Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Summer/Fall Garden Update

I have been watching the weather very carefully for the past few weeks trying to make sure that I get the most out of my summer garden before the first frost.  I am trying to get a year's worth of green beans so I won't need to purchase any between now and next summer.  My goal was 51 quarts for this year. I picked some green beans yesterday.  Here is what I got.

The picture doesn't give an accurate view of how many I picked.  I estimate there are enough beans here to fill 3 quart jars. I currently have 48 quart jars of green beans canned up.  If this batch makes 3 quarts, I will have my goal of 51 quarts. Even better, I still have some additional flowers and some small green beans left.  I should be able to pick a few more times before frost!

It was also time this week to pick the peanuts.  Here is a picture of some of my peanuts.

Picking peanuts is easy.  First, use a pitch fork to gently loosen the soil around the plants.  If you pull the entire plant up like you would a weed, you are guaranteed to leave some peanuts in the ground.  Gently loosening the soil with a pitchfork will ensure most of the peanuts stay attached to the plant.  Here is what it looks like when you pull the plant up.

Commercial operations usually pull the plants up and then leave them on the ground to dry a bit before completing the drying operation in large drying machines.  Since I am a home grower, my peanuts are picked and washed by hand and then left to dry in the house.  This time of year, the peanuts are drying everywhere.  There is hardly a place to sit, or a table to eat on without peanuts drying on it too.  For example, here is a section of my dinning room table. The peanuts are on freezer paper.

It will take about 6 weeks for them to dry completely.  Then I will separate them. I will use the Spanish peanuts to make cooking oil. The Virginia Jumbo peanuts will be roasted for eating.  In addition, I will separate out some to save as seed for next year.

I have also planted a few things in the fall garden.  I have carrots, garlic and spinach in now. Here is a picture of some of the garlic.  The carrots and spinach haven't made an appearance yet.

I can't wait to try my hand at making peanut oil for cooking (this is the first year I have tried to make cooking oil).  I will be very glad when I can cross oil off of the list of what I must purchase at the grocery store!  Stay tuned and I will let you know how it comes out!

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