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2014 Idlewild Alaska Harvest

Posted by on September 28, 2014

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!
Alaskan Greenhouse - IdlewildAlaska

A new roof is coming soon!

We harvested:

  • 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!
Tomato Harvest - IdlewildAlaska

Mmmm, pasta sauce…

  • 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!
Idlewild Alaska 2014 Harvest

Beautiful harvest.

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.
Chicken Coop - IdlewildAlaska

“The Girls.”

  • 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!
Alaskan Peas - IdlewildAlaska

Yum!

  • 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!

Before and After - IdlewildAlaska

We’ve come a long way!

How did your 2014 harvest do? Comment below and don’t forget to let us know where you’re homesteading too!

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7 Responses to 2014 Idlewild Alaska Harvest

  1. Tshanina | Thrifty T's Treasures

    What a great harvest (love the photos)! You guys accomplished a ton!

  2. Pam

    Hello,
    Writing here from southern Vermont. Came across your blog on Homestead Bloggers Network and since my brother-in-law and his family live in AK, Anchorage to be exact, I decided to see how you guys do “it”.

    We had an interesting harvest. I got about 15 pounds seed potatoes on May1st from a local CSA who had too many to plant. That yielded 100 pounds of a red potato. He didn’t know the name.
    First time growing carrots successfully, got 36 pounds. Still eating both the carrots and potatoes as we store them in the very cool basement. As a matter of fact, yesterday I made, from scratch, chicken pot pie. The only vegetable we didn’t grow was peas. Chicken, wheat, carrots, potatoes were all from the homestead. Now have to work on getting lard, butter and cream….some day.

    Tomatoes didn’t do well. All my starts failed… never even sprouted. Don’t have a clue. Could have been the pots, they were from Wallyworld and the seed starter was organic from the coop. So I had to buy starts and they even didn’t do well. I think I got 6 or 8 tomatoes.

    Green beans did good. Had a couple of good meals this summer and then canned 12 quarts which turned out fabulous. Will plant more and in succession.

    Snow peas did okay but must mulch better and stay on top of them. Don’t like freezing them so they are just a summer veg.

    Squash-yellow and zucchini did poorly. Got maybe three or four each. Only 8 butternut squash from 4 plants. Need to plant more next year. One pie pumpkin which we consumed on Thanksgiving. Plant more. One spaghetti squash…again plant more.

    Peppers. Had a banner year. Dehydrated a bunch of sweet peppers, canned some jalepenos, froze some roasted Anaheim’s. Canned 10 pints of escabeche. My husband is Mexican and this is a traditional side dish. (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/pickled_jalapenos_escabeche/)

    Cukes were crazy. Got 20 quarts and 10 pints of pickles. Made kosher dill, bread and butter and spicey dill. Plus lots of cuke salad in the summer.

    Tomatillos did fab. Got 3 gallons of tomatillo sauce.

    Onions, planted eight plants and pulled eight nice onions. Ate the last one this week. Bought a bunch of green onions from the farmers market and dehydrated them. Got a gallon zippered bag of dehydrated green onions. Also bought a great bag of yellow onions and dehydrated those. Unfortunately, had some weevils that got into them and they had to be tossed.

    Beets. Planted some golden and some red. Something ate all the reds. Pulled a dozen golden. Bought a 50 pound bag from the coop and still working on those. They go good roasted with the carrots.

    Celery. Bitter. Fist time planted and probably left it too long.

    Watermelon. Got two sweet babies. That’s all I need since we aren’t big fans but…I ran across recipes for all sorts of things with watermelons so might need to plant more next year.

    Grain-oats, buckwheat, wheat and barley. Grew great. Mistimed harvest and didn’t get enough to say so. Better luck next year.

    Want to plant garlic next fall as we are almost thru our garlic from last year.

    Want to put in a sizeable herb (culinary and medicinal) garden next year.

    Had wild sorrel growing in the garden and half way thru the summer I found out what it was and started adding it to salads instead of feeding it to the chickens. Learned lots this summer about foraging/wildcrafting.

    So much to do, so much to learn still. Having a blast learning.
    Good luck this season.
    Be Well,

    Pam

  3. Brett

    Hey first time viewer. Great homestead.
    Look at growing patatoes and carrots in old tires.
    For patato fill one tire with dirt. When you see sprout coming up pile on another tire and dirt. I usually go 6-8 tires high and then push over at end of season to harvest

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