My mind is turning to Spring and to starting this year's garden. I have high hopes every year for what I will accomplish with my garden. But, with small children, it is always a challenge to keep after it the way I would like. Most years I end up with as many (or more) weeds as actual crops. You know it's bad if your husband has to take a lawn mower to the garden to get rid of the weeds!
Even though I don't have much time to devote to my garden during this season of my life, I still enjoy having one. My family always kept a large garden as I grew up. Actually, my parents still keep a large garden. My freezer is stocked with sweet corn, green beans, and soy beans that they grew. Each summer we have a 'work party' where we will husk, blanch, and cut the sweet corn by the dozens. It takes a group of us almost all day, but the homegrown corn in our freezer is worth it!
As for my own garden, I plant tomatoes, onions, and zucchini every year. We also grow potatoes and some sweet corn 'for eating' (in other words for eating fresh corn on the cob, but not enough to freeze). I usually also plant some green beans 'for eating' and we plant sunflowers for the fun of it!
As far as fruit goes, we have our own apple tree. It's a gnarly old thing though and half the tree is now dead. Last year the apples were pitiful & wormy. We ended up buying apples for eating and for applesauce from a local orchard. My in-laws also have apples trees, pear trees, and cherry trees. So, we are able to use that fruit as well.
Canning and freezing fruits and vegetables seems to have come back in vogue over the last couple years. For me, it's something I grew up doing and continue to do now that I have my own family. For one thing, nothing tastes better than homegrown food! Plus, it's a great way to save money on the grocery bill. But, I'll get into that subject more when I talk about how our family lives frugally in a future post.
This year I'm hoping to increase my tomato crop. I've already used all the canned tomatoes, tomato juice, and spaghetti sauce from last year's crop. I would also love to try lima beans (one of my favorite vegetables) and some late season crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
I have to be realistic though as I plan my garden. With a new addition to our family, I'm sure it will even be harder to dedicate time to the garden. Still, I'm going to try because the benefits are worth it!