June 25, 2017
There needs to be a balance when raising food, a vegetable and fruit garden, on the homestead. We all are in hope of plenty of rain so the crops grow and we also hope for those dry sunny days in between.
Hope. That is all I have when it comes to raising my own food.
Last year here in central Alabama we went into a drought in July and it lasted longer than any of them I had ever seen, months and months. My vegetable garden was hit hard and I had to watch it die, I did not get to home can or freeze anything after July.
We had a mild Winter and everything came to life earlier than usual.
The Spring was showing promise of a better year, plenty of rain and sun mix, the perfect balance. I was out picking blackberries and the tomato vines were growing and blooming, little tomatoes appearing. Healthy little squash plants, I just knew that this year would be the best year since 2015 for restocking my food supply.
A couple weeks ago we began to get rain, days and days of rain, the garden was loving this but..... the rain continued for a week solid, it rained everyday.
The grass had thrived and grown waist high, in the garden its knee high but it could not be helped, the fields are loaded with water, flooding and there is not way to mow it.
With having a mild winter comes pests, bugs that eat your plants! During a week of rain, when we got a couple dry hours I went to the veggie garden to pick the tomatoes that had turned red and I noticed the tomato vines are being eaten, they are dying from the pests!
Besides the tomato vines being attacked the row of yellow squash is gone and I have a few zucchini plants that have survived so far. I did a dusting but in just a few hours the rain came and washed it away.
I feel like I am fighting a losing battle.
Its times like these that make me think about the future and why I am ever considering getting of the grid. But nothing is ever easy. Working for a paycheck each month is hard, if not harder than living on a homestead and growing your own food.
While listening to the predictions from the weather people I have went into survival mode. I know I have food to last a while, I know I can buy food right now but that is the point of off the grid , not spending money at the grocery store. The thing about losing power is a main concern is for me so I decided to get the food that is in the freezer processed and into jars, in jars the food will be good for years. Of coarse there are foods I wont home can like the okra and squash.
I began with the fruit because it is the easiest and less time consuming. I processed blackberries and I got 35 jars Of jelly and berries in light syrup put away. Next will be the blueberries and Mango, neither I grew but bought dirt cheap.
More about this read here : Growing fruits and veggies
Last night I finally had the chance to use the new sauce maker I bought, with the tomatoes small and large ripening I decided to make a jar of sauce, try this contraption out.
All the parts were stiff and it took me a few tries to get the handle to move more smoothly, I must say it reminded me of the old fashion turn handle ice cream makers, but I finally got it to doing what it is made to do, I made my first Quart jar of tomato sauce.
I do love the fact that I can get the use from the smaller tomatoes with little loss.
This year I may, just may, have to buy from my fellow farmers and that will be okay because they will be helping me restock my pantry and I will help their back account.
How is your garden growing this rainy year?
By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry