Saturday, October 22, 2011

Really? The Only Garlic in My Country Store is from China?

Here I live in the middle of farm country and my little country store tells me they get the best deal for their bulk garlic from CHINA!!! OMG! Really? Think about the process of getting it to the USA and to my little store literally in the middle of the country. I find it hard to believe that the store buyer can't find competitive garlic in the US. Well, last fall, I planted garlic after I first found out the origin of the garlic in my store. I'm so into eating local that I just had to plant my own garlic. Well, it was a total failure with only six plants surviving. I just got my garlic bulbs from SeedSavers Exchange for planting this coming week so I am trying again. I cannot buy garlic from China. Florida and California are the farthest I'd like to go ideally for anything I don't grow myself.

The freezing, canning, and jam making are essentially done - yeah!!!! It feels so good. It is hard work but still fun and so fulfilling to see all the colorful jars on the pantry shelves and the full freezer.
Sister Sandi gave me these wonderful
labels for my birthday. Perfect, huh?

Beautiful pickled beets...and so so delicious especially during the winter. I use a traditional old fashioned recipe that I remember from my childhood. I have always loved pickled beets. But I also love them fresh steamed, roasted and grated raw on a salad. It's such a lovely sweet vegetable that is under utilized.
I got all the ripe tomatoes put up in a couple varieties of ketchup, marinara sauce, tomato sauce, salsa and tomato marmalade made with tomatoes, oranges and lemons. I pickled the few cucumbers I was able to harvest and also made some 'dilly' pickled green beans since I don't like frozen green beans. The day before our first hard freeze, I picked all the green tomatoes and pickled a dozen quarts and wrapped the remainder in newspaper for late ripening.
I made half of the pickled green tomatoes with a dill pickle brine and half with a sweet sour brine. I've never made them before so this will be a taste treat this winter as well.

I've begun to clean up the garden and plan for next years planting. With tomatoes and potatoes, it is important to rotate crops to avoid disease so I've selected the area for those crops next year. I've also decided to reduce the number of items to plant because I want to devote the prime garden real estate and my time to those plants we love the most since I am reducing the size of the garden too. Yes, I'm condensing the garden to only the raised beds except for the asparagus bed. The past two years I planted veggies all around the perimeter in the ground but next year that space will be flowers and berry bushes. Year three and I think I've finally found the right garden design. I am pleased about it.

I'm looking forward to putting the garden to bed for the winter and to focus on other creative projects. But I have to admit, I am thinking about next years garden too. When the seed catalogues begin arriving in the mail this winter, I will be excited all over again. Truly a gardener through and through, I am.

The geranium is in for the winter in
a perfect spot in the south window

1 comment:

Sandi said...

Loved seeing the fruits of your harvest and those neat labels!
It's great that you can grow your own garlic - a great alternative to buying from China.
Also, isn't that your property in your opening picture? Tell your readers it's your view and now photo-shopped!