In case you haven’t heard, a vegetable garden was my biggest home goal for this year. Well, I am officially declaring the garden a success.
We did our last harvest a week or so ago.
And just in time too. Frost is a regular occurrence now, and the plants have all shriveled up. They’re not producing any more produce. But they were pretty productive for most of the season.
Especially the squash.
I knew the squash was going to be plentiful. When it was time to pick, I didn’t even consider a basket. I got out the wheelbarrow.
This is the first load. Please note that there are still numerous pumpkins hanging on the fence, just waiting to be picked.
The second load.
The grand tally is 37 pumpkins, 39 butternuts and about 70 acorns. We donated several of them to Thanksgiving dinners on both side of our family, and then brought them as party favours for all of the guests. We’re also eating them ourselves, of course.
This is the corner of my dining room where they are currently living. Lovely dinner party decor, aren’t they? Apparently, there was a reason I didn’t toss the cartons that held the fireplace stone.
The cartons also came in handy for the rutabagas.
Matt was joking when he suggested we plant rutabagas. Neither of us knew what they were. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one. I know I’ve never cooked with one. Seeing a carton full of these large vegetables was a bit daunting.
We strategically picked the rutabagas the week before Thanksgiving. Then we divvied them up, and Matt and I took two-thirds of them to work. Thankfully, many of our coworkers were enthused by the idea of adding rutabagas to their Thanksgiving menus, and we were able to get rid of most of them.
I did cook one for our own Thanksgiving dinner. The recipe called for one large rutabaga “about 1 1/2 pounds.” My version of a large rutabaga weighed in at 3 pounds–double the recipe. Thankfully, we liked the rutabaga, so we didn’t mind that we had a lot of it.
The other star of our harvest were Matt’s potatoes. We had just three plants, but they produced some beautiful taters.
There were some big ones, some medium ones, and some wee-tiny potato-lets.
That big guy came in at more than a pound all on his own. In total, we had 6 pounds 4 ounces of potatoes.
And they taste amazing. I definitely notice a difference between our fresh homegrown ones and the grocery store. (This may be cruelty to vegetables).
The only things that did not do well–and I’ve talked about this before–are our poor peppers. We had 8 red pepper plants and 12 (supposedly) jalapenos, all of which did pretty much nothing. We got probably about 6 peppers total, and they all resembled misshapen green bell peppers.
The one pepper that started to turn red shriveled up and fell off. And note how the plant is blossoming again even though fall leaves are on the soil around it? These guys just could not get it together.
Our final harvest included those last few peppers, a small bushel of tomatoes, half a basket of beets, and of course, more zucchini. Those things just kept coming.
Not pictured are two more baskets of Matt’s onions.
Oh, and we grew a puppy too!
The last of the tomatoes and peppers are now on the dining room table, ripening the rest of the way in front of our best window.
It’s so great to have finally fulfilled my dream of having our own garden and growing our own food. And it’s something that Matt and I both really enjoyed–I love projects that happen like that.
We have more to do to wrap up the garden for the season. I’m already full of plans for next year. But for now, I can pretty much check vegetable garden off the 2015 wishlist.
Did you have a vegetable garden this year? How did your garden grow? Do you have any favourite squash or pumpkin recipes to share?
Wow! Talk about a harvest!!
That was my reaction too!
What a great harvest!!! Isn’t it amazing how different home grown veggies taste?!
Those little potato-lets are Steve’s favorite. He fries them just like diced potatos.
Your squash harvest is awesome! I don’t think I could ever use that many, but mmmmmmmm….butternut squash soup is great!
Impressive puppy plant! 😉
The puppy is our favourite, although he’s a little fuzzy when we nibble on him.
Hi, Julia, You two have a real green thumb!! A harvest to die for.
Rutabagas are very popular here in the South; personally, I love them! We usually buy them coated in a heavy wax which makes them a little difficult to peel, but, when cooked, all the effort is worth it. They are delicious seasoned with a ham hock.!!
And, of course, all the winter squash are delicious. The tomatoes and potatoes make my mouth water!
And, of course, the “puppy harvest” is just beautiful!!
Thks. for sharing!
Thanks for the rutabaga tip. I’ve found ours have softened a bit since we picked them. I think I’ll have to investigate how to cure them… or figure out how to wax them!
Wonderful harvest! Congrats on your first season!
Thanks. We had a lot of fun.
Wow! That is one amazing harvest from your first-year garden!! I’m so impressed and a wee bit envious. If we ever get our garden going I would love to grow lots of root vegetables and squashes. They are just so satisfying, somehow.
That turnip recipe would also probably work for squash. There are so many delicious looking pumpkin recipes on pinterest right now. I think you can cook, puree, bag and freeze it in one cup amounts, to pull out whenever you’re cooking or baking. Probably that would work with the squash, too. Do you have a deep freeze?
Congrats on a bountiful harvest!
My one piece of advice is to plan to give up a fair bit of space if you grow squash. I had been prepared to give up a quarter of the garden to them, but they ended up wanting something more like half. Fortunately, we had space to spare this year.
My plan is to try to keep the squash as long as possible, but if they start to turn, I’ll get to cooking, pureeing and freezing. We have a freezer, but I think we may have to upgrade to a larger version after this garden season!