Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Garden 2011

Garden planning and planting is in full swing.

This is the state of my kitchen table, most Saturday mornings in February.

Seed potatoes went in on March 5th

One of my gardening goals for this year is to have the watering system ready BEFORE the plants are in... easier said than done and something I failed on big time last year.

This year, I'm doing much better. In fact, I actually laid the soaker hoses before planting any seeds this year. Hooray for me.

My garden layout has gone back to the 'four quarters' design, kind of a big X of paths and four easy quadrants to plant in. I have rotated the location of each of my main crops so that now tomatoes are in the north section, beans and squash in the east quadrant, peppers will be in the south quadrant, and potatoes are in the west quadrant.

Tomatoes were planted March 6th, I held to my rule and only bought 9 plants, one for each 'leg' of my drip water system, plus one for the central hub, which tends to drip anyway.

Hubby also worked like a maniac and got all four of my new water totes hooked up to the gutter system in a mad dash before the sun set and the clouds broke on March 12... then nothing. Not a drop of rain has fallen at our house since the last snow we had in mid February. UGH.

Meat Processing 2011

On the last weekend in February, we headed down to Nada to process and prepare the meat our family will eat for the year.

The starting totals this year (for four families and one guest):
Deer 249 pounds
Deer Jerky 18 pounds
Wild Pork 104 pounds
Purchased Pork 120 pounds
Total.... 491 pounds of meat!

Usually, we are able to use wild hog for 100% of the hog meat, but this year, they had a hard time trapping wild hogs, so we had to buy pork from a local meat market. It was easier than cleaning a hog, but also not free.

All of that meat went into the four variations of processed meat we make each year:

Jerky, dried sausage (like jerky), summer sausage, kielbasa-stlye sausage and ground meat.

Most of the meat is ground in two industiral sized meat grinders (I usually end up running a grinder for most of Saturday).

We brought home 98 pounds of finished meat this year. 35 pounds ground meat, 50 pounds of sausage (yikes, this sounds like a lot!), 8 pounds of summer sausage, 5 pounds of dried sausage and jerky. My family will eat this for the next 12 months... and with 50 pounds of sausage, that means I need to serve 1 sausage per week!