy over the winter. However, the flowers that we did have, did just what we hoped-they attracted Bumble Bees and Monarchs.
Our Shade Garden is a work of “when I have time”. We pulled ferns from our front yard, as they were getting too much sun and I separated them to replant. I got about half of the Shade Garden planted with shade friendly ferns over the summer,but our soil is SO rocky and where the shade garden is going it’s basically roots. I’m having to dig with a spear end of a hammer type thing called a pulaski just to make a hole for the roots. It’s tedious to say the least. It doesn’t look great now, but the plan is working, and it will look great next summer.
Our grape vines are growing! I was about to give up on them, but they grew this summer.
Our herb garden is half herbs and half not. I tried to plant onions and garlic in it this year, but it just didn’t happen. What I learned this year was that I can’t grow onions. I just can’t. I’ve tried for years and am admitting defeat. Likely I’ll try again in a few years after I’ve decided I NEED to know how to grow onions, but for now they are put on hold. I tried garlic this year too but that didn’t work either. I decided that next year I will plant more effective herbs that are larger and hardier, and that lettuce, spinach and kale will be grown in containers.
Blueberry plants are coming for next year and will be planted somewhere, though I don’t know where. A section of our garden will be set aside for an asparagus patch, and I want to section off a strip of our garden for edible flowers.
When we moved here a few years ago Kaitlyn was 9 and wanted to plant fruit bushes. We planted raspberry, blackberry and blueberry bushes. It’s a small space, but we’ve been picking from them all summer.
I think that’s everything…
Today, I had some satisfying moments of picking and photographing. Here’s what we harvested:
Peaches from the neighbor
Raspberries from our patch
Cut them and bring them inside. They’re beautiful fresh and dried.
Lemon Lime Thyme
We have so many, they are just slow to ripen this year.
We have so many of these, we’ll be able to pay our kids’ college tuitions.
I’d love to hear what you’re harvesting these days! Leave a note in the comments.
Love, Mrs. Pastor