Episode 70: Megan Cain Returns | Make Your Garden Harvest Last All Year 7 Day Challenge | Fall Planting


Download our ebook on Organic Gardening Basics here. If you like what you read or have learned at the Organic Gardener Podcast please subscribe to our mailing list for more news and information on how to make your garden grow and produce.

Episode 70: Megan Cain Returns | Make Your Garden Harvest Last All Year 7 Day Challenge | Fall Planting


Sign up for Megan’s Make Your Garden Harvest Last All Year 7 Day Challenge! Starts on Sunday August 23rd!


Megan also said she was going to donate a copy of her book Super Easy Food Preserving Book! To enter the contest enter a comment below before Sunday • August 23, 2015 and tell us what you’re excited to preserve!

I want to encourage everybody to connect with Megan on Facebook. I also want to encourage you to sign up for her email!

~ Make your garden harvest all year. If you live in a lot of places September is the height of the harvest season. It’s the intersection of a lot of the summer crops are coming in strong and the fall crops are starting to come in, and there’s so much food coming in everywhere! September is the month for me where I do the most preserving. So I want people thinking about what they want to preserve, make some priorities, come up with a plan, and also get really excited about heading into the food preserving season!

It’s for people who have never done any food preserving before, or for people who have some experience who want to delve into it a little deeper.

It’s a 7 Day Email Challenge, so you get an email a day for 7 days, but we’re also gonna have a lot of activity on the FaceBook page, and some giveaways, and people sharing things they’re coming up with thorough the challenge and ideas and resources. I’m trying to turn it into a community event because I think a lot of times food preserving is kind of solitary we’re all in our kitchens by ourselves and unless you invite a bunch of friends over, you do a lot of food preserving yourself. So I thought we could make a virtual community of food preservers!

I know my husband has his jars washed and glistening on the counter. We picked cucumbers and green beans this morning we’re gonna make some green beans and pickles soon!IMG_2749 (1)

I don’t do a lot of canning! I just actually put out a blog post on Why I Hate Canning

I don’t really do a lot of canning, what I focus on and this is what my book focuses on is  what I call Super Easy Food Preserving!


I use my fridge and my freezer, and my basement.

I don’t have a fancy root cellar

in the basement

stored thing int he house fresh

I like to do food preserving in little 40 minute snippets instead of

I like to enjoy summer weekends, we live in a really fun town, there’s always lots of stuff going on!

I like to do the quickest and easiest way to put each vegetable and herb away.

Will be talking about a lot of that stuff

certain things that come and go, like

straqberries, bluebeerrise, and raspberries and cherries that I freeze. other then that I like to focus on it at the end of ht summer and the beginnning of fall

things only last a certain amount of time in storage, so I like to push it back to the end of the season, so I have higher quality stuff that’s gonna sit in the freezer. Preserving in spring, because I dfeeel like I’m not gonna eat it or anything.

Do people need to gather any materials?

Don’t need anything for the challenge. You can go to my 7 Day Challenge and can put your email in and on August 23rd you’ll get your first email. And what we’re gonna do is figure out what everyone’s priorities are for the food preserving season. So that’s gonna be different for everybody, I really like to stress to people is that you should really preserve what you eat. Which seems like common sense. But anyone who’s a gardener

I don’t usually grow chard because I really like kale instead, but I love how chard looks, so I planted chard again, but at the end of the season I realized I had only harvested it one time. It’s ok.

Those are always good lessons, I froze cauliflower one year and we never touched it, and the year came around and we hadn’t touched it, obviously we didn’t eat, so I composted it, and sometimes beans, I just froze beans, so I still have some left, so I thoughtI dont’ know if I should freeze, because I didn’t really eat them.

So the first part is gonna be looking at your meals and eating habits and what we buy from the grocery store and kind of deconstructing are there some of those meals we can preserve so that you have on hand throughout the year.

So for example, one of the examples I have from my own eating habits, we eat a lot of rice and beans, it’s kind of a quick easy dish, it’s healthy, it gives you lots of leftovers for lunches all week. So we put away each year, some of those ingredients, so I store garlic and onions in my basement, then we freeze peppers and corn, and then well freeze some tomatoes and we  also can salsa. So that’s one of the way we’re gonna start, having people look at their eating habits and shopping habits and pick some of those things off that list that they can preserve for the winter.

It’s pretty awesome, at our house we really buy very little produce during the winter

go to the farmer’s market because we have a winter’s market that’s really good till christmas. Then after that there’s really not that much food left in Wisconsin

spend a lot of the winter, I usually bypass the produce aisle

try to help folks save some money often porduce is coming form also traveling half way around the world, picked half ripe

Right now everything is super tasty and height of harvest season, so it’s a great time to get some food, either grow it yourself, or buy it from farmer’s market, or from your CSA!

I think that’s why people like your episode so much because you’re so strategic and

That’s amazing that you don’t hardly have to buy any produce during the winter!

We’re basically eating our lunch from our preserved food.

What I try to convey to people, it’s such an amazing feeling on a January night, for me, when I go into my basement and I pick out a bunch of ingredients from my storage or from my freezer, and then I come up with a whole handful of things and then I make things from my garden in the summer. And I think there’s quite a feeling behind that.

It’s like a feeling of empowerment!

There’s definitely a feeling of empowerment and self-sufficiency I can imagine my garden and where the food the plants came from, it’s a way to maximize your garden, my garden is still paying me back, in January I look outside and my garden is covered in snow.

We all know that gardening is a lot of work, joyful work, I think preserving food in an easy way that doesn’t take up a lot of extra time, it’s a way for your garden to keep paying you back thourhgout the whole winter off season! Which for people in Montana or Wisconsin can be a long season!

dethaw a can of tomatoes from my freezer

never buying any tomaot products

blog post talks about that

I’m don’t always grow all the broccoli I need for the year. So I went to the farmers market sometime in sept and there was a vendor selling the side shoots

already the size you would chop them down to.

I think I bought 12lbs for 12$

didn’t really need to chop it, already came in bite size pieces.

I usually steam lightly

dried it off

packed it into quart bags

pretty much all we ate all winter. So instead of going every week or every other week, getting a bunch of broccoli, and cutting it down, steaming it or cooking it, etc. using in the recipe

if you’ve already done the work

reaching into a bag,

so it is almost like instant food, sometimes in the winter I feel like I am more assembling then chopping and preparation.

I like to freeze broccoli in the zip lock sandwich containers, and then throw it in anything.

one thing naturally for those of us living in colder climates, I thin we tend to eat more cooked food in the winter

that means your eating less fresh food

a lot of times when you’re buying fresh broccoli at the store in the winter, your most likely cooking it anyway. Right now we’re sititng down to fresh salads, light foods

doesn’t really matter that we’re eating things partially cooked cabers we’re most likely to put it in a soup or  stew

take on a little more

It’s gonna be really fun!

Make sure you sign up here for Megan’s 7 Day Challenge at the Creative Vegetable Gardener!

Depends what you want to grow. I’ve had great success with a fall garden. Definitely depends where you live and what you’re season’s like. For me in Wisconsin, wegenerally have first frost in first week in Oct, but there’s tons of things that are frost hardy. I often have things in my garden till Thanksgiving.

getting down to around 20 degrees by then

you can have a whole other season in your garden, which is the fall season, even if you have a short fall like I do in Wisconsin. Some things it’s a little too late for, you really have to be thinking about your Fall garden in june and july

somet hings that take longer, I did a little bit late, probably around July 20th that are growing now.

started broccoli seedlings 3rd week in June

transplanted July 20th

Things that take quite a while,

brocolli, cauliflower, cabbage would be hard this time of year, so for next year, you should be thinking about those things in June. For all the shorter things. Carrots already need to be planted. I actually planted some carrots 3 weeks ago and I’ve beenwatering them every day but they are hard to germinate

carrots and beets you can plant around the end of june till mid july and you’ll get another crop if you have room

in July, I have lots of space

garlic and onions coming out of the garden so sometimes I’m replacing those areas with new crops. But for August, one of my most favorite things to plant is fall spinach. It’s one of my favorite vegetables, I could pretty much eat a spinach salad every day, but I don’t because there’s no spinach this time of year.

rest of the eyar.

I just cleared out my last onion bed today

I’m a little behind

looked at my records from last year, I have  map of my garden.

2 rows of the spinach on Auugst 12,  so that’s tomorrow! So I’m gonna get out an plant spinach tomorrow! I also planted another batch on august 21st

spinach doesn’t love hot weather,

I dont think I had any problems last year

it loves the cool weather of fall, you can grow all fall, you can harvest it.

around thanksgiving

and even christmasone things to now

One thing to know about about fall garden is the diminishing light, which means the days are shortening and the plant growth is slowing down.

Let’s say beets, usually 58-63 days depending on variety you might think oh that’s 2 months, aug 11th-sept11th-oct11th but they really slow down so they might not have time to get to full maturity

You plant spinach, you can harvest it throughout fall, gonna get to a point where it’s not growing anymore. It depends on where you live in the US.

nothing s growning in dec and jan, so I’m just harvesting. Spinach is usually pretty frost  hardy. I usually harvest most from thanksgiving to chrsitmst

mulch rto protect from winds,

get’s really driy in winter mostly from wind, put some mulch over it, Around march

things dry out

days are longer

Second week in April harvest spinach from previous years crop

good first crop to experiment with in a fall garden, even if you live in a cold area like Wisconsin which is bewtween  sone 5A and 5B. I even forgot to mulch and it survived fine. It will bolt a little quicker in the spring

have a nice long season in the spring!

that’s one to start with.

I’m looking at my map. There’s a lot of quick greens.

you could plant arugula, it doesn’t really like heat.  It seems to bolt in the spring.

in fall then the spring

not super frost hardy.

cover with row cover to keep it growing

I planted joy choy and kept it like a baby bok choy.

bok choy

Last year I planted August 12th I direct seeded scallions right into my garden bed, they didn’tt really come to maturity that well in the fall but then this spring they regrew! I actually still have some! This is a year later, basically to the day and I still have them in my garden! They’re not as tasty anymore but they still good!

For me in the next few weeks, you could do radishes, some arugula, some baby bok choy, tatsoi is a nice one that likes  the cool weather, probably do another row of scallions looking towards next spring, anything that’s short, lettuce/salad greens mix.

anything that you look at the days to harvest. A lot of those radishes, greens, you can get radishes in as little as 21 days.

anytning that’s a low amount of day

I didn’t have the best luck with beets because it’s 2 months from when I planted them. They didn’t get super big.

One more other thing is turnips, fall turnips are so good.


from Johnny’s my map says I planted them on  August 21st

I harvested turnips, spinach and some greens on Christmas morning. I really wanted to have a salad Christmas morning for my guests.

Turnips are slightly frost hardy but they won’t survive but not a really hard frost

if you are subscribed to my email Im gonna talk about this gain. I built a hoop house over one of my gardens so it kept things protected till christmas. So that morning I was so excited,  I had a bunch of family coming over, I couldn’t wait to go out and harvest a salad. And I

hadn’t been in one of y hoops and something probably a mole or chipmunk had basically just destroyed a lot of turnips. I did get enough for  a salad, we just washed it off really well. This year I;m gonna do something different by taking the hoops off

ceratinly lots of stuff without protection

depending on where you live, you probably have  a lot of time to plant things.

I have less time if you live in a zone more then mine, lots of lots of things for fall harvest!

Especially some salads!

Figure out what you want to eat this fall, order some seeds and do some planting!

Sign up for Megan’s Make Your Garden Harvest Last All Year 7 Day Challenge today! Starts Sunday • August 23rd!


Megan also said she was going to donate a copy of her book Super Easy Food Preserving Book! To enter the contest enter a comment below before Sunday • August 23, 2015 and tell us what you’re excited to preserve!

I want to encourage everybody to connect with Megan on Facebook. I also want to encourage you to sign up for her email!


You can order her Super Easy Food Preserving Book here! It makes a great Christmas present as well!

There’s still lots of things to do for the rest of the season both harvesting and planting the fall garden!


 Don’t forget to join me for the Farm Tour tonight in Kalispell at Lower Valley Farm

Lower Valley Farm Tour | Thursday August 13, 2015 • 6:30pm | Kalispell, MT

Free and Open to Public!


Download our ebook on Organic Gardening Basics here. If you like what you read or have learned at the Organic Gardener Podcast please subscribe to our mailing list for more news and information on how to make your garden grow and produce.


If you like what you heard on the Organic Gardener Podcast we’d love it if you’d give us hopefully a 5 star rating on iTunes so other gardeners can find us and listen to. Just click on the link here:


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