Sunday, June 28, 2009

Raised bed update

Update on the 3 foot deep raised bed that was layered with soil, bunny poop, ground egg shells, phosphorus, wood ash, and green matter. San Marzano Tomato plants have really taken off growing to 16". In light of this I replaced the stakes with an over head trellis system that DH built out of scraps. Not pictured is a white plastic corrugated panel placed behind the bed to reflect light. So far no issues with insects of mildew.
Funny I didn't notice my tighty whities or DH work socks hanging on the line when I snapped the pic.

So far so good on this raised bed which was layered like the previous one picture but has had a year to compost (huge worm population). Along the white PVC trellis is San Marzano Tomatoes which also have shot up to 14", curious that it wasn't more since the growing medium should be more advanced in nutrients. In the middle is Brussels Sprouts almost 20" tall. Foreground is Celery almost a foot tall and as you can see bushy. Hard to see the Marigolds among everything. No problems with weeds since this bed is soo densely planted. No problems with insects or mildew.

Check out the plastic birdbath I scored curb shopping ... can you see the cracks ? Gotta love clear packing tape.

It haven't canned up a thing not even Strawberries. We have only been harvesting a small amount from under the Apple trees and one of the Peach trees but not enough to preserve. After almost 8 years my primary bed has called it quits. Can't really complain as the average life of a strawberry bed is 5 years. Differently got my money's worth from the original 4 plants I bought. After the Peach harvest I'll prep for a future Strawberry bed under the Peach tree closest to the greenhouse. In the mean time I have been transplanting new Strawberries seedlings as I find them to a bed out in the front yard. We still have about a dozen pints of Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam that I can up last year to help tide us over until next June.

Can't say the same about the stewed whole tomatoes that I canned last year (16 qts.) and the year before that. All total we ate 28 quarts. Having these on the pantry shelf is allot like having fresh eggs in the ice box. With both you can conjure up a good meal.

Haven't had a chance to take inventory of either the home canned goods or our commercial stock, but per my DS who was home from Houston we had only one can of purred pumpkin left after I made him two pies. DD #3 also mentioned that we were out of Green Tomato Mincemeat pie filling, her favorite. She left me a note on the school calendar to remind me to spare green toms and barter for raisins so we could can up a few quarts.

Update on UPC: Since the garden has been producing green salad fixings and we aren't as home bound now (cabin fever makes you eat!) we have been staying closer to my goal of $100 a month on groceries. It will become more diffacult as our stash of commerical goods dindle since the majority of that food was purcased in 2006 or before our current economic recession.

Why oh why didn't I buy 3 cases of pumpkin pie filling instead of 2?

~~ pelenaka ~~


  1. Your raised beds look good! I flip-flop on my commercial goods' stash. Sometimes I think we should eat it down for the eventual move (who knows when that will ever happen) but then I think I really need to keep it up to the same level as we eat the older stuff up. I've always had this split attitude about food storage; it used to only be for whatever was in the kitchen cupboards before I got into keeping food for emergencies.

    What do you use your pumpkin pie filling for other than pies? I just had spiced pumpkin with soymilk and Maltomeal for breakfast today. Plenty of pumpkin puree left in my freezer! We get huge pumpkins at my CSA in fall and there's always leftover ones to take home, too.

  2. Thanks for the compliment, Chili. We have had a really wet June and July hasn't been no heat wave either. I'm starting to stress.
    When the children were younger I use to mix pumpkin pie filling with applesauce and add spices. They love it. I also bake pumpkinbread sub whole wheat for half of the white flour.
    This fall I need to work out the math on just exactly how much dehydrated pumkin it takes to make a pie. The majority of my commerical stash was bought when a local chain wet out of biz not to mention those were 2005 prices. Alot has changed in 4 years.

  3. Hm, a pumpkin-apple butter would be good, too!

    No kidding about the prices. I worry about when we leave this area and I have to pay for produce again. I've got a sweet gig at my CSA where I volunteer a set number of hours per week in exchange for my share. The "hourly pay" isn't great but I enjoy hanging out there and visiting with the members anyway, so it's well worth it to me.

  4. I disagree about the value of your barter arrangement with the CSA. IMO it's value is more if you figure in all the expenses that cost a person just to be employed; travel, clothes, perhaps cost of licensure/education ect. Then follow that up with fica, state & local taxes. Not to mention the loss of personal time eaten up by commuting, work place relationships that exist in only that vaccum, overbearing bosses. Earning that dollar in a tradional manner to buy that CSA share is a far heavier burden than your great barter exchange of labor for food.


Thanks, good to know there are other's with this interest