You laid it out carefully, planted, hoed, fertilized with your very own organic compost, watered, and now you get to the fun part: harvesting!
Wait a second….
I forgot a few things….
Your plants need water and lots of it.
They also need to learn to fend for themselves. You don't want them so dependent on you that you can't leave them alone.
If you water every day they will develop shallow roots and you'll have to water every day.
You do have to water the seedlings every day, but taper it off so you are giving the plants a good soaking every 3 – 4 days once their established. The roots will go deeper, looking for water and you'll be able to leave your garden unattended for the weekend.
Oh, and only water the plants, not the dirt… No need to encourage the weeds or waste the water.
Second, succession planting.
When you pull up the remains of your lettuce, plant some Swiss chard for late summer harvest. When the beans are done plant some autumn spinach. When the tomatoes are finished, plant some lettuce for late autumn salads. When you pull out the sweetcorn – don't…. Plant some more pole beans around the stalks.
Now, back to the harvest.
Years ago, before I had a garden, I would buy a bushel basket of tomatoes and one of pickles and one of green beans and so on.
I would then spend 8 – 10 hour days for a week or more canning, bottling, freezing and preserving.
With my own garden I can do 30 – 60 minutes a day, a few days a week and, like magic, my pantry and freezer are full to overflowing with very little effort.
Over the next few weeks I'll share the easy way.
Garlic Dill Pickles
For each quart jar (or in my case, ¾ litre) you need:
1 thick onion slice
2 cloves garlic
1fresh head of dill that has gone to seed or 1 tbs dill seed, or 3 tsp dill weed
1 tbs pickling or sea salt (do not use Iodized or rock salt)
1 tbs sugar
1/8 tsp alum
4 juniper berries
¼ tsp mustard seeds
2 tiny, dried, hot bird's eye peppers (about ½ inch long)
¼ tsp black peppercorns
1 small bay (laurel) leaf, broken
Put all of the above in a jar. Tightly pack in the pickling cukes. Pour over
½ cup white vinegar
Fill with boiling water, put hot rubber ring / lids on, seal and process in a boiling water bath, for 15 minutes.
To start, put your clean jars in a 250F (125C) oven for 10 minutes and leave them there until needed. Put the rubber rings or lids and rings in a pan of softly boiling water for 10 minutes.
While all that gets nice and sterile, scrub your gherkins.
Wipe the rims of the jars after packing and before sealing with a paper towel dipped in boiling water.
Cut everything in half for pints.
When my garden is in full production I picked the gherkins every three days and made 4 – 5 jars. After I had made 40 jars I quit – that is all we can eat in a year. I planted 6 groups of 3 vines each, in two rows – with the dill in the middles.