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.
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.
Just thought I’d share a little progress note with you.
We are starting seeds for the new fall garden. I’m excited to be able to grow things now that wouldn’t grow during the hot summer here.
Lots of sprouting going on!
And we’ve been prepping our beds for some special seedlings. These are our Seminole Pumpkins! I’m so excited to be growing this Florida native in my garden this fall! If you look closely, there are nine little seedlings in that bed. We’ll be giving it some more mulch a little later on.
And I thought I’d share some of the ways we get things accomplished here at our house. I’m not able to go outside for hours, helping with all the gardening tasks. And there are SO many, you can be sure! When it’s cooler, I can sit and help outside, but it’s still just too hot for me to sit out there now.
So, this is how I help. We cover the floor with sheets and cardboard, set up a table, bring in dirt and pots and plants and I help get things done. These were our strawberries. They’ve grown and multiplied for several months in this wagon and needed to be separated in order to bloom in the fall and winter. It felt so good when that job was done. Doug rolled them back outside and brought in our other wagon to load up all the pots.
There would be no garden if Doug didn’t help. I am so thankful for him! He says I’m the brain and he’s the brawn…LoL! Not really, but it does sort of describe our strengths. I do all the planning, plotting, choosing seed, buying supplies, laying out the garden; and he supplies the brute strength. I’m so grateful the Lord put us together on the same team.
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.
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.
We’ve been busy, busy, busy, getting seeds into the ground and setting up our garden. This will be another picture post, as I don’t have a lot of left-over energy for writing all the words that make the sentences that make the sense. 😉
I’m trying to be patient and wait for the second set of leaves on these little guys before I transplant them!
And even though I didn’t get a picture of him, we’ve seen a little bumble bee buzzzzzzing around our blueberry plants. Yay for pollinators!!!
I’m becoming enamored with mixing my potting soil. It’s so satisfying to move the ingredients around until they thoroughly mixed and ready to go into the planters.
These arrived in the mail on Monday. We soaked them and got them into the soil right away! Isaac’s old wagon makes a great planter. It even has pre-made drainage holes in the bed! The company I ordered from sent FOUR extra strawberry starts. I had to scramble and find another planter. They looked very healthy after their bath and I’m so excited to see how they do!
This represents about 1/3 of our garden so far. The drip irrigation was a new project for me, and I enjoyed it immensely. AND it was incredibly satisfying to turn the water on for the first time and get water dripping into EVERY plant and have no leaks or lines popping!
We still need to regulate the nozzles on the stakes, to be sure each plant is getting the right amount of water, but since some of these plants won’t be in this section, we’ll wait to do that when the final buckets are in place.
All of our climbing vegetables and fruits will be in front of the gate here, trailing up these sections of fencing. We’ll have a couple different kinds of melons, cucumbers, squash, zucchini and more.
My plan is ambitious, I know! And I’m hoping it’s a success. But ultimately, I know that I will learn so many things, whether I have a successful garden or not. Then I can build on the knowledge I have, and the things I’ve learned, to make a more successful garden the next time.
Ultimately, I’m leaving the results up to the Heavenly Gardener! After all, He’s the Creator of each tiny little seed I planted. We’ll see what He wants to teach me as I garden this year.