Home Farming Challenge – Harvest Time & VOTING

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VOTE FOR CAT’S HOME FARM

For three very long months I’ve been tending to a raised bed home farm that I built with my own two hands, plus the helping hands of my father. Week after week I water it, picked bugs off the plants and the day has finally come that my family and I are finally able to enjoy the fruits (or should I say vegetables) of my labor.

The first moment of pure joy and excitement came when I was able to harvest and cook my first homegrown head of broccoli. Shortly after picking it was chopped into a fresh batch of broccoli-cheese soup with herb seasoned croutons. One thing I quickly learned about growing broccoli for the first time is that it loves cool weather which I’ll keep in mind when I plant even more of this delicious vegetable.

HARVEST garden broccoli

 

For many, many weeks I’ve been patiently waiting to see if my carrots were growing. It was obvious the green tips were getting bigger and bigger but the problem with underground crops is you can’t see underground. One day my patience grew thin and I starting digging through the soil to take a just a little peek only to find my carrots were getting big enough to harvest and eat. My neighbors got a quick view of my home farming happy dance that afternoon.

HARVEST garden carrots

 

The celebration of harvesting my carrots was followed by one of my favorite way to prepare them, in the slow cooker. A tender and juice chuck roast spent a day slow cooking with the fresh picked carrots, onions and even some fresh rosemary still growing beautifully in my raised bed farm.

HARVEST vegetable pot roast

 

One underground crop that I began growing in the first weeks of my home farm planting season was garlic. This has been a very mysterious crop for me. I decided to check on one of the bulbs last week to find that the single clove I planted had tripled into three cloves. Being unsure of what the growing process for these are like, I turned to the Home Farming Community where I found some clues on when to harvest garlic. Since all of the tops of my garlic are still green and growing, I realize I’ve got to harness some patience and give them more time to grow.

HARVEST garden garlic

 

Another underground crop that I’m quite proud of is my onions. A few weeks ago I noticed the green stalks had turned brown and wilted which made me think they were ready to harvest. Once again, I turned to the Home Farming community to see what my next step was and I learned that my onions needed time to cure before storing them inside in a cool, dark place. After a few days of drying in the son I pulled a few from storage to add to my Slow Cooker Pot Roast.

The funny thing about onions in our house is we never seemed to have any when I really needed them. I can’t begin to tell you how many times my husband has had to make a last minute run to the grocery store because I was out of onions. Well, he (and I) are very happy to say we have a kitchen full stocked with onions now. If nothing else, growing them has saved us a few dollars in gas for those extra trips to the store.

HARVEST garden onions

 

The true crown jewel of our home farm has been the tomatoes. I can’t even begin to express how much I love them! I will tell you one thing though, if you’ve ever had a homegrown tomato, you’ll never look at a store bought one the same again. And if you’ve never tasted a homegrown tomato, you’re missing out on one of the most amazing flavors a home farm can give you. Just look at how amazing this bowl of grape and cherry tomatoes is. The flavor bursts in your mouth even more than the color pops on your screen!

HARVEST cherry grape tomatoes

 

The bigger variety of tomatoes like these Better Boys is even more incredible. A few slices of one of these tomatoes on a bLT sandwich left me craving them all week long. Fortunately, I’ve got over half a dozen plants filling up with juice, ripe tomatoes just waiting to be picked, eaten or perhaps even canned for the winter.

HARVEST garden tomatoes

 

Beyond growing and harvesting these wonderful vegetables, I have to say the part of this experience that felt the best was putting them into dishes for our family table. I never knew the difference a homegrown vegetable could make in a meal until I experienced it firsthand with all of these wonderful dishes. I even created a Home Farming Recipe Collection where I shared all of the recipes so you can make them at home too.

homefarmingrecipecollection

 

Thanks to what seems like a never ending supply of grape tomatoes, I’ve got a few more recipes to share in the coming weeks. For now you can take a sneak at the Tomato Mozzarella Crostini appetizer I made last week.

HARVEST tomato bread

 

As proud as I am of myself for creating such a bountiful home farm, most of the credit goes to the Kraft Triscuit Home Farming website and expert, Paul James. It was such an amazing resource throughout this learning experience, so helpful in fact that I really don’t think I could have done this without them both.

 

Now that the growing season is coming to an end, I have some exciting news to share. As a participant in the Home Farming Challenge, I’m one of three participants that has a chance to win $1,000! For a little home farmer like myself, that’s an amazing prize that I need your help to win. All it takes is one minute of your time to vote for my Raised Bed Garden so that I can reinvest the money back into our farm. Next year I have big plans of expanding our home farm to include not one, but three raised beds so I can explore even more vegetables to share with my family. I would love to have more room to grow cucumbers, radishes, peppers, more broccoli and perhaps even some watermelons.

 

DisclosureThis is a compensated, sponsored post for Triscuit. All ideas, thoughts, experiences are my own. Be sure to check out my posts as well as the other bloggers participating in this challenge on Better Homes and Garden’s Home Farming Challenge page.

 

 

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  1. Wow, that roast and vegetables looks great. You have done such a great job and it is very inspiring.

    http://www.MyaMaternity.com
    http://myamaternity.blogspot.com/

  2. I am so jealous of your garden. You totally ROCK at gardening girl! I am growing veggies, but my garden doesn’t look like yours.

    Your recipes are awesome too!

  3. WOW – I am so impressed with that garden – All of your hard work looks like it paid off – YUMMY!

  4. That stew looks DELISH! Voted for you!

  5. You did such a great job, Cat! You got my vote.

  6. Cat, you rocked this whole gardening thing, and I’m so inspired and in awe of everything you’ve done with it, both outside in the actual garden and with the fruits of your labor in the kitchen. You’re amazing, and you have my vote! I’ll do it right this second so I won’t forget.

    • Liz, I totally surprised myself with this one. If you had seen the garden I did several years ago, you never would have imagined I could accomplish all this. I’m not proud of myself very often, but this summer, I am. :)

      Thank you for voting!

  7. Just voted Cat good luck. You did an amazing job!

  8. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous over your garden. (The things women get jealous over when they grown. ;) ) Seriously Cat, you’ve gotten such a great harvest, and I’m sure it’s nice to cook with farm fresh veggies. Especially drooling over the tomatoes. I love fresh tomatoes. Off to vote!

    • LOL Tiffany, you know, it is strange how things like that change as you get older. I sure wish you lived here, I’d be happy to share with you. And thank you for the vote!

  9. Cat,

    All three of you ladies did a wonderful job starting and maintaining your gradens, BUT Cat your recipes w/your bounty did “totally rock.” My gardening plans didn’t go as well as last year so I just had to drool at your pictures of all of the foods I could have made if I had been more successful. Yes, there is always the grocery store, but there is something special about walking out into your own yard and picking what you need fresh. Congratulations on a wonderful gardening season and I’m already excited to see what you’ll do next year :-).

    Oh yeah, I’m clicking over to vote for you.

  10. You did an awesome job Cat! Of course I’ll vote for you!

  11. Voted for you again, Cat! Good luck.

  12. Linda Hall says:

    I am really enjoying reading about your garden, the pictures and recipes. It brings back many fond memories of when I had my own gardens!

  13. Cat your vegetables look AMAZING!! Seriously you did an awesome job and I’m clicking to vote right now.
    Kas

  14. That tomato mozzarella crostini looks delish – Yum!

  15. THAT is an awesome garden! The tomatoes are making my mouth water.

    I love garlic. It is one of my favs, so it is pretty cool to see it fresh from the garden. I know the flavor was awesome.

  16. kimbuckjr says:

    WOW! You have the GREENEST thumb I have ever seen. My goodness! Watch out Martha Stewart Cat Davis is here to knock you outta business!!! Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee! I bet you save a lot on produce, like veggies & stuff, just by farming your own yummy stuff. You are very lucky! We have no room to farm OR I would attempt to grown something.

    I’m so impressed with your garden…you & your family are amazing farmers!

    Oh, by the way…I attempted to vote for you, but voting time was over. So sorry I missed it! UGH!

    kimbuckjr at yahoo dot com

  17. What a beautiful garden. This iiss what I want to do now. It is just me and my husband now but we have grown children and their families nearby. I want to make it a goal by spring that I start a garden. My brother-in-law can build me the raised beds and my children and grandchildren can help me plant and garden as well as my husband. This would be fun and rewarding. Also economical. Thanks for sharing.