Green Thumbs: Ready or Not Here It Comes

Here it comes, whether we want it to arrive or not… Fall.

It seems like not so long ago I was trying to figure out how to fit the planting of my garden in between the sorting, shipping and planting of potatoes on the farm. Spring is always a frantic scramble to get things done. My vegetable patch takes a back seat to the other more important jobs that need to be done in order to make a living from the land. I get my garden in late every year but it always catches up.

Then comes the not so lazy days of summer. Hoeing and weeding the somewhat straight rows popping up in my little patch of dirt. My gardens have come in many forms over the last 30 years. The only thing I was able to grow in my first year was the corn. Trying to keep up with a growing family I increased the size year after year. As my babes flew the nest my plot size came back down to a garden built for two.  After many summers of trials, errors and sage advice from older farm women I have become a somewhat good vegetable grower.

I know what I like, I know what grows well where and I try one new thing every year.

This summer will go down in the record books as being one of the best ever. Lots of sunshine, and little rain make for great growing!

Now it’s on to the job of preserving the bounty.  I am not a big fan of canned vegetables and pressure canning kind of scares me so most of my vegetables go in the freezer. Green beans are a favorite of my husband who was raised in a Dutch family. My favorite is corn. Those niblets are just as sweet in the middle of winter as they are on the cob on a hot summer day.

Driving home from Nelson two weeks ago we went through the Similkimeen Valley. Let me just pause here to say how absolutely blessed we are here in Southern BC, to live so close to such bountiful areas just a one day drive away. It is most definitely the  Garden of Eatin’!  This valley reminds me of the Okanogan years ago, before all the growers switched to grapes and started producing world-class wines. We lost count of the fruit stands and orchards in the area. We picked one, pulled over and loaded the car with so many peaches and apricots it’s amazing we made it over the Duffy!

Once home it was on to the canning. There is nothing quite like pulling out a jar of peaches after dinner in the middle of winter and serving them with vanilla ice cream. Canned peaches, Peach Salsa and jam are now sitting on the shelves with Current Jellies, Raspberry Jam and Apricot Preserves. Next week will be a trip to Lillooet to The Airport Gardens to collect their famous tomatoes. Soon tomatoes, salsa and steak sauce will be on those shelves as well.

Airport Gardens

Summers here in the Pemberton Valley are amazing but short. Fall is far and away my favorite season. It means all the hard work of the past summer is winding down. Soon the harvester will be pulled out and digging the potatoes we planted not so long ago. They will be put into the root houses for the winter. (It looks like it will be a bumper crop this year!) Carrots will be picked and stored for sale to local stores.

Carrot harvest at Shaw Creek Farms

All the produce grown and collected over the summer will shine like gemstones on the shelves to brighten the dreary days of winter ahead. Before you can shake the dirt off your potatoes it will be Thanksgiving, we’ll all be enjoying time with friends and family and stuffing ourselves with vegetables, fruits and meats produced right here in our beautiful province…..I know what this girl will be thankful for.

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