Dear St. Isidore,
Most of our readers know that May 15th is your feast day. With that in mind, I submitted my Spring planting report to you in our post Feast Day Garden Talk. I suspect, however, that few of our readers know that, at one time, your feast was also celebrated on October 25th. The two dates are both appropriate, each in its own way, as being representative of the gentle cycle of life we live here at Serendipity Farmhouse. May 15th can readily be seen as the beginning of our farming year, and October 25th coincides so well with the end of the harvest.
So, Hubby and I have decided that it is quite fitting to submit our harvest and food preserving report to you as soon as possible after the 25th. We ask that you please accept this report, which highlights the successes of our stewardship and humbly records some of our dismal failures.
Bottom Line Up Front:
The harvest for 2022 will go down in history as the best year yet for the vegetable and herb gardens proudly cultivated here on the vast 1.203 acres of the Serendipity Farmhouse estate. As you will see in the tables at the end of this post, the totals for our two specialty crops, okra and tomatoes, far exceeded all expectations. This is the first time that we have ever been able to have extra produce to use in experiments testing out different methods of preserving.
Big Okra Plants & Big Okra Totals: As you know Hubby added two new boxes to Vegetable Garden #2. He filled each with new garden soil and prepared half of one box specifically for okra. Over the years, we’ve come to agree with this statement made on the Southern States website: “Okra can grow from three to six feet tall.” One of the plants we bought from our local CSA, Waterpenny Farm, however, decided to reach a little higher than the average plant. That magnificent plant measured in at a fantastic 10 feet 3 inches from its base. It’s easy to see why our final okra totals were so high.
Varieties are the Spice of Life: The two new boxes finally gave us the room to compete twelve different varieties of tomatoes in a single season. For the first time, we were able compare quality and quantity to assist us in deciding the best varieties for cooking, salad making, canning, and freezing. In our table of harvest totals you will see which varieties we’ve decided will make a return appearance in the SFH gardens next year.
Experiments in Food Preserving: With extra produce and array of new fresh herbs on hand, we were free to try a number experiments. All but one went quite well. Three of the more interesting experiments gave us: Dehydrated Okra, a most tasty snack; Pickled Dilly Beans, a great side for a light meal; and Tomato Jam, excellent on top of a toasted bagel with cream cheese.
Not all that is planned well works out well: We planted quite a few beet seeds. But whatever we did in the planting and soil preparation obviously was not the right thing. For all of our effort all we received in turn was a single scrawny beet.
Likewise, we were really hot on the idea of fermenting. Our big mistake, however, was thinking that we should start with okra. After buying special equipment for fermenting and reading tens of articles, we decided to go ahead with a full quart jar of some of our finest okra. Now the world knows that if okra is not prepared properly, it can be quite slimy. Take it from us, fermenting okra increases the slime factor by several orders of magnitude. The best way to describe the results of this experiment gone wrong is to watch the 1958 American science fiction horror film “The Blob”.
That concludes the narrative part of our our report, St. Isidore. It was the best year ever. We’ve learned from our successes. We’ve learned from our failures. We’ve tried to be good stewards of what God has bestowed on Serendipity. The fruits of these labors constantly bring us joy.
The following two sections summarize the SFH 2022 Planting and Preserving season. You will find the full reports here and here.
2022 SFH Harvest Totals
|Garlic Heads||32||Heads||29-Jun||29-Jun||Next year|
|Garlic Scapes||32||Scapes||31-May||31-May||Next year|
|Green Beans||438||Pods||20-Jun||24-Sep||Next year|
|Okra, Green||578||Pods||28-Jun||19-Oct||Next year|
|Peppers, Jalapeno||217||Peppers||20-Jun||25-Oct||Next year|
|Tomato, Better Boy||47||Tomatoes||15-Jul||18-Sep||Next year|
|Tomato, Better Bush||24||Tomatoes||13-Jul||25-Sep|
|Tomato, Big Beef||32||Tomatoes||20-Jul||25-Sep||Next year|
|Tomato, Celebrity||25||Tomatoes||12-Jul||23-Aug||Next year|
|Tomato, Early Girl||28||Tomatoes||06-Jul||25-Sep||Next year|
|Tomato, German Queen||9||Tomatoes||18-Aug||03-Sep|
|Tomato, Husky Cherry||381||Tomatoes||08-Jul||25-Sep||Next year|
|Tomato, Mr. Stripey||14||Tomatoes||28-Jul||25-Sep|
|Tomato, Pink Brandywine||8||Tomatoes||13-Aug||29-Aug|
|Tomato, Roma||61||Tomatoes||17-Jul||25-Sep||Next year|
|Tomato, Super Sweet Cherry||1106||Tomatoes||24-Jun||05-Oct||Next year|
2022 SFH Preserving Totals
|Item||Quantity||Type of Preservation|
|Dill Seeds||1 packet||Storing|
|Green Beans||3 8-ounce bags||Freezing|
|Green Beans||4 pint jars||Pickling|
|Habanero Peppers||2 pint & 1 1/4 jars||Dehydrating|
|Jalapeno Peppers, Pickled||9 half pint jars||Canning|
|Okra||2 pint jars||Dehydrating|
|Okra||1 quart jar||Fermenting|
|Okra, Pickled||8 pint jars||Canning|
|Okra, Pickled||1 quart jar||Refrigerated|
|Oregano||1/2 pint jars||Dehydrating|
|Pasta Sauce||6 pint jars||Canning|
|Sage||1 pint jar||Dehydrating|
|Salsa||24 pint jars||Canning|
|Tomato Jam||5 1/2-pint jars||Canning|