Another summer has come to an end, it is always sad to see it go but there really is something inviting about the crisp fall air and the change of the seasons. This has completed my second year in the BIU Garden Program and I am so thankful to have been a part of it! Even though I have gardened to some degree for most of my adult life, I still felt like I learned so much over these past couple years. Small little tricks like planting tomatoes deeper than their soil line, utilizing straw to cover bare ground in the garden during the growing season, and how to use hoops and covers to extend the growing season is knowledge I will use season after season.

Like many gardeners this year, we have enjoyed a bounty of veggies out of our garden! Things like summer squash and cherry tomatoes are always prolific but all our varieties of peppers, winter squash, regular tomatoes, and even watermelon did excellent this year!! I was most excited about the watermelon really, I have never grown a watermelon that actually looked and tasted good and we had 4 decent ones from just the one mound.

Last year my biggest mistake was not preserving the harvest as well as I should have which resulted in a lot of produce given away and a lot of wasted produce sadly. This year my goal was to change that and with the help of a pressure canner we canned over 3 dozen jars of crushed tomatoes, a couple dozen jars of green beans, and I even made some zucchini relish which tastes a lot like bread and butter pickles with a kick. Next year I really hope to build on this preservation and get a little more creative with canning recipes and even break out my dehydrator (which I should have done this year).

I cannot express enough how wonderful it has been to participate in this program, I hope I can connect others with this organization and encourage them to grow their gardening knowledge as well. I am hoping that one day I will be able to participate in the winter farm school program, it has not been able to work with my schedule so far but as my little girl gets older I may be able to finally make time for it!! Thank you so much for everything!!!