Thursday, July 29, 2010

This and that

I got the email that my  canner has been sent out, ETA is tomorrow, which is sooner than expected.  But who's complaining?
I showed it to my hubby (the item listing) and he said it looked a lot like his grandmother's, only hers had a gasket.

Its going to be fun to see if i can get enough out of my garden at one time to use it to capacity and if i will have enough time to pick and prep enough to use it.

If not this year, there's next year.

I learned a lot so far this year. The most important things were regarding the sun direction and where shade is coming from.

I think i might run my rows in the opposite direction next year. My dad suggested this becuse the way the slope goes, having raised my raised beds against the flow of water will trap the water for the plants.
If we have a wet year, this might work against me though.

I could put the tall things all the way to the back  and the shorter things will come forward.

The way i have things now, nothing in the garden really shades anything else in the garden, but that is not always such a good thing.  I think my kales and collards should need shade.
Good thing is that hubby likes the garden well enough this year that he thinks we might add another row to it,

Corn is starting to tassel, i think Golden Bantam  was the first (closest to the tomatoes) and next is Incredible, Stowell's Evergreen was the one that didn't germinate so well or as quickly- but that was seed from 2008 anyway.  It is catching up though.

I picked a few carrots yesterday to have a sample. They were small, maybe a nickel size diameter, but they were longer than i expected them to be.  You read about soft, sandy soil and how carrots need it, but i  wasn't quite sure if my soil fit that definition having little to compare it to.

I have only gardened in my family's soil for the most part, and even now most of my soil came from the same 10-15 acres i grew up on, how many people get to say that?  I get to stick my toes in the same dirt i grew up running around on as a kid.

Anyhow, the carrots were a little less tender than i hoped, but i wouldn't call them tough, they were a bit bland, i was hoping for a sweeter taste, but maybe that comes later.  I'm sure my test sample of 4 were picked a bit early.  But i at least saw enough to know that the soil is a good texture for them and they showed no sign of insect damage.

I'm sure i have some more cukes to pick, one of the slicers was getting about grocery store size and it rained last night.  Cukes stop producing if their fruits mature too far and i didn't plant enough to make us happy as it is, so i can't let them stop producing too early!

One of the Carnival squashes are getting huge.  When i grew them in my tiny garden they didn't get much bigger than normal acorn squash. They were about the size for one serving for two people when cut in half.

I did find out that Jerusalem Artichokes can be canned, its in the Ball "Complete Book of Home Preserving". Its a relish recipe that sounds nice.  I should be able to get enough to try making some.
I do plan to grow less of them next year and give the extra space to the asparagus, but i had to start out with so many to be sure i'd have enough to try myself if something tried to eat them on me.  I planted a few pounds in my parent's garden many years ago and chipmunks ate them all.  So i overplanted my sample plot in case they attract chipmunks.  Right now it looks as if they don't.

I thought it was interesting that USDA and Ball don't even recommend canning summer squash anymore.  I guess its no big loss, even freezing it 'ruins' it.  Its great to add to sauces like that, but after any type of processing its definitely best as a secondary ingredient. Its not "butter ready"  from a can or freezer bag.

There is a bird that keeps spearing my unripe apples. I found one last week that had peck marks in it, so i pulled it off and tossed it.  The other day i found another one with the same marks.... this time i left it. Maybe the bird will remember that he's already sampled from this tree...  Where i missed a couple sprayings i have misshapen apples, but its not a big deal, i wasn't counting on much from this tree this year.  I mainly wanted to see if it would survive to produce after being neglected so long and to get apples big enough to try and have the type ID'd.  We are still going to go to the orchard this fall where we will end up picking three times as many apples as we need.   But maybe this year i could can some pie filling and make sauce.

I need to get back in and catch up with weeding again. I have let it go a bit since the plants are big enough to not get smothered easily, but i can't let the weeds go to seed or it will be another uphill battle next year.

I also ordered some bare root Bocking Comfrey from a place called Horizon Herbs. They ship Priority Mail with about a $14 minimum so i  looked around and they also have Clove plants for a decent price. This is guess is the first time they have had any to sell. Its a different name, but according to Wikipedia they are synonomous-  Syzygium aromaticum and Eugenia aromatica-   why they are different names i have no clue.  But anyway i figured buying one was a better way to justify the price of shipping the Comfrey roots.  If they do well for me i can share any future comfrey plants out.

My current clove tree is doing fine, it isn't really doing anything, but it does not appear to be dying at least! :o)

I also put in an order with Bountiful Gardens, some berry plant seeds and they have SeaKale which i think i can wintersow.  I can wintersow all the seeds i just ordered, which is why i figure i should get them sooner than later.  Either they sit in my fridge or theirs.


Leigh said...

Congratulations on your canner. You will love experimenting with things to can. There's nothing better than one's own garden grown home canned foods in the dead of winter.

We never had much luck eradicating Jerusalem artichokes, so I'll be curious as to your method for keeping them under control. They took over our NC garden.

I love Horizon Herbs! They have absolutely the best selection of herb seed anywhere.

Faith said...

It's really too bad about summer squash isn't it. So prolific, but hard to hold. I dried some last year, both in slices and shreds. I've added both to soups and they worked out well.

Freezing them - only good for the first couple of months, then they turn to rubber.

I also canned some last year. I know they said not to, but I did it anyway. I cut them into pieces and treated them as any similar consistency vegetable. I've yet to open one though.

We just finished algebra. Michael is telling me I need to go take a nap. LOL


icebear said...

I *think* i can't wait to get going on canning, i hear so many stories of people getting inundated by their garden produce that i'm a little apprehensive about being excited. But then i guess its like any task, it can be fun until it takes too long, then its a chore. I hope it stays fun.
I do hope its not something i have to baby sit- the keeping pressure stable part, hopefully i won't have to stand there playing with the dial for the whole processing time. I did learn at the USDA papers , that if i process things at 15# it can be done quicker, this is something i'll have to experiment with.

Now if only my tomatoes would ripen. Two weeks ago i would have guess they'd start ripening around now, but they are all still very much green. :O)

The Jerusalem Artichokes- i have heard mixed things about them. I looked up ways to get rid of them if they become a problem. Straight-up mowing them weekly was one way i read. They are native up here and supposedly they can be found along roadsides, i can't say i have ever seen this. Maybe the browsing from deer, woodchucks, chipmunks and squirrels keeps things in check. But you have those critters in NC too...
I don't even know if i like them, i mainly planted them as an emergency food. Its said that when all else fails JAs will feed ya.

Good to know Horizon Herbs is a good company. I'd never heard of them before but they have many fascinating things. I should be getting a catalog with my order and i bet it will be nice to thumb through it this winter when the snow is flying. :o)

icebear said...

Yes, that is the main issue with the SS. It is so good, but it doesn't last. The other thing people run into is having way too much. Its a feast or famine plant. While its producing its a feast, in the winter you wish you could have it. At least i am like that. It epitomizes the summer garden.
One way to control the amount i get is to pick it all very small. I don't let my pattypans get any bigger in diameter than my palm (they are the best just after the blossom falls off). The croockneck don't get too much longer than my hand.
When you leave them to be frisbee or baseball bat size is when the trouble begins! lol

I have a recipe for an amazing creamy veggie soup that i need to find again and share. It has cumin and white pepper in it- so its on the spicy side and then it has a garden-load of veggies in it. Leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, white potato, carrots, parsnips, fresh cream, marjoram... its loaded, and partially pureed so its creamy with small bits of tender veggies. Anyway i'll have to post it sometime if i find it again, i keep losing the recipe no matter where i put it.

Algebra... i still have nightmares. I hope you took a good nap!