The garden flourished - it was such a joy to tend and reap the bounty. The garden is large (you can see Kent in the background to the right of Steph - he's in the potato rows) so the three of us had plenty to keep us busy.
The bean teepees were a huge success. I found that picking the beans was enjoyable, they were high producers, and with mulch around the bases there was no weeding to speak of. We will be using these again.
Our basil did incredibly well and I found a spinach I will be planting again and again. Bloomsdale is a popular spinach but I find I like the less common New Zealand variety. I can pick the leaves from the stems and it continues to grow unhindered, the spinach itself is hardy and not easily bruised yet it has a nice flavor and dries really well.
The potatoes looked very healthy and yet we didn't get a huge yield from them. Maybe a few bushel at best. We need to reassess and figure out how to do better this year.
I also found a technique we will use each year for our cabbage (and broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc.) Cabbage loopers are a problem but it occurred to me that if the moths couldn't lay their eggs, then I wouldn't have to spend my time picking the worms back off. I purchased basic tulle from the fabric store, sewed three widths of it together and covered the cabbage rows. We weighted the edges with stones and the cabbage got sun and rain but no moths.
It made for beautiful cabbage free from worm damage!
And I was excited that our dill came in this year - now we could use our own hot peppers, cucumbers and dill for our Kosher-style pickles! That steer in the background is Grady at 1 year old. He now looks me nearly in the eye and his horns are about 8 inches long.
Stephanie purchased two dairy goat kids. Fern and Adelle. They were so cute! I have long thought I'd like dairy goats and they have done nothing but convince me - even though they are smart enough and curious enough to get themselves in trouble from time to time. Adelle, unfortunately, died unexpectedly but Steph got Fern another friend, Nougat (or NewGoat).
There was no shortage of cucumbers this past year. We canned kosher-style spears, dill slices, bread and butter, and hot and sweet pickles. And that's not counting eating fresh cucumbers and Grandma's refrigerator pickles.
Our mower stopped working but we had backup. One day I looked out the kitchen window and there were two cows grazing...
And out the other window I saw two goats. Wow, they were happy and we were happy. A great temporary solution.
And lots of tomatoes. Every day resulted in something to can, dry or otherwise preserve.
I find I'm getting so excited to start our 2013 garden - I can feel the sun on my back, the hot dirt under my bare feet, and hear the buzz of the bees!