Saturday, February 2, 2013

Winter Garden, Empty Cupboard

This time of year there tends not to be a lot going on in the garden.  My Chard still soldiers on, dark leaves and bright stems surviving even the most bitter of frosts.  The wild edibles that I leave alone the last months of fall are waiting for the warmth of spring to get back in on the action.  The pickings out in the garden are slim, but my family is still eating winter squash and some of the bounty that I canned during the summer. In the freezer I have a few soup packs left and we can make a few more home grown meals.  However, last year during the hugely productive months of summer I failed to put enough away.

Next winter I hope I can say I was more wise.  That I took the time to freeze, can, and dry enough of summers bounty to get my family through the winter.  I doubt I can keep us from needing to buy fresh produce, but with planning I should be able to keep us in the staples and ensure something that we grew can appear at each meal.

We need to freeze more loose veggies next year.  We also will need about twice the amount of jam.  The raspberry freezer jam is just a memory and we miss it.  I will buy more local honey and see if I can't buy up more local beans.  The things that my family uses are produced right here near my home.  I will work harder to seek out what we can not grow ourselves.  Although we have not taken the 100 mile challenge I will work to seek out more local products.

I would love to purchase a pressure caner in the coming year.  It would expand what I could preserve and I know the family would love to have ready to eat soups, beans, and chili available.  The ability to can finished products that contain meat and to have less uncertainty will low pH foods would be a relief.  I have some trepidation about pressure caners, but from my research it seems that they have become much safer.

My love affair with gardening will continue.  I will strive to be a better steward of the bounty that it provides. Through better planning and having a better idea of what we need I hope to find next winter with a healthy stock and find my cupboards nearly bear as the garden sends me its first wave of produce.

Wish me luck!