Garden Update and Highlights From This Past Week – July 22, 2014

Garden Update 2014

  • I harvested and (finally) processed some of the green onions from the garden.  While almost half are still out there, I made room for some fall crops and got almost a gallon bag of onions for the freezer.  These will be used in stews and other dishes this fall/winter.
  • The strawberry plants are producing more, resulting in larger strawberries.  My plants are prolific producers of runners, which I think is keeping them from producing more.  Once I get a better set-up for my netting over them, I am going to start limiting the number of runners.
  • The blackberry plants are also producing, though I have not had the opportunity to cover them, so we have not actually gotten to eat any of the fruit yet.
  • My volunteer tomato turned out to be a roma tomato plant.  This is by far the best growing tomato plant in my garden this year.
  • The stevia plant in the herb garden is going to be removed this year.  It is a great growing plant, but not something I use.  The only reason it is still there was because my neighbor and friend was interested in it so I offered to let it grow.
  • My blueberry plant is making a comeback from being decimated by squirrels last year.  Still no blueberries, though I do not expect any for another year or two.Dicing an onion

Today, I am off to the produce auction for the first time in several months.  A friend is coming over for the day, from out of state, to join us.  Perhaps I should have titled this post “Onion Week”.  I am hoping to add some larger onions to my stores, dicing and freezing the majority for the upcoming  year.  Not having them in the freezer at the end of Spring made me realize exactly how much I use onion in my cooking.  It is cheaper to get them now to freeze than to buy them as I need them throughout the year.  

Last year I hung several bags in the basement toward the end of fall, hoping they would last through till this June/July.  They didn’t.  Somewhere around March and April several of them were starting to go bad and dripping dark juices onto the floor.  I had to throw away two bags worth because they were no longer usable.  They lasted about 6 months hanging from the ceiling in my dark, cool basement.  Not bad all things considered.  The plan for this year, then, was to buy throughout the growing season, using fresh as needed and freezing bags of pre-diced onions for the freezer.  As for the ones I will again store in the basement, if they even begin to look like they are going bad or growing tops, I will take them down and freeze them also.  Hopefully by not trying to process 60 lbs or so all at once I will not overburden myself and give up on doing something with them.

I have even thought about drying some of the onions and making either dried onion flakes or onion powder.  Anyone have experience doing this?  Any tips?