Our gardening season has come to an end. While many of my fellow homesteaders in the Lower 48 are planting their fall gardens, mine is being put to bed for the winter. Thanks to starting fresh and construction, we got a late start, but praise God, we did better than we thought we would this year! Here’s a look back at our busy season and all we managed to accomplish for our harvest.
- The greenhouse is up. The painting isn’t quite finished, and the temporary plastic roof finally succumbed to the wind. But we had a pretty decent harvest still!
- Tons of tomatoes. Happy with how many we got, but really need to get these started a bit earlier, and we can and will fit a lot more into the greenhouse next year!
- Around 20 green bell peppers. I’m totally sold on the King of the North bell peppers. These did amazing! It’s rare to get store-bought sized peppers up here, but we did! Need more of these next year!
- A couple of black Hungarian peppers. These are tasty peppers with a bit of heat. Thinking we may do a couple more of these next year.
- Two bunches of celery. I’m so pleased with this! I didn’t know we could even grow celery up here! I’ll be doing a lot more next year!
The potting benches still need to be built in the greenhouse, a permanent roof put on, and lots of painting finished, but it’s a great start.
- The chicken coop was built, painted, and 7 chickens have taken up residence. We’re still waiting to see just how many hens and roosters we have, and hopefully the eggs will be arriving soon, but we’re thrilled to be on our way.
- Our “soon to be 6 foot tall” fence is mostly up. Enough to keep the moose out this summer, at least. The wire is only 5′ tall, and hopefully by next year, the fence will be complete and will be 6′ tall as additional moose deterrent.
The garden did pretty well. We didn’t get any raised beds built, but that’s okay, as I’m still working on the layout I want. As for the harvest…
We ended up with:
- 2 pounds of peas (shelled), which I put in the freezer. We used the organic Alaska Peas variety, and I’ll be using these again next year!
- 6 cups of diced rhubarb, also in the freezer. The rhubarb is still in the old garden area. I’ll transplant it next spring to next to the greenhouse.
- About 15 pounds of potatoes, which we’re eating quickly enough that I’m not too worried about how to preserve them. We’re eating German Butterballs, Yukon Golds, red potatoes, and purple potatoes. Yum! Need to plant lots more next year!
- 4 zucchini, which we ate as we harvested through the season. (We love it grilled!) Need to get this started a bit earlier next year and plant more!
- TONS of lettuce, spinach, and kale! We’ve been eating wonderful salads all summer, and the chickens have been enjoying extras too. I think I’ll cut back just how much of these I plant next year, as we like salad, but not quite every night.
- We got only about enough green beans for one meal. They were delicious! I’m still determined that next year we’ll have enough to can a bunch to eat on all winter.
- The broccoli almost drowned when it was just a seedling (oops), but one of the plants stayed strong and gave us a head of broccoli which gave the hubby and I each one bite. Oh well. This was the Purple Peacock variety. I may try a different kind next year.
- The carrots have taught us that our soil is too full of clay. We’re going to have to do a lot of amending to get better carrots. We think this will help the potatoes grow a lot better too.
- The 6 cabbages seemed to be doing great, but once the middle of August hit, they decided to stop growing. We still have enough to can or turn into sauerkraut, but not quite as much as we were hoping for. Definitely need to start these earlier!
- Of the four apple trees we planted, we think only two have survived so far. The moose have nibbled on a couple, but we’re still keeping our fingers crossed. Hopefully years from now we’ll have lots of delicious apples. What’s that saying? The best time to plant a tree was ten years ago; the second best is today. Fence needs to go up around these ASAP!
- Our freezer is gloriously full of salmon filets from our dip netting adventure, and lots of pork cuts from the delicious whole pig we bought from a local farmer this spring. No moose or caribou this season. We technically still have the winter hunt, so we’ll see.
Considering this was our construction and “experimental” year, we’re thrilled with everything. Building a homestead is such a huge task, you have to take it one step at a time. We still have plans for goats eventually and perhaps raising our own pigs or beef. The planning and building may never end, but we’re loving every step of it!
How did your 2014 harvest do? Comment below and don’t forget to let us know where you’re homesteading too!