Freeze garden fresh raspberries in a few simple steps

harvested raspberries from garden

Learn several easy options for how to freeze raspberries fresh from the garden or farmers market to use in favorite recipes all year long.

If you’re berry lover you know that fresh raspberries from the grocery store (especially organic) can be very expensive. And even frozen raspberries aren’t cheap. Luckily, it’s incredibly simple to freeze raspberries for use in lots of favorite recipes throughout the year.

I eat a lot of smoothies and raspberries are one of my favorite ingredients. I was buying big bags of them from my local food co-op, but it was bothering me that all of the raspberries I was eating were from very faraway places, not where I live in Wisconsin. And, the plastic bags they came in generated a lot of trash that went straight to the landfill.

I eventually set the goal of trying to grow and pick all of the raspberries I would need for an entire year. No small feat! I planted two rows in my yard and also visited some u-pick farms. 

If you’re ready to freeze raspberries you’ve either grown, picked or bought, the process is simple and there are several options depending on how you want to use the berries later. Let’s get started!

Best ways to preserve the summer basil harvest

basil harvest from garden

The best options for how to preserve basil from the summer garden so when the season’s over you’ll still have plenty to use in the kitchen.

Basil is one of the most popular herbs grown by gardeners everywhere. Even people without yards can be found tucking basil into pots on their patios and porches. And what’s not to love about it?

The aroma of basil is the smell of summertime and this beloved herb pairs exceptionally well with other summer vegetables – think caprese salads, pesto pasta with fresh vegetables, and happy hour drinks with muddled basil.  

Basil plants are so prolific that it’s easy to grow more than you can use fresh in your favorite recipes. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to preserve fresh basil from the garden so when the season’s over and your basil has succumbed to the first frost of fall you’ll still have plenty of basil to use during the off season.

Simple ways to successfully preserve garden fresh cilantro

cilantro growing in garden

If you’ve grown a bumper crop in your garden here are some favorite recipes and tips for how to preserve cilantro so it tastes great and is easy to use in delicious dishes all season long.

One of the joys of planting your own herbs is that it’s easy to grow more than you can possibly eat fresh. Especially since most recipes only call for a pinch of fresh herbs to finish the dish. That definitely won’t help you utilize the garden bed bursting full of culinary herbs out in your yard!

Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to use up large amounts of herbs that result in tasty meals and even a freezer full of fresh sauces and pesto that can make cooking in the off season super easy and incredibly delicious.

 

 

Fall Spinach: Why It’s the Most Amazing Vegetable to Grow

harvesting fall spinach

Did you know that fall spinach is a gateway vegetable?

Well, at least according to me.

Fall spinach is the vegetable that first got me hooked on cold weather gardening.

The first season I planted it for fall growing I got lots of big, delicious harvests throughout September, October, and November. I was pretty pleased.

Then it got cold over the winter (okay, that’s an understatement, I do live in Wisconsin) and the spinach was covered in snow and I forgot all about it.

Then, in spring, when the ground started to thaw and the sun returned and started getting me in the gardening mood, I went out to my garden to do a little clean up. Imagine my surprise when I realized that not only was the fall spinach from the previous year still alive, it was actually growing again.

It totally blew my mind.

I had no idea a vegetable in my garden could survive the harsh winter of Wisconsin (something I can barely manage to do myself!).

Thus began my love affair with the toughest vegetable I know – fall spinach.

This is a very different vegetable than the persnickety one known as spring spinach. That plant can barely produce more than one harvest during the spring months before going to seed. It’s barely worth planting.

But, fall planted spinach, be still my heart! One planting can provide as many as eight months worth of spinach harvests.

Take that, you delicate spring planted spinach.

Let me use some photos from my garden to illustrate why you, too, should fall in love with planting spinach in fall. Then we’ll get into the specifics of how, when and what varieties to plant.

 

 

9 quick steps for storing fresh carrots from the garden

colorful carrots harvested from the garden

If you’ve successfully mastered the art of growing carrots you may find yourself with a surplus at some point during the season. That’s why it’s important to know how to store carrots from the garden so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for many weeks and months.

Carrots are one of the most fun vegetables to grow! Kids and adults both love to eat them, they’re super satisfying to harvest, they can be eaten raw or cooked, and they come in many colors of the rainbow. 

And because carrots store quickly and easily for a long time, there really isn’t such a thing as too many carrots. At least in our house!

I’ve harvested carrots from my garden up until December in zone 5, stored them using the method I describe below, and was still using them fresh the next April and May.

That’s over 6 months of storage!

If you find yourself with a bumper crop this season, rest assured that you don’t have to give all of those beautiful carrots away (unless you want to…), you can follow the steps below for how to store carrots from the garden. 

You’ll never have to say, “I grew too many carrots.” again.

What to plant in autumn: the best 8 vegetables!

woman holding spinach leaf

Me with a leaf of Giant Winter spinach. The name is no joke!

During the summer season, no matter how much we love gardening, many of us start to get tired of our gardens.

Maybe it’s hot and humid and buggy where you live. Maybe you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the big harvests coming in. (I’m looking at you zucchini, cucumber, and tomato plants…) Or maybe you went away for a vacation and came back to an out of control garden that needs a lot of work.

The summer gardening season ain’t easy, that’s for sure!

But, what if I told you that the fall gardening season is so, so, so much easier?

It is, I swear!

That’s because many of our biggest struggles in the summer are nearly non-existent in the fall: there’s little to no insect and disease pressure, weed growth slows down considerably, and some vegetables like arugula and cilantro are WAY easier to grow in the fall than in spring.

The thing that is a big challenge with fall gardening is that if you live in a cold climate like I do in Wisconsin zone 5, you have to plant your fall vegetables in the summer.

If you wait until fall it’s usually too late (unless you live in a hot climate).

And, as we just talked about, we’re tired in the summer. It’s likely you’re feeling less than enthusiastic about planting a fall garden.

I’m an avid and passionate gardener, and even I have a tough time getting myself into the garden to plant at the end of summer.

The thing that motivates me? The knowledge that cooler weather is coming, and when it does, I’ll be excited to work in my garden again.

And I know my future self, the one who really wants to eat fresh spinach salads throughout October and November, isn’t going to be happy with me if I don’t get my butt out to my garden and plant some fall garden vegetables.

That’s one of the greatest things about having a fall garden. You can extend your harvests beyond your first frost into November and possibly even December!

Can you tell I’m trying my darnedest to convince you to try planting a fall garden? It’s SO worth it!

You’ll experience the joyful pleasure of harvesting lots of food in November. It’s such an amazing feeling of accomplishment.

You’ll feel like you’ve cheated the weather somehow! Everyone else has retired their gardens for the season, but you’re still getting plenty of food each week.

So, if I’ve done my job so far, you’re getting excited about planting some vegetables for autumn. Not convinced yet, check out four reasons why growing a fall garden is SO easy.

In the remainder of this article, I’m sharing my top picks for what to plant in autumn in your vegetable garden to guarantee abundant harvests way past your first frost and into the holiday season.

Storing your homegrown onions for winter

onions in the garden

Onions are one of my favorite vegetables to grow in my garden each year. Most seasons I plant between 300-500 and the majority of them go into storage so we can eat our own onions all winter long. Figuring out how to store garden onions can be tricky, but I’ve been doing it successfully for many years and I’m willing to tell all of my secrets 😉

As with many of the vegetables I grow, my goal is to never buy an onion from the farmers market or grocery store…ever! Most years I succeed and that’s all due to the fact that I’ve learned to grow, cure and store onions for long term eating.

You can, too!

In this article you’re going to learn how to know when it’s time to harvest and how to store garden onions for the winter so can join me in never having to buy an onion from the grocery store ever again!

 

 

Eat garlic all year round! Harvesting and drying garlic for storage

Harvesting Garlic

Garlic is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden, especially if you live in a colder climate. And drying garlic the right way means you can store it for many months of use in delicious recipes throughout the fall and winter.

In fact, if you store enough of it you can easily eat your own garlic all year round and never have to buy any from the grocery store ever again!

The last two weeks in July is an exciting time in my garden because it’s garlic harvest time! Depending on where you live, your harvest time may be a little earlier or later in the season.

You don’t want to harvest your garlic too early – that could result in immature bulbs. But, you also don’t want to wait too long or you might compromise the storage life of the bulb.

In this article you’ll learn how to know the best time to harvest your garlic, techniques for protecting the bulbs while harvesting, and how to cure your garlic for a longer storage life.

What Happens When a Plant Bolts?

cilantro flowers bolting in garden

Bolting vegetables in the late spring and early summer garden can be quite frustrating, and even puzzling. You might think to yourself, “Why is this happening?!”

In most gardening climates there’s a transition period when the cool temperatures of spring start to give way to the warmer days of summer.

For those of us who love summer (me!), it’s a time to rejoice – we revel in the heat and sun!

But, for those of us who prefer cooler temperatures, we might start to get a little cranky with the arrival of hotter days.

Did you know the vegetables in our gardens have weather preferences just like us gardeners?

Some vegetables grow best in the mild temperatures of the early season – lettuces, cilantro, radishes, and spinach, for example.

Once the weather heats up and the days get longer, these cool season vegetables are more likely to start flowering – or bolting.

Vegetables bolting is a natural part of the gardening season, so don’t worry that you’re somehow doing something wrong.

In this article I’ll walk you through what causes vegetables to bolt, which ones are the most likely to do so, and some tips on trying to avoid it as long as possible.

Make This Bright and Fresh Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

Simple Garlic Scape Pesto

If you’re not sure what to do with all of the scapes from your garlic crop, this post will teach you how to make my favorite garlic scape pesto for use in delicious meals during the cold winter months.

One of the fun things that naturally happens once you start preserving food from your garden is you get in the habit of daydreaming about all of the delicious ways you’re going to eat the item throughout the year.

This week when I was making my annual batch of garlic scape pesto I flashed to our annual winter ski trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We rent a cabin that has no electricity or running water, and we have to load all of our supplies onto sleds and ski them into the cabin.

The weekend is one of my favorite of the winter season. We spend a few days cross-country skiing on beautiful trails, taking turns cooking for each other on the woodstove, and eating great food and drinking good beer by candlelight.

Tradition calls for everyone to bring food for lunch to share with each other.

There’s usually a big spread on the table for a few hours in the afternoon so skiers can arrive on their own schedules and dig in.

We eat my husband’s famous homemade hummus, cured local meats and cheeses, fermented goods, sliced vegetables, fresh greens, salty chips, and various spreads and pestos.

It’s a sandwich-making feast for famished skiers!

Garlic Scape Pesto

We always bring a jar or two of our garlic scape pesto to sit amongst the other homemade sauces and spreads (it’s a food preserving kind of group).

And while I’m tucking into a delicious sandwich in a snowy cabin many miles and months away from my garden’s garlic season, I’ll gaze out the window and think of the sunny and warm day in June when I made that pesto in my kitchen.

Food preserving is about more than just using up your excess harvest. It’s about creating your own yearly traditions of preserving what you grow so you can use those ingredients in delicious meals all winter long.

If you’re a garlic grower like me (220 heads every year!), you might be swimming in garlic scapes each season around early summer. Making garlic scape pesto is hands down my favorite way to use up piles of scapes from my garden.

Here’s the simple recipe I use every year.

Secrets of Summer Planting in June and July

garden harvest in a basket

Once in awhile I see a post from a gardener on social media in which they share how they’ve “finished” planting their vegetable garden. This is often in late May or early June.
 
Many gardeners approach planting this way. They plant their whole gardens within the span of a week or two and that’s it for the season. Late spring planting is their only focus, not summer or fall planting.
 
In my garden in zone 5 (WI), I start planting in my cold frames in March and into the uncovered garden in April and don’t stop planting seeds and seedlings until September. The only time I’m “finished” is when I temporarily run out of room, or it gets too late into the season to plant.
 
This method of repeated planting means I’ll get more food from my garden in a very steady supply throughout the season. In fact, even in the frigid North where I live I harvest from my garden 10 months of the year.
 
One of the techniques I use to grow more food is succession planting.  Succession planting means planting the same vegetable several times throughout the season for a continued harvest.
 
Why would you want to use succession planting?  Two reasons.
 
Spread out the harvest. 
You’ve probably had the experience of planting a big row of beets or an entire bed of bush beans and they’re all ready to harvest at the same time. Which means you have to deal with all of those vegetables – either using them or giving them away to friends and family – or take the risk of them rotting in your fridge. Succession planting is a great way to spread out that harvest so you have more manageable amounts to eat and cook with.
 
Maximize space.
Your garden space and do double (or even triple!) duty by growing more than one vegetable in the same amount of space in the same season. This isn’t doable with every vegetable, but there are lots that pair well together because they don’t take all season to grow.
 
I find it easiest to break up my succession planting into spring, summer and fall plantings. In this article we’re going to cover what to plant in June and July. At the end I’ll share some resources to help you extend your succession planting into the spring and fall as well.
 
A note about zone: This summer planting advice is most applicable to gardeners in colder areas, US zones 3-7. If you live in a very hot climate your summer planting calendar will likely be much different.
 

No Till Garden: Build Healthy Soil + Get Better Results

woman with large organic garden harvest
This post contains affiliate links.

I get the temptation to till. There’s something in all of us gardeners that leaps with joy when we see a freshly turned bed. That rich, dark, blank canvas beckons us to come on over and work our vegetable magic.

We imagine ourselves gently planting a seedling in the fluffy soil with no straining or digging necessary.

But, garden fantasies aside, tilling the garden every year is a terrible idea in practice. Not only are you destroying the soil structure and bringing weed seeds up to the surface – you’re also creating more work for yourself.

I’m going to save you from this horrible fate by sharing why you should establish a no till garden and exactly how to do it.

Truth: I’ve gardened for 20 years and have never tilled my garden. And it’s one of the most amazing and productive gardens I’ve ever seen.

Learn How to Get Better Results.

Let's start with talking about the top 5 mistakes most gardeners make.
[email protected]
© 2021 Creativevegetablegardener.com. All Rights Reserved. | Design by Rebecca Pollock + Development by Brandi Bernoskie