Jon and I have started a garden every year since we got married. Some years starting it was as far as we got and nothing came of the plants we used. Some years we were able to get a ton of tomatoes and nothing else. One year we only got green tomatoes because it was a cooler summer, unlike this year. But last year was a good year. We had our first really successful year. We harvested tons of zucchinis, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, beans and tomatoes. We gave some to friends and family because we had so much. The idea of canning and freezing didn't really occur to me until I started reading how other bloggers were doing that. So this year we doubled the size of the garden. We planted seeds and started our tomatoes and peppers indoors. The rest of the seeds we planted outside. Everything we planted outside did really well. My tomatoes and peppers failed miserably. So we bought tomato and pepper plants and they are now thriving. Our corn is as tall as me currently. We have lots of lettuces (Jon made a salad from it the other night), the zucchinis and cucumbers are flowering. I have several green tomatoes growing and even a few peppers. Our beans are doing great as well and I hope I can pull some for our dinner tomorrow night.
It took several years to learn from my mistakes in gardening. We made some important changes to our approach to gardening and things have improved. The real reason our garden is doing better is that we moved the location from the side of our house, where we never go, to the back of our house, where we spend most of our time. Because the garden is in a place where we spend time it helps me to remember to water and weed it. It is amazing what 30 minutes a week of time spent in the garden can do.
I am planning on canning my tomatoes this year, something I have never tried before. Jon hates when I buy diced tomatoes, he says he can taste the can they came in. We rarely buy canned vegetables for that reason. But I have never found frozen diced tomatoes, so when a recipe calls for diced tomatoes I often buy a can. I want to can my own this year to avoid the taste issue. And by the way, why is it called canning when they are in jars?
Our garden cost very little to start, less than $20. This is a great way to help your vegetable budget. My garden is not large, and I will still be able to reduce my grocery budget because of it. And this year I am getting smarter about canning and freezing so that my garden will be helpful not only in the summer, but in the fall, winter and spring as well.
If you have any advice about canning or freezing my vegetables please tell me! This is our first year canning and we will take all the help and advice we can get!