Cooking,  Freeze Drying,  Gardening,  Our Adventures,  Phil,  Sandy

Our gardening year 2022

This year’s garden in the States was a good start. We established a rhubarb patch, planted various perennials in the front flower bed, and harvested more tomatoes, cucumbers, butternut squash and pumpkins than ever before in our gardening history. Learning our new growing zone and plant longevity was interesting.

We now have a small root cellar full of Bread-and-Butter pickles, chutney, tomato sauce, and ketchup, along with bags of freeze-dried green tomato powder (for our yummy green tomato bread) and freeze-dried butternut squash for soups and pumpkin bread. The pumpkins are currently decorating our front yard, but they’ll soon come in to be roasted and preserved, too.

A picture of three pumpkins in a vintage wagon in a leaf-littered lawn.
Our 2022 pumpkin harvest adorning the front yard.

We didn’t do much writing about our experience during the gardening season – we were busy experiencing it!  But we got out the camera a few times and posted several videos. Our first garden here at our new home was mainly a container garden.  Other than the rhubarb patch that did go directly in ground.

Click image to open the YouTube video, "Rhubarb patch from scratch."
Click image to view video

Our containers were a bit of a hodgepodge.  We bought a raised bed, and we had a couple of little modular raised beds that we brought with us from the UK, but other containers we used were old tires, the top of a car carrier that had a crack in the corner, a big wooden crate, and lots of 5-gallon buckets.

In spring, we had two trees taken down in the back yard and the tree service left us a truckload of wood chips to use around the property.  So, in each bucket, we made a “compost lasagne” of wood chips, partially composted horse manure and garden compost that we bought in large bags.

We filmed the trees coming down, it was amazing to see the guys work, and fun to watch my Dad moving the logs with his skid steer.

Click image to view video
Click image to view video

We took a few trips to the big plant nursery in the spring which was a lot of fun, albeit an expensive way to start a garden.  Of course, we bought more plants than we had containers for.  We found solutions eventually, including four tomato plants in the front flower bed.

The harvest started with wild asparagus.  We froze a few bags and it has been delicious.  I think there may still be a bag hiding in the bottom of the chest freezer that I’m going to have to pull out for dinner soon.

Click image to view video
Click image to view video

Cucumber harvest was our next big success.  It was funny because Sandy figured one flush of cucumbers and the plants would be done; boy was she wrong!  We were still harvesting cucumbers during October.  Most of our cucumbers became Bread and Butter or Dill pickles.  A few we used in salads and gave away to friends, too.

Pickled onions were another fun adventure.  We only got one batch of pickled onions, but it was an interesting exercise.  Phil really likes pickled onions, so they’ll be a nice treat on our holiday tables.

Then the tomatoes started coming into season and we got into making chutneys and tomato sauce, and harvest ketchup.  Very yummy and a lot of work cleaning and chopping veggies.

Click image to view video
Click image to view video

Throughout the summer, we had several different varieties of mushroom that popped up around the garden.  But our big win was the cauliflower, aka sheep-head mushroom that we harvested in mid-October.  It was the first one that Sandy found by herself without Dad’s more experienced eye, and she was so proud of it.  In fact, we were also gifted with a bunch of additional cauliflower mushrooms from family friends and Sandy filmed the process of processing and preserving them.

Click image to view video
Click image to view video

Oh, and we best not forget about the sweet potato harvest this year.  We got more than just fingerlings, despite over planting the box in which they were grown.  So, next year, Phil will have to make a more concerted effort to be successful with them in a dedicated container.

As each day passes and the 2022 gardening season comes to an end, it is amazing thinking back to all we’ve achieved, but how much infrastructure we still have planned for future gardens.  We need to put some fencing up around the back yard.  We want to build a 10’x12’ greenhouse that we purchased from Harbor Freight back in September.  We have put in a rudimentary cold storage room, but Dad has grand plans for putting in a purpose-built food storage room in the future.  Oh, and Dad wants to build Phil a garden shed so he has a dedicated place to put all his gardening tools (to get them out of the living room where they’re currently being stored). 

Perhaps there will be some days yet this year in which we can do these projects, otherwise, they’ll hold over on our “to-do” bucket list until the spring.  Lots of planning and DIY yet to come.

Thanks for sticking around to catch up on our gardening year here in the States.  Lots of lessons learned and lots of fun had.  To God be the glory! Here’s hoping for another great year in 2023!

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