Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Good Grief! How Am I Not Done YET?--a Trailer Park Homestead update

I was hoping that this week, I was going to just show you some pictures of my dead garden outside, maybe pile up all the food I've put up for visual effect, and show the start of my kitchen counter garden.  But, somehow, I'm not done yet! 

Here's what's still going on at the Trailer Park Homestead:
The tomato plants, and anything else at all cold sensitive are dead.  I'll need to clean that up soon, somehow finding a balance between getting things done in the house and waiting too lat until it is freezing cold and miserable during the day.
First to be planted, last to die off, it looks like (never mind a complete change in what this area held from St. Patrick's Day, when I first planted it).  Somehow, the cold weather hasn't been enough to kill off the calendula, broccoli, and spinach that currently inhabit this area.
The snap peas and cabbage still live in the back raised bed as well.  My 2 year old and 6 year old pulled all the carrots last week, prior to a sting of frosty/freezy nights
This is what I don't like about volunteer tomato plants in Michigan:  they never seem to live long enough to have any vine-ripened tomatoes.  I was able to pull a few green ones off there before the frosts got it, so it wasn't a complete waste that I didn't just pull it when I first noticed it.

I tacked this plastic in place over the rutabaga, carrots, and onions that were still way too young to harvest in the hopes that it will act as a mini-hoop house (I may add hoopiness to it later) so I can keep growing those cold resistant plants into the winter.

Some of my herbs still live, some don't.  The landscape is definitely changing again, especially as I pull out the dead peppers and tomatoes.

When we were harvesting everything we could last week, I brought in all the planters I had outside, plus the rouge bean plants that had sprouted without permission, a green pepper I transplanted in the hopes that the tiny peppers would grow big and tasty if given enough time, and a ground cherry plant I wasn't ready to give up on yet either, since my 2 year old loves them so much.  Right now, some of the planters have spinach and some have nothing.  The one in the front had a nice crop of carrots in it, but the boys got a little overexcited about harvesting and picked them too.  I did prove to myself that carrots can be grown in a container though, so I'll be planting some more carrots as well as lettuce and more spinach soon. (NOTE: This is almost my entire kitchen counter!  It will be worth it, if I can successfully keep us in fresh greens and more through the long, long cold winter. )
I'm just about done with canning.  I have 9 pint jars left, and I need those for venison stock as soon as I get a chance.  To the left is the last of the apple-tomato salsa for the year and to the right is some pearsauce. (This is the rest of the counter space in my kitchen.  Where the counter turns is where the refrigerator is and where the white towel is is the only accessible-for-doing-anything-counter space because of the fridge.)
Even though I'm about done canning, I still have more to put up!  Ironically, the box labeled vine ripe tomatoes contain green tomatoes in paper bags (in the boxes so I can stack them on my chest freezer).  The apples will be sliced and dehydrated or sauced and turned into fruit leathers.  The pears that were in the blue shopping bag met the same fate, but I'm supposed to go back to Broccoli Lady's house to get more pears today.  She says she probably still has another 3-4 bushels and I think my mom only wants about another bushel or two, so I'll probably have more pears to process!  I loved the dehydrated pears I tried today though, so this is not bad thing!  My mom also said something about bringing about 20 pounds of carrots from her garden for me, so I'll be busy freezing those too!   Nope, definitely not done yet!


  1. Got any good recipes for green tomatoes? It got cold here so fast we have a slew of them and I can only deal with so much chutney....

  2. First, you can dry carrots. They can then be put into jars or bags or what-have-you and stashed in any dark place that mice can't get at them. They can be used in soups, stews, and anything that requires long cooking (and soaking). Just slice them up *really* thin (I have an electric guillotine that I use) and dry like you would anything else. They can also just be eaten if the kids like 'em.

    Second, green tomatoes (if small) make GREAT pickles. Warning, when making your brine, add a little LESS salt than usual. I made pickled green tomatoes a month ago, and used a regular amount of salt, and WOW are they ever salty. And I *like* excess salt. LOL... They also taste great just fried up in a nice batter. Also, you can make green tomato pie with brown sugar and butter, just as you'd make an apple pie, and it tastes really good!

  3. You really outdid yourself! I've enjoyed reading this year---you show what can be done with just a small amount of space.

  4. Have you ever made a green tomato pie before?

  5. I have not made a green tomato pie. Never have enough green tomatoes that I need to worry about getting rid of them, just enough to let ripen to enjoy the season of fresh tomatoes a bit longer.