2019 Garden Gratitude

In this topsy-turvey time in the world where everything is chaotic and polarized, I feel the need to reflect on the garden and what I was grateful for in the garden in 2019.

First and foremost is that I’m blessed with a big 3000 square ft garden that is almost finished-is anything really finished in one’s garden or is a garden something always in transition?

This last year I had a wonderful helper, named Janine (I always said I wanted a clone!) who I was blessed by meeting her at a class I taught.  Janine came out and weeded ALL the gardens while she was here for 2.5 weeks. Then I put landscape fabric down on the paths and wood mulch over the them to keep the weeds out. Works great. Now I’m not spending all my time battling weeds.

I finished up the last of my raised beds by framing them with wood. Now the soil and amendments don’t run off like my raked raised beds use to do, but instead stay contained inside the bed. Much better.

I bought hail netting which I’m sure will be great but we didn’t get hail here last season!  Go figure! Made me more relaxed though when a storm came rolling in and it kept the deer off of my crops which decided to come into the garden in the fall to nibble.

I am grateful for the abundant fruit crops my friends and I had this past season in 2019. And although we got no apples this year here at the mini farm from the apple trees, (they must be taking off a year after producing hundreds of lbs the previous year,) there was still so much fruit to harvest and share this year. Biggest year ever for me!

We got:

Cherries-10 lbs (from a friend)

Apricots-(last harvest was 7 years ago from our trees) canned lots of apricot jam

Peaches-30 lbs (from a friend’s peach trees)

Pears-20 lbs (from a friends pear trees)

Grapes, strawberries, rhubarb, blackberries and raspberries-all from my own garden. Abundant harvests.

I said when I planted raspberries 2 seasons ago that I wanted so many raspberries that I would get sick of them. Well, I didn’t get sick of them but was so overwhelmed by the number of raspberries that I opened up that patch to some friends to harvest some as our freezer filled up fast. Actually you can never get too many raspberries (or blackberries for that matter).

So what the veggie garden lacked in 2019, the fruit harvest was incredible.

Looking forward to a new gardening season!

Peaches galore!

This was the a great year for peach harvests. A friend called me and told me they picked over 200 lbs of peaches off of their two peach trees! The tree variety is called Contender, and she bought them from Tooley’s Trees up in Truchas. She invited me to come and get some and I took about 15 lbs of peaches.

I made two wonderful galettes with peaches and raspberries. I used Deborah Madison’s recipe for the galette crust from her Seasonal Fruit Desserts book. Really simple to do and the best crust ever-light and flaky!

I also made 24 jars of peach-raspberry jam with honey–Delicious!

The rest of the fresh peaches were eaten within the week! What a treat!

2019 Garden pics!

Here are some pics of my garden this year. Now that we are in September, I wanted to capture it in all it’s glory before it’s gone. I’ve worked hard tweaking out the infrastructure with new framed beds and weed barriers and wood chips in the paths this year. Having retired from the Santa Fe Farmers Market two seasons ago has allowed me to do more in the garden. I also added some perennial fruit like raspberries and blackberries since I don’t need space for 125 tomato plants anymore! By mid-October or sooner, it will be toast with the first frost so might as well enjoy it while I have it. I have an abundance of flowers this year that I grew for my edible flower class and besides being beautiful and edible, they attract many beneficial insects and pollinators. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Salmonberries

If you live in the Northwest, you probably heard of Salmonberries but I have not heard of them here in Santa Fe. My neighbor has a Salmonberry bush that produced heavily this year and I got some.

At first I thought it was a gold raspberry but it is not.  It’s a beautiful berry similar to a raspberry but more delicate in flavor and is gold-salmon-pinkish color.

The salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis is native to the US Northwest moist coastal regions and some parts of Europe. I wouldn’t think they would thrive in our drier conditions and yet here is one and it is not in a wet area. Traditionally, the berries were eaten by Native Americans with salmon or salmon roe, hence the name. It is sometimes called the Joffelberry as well. What a wonderful treat! They don’t freeze well so we just gobbled them all up!

Apricots galore!

It’s apricot season and I’ve been picking lots! It’s unusual to get apricots here in Santa Fe (about every 7 years for me) as usually a late freeze comes in spring and freezes all the blossoms, but not this year!

I have a wonderful apricot jam recipe that has St. Germain’s liquor in it. St Germain’s is a liquor made out of elderberries and is delicious by itself but when added to apricot jam while cooking, it gives a wonderful floral nuance to the jam that is delicious. So I am excited to make more this year as I’m down to my last jar of apricot jam. The recipe can be found here.

Wow, what a fruit season it’s been so far-first mega strawberries, then thousands of cherries, now apricots and my neighbor has salmonberries now and coming up right behind will be raspberries and blackberries in another month and then apples in the fall.

AND we haven’t even gotten to the veggies being produced right now but that’s for another post!

 

Abundant year for Cherries too! Check out this cherry pitter

My friend, Bob Z has an abundance of Bing cherries on his tree this year. I went by yesterday and helped pick some. Anybody who knows Bob, call him if you want to go pick cherries-pick some for yourself.

I took home 6 lbs of cherries. I use to use a cherry pitter that you did one at a time but a few years ago I got a new NORPRO Deluxe Cherry Pitter that makes it much easier and faster to pit cherries. It took less than 10 minutes to do 3 lbs! Above is a video of it in action.

STRAWBERRIES-a bumper crop this year!

My strawberries are going nuts this year. This is the biggest crop I’ve ever had in 25 years! I think we’ve harvested about 6 GALLONS of them so far and still more to go. I think it’s because of all the moisture we had this winter and spring AND the Azomite mineral supplement I gave them last year. I’ve taken them to parties, given them to friends who froze some, and I’m am going to make some galettes and strawberry-balsamic jam with some of them and trading Bob’s cherries for some as well (I hope-are you listening Bob?)