Sometimes you just really want strawberries. That’s why I have three varieties (2 wild, 1 everbearing) that will be used as groundcover in various places. But what if you want strawberries in January? Let’s be honest, we all buy produce out of season and complain about the prices. But when you’re trying to live off your land as much as you can, this is a very important habit to break.
We are in the heat of late summer and the veggie garden is full of tomatoes and peppers and that’s awesome. But a few short months from now, that’s going to stop. That’s when most backyard gardeners start spending more money at the grocery store again, and the gardens get a ton of mulch.
But there are many crops that can grow through the fall and even winter. Just last week I scattered the remaining lettuce, spinach, and arugula seeds I had leftover from spring. I can munch on those greens all the way through November. When I get the kale planted, that will grow all through the winter here.
Broccoli, cabbage, and most other kole crops can overwinter for a spring harvest, though some of them need a little protection. My broccoli struggled through this summer but as the nights are getting cooler here, it’s started growing again.
But sometimes you really want tomatoes and berries in the winter. That’s where the age old art of preserving comes in. I’ve already mentioned the dehydrator. Today, we received two boxes of apples from my sister and a few pounds of Asian pears from our neighbors. All together, we probably got at least fifty pounds of fruit. Obviously, we won’t eat that before it spoils.
Apple chips! Apple butter! Apple pie filling for the holidays! And I think I might try a small batch of pear wine. My sister recently got a pressure cooker she now uses for canning so she gave us her old water bath canner. Between hot water, hot air, and a freezer, we will spread this fruit out for the next few months.
Eating seasonally will save you money, but it doesn’t necessarily mean only eating things that are in season. With the various methods available for home preserving, we will have apples, pears, tomatoes, strawberries, and huckleberries for months after they stop being ripe outside. But by knowing what is in season and focusing more on that, a lot of money can be saved.
Moving in the summer limited what we were able to do for this year. But next year is going to be like the land of milk and honey.