A living wall

So this is what happens when you just throw your hands up on your garden and say "do whatever you want!".  You get squash plants gone wild.
On the right side we now know for certain we have a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, on the left I'm pretty certain we have a Galeux D'eysines and on the bottom (you can barely tell) is an acorn squash which was a complete and utter surprise.  We have one slightly mature fruit on both vines.  Our vine that was of questionable parentage near the tomatoes has produced on the other side of the fence, much to our displeasure.
Our neighbor is thrilled though as she has told me she loves winter squash or pumpkin. Darn, I was hoping to have a neighbor who would wrinkle her nose in disgust when she heard "edible" and "heirloom pumpkin" in the same sentence.
Our last minute editions, Sprite Melons are doing well and are flowering.  My first thought was they're too small for this, as normal melon and squash plants usually do not start producing until they're mature enough, but after a bit of research I discovered Sprite Melon plants tend to be really small (as are the melons).
The Piel de Sapos that I was so hoping for obviously did not germinate or they died a while ago.  It is looking like I finally might get my cream of Saskatchewan, I HOPE.  I cannot be certain that the watermelon I planted is actually a cream of Saskatchewan, I have a vague memory of my son and I planting a watermelon seed for him and since I have many different watermelon seeds it could be any one of them.
My husband and I are both delighted as our Bhut Jolokia plant is not only doing well but it's now heavily laden with its spicy fruits.
Those will be dried later, probably with our Excalibur outside where the fumes won't get to our sinuses and throats.

Our sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) this year have done AMAZING!! I cannot wait to see how much we actually harvest out of these!
These are approximately 12 feet tall!
I have a feeling the next occupants of this house will either love us or hate us as next year they will be pulling up sunchokes here and there non stop.

Like I've said previously, this year the goal is not so much to produce enough for us to can or freeze but to dehydrate and increase our long term food storage. During a military move homemade canned foods cannot be shipped (usually) by the moving company so we could not produce and can like we normally do.
It was an odd conundrum to say the least. I want to grow my own food or get it locally when it is picked at its height of ripeness and yet how do I preserve it so that my family and I can be eating well in January and February if I cannot can or freeze it?

As it stands now, I find myself in a complete polar opposite of where I usually am.
I now look in our freezing, wringing my hands anxiously, all while trying to think of something to do with the frozen strawberries (strawberry pecan bread), cherries, (dehydrate or bread??) and homemade broths.
Much of our tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, jalapenos, wax banana peppers have gone into the dehydrator rather than actually going through the canning process.
As of today I am now dehydrating kale.
I'm familiar with kale chips but I want to see if I can dehydrate kale for use later in soups or stews as a healthy addition.  I'm looking for any input here.  If you have had good results with dehydrating kale and using it in soups, casseroles or stews let me know please!

We are now approximately three months away from the time we make the move from Aberdeen Maryland to Fairbanks Alaska.  I'm grateful I know what I'm getting into and yet I feel as if I have a mountain of work, loads of research to do to get used to the growing conditions up there.
I have a feeling I will be a regular at University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Botanical gardens as they are constantly researching what plants will grow in the harsh conditions found up in that northern climate.
For the time being we move back into our old home in downtown Fairbanks that we never could manage to sell so chickens, ducks or goats won't be in our near future.  Instead we will have more of the same, small backyard gardening.  Using the most of the space we have.

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