2021 Garden Update

It’s been quiet here on my blog lately. Have you noticed? I have started several posts (like this one) but just haven’t felt much like writing. I’m not really sure why, but it could be several things combined. It’s been a strange year – the weather, national and world events, and things that have happened in our personal lives. We have had a lot of things keeping us busy, and in the past 5 or 6 weeks three people that we loved have passed away. It is likely these things that have given me pause. It’s been time to reflect and contemplate rather than write. I will probably write about some of these thing in future posts but for today I’ll just finish up my 2021 garden update.

You may remember that we started out this gardening season, late May/early June, in a drought but by the end of June that situation had begun to correct itself. It continued to over-correct throughout the rest of the summer. Having too much rain has probably been our most frustrating gardening experience thus far because there is just nothing we can do about it. If we had too little rain we could water the plants, and if we had had problems with bugs or diseases we would try to find (organic) solutions.

Normally Swiss chard, beets and green beans are among the first vegetables we harvest and eat. This year we have no beets or Swiss chard and only a handful of green beans after my husband replanted them in during a mid summer dry spell. The beets and Swiss chard that he planted at that time did not produce. 😦 Corn, squash and melons were also duds this year – some of the plants grew none of them produced fruit to harvest.

Despite all of our gardening woes and worries we did harvest some fruits and vegetables. Thus far we have enjoyed potatoes, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, cucumbers, tomatoes and one egg plant. I have made boiled potatoes and garlic mashed potatoes; jalapeno and banana pepper poppers, cucumber salad (with onion, dill and sour cream) refrigerator dill pickles, veggie omelets (with tomato, green pepper, yellow pepper and jalapeno) and fresh salsa on taco night. We’ve also been enjoyed fresh tomatoes just quartered up with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and my husband had his favorite tomato sandwich (sliced tomato on white bread with mayo).

Oh, we also harvested okra but I can’t really say we enjoyed that very much. LOL!

Jalapeno Poppers
Refrigerator Dill Pickles

A week ago Saturday I finished canning tomato juice. I ended up with 41 quarts of juice which I will eventually cook down into 10-12 quarts of sauce. I have also have made about 4 quarts of sauce so far. Considering that we originally had around 100 tomato plants in the garden our yields this year were low.

This year blueberries were the star of the show. Despite getting hit with several nights of freezing temperatures this spring while they were blossoming, then suffering drought conditions followed by all the rain, and having their leaves eaten by gypsy moth caterpillars our blueberry crop was nearly the same as it has been in recent years. I have many quarts of blueberries in the freezer for pies, pancakes, sorbet, and to add to my banana bread. I might even make a batch of blueberry jam. πŸ™‚

Apples are another crop that out-preformed our expectations after our late season frosts/freezes. Even though they mostly came from one tree (we have seven trees) we ended up with about three milk crates full of apples.

While they may look flawed on the outside, beneath the skin they are beautiful and quite tasty.

They make wonderful apple pie and apple sauce. Thus far I have made pie filling for 4 pies (3 in the freezer and 1 that we ate) and canned 20 pints of apple sauce. I’m still working at it and will probably end up with enough filling for 4-6 more pies by the time I’m done.

Last but not least we harvested some grapes. During the summer we discovered that the grapes had black rot, a fungus that will quickly destroy a crop. We did some pruning to allow more air flow and sprayed them thoroughly with copper sulfate. These actions saved most of the crop. Earlier this month, as the grapes began to ripen we weren’t the only ones to notice. Birds became frequent visitor to the vines and the grapes began to disappear. Last week we decided it was now or never, so we picked the bunches that still remained. We harvested about 5 pounds of grapes which I turned into juice. It only made about 3 pints of juice but it complements our breakfast nicely.

While our plans for a wonderful garden with lots of produce to preserve did not come to pass this year, I remind myself the God doesn’t always give us what we want but He always gives us what we need. For this I am thankful.

Thanks for visiting. Did you grow a garden this year? How did your garden grow?

22 thoughts on “2021 Garden Update

  1. I am sorry for your personal losses as well as your agricultural losses Ruth – it has been a terrible year for you on many levels and you and I have been dwelling on the weather since we had the moderate drought way back in April/early May. The news events of the day make me sad too – we each have our ways to keep our minds off those goin’s on … you are so busy with all things to do with the garden. I like your harvest pictures – the okra made me laugh. But your biggest harvests of apples and blueberries will give you lost of vitamins and keep you healthy through the Winter months and beyond.

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  2. It sounds like there were some successes despite the hit and miss weather. It was the same here. We got lots of potatoes, tomatoes and peas. And it’s just one more week until the quince harvest then the jamming begins!

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  3. Hey Ruth, it’s been a very tough gardening year and season in the UK also. But as we have discussed before – it’s the very nature of the nature of things l feel. We have to learn to adapt and evolve withour gardens and plantings.

    I have opted for next year to plant less in the way of vegetables, but more in the way of herbs and flowers with some fruit, but l will be looking at some veg too.

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    1. Hi Rory. Thanks for stopping by. My husband and I were just talking last night about how it is good that we grow a variety of things because at least some things were able to survive the adverse conditions.

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  4. My heart hurts for you and Dom. It has been a difficult year for the two of you. I’m glad to see you trusting in God’s plan. The pictures of the things you were able to harvest look beautiful. Write your blog for you, use it for your own enjoyment, don’t let it become a task. We will be here to read them anytime you post. Sending all my love and a big squeezeeeee hug !

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    1. Thanks K.C. I think God wants us to eat more blueberries and applesauce πŸ™‚ I hoping to get back into more regular posts and this was a start. You know the best thing about hugs is when you give one you get one back so big squeeeeze to you too. ❀

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  5. I just posted my own garden (flowers mostly) recap and scrolled down to Reader to see that you had posted yours also. I agree – it has been a strange year in many ways. I forgot to say in my post that I had lost all but two of my strawberry plants – too hot or too much rain, I’m not sure, but disappointing. I find many people are not posting much or at all. I’ve enjoyed my blogging break, but am now not motivated to resume again. I’m sorry to hear about your personal losses Ruth – take time off and take care of yourself….the blog will always be there.

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    1. Great minds think alike Joni. I’m sorry to hear about you strawberry plants but it has been a tough year on gardens. Perhaps the cooler weather and shorter day will make you feel more like writing. I’d hate to see you leave it altogether. I’m hoping that I will start posting regularly again now.

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      1. Thanks Ruth! We’re finally having some nicer fallish days, but I took down some of my pots today anyway, and left the better ones. I won’t leave altogether, maybe just cut back to two per month while the weather is nice. Don’t you quit either!

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  6. Yes, I realize you haven’t posted very often and am glad to know there were reasons. A church friend died this morning of a blood clot in the lung, so I’m feeling sad for you and your losses and for us with ours.

    Okra. We liked okra boiled, but a neighbor gave us some pods that were way too big a year or so ago. We cooked them on the grill and loved them!!

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