The Road Home

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Growing Beets

We want to start off this post with a prayer request. Our nephew was injured in an industrial accident. He has serious injuries to his face and mouth. We would appreciate your prayers on his behalf.
 
This is about half of our harvest. The rest is still in the ground.



  
The beet harvest this year is being canned using the same techniques as last year which you can find here. The big difference this year is the harvest. Our crop has done much better this year. The small patch of beets is six by eight feet and planted fairly close together. In fact, some of them are too close together which is preventing much growth for those beets. There is also plenty of competition from the grass since we have had so much rain. That, and the fact that I haven't been weeding very much lately.

 We decided to cut off the greens and rinse off most of the dirt and mud outside on the porch. This routine worked very well. There wasn't near as much mud left in the sink after the final scrubbing before they went in the pot to cook.

The greens we kept to give to the chickens and goats a handful at a time. When I first started feeding these greens to the animals they would take a few bites and leave the rest. Now that it has become more routine, they tend to clean them up quickly. It takes time to change routines, especially feed rations for animals. I am happy to see how well they are consuming some different types of feed that are very good for them.

We tried a different type of beet this year, Lutz Green Leaf. The crop is much bigger which is great. One big difference in the beets this year is the color, they are much paler than last year. When we took them out of the canner, my first comment was, "These are really pale, they look like watermelon." Since this is only the second year we have grown beets, we don't have a lot of experience for very meaningful comparisons. It is another interesting learning curve. These beets taste very good, even to a former non-beet eater like me.

2013 on the left, 2014 on the right

For this harvest we canned 12 pints. Last year our entire harvest yielded only 5 pints, so we have already more than doubled our food supply and there are more left in the ground. It is very humbling and rewarding to put away food that you have grown from start to finish. It also brings a great deal of satisfaction and a sense of security knowing we have the knowledge and skill to bring food to the table for months to come.


I have seen pictures like these for years. Other people's pictures. Now, when I look at these and realize that we grew these, even among the weeds, I am humbled. What a blessed life.

Until next time - Fern

16 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about your nephew, sending prayers!

    (The beets look great)

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    1. Thanks for the prayers, they are appreciated.

      Fern

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  2. Your Nephew is in our prayers. Keep us posted to anything else we can do.

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  3. Wonderful feeling huh? They look great

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    1. Thanks, M.E., it is a wonderful feeling. I'll show you the squash I've been canning before long.

      Fern

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  4. We will be praying. Prayers work!!!!
    I LOVE pickled beets! I need to plant some for this fall.

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    1. We haven't tried pickling any so far. We can them in water with a little salt. Thanks for the prayers.

      Fern

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  5. OMG, you give your beet greens to the CHICKENS???? Lol, they are delicious, try them like any other green. Saute in a touch of bacon fat, or chop & add to a salad, etc.

    Prayer sent for your nephew's full recovery.
    Jan in NWGA

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    1. We do give the greens to the chickens, Jan. In fact, I have been going by the beet patch and picking a few leaves each morning to feed them and they have really grown to like them. We just finished picking the last of the beets and cut off all of the greens before we brought them in the house. And, yes, all of the greens are once again in the buckets, ready for the chickens.

      Thank you for the prayers.

      Fern

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  6. Sending prayers for your nephew right now.

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    1. Thank you, Deb, we do appreciate it.

      Fern

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  7. Hi Fern! So sorry to hear about your nephew! Prayers he'll heal speedily! I love beets, greens, and all! Yours look awesome! Will ya'll plant a fall harvest? I'm thinking about doing that this year as my Spring harvest didn't do well for some reason. Thanks for sharing! Blessings from Bama!

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    1. Thank you for the prayers, Felecia. We do plan a fall crop of beets, but instead of table beets, we're going to plant sugar beets that can be used for humans, livestock and for making sugar. It will be very interesting if we get a harvest. I hope your fall crop does well.

      Fern

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  8. Hi fern,
    How's the nephew doing? Has he recovered?

    Any suggestions on how to can beets without pickling them? We like to save them for roasting with squash and potatoes... This is our first season using a pressure canner - so advice is very needed and welcomed! Hope you are well!

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    1. He is doing much better, Mary, thank you for asking. After he gets some teeth to replace the ones he lost, he will make a full recovery.

      If you follow the link in this post, it will take you to canning beets in water, which is how Frank prefers them. I have never pickled any beets.....yet. I may try it one day. We eat these beets on a salad. They are soft, so I don't know how they would work for roasting.

      I know what you mean about the first season with a canner. We haven't been using one for very long. Give yourself another year and you will be much more comfortable. Our canning experiences are listed under 'Preserving Food' up on the right hand column toward the top of the page. I hope that gives you some help.

      Thank you for sharing and good luck preserving your harvest.

      Fern

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