Intentionally Eating from the Garden

So, we have our garden for this year, and we planted a ton of great stuff, and everything is growing really well. We’ve been pretty good about planting on time, weeding, etc., and we’re really excited to see the harvest. Now, in the past, we have had a pretty hard time planning our meals around what’s ready in the garden, and a lot of it has gone to waste. So this time we’re trying to be ready to eat the great food while it’s available.

Problems and Solutions

We have found a few things blocking our way to actually enjoying the fruit of our labors:

1) There is way too much of one food, and we get absolutely sick of it! For example, this year we planted radishes, which we like. However, if you didn’t already know, every seed makes a radish, and sprinkling a bunch of seeds everywhere makes… a bunch of radishes! So, we have a bunch of radishes sitting in our fridge and they’ll probably just end up going to the chickens. Of course, it doesn’t help that we don’t harvest them in time…

2) We don’t harvest the food soon enough, and it got tough, bitter, and/or went to seed. This has happened with green beans, cherry tomatoes, and like I said, those radishes. Sometimes, like with green beans, you can’t see them, and so they grow way too long, or sometimes you just don’t need them, so they completely go to waste.

3) We don’t have enough of something to make a worthwhile meal out of. So we harvest what’s ready, and then don’t eat it because there isn’t enough. By the time there’s enough, the first ones are rotten. 😑 We have encountered this problem with green beans (again!) and it’s certainly a possibility with other crops like cherry tomatoes, asparagus, okra, etc. If you are a little low quantity-wise, you can mix and match! Don’t have enough green beans? Add some carrots to make mixed vegetables! Only a few cherry tomatoes? Add cucumbers for fresh eating, and peppers for on skewers or with Mexican food. Don’t be afraid to try out new combinations. Most things taste good together, so go ahead and think outside the box!

4) We don’t like to eat what we planted, so we just ignore it, and it gets wasted. For us, planting summer squash and lettuce is useless, because most of us (read: the kids) don’t like lettuce and summer squash. Simple solution: if you won’t eat it, don’t plant it! If what you like to eat is too hard to grow, or won’t grow in your area, then you might have to skip gardening, or learn to like some foods that will grow for you. If it ever came to starvation…😉 Or, just do animals!

5) We already had something planned for dinner, because we didn’t know that our veggies would be ready today. We weren’t prepared. This is probably the most common problem, at least for us. Of course, if you do things in time, to a high standard, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, because you’ll know how long each plant takes until harvest. But, if you already planted everything, but you are lost as far as timing, here’s a few tips to tide you over:

    • Use things like green beans, corn, and greens as sides for a meal you already have planned. Trust me, an extra green veggie will never hurt!
    • If you don’t have something planned, make a huge mish-mash of all your garden veggies and have it for salad, stir fry or as something to dip in hummus, ranch, or any other sauce you like. Like I said, almost any combination will do as something!
    • If you just don’t know how to utilize your harvest: peppers and tomatoes make great salsa, chili, or grilled veggies, and go well with pasture raised beef. Carrots and other root veggies like potatoes go great in some chicken broth for a hot, nutritious soup. Lettuce, kale, and cabbage make great side salads and coleslaw, especially if you mix the two and add a great dressing and some dried fruit and nuts.
    • And if you just can’t think of a single thing, you can always freeze, can, or dry your harvest. Then, when your head clears, you can find a really delicious use for those great garden veggies.

Good luck!



Water Resiliency

The Problem

On Christmas week, our water pipes froze, leaving us without water. We innovated for daily tasks like washing hands and going to the bathroom, but it brought up a good question. What would happen if we lost water for a longer period of time, and how could we increase our water resiliency?

Prevention and Preparation

Prevention is a key to being water resilient. Our pipes froze because we weren’t prepared for days of single digit temps. Next time, we’ll insulate them if the weather is going to be cold. Also, keeping a single faucet running would have prevented the pipes from freezing.

Preparation makes emergencies a lot more bearable. When our water went out, we had bottled drinking water on hand from when our water was turned off for construction. If you have forewarning, prepare!

Some Solutions

When we lost water, we were blessed to have friends gather round and help out. Some got us bottled drinking water, and others gave us a Berkey water filtration systems for drinking water from our creek, which saved us from having to buy more water.

Berkey water filter and tank
Berkey water filter and tank

We flushed the toilets by hauling in five gallon buckets of water from a large tank pumped from our creek, and washed our hands with a small filter bag and tube.

Tank with water from creek
Tank with water from creek


This made it possible to survive rather normally, even with no grid water, which was awesome!

We realize that not everyone has a creek, so you have to innovate according to your circumstances, but these are just some ideas for preparedness in case of an emergency. Other ideas could be collecting runoff from your roof, or rain barrels.

This was a great, albeit inconvenient, learning experience for us. Thankfully, none of our pipes burst, and we got our water back after 5 days. But it has changed our resiliency list: drilling a well has moved up higher on our list!