The Provision Room; 2022

 “Food security is not in the supermarket.
It’s not in the government.
It’s not at the emergency services division.
True food security is the historical normalcy of packing it in during the abundant times,
building that in-house larder,
and resting easy knowing that our little ones are not dependent on next week’s farmers’ market
or the electronic cashiers at the supermarket.”

Joel Salatin



I have been asked some questions about my food preserving – did I do any canning this year? Did I grow a garden?

Oh, ladies, indeed we did! It was just too busy to document most of it … in fact, of all years, this is not the time to skimp out and take a break from gardening … as I’m sure you all can see by the rising food costs in the super markets.

This past summer was most likely our busiest summer as a family – after establishing ourselves for a year here on Prince Edward Island, we were into our second summer of ‘real life’ – and it was busy! My husband is working on a produce crop for our income (I keep meaning to post about that, but perhaps next time …) and that kept him very busy – and very tired – for most of the summer. The two older girls worked part time at an an organic farm (just beside us) and ran a small scale flower farm — all which was very time consuming. We sold the flowers on the weekend at the local farmer’s market, which kept us busy on Saturdays.



When the children were not helping daddy in his field during the week, they were helping me with the produce from our own family garden.

I have always been one to encourage hard work for a family unit, but also to allow time for play and creativity and relaxing – this year, it felt like more work than play but we survived.  It was a little bit tricky to manage all three jobs and still put away enough food without the big girls’ help (what lovely daughters I have!). We hope to be better organized next year with our schedules and still maintain our large family garden, while growing our farming business here on our property, and still having time helping out our organic friends (they are such a blessing to our family!).



So … all that introduction is to say – yes, I indeed kept up with the preserving, putting away food and canning.

There would never be a summer where I could give it up, especially while raising a family! In fact, our vegetable garden is such a blessing to our family — we doubled our carrot bed size and doubled our potato crop, along with onions. We noticed that those were the three things we ran out of quickly by around February. The garden was large and lots of work but once we tuck away all these jars of home-grown food into our Provision Room, it does bring a feeling of humble success to our family. Now that we are into November, we feel that everything is pretty much tucked away and ready for the long, cold winter that is coming.



In our Provision Room, you will find a full grocery store of potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, squash, cabbages, pasta sauce, vegetables, fruits, pickles, jams and jellies, soups and stews – and more! It is one of my favourite rooms in the house! For the past 8 or so years, I have worked in the vegetable garden with the children, turning our lifestyle into one of home economics, trying so very hard not to rely on the grocery store as much as a regular family. With a dozen people in our family, we need to be careful with our food budget and this garden has truly worked in our favour. I would encourage everyone who cares about where their food comes from to plant a garden – big or small – and start providing food for your family. It takes a lot of hard work and many, many failures (why do my cabbages rot so early in my cold room every year?) but we all need to learn these good old fashioned skills. I truly believe they are very important, especially in these strange times that we are living in.

When we moved from Ontario to PEI, and walked through our new home for the first time, I was absolutely overjoyed to find a cold room in the basement of our old home – perfect for all my plans and even nicer than our last Provision Room, albeit smaller. We moved all the dry goods into a different section of the basement and are storing the garden provisions and canned goods in this cold room.



Our carrot harvest was so large and wonderful this fall that they are all stored in shaving in a giant 4’x4′ wooden crate in the cold, unheated garage, along with our crates of potatoes and dried baking beans. It was such a large harvest there was no way I could fit it into my Provision Room! I will bring in the food as I need it, but for now, it’s snuggled safely into the garage outdoors. Even after years of gardening, there are still problems and things to learn.

The onions were plentiful, however I still need to work on drying them more thoroughly as some of them have not survived into November. We still have a large amount of onions, but it is something I need to work on (curing) for next year. Our cabbages were plentiful and wonderful; we grew enough for two cabbages per week for the winter months. However, they too need to be cured differently as I noticed  a few rotting on the shelves this morning – which, let me just say, is very frustrating after weeks and weeks of growing, weeding, watering, caring and harvesting.



I have put up enough soups for the winter months and have resisted opening the jars until the baby arrives in due time. Having canned soups and stews on hand is an amazing help for me, especially with a newborn and homeschooling duties in the morning.


We also harvested more tomatoes than ever and put up so much pasta sauce that I pray we will have enough until next summer. With the tomatoes, I also made BBQ sauce, rhubarb ketchup, salsa and regular ketchup. You can never have enough tomatoes, in my opinion!


The jams and jellies and fruit preserves were restocked for winter – giving us more than we need for pies, baking and crisps.  Praise God!


One of favourite vegetables … spaghetti squash!


“When used wisely, home preserving bestows the joy in making something with your own hands
and provides a ready supply of useful and delicious foods for pleasurable eating every season of the year.”

– Carole Cancler, Home Preserving Bible


We had a very successful year of corn – and while we did buy some from local Mennonites, it also encouraged us to grow more next year. We will not need to buy any from outside sources next year, Lord willing. Raccoons were always a problem in Ontario, but here, for some reason, we are raccoon free (and if you have grown corn, you know raccoons are not a good thing to have around!).

(Just a note, yes, I will be blocking this window where the light was coming in – I have made some curtains to blacken out the light, as cold rooms should be dark.)


This year, our harvest was heavy and wonderful, after all the labour and weeding, watering and waiting. From seed to harvest, it is a long journey, filled with sweat and dirty hands and hard work. But is it it worth it?
As you open that jar of tomato sauce and use it to serve up your home raised chicken with homegrown potatoes, cabbages and carrots (a favourite with us) … there is nothing that tastes better.

I thank the Lord for the energy to work the garden this past year and pray for sustaining energy next year.


November 28, 2022 - 9:44 pm

Teresa Gigi, oh I am so happy for you and your family, what a blessed provision room. I was so thrilled to see this post! I look forward to see how your farm evolves. Being a self sufficient homesteader is very wise! Take care sweet friend, take care!

November 23, 2022 - 9:28 pm

Amy I chop and freeze cabbage. I don’t like freezing foods if I can help it as I know how frustrating it is to loose the contents of the freezer.
I’ve canned meats this year and it is a game changer. In the past I’ve since soup stock with some meat. This year I canned ground beef and chicken. So handy when trying to make meals quickly in order to head out the door for an evening activity.
I really need to up my gardening. My backyard is a rock. I tried five raised beds this year and got a very sad harvest.

November 23, 2022 - 8:26 pm

Katie Taylor Wow that is amazing!

November 23, 2022 - 5:22 am

Gigi Rebecca, I love my ice box! Sadly, it doesn’t fit into the kitchen at present. I can’t figure out how to place it. So it is in our barn right now – so yes, I did bring it with me. Now that we have a milk cow, we definitely would need a proper electric fridge. When we had no power for a week after our hurricane, our milk spoiled daily at a minimal chilled temperature – so I would absolutely hate to waste milk all the time! That being said, if I could ever get my icebox (or a smaller version of one) into my kitchen, I would love to do so but might just use it as storage and not an actual fridge …

November 23, 2022 - 2:36 am

Rebecca So, this is a bit random of a question for this post, but, did you move your ice box with you? Did you like using a vintage ice chest instead of a modern fridge? Or did you need to go back to having a modern fridge? I would love to hear your experience with it!

November 21, 2022 - 5:20 am

Gigi Thanks, mom! xo

November 21, 2022 - 5:20 am

Gigi Ahhhh, Rebecca, that is very interesting. I will try to plant the kinds you mentioned – thank you!

November 21, 2022 - 5:19 am

Gigi Hello Laura, my sweet friend, we had to buy more shelves when we moved. There were a few shelves in there before but we moved them out to hold boots, etc. for winter and used these shelves instead for the uniformity of the room. xo

November 20, 2022 - 9:44 pm

Laura Jeanne What a lovely sight! I know how much work goes into that many canned goods. You should be proud! And I must say, those shelves look like they mean business. Did they come with the house or did you bring them with you?

November 20, 2022 - 6:19 pm

Rebecca The gal who taught the garden class here locally that I did, she said one year she bought storage cabbage seeds but they were clearly not, because all her cabbages went bad. The seeds must’ve been mixed up with another cabbage variety. So maybe the seeds you got were just bad seeds. If they continue to not store well, definitely try another variety or two! And/or make lots of sauerkraut!

November 20, 2022 - 5:35 pm

Mom All I can say is WOW – so proud of you and the family – what a great accomplishment!! xoxo

November 20, 2022 - 4:11 pm

Gigi Hi Rebecca, yes, it says cold storage on the seed packets – interesting, though, I will check out the types you suggested. I was so upset to give the chickens the not-so-great cabbages already! We love cabbage and it’s a great storage vegetable. I will also try the garbage bags you suggested. 🙂

November 20, 2022 - 3:49 pm

Rebecca Oh what an awesome room! Are you growing a storage variety of cabbage? Only storage cabbages will last through the winter. My favorite storage cabbage we grow here in Alaska is called “Bartolo” and I get it from Fed Co. I wrap my cabbages in a grocery bag and they should store into spring! Another one I tried this year that seems good too is “storage #4” from Johnny’s Seeds.

We are hoping to build a giant cold room in our garage this winter. Your room is so inspiring!


November 19, 2022 - 8:02 pm

Gigi Hi Liz, interesting. I have never had mold grow IN my jars of food, however if you have not washed your jars on the outside (after canning), you may have remnants of the food, which will grow mold, naturally. It will not harm the food inside the jars, provided your jars are properly sealed, but it is more pleasant to have the jars washed when putting them away for cold storage. Do you live in a warm or cold climate? Maybe you could open a window slightly. I still am working through problems with storage – nothing is perfect. Last year, my garlic did not store well, but it was not in the cold section of the basement, now it will remain the colder section, also we made sure to dry it completely (with a big operation – I will explain later!) so I am sure this year, I will not have garlic going soft. Of course, food, good, natural food, over time, will begin to decay over time. That is only natural. That is what Joel Salatin said – if your food rots, it’s real food!

November 19, 2022 - 6:54 pm

Liz My cold cellar always gets so mold and mildew smelling and I actually had some grow on my jams I put in there. My father-in-law told me to keep a light on in there to keep it from growing as our cold cellar doesn’t have a window. How do you keep your stuff from getting that mildew smell? Also do you keep your garlic in there as well? We love spaghetti squash too – it makes a good replacement for actual spaghetti when put with spaghetti sauce and meatballs.