Sunday, January 15, 2017

Home Grown Eats

If you follow me on instagram, you know that since we moved into this house - we have been busy growing our own foods.

When we decided to stay in Tucson, and buy a house -- our goal was to have a house with land and privacy -- where we can grow a garden filled with vegetables and fruit trees!

This is a work-in-progress and a multi-phased approach. This year, we just did a small "bed-garden". And Ryan worked (really hard) on leveling out the land, burying drainage pipes, and we got gutters installed - so we can eventually become "RainWater Harvesters"!

This is my 1st real success in gardening in the 8 years we have been in Tucson, and I am so excited!! Here are the photos of what we have been growing and making:

Olive trees are illegal to grow in Tucson. They cause bad allergies, apparently. But when you buy a house that was built in 1952....they can't make you cut it down! And we are technically not in city limits. So when were realizes we had olive trees - we started reading up on how to process olives! 

We have about 5 trees that produced pounds of luscious olives. But just know that the tree to olive process is a LOT of work. Months of work, in fact. So next time you bite into an olive - thank about that ;)

(however, typically the olives you buy from a store are processed with lye. Which is quicker and easier. Why so much work? Olives straight off the tree are extremely bitter. Not even the birds will eat them. )

This is a picture of the various types we did. 
Top Left: "greek style" (think kalamata) - pickling salt, water - and you have to change the brine out monthly
Top Right: Sicilian style. This is a mixture of pickling salt, water, vinegar, thai peppers, and various seasonings. These are not done yet. 
Bottom left: Dry brine. This is just pickling salt and olives. Needs to be shaken daily, and changed weekly. I'm going to be honest and say this was a fail
Bottom right: A picture of our olives before we got to work!

This was our 1st official "olive feast" on Christmas Eve. We served them with a little olive oil. They were full of flavor! 

Now on to our winter garden. We have Kale, Yellow onions, broccoli, basil, oregano, rosemary, and brussel sprouts. Winter gardens in Tucson are a-mazing! We get so much rain, and the climate is perfect. 60-70's during the day. 

This is a picture of the 1st say I discovered the broccoli sprouting. Now I have giant heads on each plant! 

Yesterday I harvested some broccoli and enjoyed it as a mid-afternoon snack, as well as cut up in my eggs at lunch time! The fresh broccoli so sweet and full of flavor.

I am interested to see how the brussel sprouts work out. They are still growing. My onions aren't quite ready to be harvested yet (I think? How is one to know? #rookiegardener) 

We are definitely inspired to expand our garden! 

In addition to home-grown foods. We also have a bit of "self sourced" meat we are enjoying this year: Ryan's deer. Enough to fill our lay-down freezer! So far I have made a few venison chilis as well as a venison roast. So delicious and lean!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

That's awesome that you've had success with your garden! Yea! It's so rewarding and fulfilling to eat food you've grown. I hope the brussel sprouts do well as that is one of my favorite veggies! As you know, I did a garden share last summer which was so much fun. I plan got do it again next year. Eventually I would like a garden in my yard but this house isn't the right place for that as our backyard is pretty small and we know we'll be moving in the next couple of years. But for now it's great to use the community garden. It's not far away so I can easily walk or bike there.

Marlys Dotzenrod said...

I am so excited that you got to raise a garden and to do it in the winter months! That works out perfectly! Can you raise tomatoes at this time of year? I know the things you are raising live cooler temperatures! That broccoli looks absolutely wonderful! Did you have trouble with worms? I always did and had to soak them in salt water to draw them out. Maybe you don't have that problem in AZ! And it looks like you have plenty of venison to consume!

Amber said...

That is SO COOL you have olive trees! I LOVE olives so I will definitely think about how much work goes into them the next time I enjoy one ;)

I definitely want to have my own garden this year. I am thinking it will be just a bed in the community garden plots but depending on where we buy a house and if it's set up for a garden or not it might also be a garden in my backyard!! :)