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A Guide to Growing the Best Fruits and Vegetables in July

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July brings forth the peak of the summer season, providing the perfect opportunity for gardeners to enjoy a bountiful harvest from their backyard plots. Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or a novice gardener, this article will guide you through the best fruits and vegetables to grow in July. From vibrant tomatoes to succulent melons, your garden can be a cornucopia of fresh produce, ensuring delicious and nutritious meals throughout the season.

Juicy Tomatoes for Summery Delights

Tomatoes thrive in the warmth of July, offering a variety of sizes, colors, and flavors. Indulge in the sweetness of cherry tomatoes or grow robust beefsteak tomatoes perfect for slicing. Plant them in well-draining soil, provide support with stakes or trellises, and watch your tomato vines flourish.

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Luscious Cucumbers for Refreshing Salads

Cucumbers are a summer staple, refreshing and easy to grow. These vining vegetables enjoy the summer sun and ample water. Harvest them when young for a crisp and tender texture, ideal for salads, sandwiches, or as a hydrating snack.

Scrumptious Zucchini and Summer Squash

Zucchini and summer squash are prolific growers in July, producing an abundance of tasty vegetables. These versatile veggies can be grilled, sautéed, or used in baking. Regular harvesting encourages continuous production, making them a rewarding addition to any garden.

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Sweet and Tangy Peppers

Bell peppers, sweet or spicy, flourish in the summer heat. From green to red, orange, and yellow, these colorful gems add vibrant flavor to any dish. Plant them in full sun, and provide adequate water to encourage healthy growth and a fruitful harvest.

Mouthwatering Melons for Summertime Treats

July is the time to delight in the sweetness of homegrown melons. Watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydews are all well-suited for summer cultivation. Give them plenty of space to sprawl, and ensure they receive consistent watering for juicy and mouthwatering fruits.

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Tasty Beans for Nutritious Picks

Beans, such as green beans and pole beans, thrive in the warm temperatures of July. These nutritious and fast-growing vegetables are excellent choices for your garden. Harvest them young and tender for the best flavor and texture.

July’s warmth and sunshine offer an excellent opportunity to cultivate a diverse array of fruits and vegetables in your garden. From juicy tomatoes and luscious cucumbers to scrumptious zucchini and sweet melons, the choices are abundant. With a little care and attention, you can enjoy a plentiful harvest throughout the season, providing fresh and nutritious produce for your family’s table. Embrace the joy of growing your own fruits and vegetables, and savor the delectable rewards of a well-tended garden.

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Fruits and Vegetables Checklist for July Gardening

  • Tomato plants (cherry, beefsteak, etc.)
  • Cucumber seeds or seedlings
  • Zucchini and summer squash seeds or seedlings
  • Pepper plants (bell peppers, chili peppers, etc.)
  • Melon seeds or seedlings (watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews)
  • Bean seeds (green beans, pole beans, etc.)
  • Well-draining soil and compost
  • Stakes or trellises for tomato support
  • Adequate watering system or hose for consistent hydration
  • Garden tools (shovel, gloves, pruning shears)
  • Sunscreen and hat for protection during gardening sessions

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Family

Getting More From Your Garden: Preserving Your Home Harvest

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Home gardens are fun, but they can also be delicious if you’re growing things that you and your family can eat. Too many home gardeners, however, are content to have a ton of tomatoes that last a week and then give the rest away – or worse than that, throw them out when they go bad.

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

Homesteading Handbook

You can keep as much of your garden harvest as you like, give as much away as you like and throw out as much as you like. All you have to do is know how to prepare and store your harvest for long-term preservation. Once you learn how to do these, it’s going to make your harvest time much more satisfying. 

It’s Your Jam

If you’re growing fruit and not making jams, jellies and preserves out of it, you don’t know what you’re missing. Like a lot of other freshly grown foods, eating homemade jams and comparing them to what you’ve been eating from the supermarket is like you’re eating a completely different food. 

For those entrepreneurially minded, jams and jellies are great for selling at the local farmer’s market. So if you want to make a few bucks off of your home garden, this is a really easy way to start doing that.

Cure Your Vegetables

Your vegetables aren’t sick, but they might need a cure regardless. It’s not hard and doesn’t take it a lot of time, which makes it a very easy lift for someone who has a lot of veggies but not a lot of time. 

You have to wait until your vegetables are fully ripe before you cure them. Otherwise, they’re never going to get ripe. If you cure your vegetables properly they can last for weeks or months even if you don’t put them in the refrigerator. 

Homesteading Handbook

Dehydration Is Actually Your Friend

The main engine of vegetables going bad are fungus and bacteria. You can prevent this process by dehydrating your vegetables before they go bad. Some produce is much easier to dehydrate than others: If you want to dehydrate tomatoes, just slice them up, throw them on a sheet pan in the sun for a couple days, then store them.

For other fruits and vegetables you might need a dehydrator. Fortunately, these don’t cost much these days and can easily pay for themselves with all the produce that you save through the process. 

Can It Up

Canning is a great way to preserve just about every kind of food. You can can in either metal cans or in glass jars. The choice is yours, but the main thing you need to remember is that the main threat to canned food is botulism – and that can kill you or at least make you and your family extremely miserable. 

The good news about canning is that there are hundreds of centers across the country run by the Church of Latter-Day Saints where you can learn how to can without buying any equipment. Membership in their church is not required – all are welcome.

Ferment and Pickle Your Vegetables

One way to turn your veggies into something a little different is through fermenting and pickling. In the case of fermentation, there are also health benefits – fermented vegetables are great for your gut health. 

Unfortunately, however, fermented foods taste weird to some people. So pickles might be a better choice for you if you’re not into the taste of fermented foods. 

The Easy Way: Freezing

Of course, there’s always freezing your veggies. Your space might be limited here, however you probably already know how to freeze foods. You’ll want to prepare them specifically for the fruit or vegetables you plan on preserving. For example, some should be cooked, some should be chopped and others can just be thrown in the freezer. Look up whatever you’re looking to freeze before you freeze it.

Homesteading Handbook

There’s no reason for you to give away or waste your veggie garden when it’s time for harvest. With a combination of these methods, you can enjoy fresh-ish veggies all year long. 

What’s your favorite method for preserving your home garden for the long-term? What secrets have you picked up? Leave a comment below to help other homesteaders. 

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Emergency

Preserving Food for Winter: Time-Tested Methods for Flavorful and Nutrient-Rich Pantry Staples

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Winter is approaching, meaning the summer and fall harvests are just about done. Still, that doesn’t mean saying goodbye to fresh, delicious, and nutritious homegrown food until spring blooms anew. 

You can harness age-old techniques of food preservation, filling your pantry with flavorful, nutrient-rich staples to keep your winter meals healthy, hearty and satisfying. With food preservation techniques from smoking and canning to fermenting, you can savor the tastes of summer even in the coldest months.

Homesteading Handbook

Preserving Food For The Winter: The Art of Smoking

Smoking is a time-honored method for winter food preservation, infusing foods with rich, smoky flavors. Many people would smoke foods likemeats, fish, and cheese even if it didn’t keep them longer, just for the taste.

A quality smoker won’t cost you too much and it doesn’t really matter if it’s n offset smoker, electric smoker, or a traditional charcoal smoker. Choose your wood chips or chunks based on the type of flavor profile you want to infuse your food with.

You should also understand the difference between cold smoking and hot smoking. Cold smoking imparts flavor without cooking the food, making it the perfect choice for cheese and cured meats. On the other hand, hot smoking cooks the food while it flavors it.

Preserving Food For The Winter: Canning Your Food

You don’t have to rely on food canned from the grocery store. You can also can your own food at home. There are a number of different ways to do this for various kinds of food you’re looking to keep fresh for the winter season.

Homesteading Handbook

For example, water bath canning is the perfect choice for highly acidic  foods such as fruits, tomatoes, and pickles. On the other hand, pressure canning is the right choice for lower acidity foods like vegetables, meats, and poultry. 

You’ve probably never thought of it this way before, but pickling is also a form of canning. In this case, we will use vinegar or brine to preserve and flavor vegetables, fruits, and sometimes meats. You should experiment with various pickling recipes to create unique flavors for you and your family to enjoy. 

Preserving Food For Winter: Fermentation Of Foods

Fermentation is a natural process which can enhance the flavors and nutritional value of foods while also preserving them for long-term storage. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and sourdough bread are some of the more common kinds of fermented foods.

Beginners should invest in fermentation kits with airlocks. As you gain more experience, consider exploring more traditional methods, as well as the use of crocks and jars. Fermentation is both an art and a science. So you have to be patient while you experiment with different ingredients and techniques.

Preserving Food For Winter: Dehydration For Long-Term Storage

A food dehydrator is an excellent investment for removing moisture from fruits, vegetables, and herbs if you find that you enjoy those kinds of foods. However, you don’t need one to get started. You can also dehydrate foods right in the oven you already own or, in some cases, by air-drying.

If you want to dehydrate fruits and vegetables, slice your produce uniformly before arranging them on your dehydrator trays. Fruit leather can be made right at home by puréeing fruits and spreading the mixture thinly before drying.

It’s important to store dehydrated food properly. Store dehydrated foods should be stored in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags, which will prevent moisture from re-entering. Keep your dehydrated foods in a cool, dark place for the best preservation.

Preserving food for winter isn’t just about extending the shelf life of your favorite ingredients – though it is about that. However, it can also be a way to expand what you keep around by introducing new flavors into your pantry using the food preservation process. 

Homesteading Handbook

Smoking, canning, fermenting and dehydrating will offer you different options to ensure your pantry is stocked with a variety of food your family will want to eat. It can also be a fun hobby for the culinary master looking to break outside of just cooking on the stove – many of these are basically just “cold” cooking techniques. So, embrace the age-old wisdom of food preservation for winter and fill your pantry with unique tastes all winter long. 

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Emergency

How You Can Get Your Feet Wet Canning Food For Survival

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Pickling jars in a pot full of water

Pre-made survival food can be a great way to augment your emergency food supplies. However, it’s expensive and generally isn’t the best thing to make the base of your food supply pyramid. Still, there’s a problem of long-term storage when prepping for disasters and most people don’t want to spend a mint solving it. Preppers are notoriously thrifty types.

Fortunately, there are a variety of methods you can do yourself at home to help you extend the shelf life of your food stocks. One of the best of these is canning. 

Unlike pre-packed survival food, canning costs a few bucks to get set up but can pay dividends over the months and years as you save hundreds and thousands of dollars canning your own food. 

72 Hour Food Kit

Perhaps best of all, canning doesn’t require any electricity so if the grid goes down during a SHTF scenario, you’ll still be canning and prepping even though the power is out. Maybe even better than that is the social aspect of canning – you and your family can spend valuable time together while getting ready for supply chain disruptions, EMP attacks and nuclear blasts.

How To Learn Canning For Survival

It’s the age of the Internet, so there are tons of videos and tutorials online available to teach you how to can your goods for free. What’s more, the Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) community is very, very into canning. In fact, they operate hundreds of canning centers around the country. 

These canning centers are available to absolutely anyone – you don’t have to be LDS to use them. In fact, they’ll be happy to help you learn how to start canning properly. You can utilize these facilities to get your feet wet in the world of canning without investing money into a canning rig until you feel confident enough to use it on your own. 

The Best Foods To Can At Home

Once you learn how to can food you’re going to be presented with the problem of which foods you’re going to can up. You can save just about anything in a can, but that doesn’t mean that you want to. 

Here are some of the best foods for home canning:

  • Soups: Make a giant batch of soup, eat it for dinner and can what’s left for later. 
  • Salsa: You can save a ton of money by making salsa at home and it will stay fresh much longer inside a can than Tupperware.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Vegetables are a great way to ensure that you’re getting all of your micronutrients after the end of the world as we know it and sweet fruits can help to raise morale during tough times. 
  • Meat: Meat stays good in a coffin freezer for a long time, but when the power is out that’s not going to matter. Most meats can be safely canned for later consumption. 
  • Beans: An excellent source of protein, beans can be stored for an incredibly long time in a can. Dry beans can be canned as well as “wet” beans.

As you can see, a variety of different foods can be canned for the purpose of eating when the supermarket shelves are bare and not getting replenished anytime soon. 

Dangers Of Home Canning

Home canning can be safe, but it can also be very dangerous if you don’t do it properly. 

The main thing that you need to worry about is botulism, which can make you and your family extremely sick if you’re all eating from the same tainted can. Assuming you survive, you’re going to suffer and all those little chores you have to do when the SHTF are going to be 10 times as hard when you’re all sick and laid up. 

72 Hour Food Kit

Botulism in a can has no look or smell, so don’t assume you’re just going to “know” that your food has become contaminated. 

Preventing botulism in your home canned food is mostly a function of knowing proper canning techniques, using the right equipment for the right food and erring on the side of caution. Of the millions of homemade cans made every year, very few are contaminated… but those few are going to make a big impact on the people who eat them.

All told, canning is a great way to prep while spending time with your family. It is an essential skill for any prepper.

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