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growing for canning/preserving

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  Megan on 3/27/2011, 9:03 am

Valerie, I finally got a food scale for myself, for bread-making actually, but I think it goes up to 11 pounds or so. I am bound and convinced that my bath scale is wrong and evil, lol!!! Smile

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/27/2011, 9:23 am

Otay, got more coffee, got my book, it's the 1993 version and has the gardening guide. Although we are actually only feeding 4 full time, we are the proud parents of a 14 yo human garbage disposal and his sister, and occasionally suppliment extended families grocery supply, so I'll stick with the family of 6. I still wish I had my little chart I made, how many squares per veggie, per year. I'm visual, and I don't see pounds, I see bushels. I'll get this figured out yet, more coffee....

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  camprn on 3/27/2011, 9:31 am

@FarmerValerie wrote: I'll get this figured out yet, more coffee....
+1 Wink

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  boffer on 3/27/2011, 9:58 am

@FarmerValerie wrote:Oh, boy did I open a can of worms. And who grows 1 200 ft row of corn, ....

lol I DO!

That's exactly how much corn I grow every year in my 8x25 corn patch. One stalk per sf.

Like Ander was describing above, each family adjusts their needs based on experience. I grow corn for just two of us for the year. Freezing is my preference.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  camprn on 3/27/2011, 10:03 am

@boffer wrote:
@FarmerValerie wrote:Oh, boy did I open a can of worms. And who grows 1 200 ft row of corn, ....

lol I DO!

That's exactly how much corn I grow every year in my 8x25 corn patch. One stalk per sf.

Like Ander was describing above, each family adjusts their needs based on experience. I grow corn for just two of us for the year. Freezing is my preference.

Jealous!! hopefully I can get some ground next year for a corn growing area.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/27/2011, 10:04 am

I'm sorry, what I meant was you need more than one row right? You need an area of at least 25x5 at the very min or you may have to go out there and tap each stalk, am I remembering correctly. Now my boxes are close enough to pollenate each other so I'm not stressing, I was just laughing at one single, lonely, long 200 foot row of corn.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  boffer on 3/27/2011, 10:20 am

@FarmerValerie wrote: I was just laughing at one single, lonely, long 200 foot row of corn.

Got it. But a 200 foot row could be 8x25 or 10x20 or 4x50 or 6x33 or... Whenever I read about growing corn in 'blocks', and not rows, for pollination purposes, 4 is usually the recommended minimum rows.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/27/2011, 10:23 am

When I got my hands on Mel's book ( the old one) for the first time, it just clicked. I said "Finally, someone is talking a language I can understand", and since then rows, pounds, and all that old garbage just flew right out of my brain. I now think in squares, and don't ask me the square root of anything, unless you mean veggie roots. Then it's 9 beets, 16 carrots, 4 taters......

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  Megan on 3/27/2011, 3:24 pm

I'm jealous of you folks who can plan how much you'll need for a year and then plant to suit. I'm trying to focus on what I like the most, or what is expensive to buy... or what just looks like fun to grow.

I want to expand my tomatoes and tomatillos this year. 3 squares of basil worked out perfectly for me last year (I'm still eating it!!) so I want to do that again. Triple the carrots/parsnips, doubling potato space, much more dill and cilantro, doubling the cukes....it will get interesting come fall if all of this stuff actually grows! Very Happy

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  Goosegirl on 3/27/2011, 4:13 pm

@Megan wrote:I'm jealous of you folks who can plan how much you'll need for a year and then plant to suit. I'm trying to focus on what I like the most, or what is expensive to buy... or what just looks like fun to grow.

I want to expand my tomatoes and tomatillos this year. 3 squares of basil worked out perfectly for me last year (I'm still eating it!!) so I want to do that again. Triple the carrots/parsnips, doubling potato space, much more dill and cilantro, doubling the cukes....it will get interesting come fall if all of this stuff actually grows! Very Happy

It is only self-preservation for me. Hubby is anti-outdoors, so if I want to keep gardening I have to justify it by having stuff to can or freeze. If his tummy benefits , I get to keep diggin' in the dirt!

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So glad I found this thread

Post  hankyknot on 8/8/2011, 9:37 am

This is exactly the kind of information I have been looking for.

I'll take the list on page 2 of the thread and convert into squares when I get chance and re-post the table. I'm surprised there are no potatoes on it though, only sweet potatoes Shocked

While it is way too much for my family of two at least it will help me get a handle on what I need to be growing. Next job is some kind of planner that will allow me to work out what squares are going to be occupied and when so that I can rotate my crops and plan plantings at a glance.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  camprn on 8/8/2011, 10:21 am

@hankyknot wrote:This is exactly the kind of information I have been looking for.

I'll take the list on page 2 of the thread and convert into squares when I get chance and re-post the table. I'm surprised there are no potatoes on it though, only sweet potatoes Shocked

While it is way too much for my family of two at least it will help me get a handle on what I need to be growing. Next job is some kind of planner that will allow me to work out what squares are going to be occupied and when so that I can rotate my crops and plan plantings at a glance.
Fabulous! Glad you found this thread and it is helpful! If you plan on putting up food by preserving through freezing, canning or drying, I suggest to not underestimate your needs. If you plant extra, that builds in a buffer in case of crop failure and if the season is good, you may shop less and have gifts for your friends. Wink
I have found that the best laid plans on paper do not always strictly translate well into gardening. For example, in an average year one would think that carrots would be done and squares freed up , but if you have hot weather, like a lot of our friends in the midwest US, everything slows down, the carrots are still growing and probably will be for at least another month. I am having this trouble with my beets. They are still in the ground and I was hoping to use that space for fall planting. This is the reason I added a few more beds, to allow flexibility. I hope this made sense. What a Face

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  boffer on 8/8/2011, 10:44 am

Gardening is a lifetime evolution. First, you have to find out what you can consistently grow in your area, what amount of time you are willing to put into 'putting up', and acknowledge that it takes years to get enough boxes set up the way you want them.

I can tell you that for two people and a couple dogs:

14 sq carrots
20 sq beets
80 seed potatoes
200 corn seeds
125 broccoli squares planted this year
50 cauliflower sq
165 kohlrabi seeds
15 winter squashes
5 cukes
16 sq onions
100 pole beans

That's what I planted this year in hopes of getting enough harvest to put enough stuff up to last us until next spring. That doesn't count all the other stuff for fresh eating like lettuces, tomatoes, peas, etc.

I probably won't get enough broccoli, or squashes, or cukes, or corn to meet my objectives this year because I'm having an unusually cool summer.

If your family doesn't eat the same foods, or if you can't grow them in your zone, your schedule will look different. You can't sit down and figure all that out on paper
and put it into effect next year. It takes a few years of trial and error.

And like camp said, you can't do it by maximizing squares the way Mel suggests. Mother Nature gets in the way: my warm crops aren't even close to being done, yet it's time for fall planting. What has evolved for me, due to my climate, is that I have two gardens: one for cool crops and one for warm crops. I'm able to plant cool crops in winter and summer, and one planting of warm crops in spring.


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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  moswell on 8/8/2011, 10:58 am

@boffer wrote:And like camp said, you can't do it by maximizing squares the way Mel suggests. Mother Nature gets in the way: my warm crops aren't even close to being done, yet it's time for fall planting. What has evolved for me, due to my climate, is that I have two gardens: one for cool crops and one for warm crops. I'm able to plant cool crops in winter and summer, and one planting of warm crops in spring.


This sounds like the conclusion I've come to after one season of SFG. I started too late to plant early spring things like lettuce, so my one box was plenty to accommodate the warm weather stuff plus the shallots and peas. But now I'm working on some fall plantings and realized my one 4 x 4 box wasn't going to be enough for that plus the summer stuff still growing. So I think I'll probably do a second box that will be mostly things for overwintering and fall/spring, and leave my first box for warm weather/long season growing.

I am not, however, ready to get into canning yet! I'll find a way to preserve my herbs through freezing and drying, but everything else I'm just going to enjoy in season while I've got it.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  hankyknot on 8/8/2011, 11:59 am

Thanks everyone, I started way too late this year and with way more enthusiasm than anything else so I'm trying to plan ahead for next year. Space, or rather the lack of space, is not as much of an issue in rural New Brunswick as it would be in a major center or large sub-division.

I'm curious though Boffer, just how many physical squares did you plant? (By my mental math I make it 500 squares of produce planted but into how many actual squares assuming you plant more than one harvest per square per year).

I am planning on having some extra squares set aside at all times in case of late harvests and crop failures etc (maybe even with a worm tower in so they are not totally idle). I've canned a bit in my time although I'm nowhere near the "mother-in-law" level by which all such skills seem to be measured. I also have plans to put a root cellar in the large basement crawlspace beneath the kitchen.

A couple of years from now I plan to be out of the rat race and full time homesteading so I'm using this time where I don't "have to" do these things to learn as much as I can whilst having that urban safety net in place.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  boffer on 8/8/2011, 12:23 pm

I hope you've used some of your idle time to get a big head start on your composting. For me, buying compost more than doubles the cost of a square foot of MM.

I have around 300sf for cool crops that get planted twice a year. Some of them get planted three times, with the fast growing stuff. At the moment, I'm content with the set-up and harvests I get.

Corn is in a 200sf dedicated raised bed and is fed with the same 5 way compost that I put into my MM.

My warm crop garden is still evolving because I don't get warm weather every summer. I have maybe 100sf of sfg, plus a few things in the ground. After six years of erratic summer weather, I've finally conceded that if I want warm crops every year, it's going to take a greenhouse. I'm breaking ground this week. cheers

LOL that makes it sound like I'm ahead of where I am. I have a tree guy coming this week to fell a few fir trees so my future greenhouse will get max sunshine.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  camprn on 8/8/2011, 2:03 pm

@boffer wrote: I've finally conceded that if I want warm crops every year, it's going to take a greenhouse. I'm breaking ground this week. cheers

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Any book recommendations?

Post  hankyknot on 8/8/2011, 3:08 pm

Can anyone recommend any books or websites for the novice canner?

I plan to grow the following list and would like to know the best way to preserve each so I can some up with a chart that says what can be done with each crop, whether it be freezing, drying, canning, root cellaring, pickling and any others I overlooked.

ONIONS
PEAS
SPINACH
CABBAGE
CAULIFLOWER
TURNIP
BEETS
POTATOES
BROCCOLI
LEAF LETTUCE
CARROTS
CHARD
BUSH BEANS
SWEET CORN
CUCUMBERS
SUMMER SQUASH
MELONS
PEPPERS
TOMATOES
OKRA
PUMPKINS

As I add to my 18 squares it will probably grow but most likely to start with I'll just be planting more of the things I like most.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  camprn on 8/8/2011, 3:20 pm

Check out the other thread running now, Canning and preserving 101

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  boffer on 8/8/2011, 3:46 pm

So I looked up the historical weather info for Moncton (I just picked a city at random in N.B.), and your annual average Growing Degree Days above 10° C is 966. That is going to make growing your warm season crops very problematical. Corn, cukes, melons, peppers, tomatoes, okra, and pumpkins.

Just as an example, many varieties of corn and tomatoes need well over 1400 GDDs to reach maturity.

Just something more to consider while you're doing all your planning.


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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  hankyknot on 8/8/2011, 4:13 pm

Hmmm, thanks for that Boffer.

Moncton is 45 minutes south of here but I've never had an issue growing peppers or tomatoes (the only two things in the past I've ever grown). About a mile away is "The Pumpkin Lady" a small vegetable farm that grows pumpkins and corn every year.

Will be interesting to see what happens for sure.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  happycamper on 8/8/2011, 4:35 pm

hankyknot,

Here is a great site that covers many methods of safe food preservation guidelines approved by the USDA that may be useful.

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html

I have found it very useful over the years. Enjoy your harvest all year round!

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  hankyknot on 8/8/2011, 4:43 pm

@camprn wrote:Check out the other thread running now, Canning and preserving 101

The majority of the post seems to be about whether or not you can can on a glass top stove and retain your warranty with nothing that I could see about what preserving method works best for what vegetable. I know that canning is a great way to preserve "some" things but not all.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  camprn on 8/8/2011, 4:57 pm

@hankyknot wrote:
@camprn wrote:Check out the other thread running now, Canning and preserving 101

The majority of the post seems to be about whether or not you can can on a glass top stove and retain your warranty with nothing that I could see about what preserving method works best for what vegetable. I know that canning is a great way to preserve "some" things but not all.
Did you start at page one of the thread? there are several links within the thread that may be helpful to you. Here is a good link
http://www.pickyourown.org/index.htm look under resources.
I found this old thread http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t748-canning using the search feature. there is some good info here too.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

Post  hankyknot on 8/8/2011, 7:28 pm

I started on the first page and there are a few links about canning and one about dehydrating but the bulk of the talk seems to be social chatter rather than advice about what different methods there are to store your harvest, and that's fine, just not what I'm looking for.

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Re: growing for canning/preserving

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