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Hi all! We're just wrapping up our first year with a big garden. Nobody warned me how much time it takes to preserve all the goodies!:hair
I haven't gotten to play with fibers nearly as much as I'd like this summer, but we have lots of canned and frozen veggies to get through the winter. My computer also died, and I haven't even had time to replace it. I get to use hubby's when he gets home from work.
I did manage to go to a really great crochet workshop and learn how to read patterns better. I'm going to be finishing up some alpaca yarn here in the next couple of weeks. Does anybody have a fairly easy, but still cool looking scarf crochet pattern? Now that I've put up my last jars and pickles and pumpkin butter, I look forward to hear what everybody is up to!:hobbyhors
 

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As much as I love my garden, I must admit that nothing makes me HAPPIER than the first killing frost - which hit us about a month ago. (Its 25ºF this morning)

Keeping up with food preservation is a matter of timing - and working full-time makes that frustrating and practically impossible.

I can, dehydrate, and freeze as I go- but I do delay some of the tasks until after the garden is all done and cleaned up and put to bed. I freeze most of my tomatoes until a really cold day, and then I make salsa and can it , and that is an all day ordeal.

This way, I can kind of spread the tasks over time- but yes, it is an intense season and most everything else gets pushed aside.

I have grown a garden of varying sizes for more than 20 years. I always tell my husband that the reason I garden is that I consider it "practice" for a time when we MIGHT be totally reliant on what we grow ourselves.

As much as I enjoy my garden, there is something completely satisfying about putting that garden to bed and letting other things get my time and attention.

By the time spring comes along, I will once again be ready to do it all over again. For those of us in Minnesota, June planting time is a long way away.
 

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I too, love my gardens, but am just as happy to see them go come Fall.:happy2:

I'm an avid canner, but have found the only way I can keep up with everything, is to go ahead and freeze things, as they come in. Then, when all has settled down, about this time of year, I start my canning.
It works out well, as it allows me to fill the empty freezer space, from the meat we have taken out all year, and then, i empty the freezers again, just in time for another steer, hog, or whatever we put in there.:)
 

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How sad that your gardens die! Fall would be a very sad time of the year for me, if we lived on the mainland, I think. How do you get greens in the winter when your garden is dead? I suppose the grocery store is the only answer? Are there farmer's markets in the winter? Although, they'd be importing the greens, too, I suppose. Does anyone do anything with cold frames?

Around here, this time of year it's time to plant the "cooler" weather crops like Manoa lettuce, broccoli, peas, etc. They don't do so well in the summer, although they will grow year round with a little pampering during the summer. Summer lettuces are the romaine, reds and butter crunch.

Since we are moving to a new house, I'll be picking my gardens up and shifting them. That's gonna be a lot of work. They are raised beds and there's three of them, so it's gonna be a lot of effort to move all those bricks and all that soil. Oh wellos! This house will become a rental and not all renters like gardens.

Maybe I'll get more bricks from somewhere and let the renters have the gardens. It's hard to know when one doesn't know who the renters will be yet.

 

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Greens in the Winter come from what you either buy at the grocery store or grow in the window sill. There are no farmer's markets this far north in the Winter. Cold frames are what we use in Spring to keep things from freezing. You can extend a growing season up here with cold frames but they are not going to help you when the temp is -30 (real temp, NOT windchill). Cool weather crops like the peas, cauliflower, etc - that is what we can count on our summer gardens producing. Lots of heat lovers I don't even try. When I was in central MN I could count on peppers and melons - but up here I might get some or I might not. Sometimes the summer is too cool. Sometimes the summer is too short. If I put my peppers on the deck I have better luck with them. I buy started tomato plants or I wouldn't get any.

I'm always happy to see the gardens get put to bed for the Winter, too. Come Spring I will be just as happy to get them going again. :)
 

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Hotzcatz here in Michigan we do have farmer's markets in the winter, they are indoors of course. As for greens, there are people who grow indoors using hydroponics or just green houses. Micro greens and sprouts you can grow yourself indoors. But usually greens are brought in from out of state.
 

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Well, that's good! You're supposed to eat greens. Soup is more of a winter time food up there, I'd suppose, but vegetables are good for folks to eat all year around. I suppose if we can get food shipped in from 2,500 miles away, it shouldn't be that hard to ship it into the mainland as well. We always kinda think of things as coming from the mainland, but if they don't come from your garden, where do vegetables come from? California? China? Mexico? Potatoes are supposed to be from Idaho and oranges are supposed to be from Florida, but I don't know if Florida still does oranges or not. Pineapples used to come from Hawaii, but land and labor costs got too high so now I think they're from Mexico or South America somewhere. Well, except for the ones that grow out in the yard.

Vegetables from the garden are best!
 

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"As much as I love my garden, I must admit that nothing makes me HAPPIER than the first killing frost - which hit us about a month ago."

Hi - haven't posted in awhile here - but had to quote this for TRUTH! I thought I was the only one who felt this way, honestly. I joked with my dh about that first tomato - how you cradle it in your hands and present it to the family as if it is something sacred. Come late august, you haul in yet another giant basket full and mutter expletives under your breath... another bleeping load of tomatoes - what am I going to do with all these?! I have made sauce, salsa, soup, stewed, ketchup!

So glad that season is over in time to freak out over Christmas knitting and planning! :)
 

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With 5+ acres in vegetables, 3 ac in fruit and nut trees, and 100+ animals grazing rotationally, I *wish* we had an end to gardening season, haha!

We are, however, blessed to have an (almost) end to weeding season, and also a break from the 90+ degree weather.

I wouldn't change a thing, really, as much as I betch and complain. We lead a nearly self sustainable life. Our food comes from our own blood, sweat, and tears; our meat is raised with respect and dignity. We earn our rest and reap what we sow.

*feeling thankful*
 

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So fun to hear from everyone! The rain has started here in Washington, so now it's a little less pleasant to be playing in the dirt. Next year I'll have to remember I can freeze things as they come in, THEN can. In theory, I knew that. I just didn't think to do it. :smack
 

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Don't worry MamaRed. My freezer was overtaken right at the outset by elderberries for wine. So I had to can everything as it came in.
 
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