2020 garden stats and notes

This year’s garden was the puniest yet, I think.

But! Thanks to our younger daughter’s job at a produce farm, we had an endless supply of fresh goodies all summer long, and sometimes she even brought home enough extras that I was able to preserve them.

Having all that produce at our fingertips was a treat.

As for our garden, the bum tomato crop was the biggest disappointment. It was so bad, I ended up buying tomatoes from a local, Old Order Mennonite farm so I’d have enough to make salsa and some pizza sauce. I’d always thought store-bought canned tomatoes were probably pretty good, but last spring when we’d run low, I’d bought some canned, chopped tomatoes thinking they’d be similar to home-canned, but nope. They weren’t even close. Next year, I’m gonna go all out. 

We still have our three steers to butcher — we’ll be picking up the meat at the beginning of January (if anyone wants to place an order, let me know!) — so that will bulk up our freezers considerably.

Speaking of freezers, our big chest freezer is old, as are our two upright freezers. We have a small chest freezer (that my brother was using for a while and that is now empty). Despite our seeming glut of freezers, we are painfully aware that one (or all, heaven forbid) might die at any given moment, so we’ve taken preemptive measures and ordered a new chest freezer. However, because this is 2020 and everyone wants a freezer, our order has been on standby …  for months. Fingers crossed we get it before our beef is ready for pick-up.


  • Rhubarb, frozen: about 4 gallons
  • Mint Tea Concentrate: 3 quarts; 7 pints
  • Strawberries: 13 quarts, sliced and sugared; 6 pints of freezer jam
  • Broccoli, frozen: 2 quarts
  • Cauliflower, frozen: 4 quarts
  • Sour cherries: 10 two-cup bags
  • Sweet Cherries: 4 quarts frozen, unpitted; 4½ quarts frozen, pitted; some (uncounted, oops!) quarts of canned and unpitted yellow and red; 6 pints of cherry bounce
  • Zucchini Relish: 12 pints
  • Sweet Pickles: 8 quarts and 2 pints
  • Pesto Torte: 2 recipes
  • Green Beans (from Season’s Bounty), frozen: 33 quart-and-a-half bags
  • Corn, frozen: 12 pints
  • Pumpkin Seed Pesto: 6 half-pints
  • Salsa: 21 quarts and 2 pints
  • Tomatoes, canned: 11 quarts and 1 pint
  • Pizza Sauce, canned: 13 pints
  • Roasted Tomato Sauce, canned: 5 pints
  • Peaches, Glohaven and Redskinned: 27 quarts canned; 4 quarts frozen; 4 pints jam
  • Nectarines: 8 quarts canned; 4 quarts sliced, sugared, and frozen; 1 bag chunks
  • Peppers: 1 gallon strips, raw; 3 pints chopped, raw; 6 pints cooked; 3 pints, hot mix, cooked
  • Red Raspberries: 12 quarts frozen
  • Zucchini Sausage Parm, frozen: several foil pans

*I got done picking the raspberries long before the season was over so I passed the task off to my sister-in-law. She said she got a bunch of quarts, too. It’s amazing what one little patch will yield.

*Our green beans didn’t grow. This has been a consistent problem. I’m beginning to wonder if they’d do better as a fall crop, with a summer planting….

*My dad planted lots of sweet potatoes and gifted us a bushel.

*There were no grapes, perhaps because of a too-rough pruning, or maybe because of getting too much shade from an adjacent tree? My husband cut down some of the biggest shade branches this fall, so we’ll see if that helps next summer. 

*We didn’t grow much corn this year, thinking that we had a whole bunch in the freezer. We didn’t though, and now we’re already down to the last two bags.

*Because of a late frost, the local pick-your-own blueberries didn’t have much. I resorted to buying discount berries at the store when they were in season and freezing those.

*Along with the food we preserved, we also ate of bunch of things fresh, like cherry tomatoes, asparagus, lettuce, and herbs. And, thanks to my daughter’s farm, I discovered the joys of eggplant. 

We are well fed. I am grateful.

This same time, years previous: when the dress-up ballgown finally fits, yeasted streusel cake with lemon glaze, managing my list habit, okonomiyaki, the quotidian (12.9.13), a family outing, peanut butter cookies, Ree’s monkey bread, butter cookies.


  • KC

    With grocery store canned tomatoes, the whole ones or the crushed ones are better (the chopped ones are stabilized with calcium or something so that they stay in pieces instead of mushing)… but 1. brands vary a lot, and the generic brands I’m familiar with have good cans and meh cans and 2. it’s hard to beat home-grown [or equivalent], home-canned tomatoes. (if you buy Sad Perpetual Roma tomatoes at the grocery store and can them at home, though … eh, buy cheap grocery store canned tomatoes instead.)

  • heather

    have you considered bean seed maggot as the cause to your green bean issue? it can cause them to not germinate, or sad, puny plants if they do germinate. I have to transplant beans for that reason or sow later in the year.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Sure—here you go! One big pan feeds us for a couple meals. First time I serve it as is, with toast. Then another night I chop it up and toss it with spaghetti. In between, we eat leftovers for lunches, often with rice. The kids aren’t huge fans (because of the zucchini), but it really is delicious….

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