"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Last of the harvesting

Another veritable feast awaited our arrival on the farm.

I had, in desperation to harvest however many that grew, planted some mealie (corn) seeds both outside and inside the veggie hut - I had no other option, as I didn't have an irrigated spot outside where I could sow the seeds.  So - I was pleasantly surprised to score roughly 14 mealie and 24 popcorn husks.
Wonder upon wonder, mealies actually grew inside
the veggie patch
(FYI, the mealies I planted outside didn't handle the heat... and drought. And, they were planted too late, methinks.  So I'm very pleased that I planted some inside.)

MKids favourite vegetable - and so he had one on his first night there. Actually, they are the first ever home-grown mealies he's ever eaten.  And, slathered in butter, it went down in a flash.
MKid with his favourite vegetable
The red popcorn generally produced 3 - 4 husks at each point.  The husk is much smaller than normal mealies - just under half the size I estimate.  The kernel is also much rounder than a normal mealie which, I find, tends to distort and "wither" when it dries.
Red popcorn kernels
So most will be shucked, popped and eaten on a cold miserable night this winter - to remind us that spring always follows winter.  And a couple of husks will be saved for their seeds next year.  
Red popcorn husks - 3 or 4 at a point
The spinach performed as always - actually - thanks to Julianne, and the investigation she encourage me to undertake, I now know that they are swiss chard plants - I bought them in a seedling tray.  But they provided me with another 8 blanched 250gm bags in my freezer.
Swiss chard and a rouge tomato - who
knows where that came from...
Then, of course, the trusty tomatoes had been producing en masse.  I know of some neighbours who had helped themselves, but there were more than enough to go around - and to ground.  I probably have a nightmare start next season with all the tomato seedlings which are going to pop their heads above ground LOL.
I can't remember planting these tomatoes - they
are red and have a green stripe. They also have
quite a tough skin.
Small "plum" tomatoes
Medium sized plum tomatoes
Golden yellow tomatoes - slightly larger
than cocktail size
Cocktail tomtoes
And, hidden away were a couple of heirloom (heritage, I think they're called in the US of A) tomatoes.  Gorgeous deep red specimens, fleshy and juicy. Definitely my favourite tomato.  And I'm fascinated at how much deeper the red of these tomatoes are, compared to the others.
Heirloom tomatoes
I think that those were also the favourite tomatoes as far as all my neighbours were concerned, as there weren't many ripe ones in the veggie hut.
35lts of tomatoes - I don't have a scale to weigh them
I spent Monday and Tuesday preserving this 35lt container full of tomatoes.  I should have more than enough for winter.  Sun dried, tomato soup, whole preserved cocktail tomatoes, tomato pulp for adding to stews and casseroles - busy, busy, busy...  I loved it :)
Finding space in the car to bring these back wasn't
easy - but I couldn't leave them behind.
I couldn't leave my one and only, first pumpkin behind either.  It's not the biggest, but I'm very proud of it LOL
1st ever pumpkin!
The eggplants are chock-a-block with flowers - if only half of them still set some fruit, then I'll be more than happy.
At least 22 flowers on these two bushes...
And one yellow eggplant which I left in situ and which has hidden itself underneath the bush - it will be perfect for using for seed next year.  And, if it disappears, then I have another one "going to seed" in my town garden.
Eggplant going to seed.
Finally, the only two of the three fruit bushes survived - a gooseberry and a raspberry.  I have left the fruit on for this year.  I'm amazed that they grew any fruit - they have only been in the ground for just over a month.
Gooseberry bush with fruit pods
Raspberry bush - only 5 berries this time
- but next year will be better...
All in all I really can't complain about the amount that grew on the plot and which I was able to harvest, especially given that it had to fend for itself whilst I was away in town, with only the porous pipe to babysit!  More on their trials and tribulations in my next posting...

And I hope the sight of all these yummy veggies is giving all those in the northern hemisphere encouragement to go out and plant those seeds... :)


tami said...

A plethora of produce. Looks great and has me excited for our upcoming season. Can't wait!

Mr. H. said...

Those tomatoes look wonderful. I'm curious, is that gooseberry a perennial where you live?

Dani said...

Tami - Go, sista, go!! :)

Dani said...

Mr H - They tasted even better than they looked LOL

Cape Gooseberries http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/cape_gooseberry.html and http://www.gardeningeden.co.za/plants-physalis-peruviana.html

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

It all looks very good. And fresh off the stalk corn is my favorite too :)

Mad dog and Englishman said...

How many kgs of tomatoes have you scored so far this year? it must be absolutely tons! Well done on all the harvest. I know how hot it gets there .....that shade-cloth has worked miracles.

Mum said...

Fantastic, what a haul.
Love from Mum

Mrs. Mac said...

What a wonderful crop you helped produce :) And the itty-bitty chicks .. well .. melt my heart :)

Stitchin' time said...

I hope your self-helping neighbours at least keep an eye on your place when you aren't there or proffer the occasional jar of produce made from your garden. Better 'sharing' than having the fruit rot though.
If you ever want to try some new recipes for tomato chutneys or relishes email me as I'm a reply blogger and I'll send them to you as I have some good tried recipes from years ago when I had an overabundant plethora (probably bad english there!) of tomatoes. The Green Tomato Chutney is particulary nice with it's spiced vinegar ingredient.

Dani said...

Jane - Mine too - nothing to beat it :)

Dani said...

MD&E - Reckon about 50kgs, Couldn't have done it without the shade cloth and the porous pipe :)

Dani said...

Mum - t'is - thanks :)

Dani said...

Robyn - Yes - they are - b-i-g time - all of them LOL And couldn't agree more - rotting food is such an absolute waste!

Would love a tomato jam recipe if you have one, please :)

Dani said...

Mrs Mac - I did nothing compared to the help I got from the Lord, the shade cloth and the porous pipe :)

Energiser Bunny said...

You've got to be happy with that!! That's a bumper crop considering it was a long distance love affair. We've had floods again this year and so there hasn't been much. We have had beans, watermelon, lots of eggplant, rocket, mealies and a few cherry tomatoes. It still raining but I've put the winter seeds in the nursery and the ground, so here's hoping....

Dani said...

EB - T'was indeed a bumper crop. I am well satisfied that I can grow veggies on our plot LOL

My winter seeds - have only planted garlic, broad beans, the swiss chard is in situ and is still producing - so have lettuce and carrots to sow next time we're there and I've ripped out the last of the tomato plants.

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Oh my goodness...your tomatoes are AMAZING Dani! I only wish I could grow them outdoors like you do.

And I've always wondered about how popcorn got its particular shape and look. It's always been confusing since dried sweet corn seeds look completely different to popcorn. Now I know there's a different type :)

Dani said...

Tanya - I'm blown away too LOL

I, too, never knew there were different corns - so I'm more than happy to share this knowledge.