Sunday, September 20, 2009


Harvesting my own crops is so fulfilling. I love picking things for dinner. We had many meals this year where everything on the table was something from the farm. Grilled chicken, corn on the cob, fried green tomatoes, raw zuchinni, green beans, ripe tomato slices, green onions, pickled beets, chicken and noodles, (store bought flour, homemade noodles), eggs, etc.

I am rather new to gardening and have a much better idea for what I will do this fall and next spring. I ordered garlic and am going to plant it in about two weeks in the pepper bed. I also have loads of composting coop bedding and some "fresh" coop bedding which I will cover all the harvested beds, and till it in a little. This will provide my beds with lots of good organic material and also some good chicken poo. Letting it sit over the winter will allow the "hot" poo to break down into usable fertilizer.

Here are some of the things I am harvesting this year!

Sweet Corn
Wow! This is the "Three Sisters Garden" and I will definitely do this again next year. I need to be more diligent with fertilizer so the cobs will get a little larger. However, the corn was superb. I also harvested many meals of green beans from this bed and there are 6 pumpkins scattered throughout this bed.

I love vine-ripened tomatoes. This is a Pink Brandywine ready to come in for a visit. The tomatoes grew so huge that I had to use fencing instead of stakes or wire cones to keep them upright. This didn't help too well as many branches bent over and pinched themselves to death. (all the brown leaves)

I have two types of pumpkins: Jack O' Lanterns and Cinderella. This is a litlle dude hanging from some corn. I have a feeling it doesn't have enough time to be succcessful.

The interesting markings on this pumpkin were made by free-ranging chickens! The little boogars!

Banana Peppers
I don't know what I was thinking when I planted eight of these plants. We hardly eat them and there are probably over fifty of these waiting for chili or something. What do you recommend?

Boy do we love basil. Ruth makes the best pesto and we faint with the taste of freshly made basil pesto. I have three different kinds and they are flourishing. I took a bouquet of them and surprised my principal with them and the whole school office was rich with the aroma of basil.

Black Peppers
This is a pepper, (not the kind you put in a grinder), which I intended to grow for my daughter's wedding bouquet. However, the Michigan weather didn't cooperate and it is just now (6 weeks late) coming into its own. The leaves are black and the peppers will turn a cherry red. I think they are beautiful, but probably won't grow them again. They need lots of hot weather.

I am trying this out because I thought it sounded like something cool to do. The cobs are all a really nice size, and now I just have to wait for the husks to turn brown. I plan on giving some of this as Xmas gifts.

I planted one zuchinni this year and it just keeps on producing! I must have picked 20 already and there are another 10 getting ready. This is one crop that can make you feel like a successful farmer.

I am thinking about next year and what the garden will produce. If you have something you grew this year and want to recommend, please let me know. I may name the raised bed after you!


Jean said...

mmmm... we love fresh basil pesto, too. and fresh basil chopped in our pasta, salad, sandwich, soup... whatever! I am a sucker for that stuff. Cinnamon basil makes a nice jelly, too. As far as the banana peppers go, how about putting them on a sandwich, or using a few in your soup stock? You could also dry them to add to soup or pizza later...
I had some this year that I used for a stuffed pepper casseroly sort of thing. THey weren't really big enough to stuff on their own, so I slice them in half lengthwise and layered them in a pan with alternating layers of a sausage/breadcrumb/egg mix and cheese. YUM.

Carol said...

I had a nice garden when in NY years was much more fun fixing a meal when it came from the garden. Canning and freezing and a deer in the freezer and very few trips to the store during the winter. Even learned to cook on a woodstove. All very challenging and fun.

I live in FL and could have a garden year-round...but I don't stay home long enough to take care of it.

Mrs. M. said...

Who needs a farmer's market?

We are attempting our first taste of vegetable gardening. We purchased grape tomato plants, and have four growing like there's no tomorrow!

I hope they produce the fruit promised!!

Goat Creek Grandma said...

The pictures of your garden look great. Our garden didn't fair too well. Right now the only thing I have growing are a couple of yellow watermelon vines. Tons of blossums but only 3 good size watermelons. I walked around them the other day and found two more growing but its getting to be late September and I don't think they will make anything.

Can't wait to see the pictures of next summers fare!

Take Care,

Lanny said...

Terrific! How pleasing it is to sit at a table furnished with home grown sustainance! Dice and freeze or dry those peppers or can them up, you won't need to buy peps this year that is for sure. Enjoyed how you put your post together, nice!

Paige said...


I pickled my banana peppers into sweet banana pepper rings that we can eat as a condiment along with olives in a relish tray (or on pizza). I simply used a Ball bread n butter pickle packet of spices and followed the directions using banana peppers instead of cucumbers. They are crispy and sweet. You can also freeze them diced and use them in lieu of sweet bell peppers in recipes. I threw a few in each recipe of salsa I made too. I forgot to hang and dry any, but that is a good way to go too. Sadge at Firesign Farm had directions for hang drying peppers in April this year.

Your Pesto sounds lovely, we have lots of lime basil this year, the genovese did not come up from seed. I am drying most of it, but I think tonight I will make some pesto, it sounds so yummy.

It sounds and looks like you guys really ate fresh this summer. I hope to hear how that garlic turns out. I am only planting some fall turnips and beets.

cindy said...

Have you thought about growing Heirlooms next year?
I've only tried tomatoes but one of my goals is to expand my garden into more Heirlooms this coming year.

A neat website for Heirlooms is
You can exchange seeds, talk gardening and much more.
I have recieved seeds for flowers that I have tried to find for years on this site. and best of all It was entirely free.
Happy gardening!

lesleyanne said...

so yummy papa!! it's funny to see those pearl peppers growing now, hahah! mamma could make a nice flower arrangement with them! and banana peppers, mmmm...those are delicious in Subway sandwiches! maybe you could make some subs at home with all those fresh veggies! maybe the banana peppers need to be pickled though..that could be a fun project!

Ruth said...

I made a yummy salad with those banana peppers, with sesame oil and rice vinegar - along with tomatoes, parsley, basil, onions, scallions (not the kitchen sink though).

I like daughter's idea of making a pretty arrangement with the pearl peppers! Are you planning to do anything else with them? Are they edible??

julie king said...

i'm in awe, don! i would so like to be living in the country and growing a vast majority of my food. one day i hope to do so but i guess it will be after we retire! the only think i might add to your list is yellow squash. we love it grilled and it should go crazy and produce like your zucchini did.

Barb and Steve said...

What a great harvest from your garden. I also love to est right from the garden. We always name everything that we are eating...from the garden, not from the garden :-)

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

What a great post.
I love a vegie garden.
I love just the wandering and Pottering around it allows for.
And of course the reaping what you sow!
Anything homegrown tastes best.
I am yet to eat one of my own Chickens though,,Yikes!

Sunny said...

Wonderful garden produce pictures!
We grow mostly Roma tomatoes , to make sauce with. We also grew a nice variety of sweet peppers this year, green, yellow, chocolate, lilac, and red, as well as one plant of cayenne peppers. I got peanuts to plant but had so much rain I did not get them in the ground. I now have a fall crop of peas, lettuces, swiss chard and zucchini growing. Just can't do without my garden!

Sandy said...

I enjoyed seeing these photos. Basil...oh God I love pesto...sure wish I could try some of Ruth's...

Popcorn, wow. Now I would love to taste some of that home grown stuff.

Nishant said...

THey weren't really big enough to stuff on their own, so I slice them in half lengthwise and layered them in a pan with alternating layers of a sausage/breadcrumb/egg mix and cheese.

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Country Girl said...

Nice looking harvest. We grew popcorn last year not knowing we planted to late and harvested too soon. Farmer up the road told me you have to let it dry for a year, not sure if that is accurate.

Susan said...

Hey, Don! I thought I had commented on this post, hmmmmm!

Your garden was so much more productive than ours. We were lucky to get enought for the two of us, much less enough to can, freeze or give away. We just have too much shade in our yard and I can't convince David to cut down any more trees. I don't know, he may change his mind when he starts getting rid of the fallen leaves! lol

Shaista said...

Dear Mr Ruth,
Thankyou so much for listening to and enjoying my poem. I am always reading my poetry aloud to my father, and he only groans when it's a particularly dark piece about shadows and death!
Your blog is a delight - it must be so amazing for both of you to live in a world as rich and real, and close to nature as you both do.
I also like how you call those free ranging chicken 'boogars'... I shan't tell you what the word means in England's slang :)

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

You must try LONG PIE pumpkins! I have saved seed from our heirloom patch. This was our first year and must say we will never go back to any other pie pumpkin. I have had people comment it tastes like sweet pumpkin for pie yet has this applesweet squash touch which makes it not only delicious but impressionable. It also seems to be sweeter then other pie pumpkins.
They have very little stringy guts and can be stored through the winter at 50 F for enjoyment through the cold. Do a search on them. If the interesting history does not catch you, then the taste will have you linked to the pumpkin snob club. I can send you some seed if you would like to give it a go. Can ya' tell I am hooked?! I'll even send along my Pumpkin empanada recipe which was a huge hit at the farmers markets. No milk or egg in it so Vegans get to enjoy some pumpkin pie without losing any taste!

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