Last year at this time I shared my gratitude for our bounteous harvest. I made a pretty thorough list of what we planted, how it fared, and what we did with it. Looking back, I’m quite impressed.
In other posts throughout the year, I shared 10 reasons to grow a garden and our our favorite cost effective vegetables to grow. Canning, freezing, dehydrating, and eating fresh produce from our garden is one of the ways we keep a low grocery budget.
If last year’s garden is summed up with the word “gratitude,” this year’s garden can be summed up with the word “guilt.”
I’ve been dreading this post because I was feeling like a failure. Like a fraud. That might sound like a ridiculous worry. We tell you the details of our finances, so why am I fretting about telling you about the sad state of our garden? Well, for the sake of keeping it real at Six Figures Under, here’s our 2014 report.
We had good intentions when we planted in the spring. I bought seeds, including a few varieties we had never tried before. Seeing the amazing transformation of a tiny seed to a thriving plant is motivating and inspiring. We planned on making great use of our soon-to-be productive garden.
As the summer wore on, we got busy (and lazy when it came to working out in the sweltering heat). The only time Mr. SixFiguresUnder is around to help in the garden is on Saturday and sometimes Saturdays fill up quickly.
I was generally faithful about watering, so the garden still grew, weeds and all. Where we have been huge slackers lately is harvesting. That’s supposed to be the “fun” part where you reap what you sow, right? Instead, the fruits of our labors are rotting on the vine!
I have been sick for the past few months, so just keeping everyone fed and in clean clothes has been a major chore. I am ashamed at how much food is going to waste in our garden. (We were a little over-zealous in planting tomatoes.) We know that when we bring food in, we have to do something with it, so we don’t harvest until we’re ready to undertake that task.
Even though I feel guilty for not using it all, I am still grateful for what we have been able to use.
- We have eaten or frozen all of our cantaloupe and watermelon.
- We have harvested over a year’s-worth of garlic.
- We used our first planting of carrots in soups (the second planting is going to seed in the ground).
- We canned 40 quarts of tomato puree, used fresh tomato puree, and ate fresh tomatoes.
- We harvested, diced and froze around 30 large onions.
- We froze some green beans and foot-long beans (though most were wasted on the vine).
- We made cheesy squash a number of times and added zucchini and yellow squash to lots of other dishes.
- The gophers decided to share our potato harvest, but everything they didn’t eat, we did. I love home-grown potatoes!
- Mr. SixFiguresUnder loves Armenian cucumbers, so he enjoyed lots of them in his lunches until the tomato jungle made them somewhat inaccessible.
- We froze lots of blackberries and raspberries. I’ve made several razzleberry pies and canned about 7 quarts of razzleberry jam.
- We are just starting to harvest our sweet potatoes. This was our first year giving them a try, but it looks like a healthy crop. Sweet potatoes keep well and are very versatile.
- Our pumpkins were rather puny this year. Some of the vines were scorched during a hot spell when I wasn’t diligent at watering.
- My in-laws have several fruit trees that were productive this year. We helped thin apples in the summer and the kids have helped pick the fruit. We’ve had apples, peaches, plums and cherries that they’ve generously shared.
Okay… I’m feeling more gratitude than guilt now.
When I sat down to write about the garden, my mental focus was on the tomatoes and green beans that were rotting on the vine and all the wasted chard and carrots, but after doing a full analysis, I see that the garden has given us (and we’ve been able to use) more than I realized.
I guess that’s why we should regularly count our blessings. It’s so easy to get bogged down with our failures and focus on guilt. Taking an inventory of our successes and our blessings can really lighten our burdens and lift our spirits.
How about you?
- How did your garden do this year? Successes? Failures? Experiments?
- Have you felt your gratitude increase by “counting” your blessings? (If not you should try it!)