Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Any number of things

Added a count down timer for the first planting day of next spring. Its not really necessary now, but i think it will be pretty cool to watch come March!  Up here we don't plant out until the last full moon and that is usually on Memorial day.
Normally we are away at camp on Memorial Day so planting does not happen until the next day at the soonest.

I was thinking about winter sowing again today, and wondering why it seems to be so "new" of an idea. Really,  how did people do it before grow lamps, heat mats, plastic trays, sterile potting mix, nurseries that start it all for you... etc?  The way we do things today, our ancestors would have starved.  Apparently, wintersowing is not a new thing, it is a method that almost died out.  It is something worth re-learning. Especially since it means less clutter!
But i still want a greenhouse.
But that will never happen.  Even if we were to have the money, i don't think the hubbs would support it.  He's never been interested in my hobbies, i think they are more of a nuisance to him.  But i think he has finally learned that at least with the small stuff, he is not a deterrent. lol

I have to remember to research pressure canners, though i don't know if i will ever have the nerve to use it. Time,, hopefully...  but i never trust myself with these sort of things. I have to run through the whole process once by myself first, its getting that first time out of the way that is important.
But i want a good canner. I know i tend to go off the deep end at times i always have to get the bigger one or the one with more options, but its mainly because i am unsure with what i am doing, i at least want to have the right equipment so i can troubleshoot the method.  If your equipment is bad and you don't know it, no method is going to work to fix any problems...and i always assume i'm going to have a disaster because somewhere along the line i decided that i can't do anything right.

I also don't know where i'd store all the cans,  i know the full ones would go in the pantry, but where to store the empties?  My house is so small, we don't even have a bedroom for the baby to use when she gets bigger. Moving is not an option. Its funny tho that since we moved in here (thought it was far better than any apartment and i am grateful for my house) i have been dreaming almost every night that this house has more rooms.  There are always extra rooms that i forgot about in my dreams,  ones we don't use...and some of them are full of the previous owner's things. Always antiques, or nice 'old lady' things,  not junk or anything that should be thrown away.  But in my dream i will have something that needs to be put away and i will say, "oh, i can put it in that room over there",  and i will open a door that dosen't exist, and there the room is.  Or the rooms will be full of fascinating things. One time i had a whole forgotten library.... 

So, add to the things i want or need to do...

....Cold frames....

those too.  I think i know where to put some in... if i ever could do it.

Right here:

Right now (this picture is not current) it is my nursery bed now. I have 4 Native Beach Plum plants and a variegated Elderberry plant in there to winter over. I hope they make it!  I got the Beach Plums from Oikos Tree Crops,  they are an interesting company. I got 3 of my 5 types of Jerusalem Artichokes from them,  Red Rover, White Fuseau and i forget the other.... maybe it was just two...hmmm...

  This is why i journal, memory is so bad!  I could look at  back pages of  this journal later.  But i did check out the website to Oikos, and it looks like they have added to their root varieties... they have one called Clearwater that apparently they sourced up here in Maine and they have another called Waldspinel from Austria....  i have only tasted sunchokes once, but i want these two varieties now.  Uggh.   I am still curious about the phantom variety i saw being sold on a Canadian website, the seller called them Passamaquoddy Potatoes.  My MIL has never heard of them and she is Passamaquoddy and my hubby grew up on the reservation, so its a mystery to me.  Of course the seller could have flat out invented the name,  or was misled by her source for the roots.  The Canadian company does not have the proper permits to sell me the roots, so i can't try them out, which is a bummer. I wonder if they are just Red Fuseaus...But these are the silly things that keep me up at night...not really.  My leg does tho, and this is what i think about that lets me ignore that. Ha ha.

I need to think about Asparagus also,  i adore asparagus and the fact that it is one of the first garden edibles in the spring makes it even better.   Pinetree sells it by seed and by root.  They have Martha Washington by seed i think and i can't remember which one they have by root.  But i think i'll get both. I bet i could wintersow the seed with great results.

I tried to get the open pollinated heirloom types in the catalog this year. I like a little history with my veggies and i like the idea that i could potentially fertilize and save the seeds and get something like their parent plants.

Jacob's Cattle beans are one that i totally remember. My grandfather had them hanging up all over the sun room in their old house. They make a good dry bean for baking, but are very good picked fresh out of the garden in the summer.  They make a large baking bean, bigger than navy, but not as big as the one i think they call Scarlet Runner...  speaking of which, that's another one i need to get....  it makes great bean teepees. I planted Jacob's Cattle the summer before this last and they did great as always.

Another garden veg i remember are the yellow pear tomatoes. My grandfather planted those too, there is something about the taste of a fresh tomato still warm from the sun that can't be beat by anything else.  Especially the yellow pear tomatoes.  When i was a kid, they were the perfect size and shape for eating in the field.  Of course my grandfather had a field of them... see where i get my overambitious gardening tendencies?  Anyway, the unique shape is the key,  you bite off the narrow part and squeeze and suck the juice out of the fruit, then you pop the rest in your mouth and its one of those things i won't forget. Standing in the middle of the huge garden wearing a soggy swimsuit and waterlogged rubber boots (fresh from hanging out in the frog pond), popping yellow pear tomatoes in the hot summer sun, cicadas droning in the pine trees. It was one of those things that make having been a kid worthwhile.

So, i have to plant those too...i wish i could find the heirloom type that my grandfather planted i saw it one day in a magazine i think,  but Pinetree does not have it this year at least, maybe Johnny's has it... i'll have to look.

I thought it was odd that i already got Pinetree's catalog this year. They must be seriously trying to keep up,  they got swamped so bad last year they were almost begging people to not order from them until later ...and the online seed place ratings site, they got so many bad reviews for late shipments. It was awful to see, they have always been a great company i hated to see them so roundly bashed just for getting overwhelmed. Its the economy  and the surge in people wanting to grow their own food.  The world is so nasty now though that any mess up or mistake a company makes, they get slammed with the worst of obnoxious criticism.  So, i'm ordering from them first from now on because they have always been good to me. I like Johnny's too, but they are so expensive, its almost ridiculous- like if LL Bean had a seed store- that type of expensive.  One year i did a test order of seeds. I filled out one order form from Johnny's and one from Pinetree, same exact items, and Pinetree was almost half the price of Johnny's.  So if i can get it from Pinetree, i will go there first.

Well i have my seed list made, with my highlighter and calculator. I'll start saving a few bucks a week until i can submit my order. I always get too many seeds, too many types, but since i don't buy jewelery or shoes i think i can splurge on garden i can share out any extras or trade them on GardenWeb like i used to. I still have my Cardamom plant from years ago.  Ahhh...remember when postage was cheap?

I want to mail my sister some extra yarn i have that i won't be using anytime soon that she would probably be able to work up quickly,  but i'm scared to try mailing it until i have at least $20 to spare.  I have a feeling it might cost close that for Priority.  Maybe i won't need to ship it priority,  i'm so used to shipping live or delicate things that it seems weird to me to let it take a week or two to ship. Maybe i should get over that! lol


Faith said...

Canners - you can set aside all the worries that beset as a result of the classic movies and Lucy episodes. Today's canners have built-in pressure release valves, so the chance of an explosion are about.... nil.

I have canned before, but only a few things and just now and then. However, this last year I began learning to can in earnest. I have the same trouble as you, no pace to store it. It's all on the spare room floor. Being up in Maine, you could build a simple root cellar. Elliot Coleman gave a great show with Barbara Damrosch on Gardening Naturally that showed how he did it. Man, I'd try to look him up and visit his place if I were up there. LOL

I planted four varieties of asparagus in my bed. MW, Purple something, super male (I think) and one other.... I think the MW did not do as well as the others. I began planting them, as directed, but got so tired of it, I eventually just buried them with little care as to the persnickety methods they came with. I think they turned out fine. The only drawback I've had with them is that I never feed or weed them. I'm sure if I did, they'd be a heck of a lot better off.


icebear said...

lol, its not the exploding thing that i am worried about, its poisoning my family with improperly preserved foods. That is what scares me. But people have been doing it right forever, so i guess i am being silly.. but that is the way i get about things i guess. *sigh*
I'm not so sure about the way all the canning recipes seem to warn you against deviating from the recipes- pH and other considerations... for me that might be hard because i hardly ever follow a recipe to a T. I consider recipes as general guidelines and i habitually substitute and make things up as i go.

Asparagus, yes, it is a pain in the butt to plant at first, i helped my dad put in at least 2 dozen one year, very deep plantings. But after that first time it is fairly carefree- i think they simply mulch it with hay after it stops producing spears. I'll have to ask to be sure, but it takes them a few years to get going so yours just might not be mature enough yet. My parents' plots are over 11 years old now and producing like mad. Well worth the wait, i think it took 4 years to reach peak....
As far as root cellars go, we do have a basement i could use, but it is hard for me to access. hubby just did a lot of work cleaning it up- it kept flooding and was becoming a catch-all for stuff we weren't sure what to do with... maybe i will start collecting those plastic snap-together shelves and set those up over time.