Canning has begun in earnest. The pantry shelves are bare and Michigan’s bounteous fruit crops are coming in.
Ten jars of strawberry jam, ten jars of currant jelly, seven jars of strawberry lemon marmalade.
And leftover strawberries for dipping in sugar and eating.
Cherries, blueberries, and mulberries will fill out the rest of July, then blackberries, raspberries, peaches, tomatoes, and peppers in August and September, and apples and pears in September and October. I’ll be trying out my new pressure canner as well for things like beans and whole fruit I couldn’t do with a water bath.
Last year I hardly canned at all and was forced to buy store-bought raspberry jam. Ew. I’ve been too spoiled with homemade to ever really enjoy that stuff again.
This dry, hot summer has been hard on farmers. And it may have been hard on your own home vegetable garden. I, for one, planted a number of things that were just duds or else got the life sucked out of them by the sweltering sun.
But all is not lost for the Michigan home gardener. You can still plant many vegetables and harvest them in late fall if you are careful to keep everything watered during August and September.
Here’s what you can plant from seed: basil, beans, beets, carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, parsley, peas, radishes, spinach, summer squash, swiss chard, turnips, winter squash.
Here’s what you can plant as transplants (and these are all sold a big discounts this time of year as your nursery or supermarket is trying to clear their shelves): broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower, as well as many of the crops mentioned above.
So get out to your local nursery or Meijer store and see what they have on sale. You could still reap a pretty good harvest yet this year!