Gardening, Harvesting and Foraging

If you’ve been following my gardening efforts at all, you have read how I turned my backyard flowerbed into a raised garden this year.  Here is the update I wrote about two months later.  Above is a picture of how it looked about three weeks ago.  It seemed to explode almost overnight!  We have had a wonderful late summer/early fall here in the Pacific Northwest.  Little to no rain for 80+ days!  That means we have had an extended harvest, for which I am very grateful because I got started so late in the spring.  Here, let me share what we have harvested.

Here’s a picture our sugar snap peas.  It doesn’t look like much, but for awhile it was all we had and was good enough for the three of us for dinner.  I picked just about this much every day for dinner in the early summer.  They were so delicious and sweet!

Here is a zucchini and some pickling cucumbers.  I like to eat my zucchini on the small side because they are so tender and sweet that way.

Here are more cucumbers and some dill.  I made garlic dill pickles from this harvest and plan to write up a post about it in the future!

The cucumbers came from the backyard garden and the gutter garden on my deck.  I like growing them in the gutter garden (above picture) because they don’t develop deep roots, and they stay small for pickling.  All my large cucumbers came from the garden in the backyard, which is downstairs.

Do you remember the cucumber tunnel I wrote about?  It turned out okay, but I don’t think I’ll do it again. The cucumbers were rather hard to find amongst all the leaves, and I had to do a lot of bending over.  Here’s a picture of it with the cucumber vines trailing all over the top.

As you can see, I spread some straw between the beds to cut down on the weeds.  It worked really well until we started letting the chickens out of their pen.  Straw went everywhere!  It is rather comical to try to protect the garden from the chickens.  Most people allow their chickens in the garden to help cut back on bugs and to provide natural fertilizer.  Not us!  :)  I’m not quite sure what I will use as mulch next year, but I don’t think it will be straw.  Probably wood chips if we can get some for free over the winter.

I can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures of our bean harvests!  Both the Scarlet Runner beans and the Blue Lake harvests turned out extremely well, and they were very tasty.  As you can see in the very first picture, we have to climb a ladder to get to the beans.  Since heights and I do not get along, my husband joins me for the bean harvests.  He actually kind of likes it, for which I am very grateful!  He has been very supportive of all of my homesteading efforts this year!

One of my favorite things about the lot we live on is the wild blackberry patches.  We were able to get several harvests out of them this year because of the nice weather.  Usually we only get one or two harvests before the fall rain sets in.  I often blend all my berry harvests and freeze them in small jars so we can enjoy them year around.

Here’s my onion harvest.  Not so great, but I’m still trying to figure out how to grow onions.  I don’t remember growing them on the farm and found out this year that they aren’t as easy to grow as I thought. They need lots of water and cultivating.  Not really a problem, but as you can see the harvest was inconsistent.

Here’s a picture of my little butternut squash.  I think I might get a whopping 4 squash this year, but I learned a lot!   Next year I will be able to start them earlier, so I should get a better harvest.

And last, but not least, my container garden on the deck.  My rosemary is looking really good and so are my chives.  I planted some flat parsley that is turning out really well, too!  I love adding these yummy herbs to my meals.

Despite the late start in the season, we made out pretty well.  Once the harvests started, I rarely went shopping except for fruit and a few other things, usually GAPS Intro vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli.  Unfortunately, the garden did not produce much more than what we were eating on a daily basis, but I believe I made a decent dent in the grocery bill, which was my overall goal.  I will be adding more raised beds for next year so I should be able to grow more than enough to get us through the growing season and store my harvest to get us through the winter season as well.

I hope you enjoyed this update!  If you’re waiting for a GAPS post, it’s coming up in a few days.  May God bless you and your gardens!

Shared on Frugal Days Sustainable WaysHomemaking Link-UpSimple Lives Thursday and Farm Girls Blog Fest.

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  • Rene’

    It’s beautiful to see you harvesting your own food and feeding your family from home! It’s not only healthy, but economical.

    • TheUrbanHearth

      Thank you, Rene’! Very encouraging.