We’ll be harvesting the leaves and roots of this plant to be dried for later use.
We hope to use this attachment to our Champion juicer to grind our dent corn when it’s dried and ready for harvesting.
None of the things we canned were grown in our garden. The okra was given to us by a friend. The blueberries were frozen. And the potatoes were given out for free at a truck stop just down from our house. We were sent home with 144 pounds of potatoes! We still have MANY quarts to go!
We’re drying some of these for use later as spices and some as a blend of healthy herbs that can be added to dishes to increase the health benefits.
Jicama is a plant that grows a tuber underground that is a very tasty starch. The good thing about this starch is that it doesn’t spike blood sugar, so it’s pretty healthy. The thing you must remember though, is that the leaves, stems and flowers of the plant are poisonous.
That’s it, I think. We did try a loaf of bread in our bread maker. My mother-in-law sent it early for our July anniversary. It looks pretty, but didn’t taste the greatest. We’re still working on our bread recipe to find something we like.
We made a few goofs with our canning too. It seems like preserving our garden harvest is much like the gardening itself – lots of trial and error.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…
No worries. We’re not discouraged. We’ll just keep trying until we get it right.
I thought I’d share for those who don’t have time to do the research.
My next step was to list everything in the garden that we didn’t want to lose or that was close to harvest. I made a coded list of what we planned to do with each one.
Some things are tropical. Ideally, they would be dormant right now. But, of course, it’s Florida, so things get weird. We had temps in the 80s just a couple of weeks ago so the plants that had been dormant started to bud, flower and grow. So nothing is dormant as it should be. We’ll do our best to protect each one in the best way.
Tropicals that are too big to be moved or that are in the ground will be mulched with yard clippings and leaves. Our neighbor just blessed us with 9 bags of oak leaves that will do a nice job for that. We also can use the straw that we use for mulching our garden beds.
Some of the tropicals will also be covered with sheets and we’ll add a string of Christmas lights underneath to add to the ground’s radiant heat.
We’ll be grouping our strawberries and blueberries together and placing a bucket of hot water underneath the covering as well. We’ll try to put that out as late as possible, and will need to replace it each night that we have the coverings in place.
We have several 5-gallon buckets with peppers, tomatoes, chick peas and Cape gooseberries. We’ll cluster these with a sheet and lights too. A couple we will bring in, especially if we only have one of those – namely, the Cape gooseberry and the Katuk.
Some of the smaller plants that are in the garden beds will get a tarp installed over a frame, as well as a little extra mulch around their stems. Finding a frame is easy enough – we have several crates we’ll use and some lawn chairs that can be turned upside down over the plants that will do the job, too. We also have a few plastic jugs that we’ll cut the bottoms out of and install on top of fragile plants.
The onions, garlic and sweet potatoes are all underground, and we’re hoping that the temps in our area won’t be cold long enough to affect them.
We also made of list of those plants that need to be harvested if at all possible:
There won’t be a lot of this stuff ready, especially after the frost on Sunday night, but we’ll check on each of them any way.
So…this is our plan. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. If you’re an experienced Florida farmer and see a flaw in my plan, please let me know! We’d like to do our best to salvage what is still growing and to save those tropicals and natives that we’ve spent money on this past year.
As the cost of gasoline rises and supply chains are stretched to breaking, there are so many ways we can cut costs, meet our family’s needs and learn some age-old solutions for our households.
Sometimes, going high tech is useful, with YouTube videos available on how to do just about anything you can think of; but at other times we are digging out old recipes and how-to books – actual, literal, made-from-trees books, to give us our direction.
Whichever you choose, bathe your path forward in prayer and Scripture reading. God will open your mind and heart to His wisdom, which far surpasses our own.
With that in mind, I’ll share a few links to items that are helping us save, stock up and make do. All of the picture are clickable links that take you to the purchasing page for the products.
(For transparency’s sake, I’d like to inform you that if you choose to buy any of these items through the links here on my blog, as an Amazon Associate, I receive a very small commission.)
Summers are very hot in Florida. In fact, even here in mid-October, we are still hitting 90* occasionally. And in our house, we keep our thermostat pretty high, due to an aging a/c unit. Therefore we find ourselves going through a LOT of ice to keep our drinks cold. And the price of ice is rising, just like other things. Our refrigerator freezer is too small to use ice trays, so we opted for something different:
A small counter-top icemaker.
It does a great job of making ice, as long as you add water. We bag the ice up and store it in our freezer. It only takes a few days of diligent scooping to get a nice supply of ice.
However, we quickly found that we were going through many more bottles of water than we had been. It makes sense – we were putting it into the ice maker! So…how to remedy that problem?
By pulling out something that had been languishing in our storage shed for a long time: a water distiller.
(We somehow misplaced the glass pitcher that collects the water. But we found this Rubbermaid container that does a fabulous job:
Here’s the lid for it:
This handy gadget takes whatever water you put in it, turns it into steam, then collects that steam as a liquid, thus removing all impurities.
We can use the bleachy, yucky city water (at no extra expense) and turn it into lovely pure water to use in our ice cubes.
But with one addition, we can elevate this whole process to something wonderful. By adding this mineral concentrate to our distilled water, we can add back valuable minerals (Magnesium, Chloride, Sodium, Potassium, Sulfate, Lithium, Boron, and Ionic Sea minerals) to our ice:
Who knows – we might actually start drinking this water, instead of buying bottled water!
We store our water in half-gallon Ball jars:
To some, this may seem like quite a complicated process, but once it’s set into motion, it pretty much takes care of itself. We store the distilled water, add it to the ice maker when needed and put the ice in the freezer.
We are saving money by not buying ice and extra water nor the gas which we’d use to go buy it, and we’re adding a pure mineral-enhanced ice source to our daily diet.
If we choose to use this water for drinking and cooking as well, our savings will really increase!
To take the process one more step further, this water would be excellent for storing for emergency use. Do you have an emergency store of water? Here in Florida, most of us keep some extra water on hand, especially during hurricane season.
Here’s a great YouTube video on storing water. It’s very thorough and logical.
I hope this post has gotten your wheels turning on the subject of water. I’d love to hear what you do in your family to save money, store for emergencies and maintain the flavor and mineral content of your water.
In what other ways are you “making do” these day? Are there other subjects you’d be interested in? Let me know.
I’ve never really been a fan of August. As a youngster, it was always too hot to do much outside, and too boring inside. I was an only child until the age of 13, so no siblings to play with. I also had to start thinking about the upcoming school year, wardrobe, routine, pressures and supplies.
August marked the end of church Summer Camp weeks (my absolute favorite thing about summer!) and the lazy, unplanned mornings at home; and the calendar started filling up with lots of activities, some I enjoyed, but many that I didn’t.
Now, however, I’m finding the joy in August. Not only are some things started to really take off in my garden – despite the heat! – but now starts the time of planning and research and plotting out my new fall garden scheme.
I love researching what will grow here in my zone (9b) and learning which plants make good companions to others. Did you know that you should not plan onions and/or peppers near your beans? Yeah, neither did I, until I started studying.
And did you know that now is the time to start your seeds for all those things that wouldn’t grow here during our hot summer? That’s right – broccoli and carrots and lettuce will do well here during the fall when the heat diminishes and the hours get shorter.
There are also certain varieties of each veggie and fruit that do best here. We need onions and garlic that are short-hour varieties because our days are getting shorter now. We don’t have the 16-hours of sunshine a day needed for those long-day varieties.
And the Seminole Pumpkin does really well here in Florida because it’s a native variety. The Red and Yellow Roselle Hibiscus do well here too, and will soon have beautiful calyces to harvest for teas and preserves..
I’m also trying a tomato variety that is native to Florida, the Everglade Tomato. It is sooooo tiny, and the fruit will be very small, but it’s nice to have something that actually likes to grow here. 😉 And our course, a Mulberry tree is always happy in Florida. This one is “dwarf”. Yeah…I’m thinking it doesn’t know what that word means! Ha!
So, I’m finding plenty to be excited about in August. It’s not only a time of transition, but also a time of savoring…enjoying the still moments before the rush of our autumn routine pulls us away.
Enjoy what the last few weeks of crazy Florida heat is doing for your plants and soil, instead of wishing the hot weather away. Autumn will come, just like always. Let’s enjoy each day God gives us.
I know you’ve been waiting a long time for a garden update.
Here’s a picture post to hold you over until I can sit down to do a proper post.
It’s been quite an education out there in the garden. It’s so odd – the things that don’t grow & the things that do. I am constantly surprised.
We plan to harvest our first set of potatoes buckets in the next day or so. I’m hoping we won’t be disappointed. The first bucket we harvested when they should have been ready only had 2 little potatoes in it!
We’ve got cattle panels to set up for all the melon seedlings that are ready to be transplanted. We’re planning to make arches with the panels. It’s so exciting to see the back yard come together as a food forest!
We had to take Isaac for some medical tests this week in Orlando. When we told the tech we were from Haines City, his next question was “Oh, so you guys have a farm there?”
We just laughed & said no. But then we thought about it.
I told him, “Well, we do have a garden this year! It’s not quite a farm, but we are growing things.”
It was funny that he thought of our area as farm country. It is very rural, I guess. I don’t mind that at all. I’m so glad the Lord didn’t “plant” me in the big city. I’m grateful I have lots of nature & clear blue skies where I live.
That’s it for this update! I hope to be back soon!
Everything is growing so well. I’m surprised every day by some new growth or blossom or bug or snake… you just never know what to expect in Florida!
We’ve had some disappointments, too: yellow peppers that refused to germinate, cilantro that has only grown four tiny leaves, & tansy that never grew. Our sugar baby melons are struggling & the oregano never even popped its heads up out of the seeds. The loquat tree is being munched on by weevils & out of 8 plants, I have only 1 tomato growing.
But the process had been so rewarding and I’m learning SO much! I love being outside right now before the horrible heat arrives & the Lord is showing me many Spiritual truths out in the garden as well.
Yep. It’s been a whiiiiiiile since I’ve done a Managing My Monday post! But I’m just going to jump right in. 🙂
Doug teaches via livestream on Mondays and Wednesdays, so that leaves me here with Isaac and the 2 dogs. Normally, I wouldn’t have to include the “2 dogs” part, but when 1 of those dogs is still a puppy…well, there’s a lot to manage there. So…I included them.
LexaBelle is adorable and growing so fast! She is well over 40 pounds now and super strong for a pup. She has something to “say” about everything – whether she needs to potty, or something outside made a noise, or she can’t find her toy, or she’s hungry…or sleepy…or stuck on the bed and afraid to jump down. You get the picture…she barks at ev.er.y.thing. We’re working on it, but whew – she is so much more vocal than any other dog we’ve ever had, and it’s testing our training ability, I can assure you!
Isaac is a dream to care for. He is so well trained now and understands when I tell him he’ll have to wait for Daddy to come home for something. I can no longer move him up in the bed or change/feed him. Doug does all those tasks. So Isaac has the patience of a saint, as long as I keep the Gaither, Little Einsteins and 3-2-1-Penguins videos rolling.
Every Monday, I handle Isaac’s payroll. I have to approve hours and submit codes via a couple different web sites now. It seems like the process changes every few months. Right now, Isaac only has 2 employees – Doug and Mrs. Julie. That keeps it pretty simple. We’d like to eventually add someone else to the roster for those times when Mrs. Julie can’t make it and Doug already has plans made. It doesn’t happen often, but it’d be nice to have a backup.
Over the weekend I made a yummy, healthy trail mix. I’d been buying a keto trail mix from Wally World, but it was $5 for a small container. I bought my own nuts, included a few extra things they didn’t have and removed stuff I didn’t like. Of course you can tweak it to your preferences. It’s really delicious and keeps me from sending Doug out for chips. 😉
I included pecans and walnuts (sprayed lightly with olive oil, salted and roasted), cashews, cocktail peanuts, and pepitas. I also added Lily’s sugar-free chocolate chips and some golden raisins. I realize the raisins pull it out of “keto” range, but I like them and used them very sparingly.
Monday’s also the day I start to work on our menu and grocery lists for the week. This is a task I am so not good at, but I keep trying. Doug’s at Publix right now, picking up the fabulous BOGOs and all our meat for the week. We shop at Walmart, too, via their Grocery app and website. We splurged for a year of Walmart+, so we get free delivery of our groceries each week. I don’t know if we’ll continue it beyond this year. We’ll wait and see what this next year holds, financially, before making that decision.
I did start my Monday in the Word of God today. It’s a really good place to start. 🙂 I’m going through this book right now. It has short undated devotions, accompanied by beautiful art and painted Bible verses. I’m really enjoying it.
During the holidays, I usually change my phone ringtone to something Christmasy – usually Carol of the Bells by The Celtic Women (because it’s beautiful and tickles my funny bone every time it starts playing.)
But for the New Year, I wanted something a little more meaningful. My phone doesn’t ring often, so when it does, I pay attention. This year, I chose a song by the McKamey’s called “I Keep Praying.”
It has really been a great motivator to me so far. There is so much going on that I need to pray about – in my life, my family, my church, my nation. There are so many things I can’t do anything about – except pray. I’m so thankful I have a Heavenly Father that hears me every time I lift my heart, mind and voice to Him in praise and supplication.
He knows me. And He hears me. What a precious treasure that is – for this Monday, and for every day!