Tuesday, August 31, 2021

2021 Backyard Vegetable & Fruit Garden Harvest

Our Vegetable garden and fruit tree's did very well this season. Harvesting season can be somewhat overwhelming, especially in late summer and early fall. I've come to realize that most of my mid to late summer days is usually spent in the kitchen canning and preserving. I always say once gardening season wraps up canning and preserving season begins! 

It is a lot of work, but enjoying the fruits and vegetables of our labor throughout the remainder of the year makes it all worth it in the end. Today I want to show you how everything turned out for the year and what we actually harvested. Some things did great while others didn't produce anything at all. Gardening is an ongoing learning experience, but it's so much fun. My family is looking to the many meals with all of our wonderful produce and fruits. 

This was our garden in the beginning stages of early summer.  

And this was our garden in full swing!!!! This year we grew zucchini squash, yellow straight neck squash, tomatoes, potatoes (2 varieties, kennebec & red potatoes), radishes, small carrot crop, pickling cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, purple hull and cream peas, spinach, lettuce and plenty of jalapeno and bell peppers. No corn this year as we are still having a rat problem from out neighbors yard where they do not mow their lawn. Having a shed in the yard doesn't help either. 

We have 3 smaller raised beds where we grew onions, garlic and herbs. 

I have plenty of dill, oregano and 2 basil varieties preserved and stored for a while.  



We had yellow straight neck squash coming out of our ears! As soon as I picked them it was as if more appeared just overnight. We might of got 1-2 zucchinis off of our plant this year so that was a huge disappointment as always. 

Our favorite recipe to use up all that yellow squash is Fried Summer Squash and Squash Relish.  

The Sow Easy Boston Picklers are a favorite of  mine for canning pickles. They never let me down and ALWAYS produce a ton of cukes for me. We were harvesting about 10 every 2 days. 

Our purple hull peas came in great as always. We also did a small test run on cream peas as we were told they don't grow well in Texas.  

Not true one of the biggest pea farms is located in east Texas and they grow several varieties of peas and cream peas is one of them. Our crop turned out really good, so here's to a bigger one next time

More purple hulls and even more below. 


Our tomatoes sort of came in scattered, but we did get plenty to freeze so I could make marinara sauce and salsa for the year.  

I found the best way to store tomatoes is to freeze them until you are ready to use them. As soon as I harvest and wash them, I cut and "X" on one end and then toss them in freezer bags. When they thaw out the skin slides right off which cuts out the need for blanching to remove the skins. 

Our bell peppers did really good and we harvested buckets of Jalapenos. 

My favorite recipe for bell peppers and jalapenos is to make Cowboy Candy and Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

As the summer went on and garden space became available after harvesting a few things. In went the Okra! Whew if you know any thing about Okra it grows prolific and loves hot weather! Which is perfect for our Texas heat. Our okra was tall and produced so much Okra. 

We ended up with about 6 gallon size bags of breaded Okra in the end. This will be another mid summer crop for us to grow next year. 


One lonely watermelon was all that grew and a some good size cantaloupes. 

The cantaloupes did better than the watermelons. 

Our watermelon was a pretty good size and was nice and sweet when we cut into it.  

Lot's of radishes

The radishes did well, but the carrots were a very small crop. Next year we will be planting much more. 

We grew Bluelake Bush Beans and they did pretty good not as good as past years, but enough to eat for a few meals. Picking was scattered out so we used them as soon as they were picked. Next year we will be growing Blue Lake Pole Beans in the summer and Bush beans in the Fall for a better harvest to preserve and home can. 


The potatoes grew big and held up nicely. This part of the bed was for Kennebec potatoes. 

And we also grew red potatoes and garlic in a smaller bed.  


The onions, potatoes and garlic did OK this year. We've had better years, but thankful for what we harvested. Everything was cured and preserved and frozen for winter. 

Our Spinach and lettuce lettuce did wonderful. 

We were harvesting up into late November. Texas has a longer growing season so we stay warmer a lot longer then most areas. 


Our pear tree was filled with fruit, so we harvested a very large amount. 


We ended up with 80 pounds of pears off one tree! 

This was out first year harvesting apples. Out of 5 trees this was the first one that finally produced apples. All of our apple trees were planted a couple years apart, so hopefully the others will catch up on producing fruit. The chill hours from Texas's Snowmageddon really helped. 

The final outcome was 41 pounds of Apples. Plenty for freezing and making Jam. 

Sugar bear loves to be a part of everything outside. The peaches are ready to be picked. 

Over 61 pounds of peaches were harvested. 

Our Choctaw Pecan Tree produced some large pecan this year. 

A total of 10 pounds of pecans for the year. We gave some to a friend, but still a good yield. 


And lot's of beautiful Sunflowers throughout our backyard. 


In the end it was a pretty good year and we are thankful for everything that we harvested. We have learned a few things for next years garden, so I can't wait for springtime. One big thing is, I will definitely be planting plenty of pollinator flowers throughout our garden to help attract bees, butterflies, humming birds and other friendly pollinators to our vegetables. I know this will help tremendously.   

 

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