It’s safe to say our small little garden has produced beyond our expectations this summer! We’ve been able to give away dozens of tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers, and several pounds of green beans, and we’re not done harvesting yet – not by a long shot. If things keep producing like they are right now, we’ll be picking hot peppers, bell peppers, green beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes well into September, as well as harvesting our first butternut squash, pie pumpkins, and potatoes in October and November.
Over the last couple of weeks, in addition to what we’ve given away, I’ve frozen several pints of diced tomatoes, green beans, hot peppers, and sweet corn, which we will enjoy later on this fall in soups and casseroles. And today I canned 5 pints of green beans and 5 pints of crushed tomatoes to go in my pantry.
Learning how to garden in containers and raised beds has been both fun and challenging for us. Since it’s our first year in Georgia, we’ve made lots of mistakes but we’ve also experienced many victories.
The most rewarding thing for us though has been experiencing all the flavor of home grown organic produce. Because of all our years of buying produce at the supermarket Sam and I both forgot how good fresh tomatoes taste, how crisp home-grown green beans are, how sweet cucumbers are, and how mild bell peppers can be. The vegetables taste like you want them to! They are full of flavor – I know it sounds crazy, but you can almost taste the sunshine in them.
Another benefit we’ve discovered in gardening has to do with our grocery budget. It’s going down! To date, we’ve seen a decrease of about $50 -$60 each month over the last two months – since we started harvesting our own veggies.
If we stick to our landscape plan and complete all our raised beds before next spring, we fully believe that within the next two to three years we will have adequate space to become completely self-sufficient in growing and preserving our own annual supply of vegetables. It may sound strange to some, but we find it fulfilling and exciting! Now I know why the Amish do it.