The food forest has been doing good until the drought started getting worse. We have watered every day and this is difficult for us because we try to conserve water and the plants do not like city water.
We started harvesting something each day that will make a meal.
It is such a good feeling to eat what we grow but it really is not easy for us produce enough in a small back yard to grow enough to be able to preserve much of the harvest. This year has been an all in effort and I have learned a lot such as I will give each plant more space so the bees can get to it and so it has a better chance to fight off disease. To grow only what we enjoy eating.
But then there are the butternut squash, cantaloupe and cucumbers that seem to be a bit more sturdy, at least right now. The butternut will store longer after harvest, the cucumbers will make pickles or relish, the cantaloupe can be frozen.
The heat has continued and the drought has continued...and it is causing a big problem.
And the squash have been under attack by the squash bug and so we have had to destroy many of them.
Then came the powdery mildew that spreads quickly. I wish I had started fighting back earlier but I was not sure how.
It was getting on the squash and above the cucumbers. I read about many treatments but I did not want to kill the bees. I almost ordered some neem oil but thankfully I read about it before I bought some and I learned the the neem would kill the bees too so I did not get it or use it. I decided to make up a milk spray and I did half milk and half filtered water.
The photo above shows powdery mildew on the leaves.
Also on the squash. I sprayed top and bottom of the leaves.
I saturated them with the milk.
And then I could not believe the difference. The leaves that were just starting to get it did the best so if I had started when it first started I would have had a better outcome.
This leaf is the same leaf three pictures up so it did make a difference and after I took this picture I treated it again. I will know next year or this year if the ones I just planted for succession planting does well to use the milk spray at first signs of disease.
Charles is still harvesting potatoes a little at a time. The plants have been under attack too but are holding up pretty well considering.
It is that time again where I needed to straighten the pantry and go through everything because we will be in hurricane season again soon. I have given great thought about what we need to keep in the pantry so we can still eat well during a possible long term outage.
I assessed the grain storage, the wheat berries for grinding, the rice and corn meal.
The oatmeal, grits, beans.
I keep only a small amount of pre-made pasta on the shelf because I can make my own pasta with the dry goods we keep.
I air seal all the grain in jars because it is what is easy for me to handle and I can rotate it much easier than handling large containers.
It would be wonderful if we can keep something fresh growing in the backyard but that is not always possible for everyone to do. So we store food.
I keep some vegetables in the freezer and some that is home canned. I try to not keep a lot in the freezer and we only have a small freezer because if the power goes out for a few days it would be hard to quickly eat up that food before it spoils.
I can and dehydrate potatoes. These are dehydrated potatoes that can be used in a stew or rehydrated and sauteed.
I can apples to go over oatmeal... Chicken, beef, jams and jellies, green beans, carrots and more. Much of these I purchase at the butcher and the produce market because we do not grow enough to preserve these things. Over time our blueberry bushes will grow, our peach, fig, plum and apple trees will grow to produce more but while that is happening we enjoy what they give us daily.
I both freeze and dehydrate bell peppers. If the freezer should go out I still have some dehydrated. I guess that is where the saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." comes in.
I finally found some BPA free freezer bags. I don't like to use plastic but some things such as food preservation it is helpful. We found these at a place called Rural King.
We have moved our fresh food storage to some shelving that is in a cooler area in our home. In the summer our pantry gets too warm and in the winter it is cool. So we have two areas to rotate fresh vegetables. Also Potatoes should be kept cool as much as possible.
Gardening is a new learning experience each day.
This year was a issue with the garlic splitting and so we keep trying. Garlic can have issues growing in our climate.
I try and have flowers mingled about the vegetables.
The plants are really stressing now. We need more than a moderate rain to fix this situation.
Charles and I have favorite times, sitting at the table for a meal no matter what that meal is and going to bed early (compared to what time most people go to bed today). We love it when the sun has not even set and we are getting in our pajamas and getting ready for bed. Outside our home is draining in today's world. It is noisy and fast and our home is our refuge.
Cucumbers are so good with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I do keep store bought canned food in the pantry. Peaches make a good quick cobbler. Pineapple for desserts, smoothies, on top of pizza and more. We keep olive oil, coconut oil, sugar, syrup, ghee and more to make the dry goods more pantry usable. From our pantry we can make pizza, quesadillas, chicken or beef meals, rice and beans, many types of snacks or desserts. And many other types of meals if we need to during an outage. We keep small fuel stoves to cook on and extra fuels and we have a grill that bakes.
I like the thought that if we had a long term outage I can still cook meals.
Before people go out an purchase splurge items such as luxury items and entertainment items they should have some kind of pantry or stocked goods to be able to take care of their family should an emergency occur. We should take into consideration how and where we need to store our food. Are we in a flood area, wind area, earthquake area, fire area? We should think through any type of disaster that could happen and have some kind of a plan and practice that plan.
In the past people worked hard to keep food stored as they understood the importance.
I didn't think the fig tree was going to make any figs this year but they decided to make baby figs late this year.
I just wanted to do a update, some of you have asked about the garden and when I get this posted I am going to start a post to hopefully answer some questions from the readers about the diaries that I am posting. I think you will enjoy these new bits of information. Grandma Donna