Mary Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?
Well, the picture shows the answer for ours. There’s little produce found amidst the weeds. Jerald is the gardener around here and I help him sometimes with mulching or such. But this year something went koo koo to a greater extent than normal. It’s an overall flop of about 90%. I wouldn’t be suprised at all if this was the norm if the garden was my responsibility. (Actually, there wouldn’t be a garden if I had to do it- I’d patronize Farmers Markets.) Because of bad experiences like this year, gardens depress me. And some people say gardens are therapy?! Life. Growth. They feel so close to nature. I see weeds, bugs, probable death of plants and imaginative snakes. I feel close to dirt. Occasionally there’s actual food to eat.
The poor green beans produced a couple pans of beans instead of buckets like usual. We ate corn once and decided we can buy corn on the cob that’s much better, so we never tried it again. The cucumbers gave a measly crop of 3 or 4 tiny ones that were actually eatable. The melons look promising but the coons have been feasting on them well before their time, so we have yet to see if we’ll get to enjoy any. The tomatoes finally started ripening last week. (Way behind times I know, but I’m just grateful to even be getting any!) But that could change too. It’s either feast or famine on zucchini and this year we hit famine. Not only did the zucchini perish but the summer squash died right along with it. I’m holding my breath for this volunteer summer squash at the edge of the garden. Don’t ask me how it got there. Just maybe I’ll get a few to eat fresh?! That off colored leaf there worries me.
As far as I know we have a good crop of potatoes because we haven’t dug them yet. The sweet potatoes look green and viney so I have my hopes up about them too.
If you have a good crop of green beans and want a slick way to can them, try out oven canning! Here’s how I did mine last summer.
Fill quart jars with your clean and snapped beans. Add: 1 teaspoon salt and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. Bottled is fine. Fill about half full with water, wipe rims and screw on lids and rings.
Place cookie or bread racks in the oven on top of your oven racks. This gives stability to the jars. Do not place jars on a baking sheet! The jars will need even heat circulating throughout.
Fill your oven with jars. Turn to 270*. Begin timing after oven has preheated. Bake for 3 hours. Turn oven off and let the jars inside until they’re mostly cooled. I like to do it in the evening then I can turn the oven off at bedtime and by morning the jars are cool enough to remove. (They may still be warm but will be sealed)
This method can be used for pints but reduce the baking time to 2 ¹/² hours.
I love the simplicity of oven canning! No need to run that pressure cooker all day long, getting only 7 quarts canned at a time. You can chuck your oven full of jars and have them all done in one whack! And no pressure to keep you on edge either!
For more oven canning recipes read here.
May you feel blessed that your garden is hardly as bad as mine and if it is, know your not alone!
On a different note, I will be taking a break from writing for some time. Because of my mental health the last two months, we are trying to cut out any possible stress factors. I enjoy writing and don’t like to count it as a stressor, but my hubby thinks otherwise.
I do have a guest post coming in the next month, so will still be posting that.
Thank you for reading and understanding!