I'm in the inland northwest. Far different than the coastal areas or weste
rn valleys. The Cascade Mountains stop most of the rain so we only average
about 12" per year, most of that occurring in the fall and winter when the
prevailing winds shift slightly to bring the weather in around the mountai
ns. We get four distinct seasons, with the summers betting very hot and d
ry, so irrigation is critical, and very little water is wasted. Winters ar
e normally just a few degrees below freezing, although we have dropped to d
ouble-digit negatives a few times.
I grow quite a variety of stuff. Plenty of paste tomatoes every year to pu
t up sauces (spaghetti, salsa, and whatever else inspires me), so plenty of
peppers and other stuff to go into the sauces too. Because of the heat, bl
ossom end rot can be troublesome at times. I grow my own herbs to use well
. In fact, everything I use in my preserving I grow myself or buy from som
I also grow a lot of winter squash and root crops that I keep through the w
inter. One of the happiest memories I have is making borscht for the first
time and finding that the family loved it! It's the only reason I'm allow
ed to grow beets now (although I do sneak in a batch of pickles every year)
. Speaking of pickles, I also grow cukes to make hot dill pickles and my gr
andmothers lime pickle that are so crunchy and sweet.
We have an assortment of fruit trees and vines and bushes that we freeze, d
ry, or otherwise preserve. I made Concorde grape pie filling 2 years ago f
or the first time and even though it's difficult, it will be made every yea
r from now on. So delicious!
I grow fingerling potatoes and leeks. I dont generally grow other potatoes
or onions because those are readily available around here at a price lower
than I could ever grow them for. Many times you can find a grower that wil
l let you go into the fields after they've harvested them and pick what's l
eft and that price is hard to beat. Sweet corn is available for a nickel a
n ear when its in season, so I don't grow that either, but I do grow popcor
n and the kids think that's a blast
In finishing up some of what's left in the cellar, I just made a couple mor
e batches of red onion jam. So good on roasts, hamburgers, or whatever. Thi
s is also one that gets made every year.
There's a lot more that goes on around here, but perhaps I'll share more as
time goes on.