The garden is beginning to produce wonderful veggies. When planning, planting and tending a garden, I’m always hopeful for a good harvest but I never know what will happen – especially when gardening in a new spot. Then there’s the drought or, not here for sure, but some have to factor in what happens if you get too much rain. There are bugs and deer and hail and all kinds of potential problems that affect the harvest.
Here, we were so lucky that the garden spot is so rich, with fantastic soil and hardly any rock at all. We’ve had fresh picked green beans every day for long enough that this morning, it was time to start canning. One problem with growing it all yourself in a fairly small garden, and unlike going to the Amish veggie stand and buying a bushel or two of beans is that I get a few quarts today and a few quarts in a couple of days. On the other hand, it means that I get in the garden just after daylight, pick what needs picking, come in, wash the produce, shell it or snap it, can it and I’m done in a couple of hours instead of in a couple of days.
This morning’s pick resulted in 3 quarts of green beans. Ideally, by the end of the season, I’d like to have 60 quarts of green beans. Realistically, I’ll be happy with 30 quarts of green beans.
My thinking is that we need about 125 quarts of beans/peas per year and we have green beans (which are my least favorite of everything I have planted), purple hull peas, cream peas and bolita beans planted. I will also plant some fall/winter beans. I base my 125 quart figure on:
- For 8 weeks out of the year, we eat fresh out of the garden.
- That leaves 44 weeks that we need to eat out of the freezer/pantry.
- If we eat veggies 5 meals per week, that’s 220 packs of veggies (5 x 44) but one quart will be enough for us to have two meals so I can take half of that 220 and that’s 110 but I figure for about 15 times per year, we’ll have guests and I’ll need the whole quart of beans/peas.
Do you have any idea how many cans or bags of vegetables your family uses in one year? Do you care?
I do care because I want to put as much in my pantry or freezer that we can use but not so much that it will get old and not get used. By the way, I’m perfectly happy keeping my home canned vegetables 2 years and quite possibly 3 years.
If, at the end of the growing season, I have 12 quarts of green beans, then as soon as canned beans are on sale, I’ll stock up and make sure I have exactly what I want to have in my pantry. That’s just the way we do things around here . . not saying it’s how you should do it.
And for those thinking I’ll have excess vegetables to sell, I will not. I probably will not get close to canning as much as I hope to can from our garden.