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Eating garden veggies year 'round.

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Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  boffer on 6/4/2013, 9:48 pm

Every so often we get a new gardener/member who intends to feed their family year round from their garden. It's a great objective, but I wonder if they realize the various steps of the journey that they are beginning. Several years ago I decided to grow enough garden veggies to eat year round. I'm close, but not quite there. I've eased into gardening gradually over a period of years, so learning the items in this list was pleasant and unrushed. But for those go-getters who start out their first year gardening with year round garden eating in mind, they've got a lot of cramming to do.

This list is an outline; I will fill in detailed explanations later. Would you help me out by suggesting any major steps that I may have forgotten?


1. As for any type of garden planning, list what your family will eat.

2. Check that the veggies you want to grow can be grown in your climate, and when they can be grown.

3. Decide what veggies will be eaten fresh, and what will be stored ie. freezing, drying, canning, root cellar, in ground, etc.

4. Figure out what storing method you will use for each type of veggie.

5. Learn what your gardening nemeses are; they vary by region. It could be weather, pests, or disease.

6. Find charts that give you an idea how much of each veggie you should grow per person.

7. Convert/adjust data found in step 6 to number of SFG squares.

8. Make and fill necessary boxes.

9. Make sure you have the time. A garden big enough to feed a family year round takes time. So does cooking fresh veggies, and so do some storing methods.


Boy oh boy! That's a lot to learn and do in one year!

Can you think of any topics that I should add?
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  littlejo on 6/4/2013, 10:39 pm

Prepare yourself for the inevitable. Bugs, drought, rain and more rain, slugs, milipedes, the cold, the heat, etc.

On the other hand, too much grows, won't even quit, ex: peas. Months and months of peas, all eat out, too many in freezer, can't give them away, need the squares for something else! Over did the planting.

Boffer, I think this is a good topic.
Jo
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  camprn on 6/4/2013, 10:51 pm

Prepare to do research in the off season,
and during garden season.
Get a few GOOD garden books
Buy good tools
Take care of your tools
Think in AND out of the box
Get to know the folks at your Extension Service office
Understand the value of hybrids
understand the value of heirlooms
Sometimes other farmers/gardeners grow vegetables at a better price than you can.

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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  boffer on 6/4/2013, 10:54 pm

Advantages/necessity of indoor seed starting.
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  mschaef on 6/4/2013, 11:41 pm

Love this topic...how about how to extend seasons. Growing crops in door like in a green house or in the house house or making covers for the garden beds.
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  GWN on 6/5/2013, 12:10 am

LOVE this topic too.
Been aiming at this for several years. Like you said, it IS a process, and likely a totally different process for everyone.
For me several things got in the way,.... Health.... Changing locales.... which were both huge. However I now feel confident I can achieve this in the next few years. Each year I fine tune the project. This year focusing more on crops that are VERY easy to store long term, such as Dried beans, Winter squash, and RYE.
And then freezing, canning and drying.
Priorities being things that self store.
But then developing recipes for these dried beans and winter squash, that we like, has been another challenge.

Then this last year, the seed saving part of the equation....another important part, OH and developing a network of others to exchange seeds with.
OH and VERY important, creating and recreating soil, compost.....etc
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  FamilyGardening on 6/5/2013, 2:07 am

Smile oh love this topic Boffer!

Im a wishful thinker.....we would love to be able to grow ALL of our own food......our goal has been trying to get as much as we can from the space we have.....our garden is spread out all around our house....

so be creative with the space you do have Smile who say's our garden has to be in one spot or area.....Smile

happy gardening
rose






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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  sanderson on 6/5/2013, 2:24 am

The first year will be The Big Experiment. So keep a journal of everything you do and take photos. You can learn as much from failures as successes.
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  herblover on 6/5/2013, 9:27 am

Love this topic! Keep in mind how much time you have as well as what you are willing to do. If it becomes a chore that will impact both your willingness and enjoyment. Get good recipe books; no sense growing things if you aren't interested in actually cooking! I have repeatedly recommended "The Practical Produce Cookbook" by Ray and Elsie Hoover. The growing info is designed for traditional gardening, but still helpful. Good info on when to pick, lots of recipes, and how to best preserve as well.
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  herblover on 6/5/2013, 9:29 am

@littlejo wrote:Prepare yourself for the inevitable. Bugs, drought, rain and more rain, slugs, milipedes, the cold, the heat, etc.

On the other hand, too much grows, won't even quit, ex: peas. Months and months of peas, all eat out, too many in freezer, can't give them away, need the squares for something else! Over did the planting.

Boffer, I think this is a good topic.
Jo

My grandma had a saying; "Put up as much as you can because you never know what is going to happen". You may have that bumper crop of peas one year and none the next. A bumper crop of toms one year is what led us to start canning our own pizza sauce and I haven't bought any since.
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  No_Such_Reality on 6/5/2013, 5:56 pm

@camprn wrote:Prepare to do research in the off season,

What's an off season? Smile

There's actually a double whammy for anyone that isn't in the environment were they grew up and were mentored in gardening. If you're lucky enough to still live in the same climate that your parents or grandparents weened you in the garden, then you just need to learn SFG and unlearn gardening.

If you're not, then you need to learn SFG, unlearn your gardening misconceptions and learn your environment. If you've moved across geographical regions, you may have gone from four seasons to two.

The other two big things is learning your staple foods and learning to expand your family's palette.

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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  boffer on 6/5/2013, 6:14 pm

@No_Such_Reality wrote:What's an off season? Smile
Agreed. I realize this list is weighted heavily for 4 season gardeners.





One thing that is taking me a couple years to figure out, is what veggies I can count on to reliably produce enough for storage, year in and year out. I have two lists going:

Veggies I can count on:

broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sunchokes, and green beans

Veggies that I've gotten large harvests from, but can't count on yet, mainly due to weather variances. I'm experimenting with them.

corn, tomatoes, beets, potatoes, and winter squash


What veggies could you count on to be a reliable producer for storage if you were so inclined?
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/5/2013, 6:22 pm

@boffer wrote:
What veggies could you count on to be a reliable producer for storage if you were so inclined?

Swiss chard, collards, kale, beet greens, peas, green beans, tomatoes and from the looks of things this year, garlic.

CC
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  camprn on 6/5/2013, 6:29 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@boffer wrote:
What veggies could you count on to be a reliable producer for storage if you were so inclined?

Swiss chard, collards, kale, beet greens, peas, green beans, tomatoes and from the looks of things this year, garlic.

CC
+1 and aubergine, peppers, shallots. Beets and carrots can be fickle with the weather where I live. I want to add potatoes, but I have yet to master growing the simple staple....... silly me

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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  boffer on 6/5/2013, 6:34 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Swiss chard, collards, kale, beet greens, peas, green beans, tomatoes and from the looks of things this year, garlic.
CC

Re: "Swiss chard, collards, kale" How do you store these? In a protected garden to harvest as needed? Freeze, dry, ?

Thanks to multiple comments about those three things on the forum at various times, I'm just now growing them for the first time. I've had no exposure to them my entire life!

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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/5/2013, 6:47 pm

@boffer wrote:
@CapeCoddess wrote:Swiss chard, collards, kale, beet greens, peas, green beans, tomatoes and from the looks of things this year, garlic.
CC

Re: "Swiss chard, collards, kale" How do you store these? In a protected garden to harvest as needed? Freeze, dry, ?

Thanks to multiple comments about those three things on the forum at various times, I'm just now growing them for the first time. I've had no exposure to them my entire life!


Last year I was able to cover their box with windows and harvest until end of Feb, but stopped when it just got to dangerous to walk out there on the ice covered snow. I also quick blanch & freeze them for now, in a roll so I can chop the amount I need from the ends. But I'm looking into canning them for when I ever get a bumper crop... I just don't want them to get too mushy, like yukky canned spinach. I hear that dehydrating them is yummy, too, and great for soups and such.

CC
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  plantoid on 6/5/2013, 6:49 pm

From my own experiences .

In the early years plan everything on paper so you can see what you did and what crops & varieties worked well in your beds. don't rely on your neck top computer it's fallible to the Nth degree . Laughing Laughing

Early Winter time is a good time to fire up eXcel and start learning how to use it to make spread sheet type printed record sheets. I ended up doing a massive spread sheet then organising it alphabetically for veg , flowers and bulbs & corms .
Tip
30 crop lines is about as many as you can get on the A4 sheet if you use titles , headings & a Julian calendar so you divide the year say weekly mid Jan to mid Dec . I had enough space to put the crop names and a space to add the variety then something like 43 weeks to sow them in .


This sort of planner when the file is printed out on an A4 sheet printer ( office world does this quite cheaply ) will allow you to see at a glance what seeds you need to have a few weeks before you start sowing a few at a time .
It will also allow you to see when to prepare each bed & the timings in between sowing these small scale sowings through the sowing season or artificially raising seeds indoors, so that you can forecast fairly accurately when you will be able to harvest the crops and plan any holidays you might take.
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 6/5/2013, 10:20 pm

Winter squash is something you have to experiment with to learn what stores well in your area. For instance, the acorn squash, Thelma Sanders, is a wonderful long-storing squash for us here above Yankton, in Oregon. Also, Australian Butter stores well, too, AND makes a great soup and pie squash. Throwing out this idea to the Forum at large: What winter squashes stored best for you? Nonna

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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 6/6/2013, 2:22 am

I started veggie gardening last year and continued on throughout the winter. My motivation for year around gardening is that we live 100 mile round trip away from shopping and we can extend the time between trips if we have fresh greens and veggies. In my rookie year I discovered a few things:

1. I can pretty much grow lettuce and spinach without protection and it does really well. Almost any other fall/winter crop will grow likewise in my zone. I found a mix of lettuce that grows with very low temps that I'm going to grow this year.

2. I learned that I need to have well established plants when I start into the winter and then protect them. Trying to start things growing in the winter just doesn't work very well. Everything takes too long to grow. I had tomatoes until the end of January doing this last year.

3. Responding to point #2, I'm going to start growing what I want to harvest throughout the winter in the fall and move it into a greenhouse prior to any risk of freeze. My hubby found one that's 10 x 20 for about $400. It's a pole type with a heavy duty plastic cover that gets good reviews for durability. I'm going to use black trash cans filled with water as heat sinks to keep things from freezing. We're zone 8a so we get down to the mid-20s at the lowest but spend most of the winter at or above freezing.

4. Where we live, we get plenty of sunshine during the winter so a greenhouse may allow me to grow a very wide range of crops, we'll see once I have it up.
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Re: Eating garden veggies year 'round.

Post  herblover on 6/6/2013, 10:17 am

Swiss chard and kale freeze well. Blanch then plunge in ice cold water to stop the cooking process, drain and freeze.
I live in a zane 5b so winter is out for me as far as gardening, but I take advantage of the numerous u-pick farms in the area and connections with farmers to get produce to put up for the winter.
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