I face a little problem with my garden. Having extra time today, I finally got around to starting to clean out my garden. I know it’s a bit early in the season right now, but the bugs have been getting to some of my plants and I need to make some changes in preparation for next year so I’m starting early.
I started by harvesting the carrots that had not been looking promising early in the season. Now the carrots have taken off so that in many places there is virtually no dirt between the carrots. They are big and beautiful and too numerous to eat all of them soon. I pulled out the broccoli plants since I already have more broccoli than I can eat. I pulled up the potatoes. I have been wondering about them all year since I could see that the plants grew, but I could only guess at how well the potatoes were coming on. I don’t remember having much success with potatoes in our family garden when I was growing up so I was not sure what our chances would be. We got lots of potatoes – even if you don’t count the ones that got sliced by the shovel as I dug up the dirt after removing the plants to find any potatoes I had missed. We also removed all our squash plants but there was little fruit left to harvest there because we had already taken most of it in. The squash plants had been the hardest hit by our bug problem.
So what’s my gardening problem? I can’t possibly eat everything I picked today unless I learn how to store things over the winter. I know it can be done because people have lived for centuries without refrigeration or global produce shipping. The problem is I am not exactly sure how to do it since we live in an age where most people live week to week between trips to the grocery store rather than working all summer to live over the winter on the produce you saved from your harvest.
You may ask why it matters since I can always go buy food at the store. The answer is that I have a goal to one day learn how to live entirely off my garden. I hope it never becomes necessary, but I would like to have that skill so that I can better understand and appreciate our modern lifestyle. Storing the produce of my garden over the winter is one step towards that goal.