Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Learned:  About apple trees. I found some great websites that explained that self pollinators don’t need another tree, but they’ll produce much better if you plant another tree of a different varietal.  A University of Illinois study shows that “apple’s soluble fiber strengthens immune systems and reduces obesity-related illnesses”… so maybe I’ll shoot for an apple a day for each of us! I requested a book about growing apples from our local small library.  

I also learned I can’t preserve foods on my glass-top stove because the glass isn’t built for the high heat involved.  Hoping I can use the camp stove.  

Planted: Discovered Sprout Robot at . You enter your zip code and it tells you what to plant right now. So I have several things I’m ready to plant/replant, including all-season lettuce, and autumn sunflowers. 

And speaking of sprouts…we make our own, and just recently got 5-part sprouting seeds. We’re pretty psyched, as we eat sprouts every day.  I still make mine in a mason jar with a sprouting lid. They stay crispy and crunchy.  

Harvested: chives and mint, green tomatoes, blackberries, carrots, amethyst radishes, onions, lettuce. 

Preserved: Started 14-day sweet pickles with pickling cukes from Farmer’s Mkt.  I’m using an old glass pickle jar to make them then I’ll put them in pint jars to finish.  

Recycled, reused, repurposed: My mother gave me an old washstand, old being good, that she kept in the garage. I put it in our hallway and use it to store my canners and canning supplies.

 Sewed: Ordered a quilt kit to sew for my new grandbaby.   

On my list:

Plant another apple tree
Treat  grape tomatoes with calcium and magnesium for soil deficiency
Take apple leaf to nursery
Weed tomato bed
Plant more tomatoes in weeded space
Plant lima beans and bell peppers
Buy yogurt starter
Build support for blackberries
Buy a second garden hose

Until next week, onward hoes!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Back to Life

I'm going back to a format we used to use in an online group I belong to. The group recently revived and I'm inspired to create goals for myself and keep a record of what I do. After four surgeries in 12 months, I am moving slower than usual, but getting all the help I need from my husband.

Researched:  How to use my pressure cooker. I’ve had it for three years and haven’t used it yet.

How to plant blackberries and build a proper trellis for them.  When to prune lilacs. I have a “secret garden” of ornamentals and herbs that is privacy fenced. Lilacs grow there. We also grow a lot of fennel, roses, Greek oregano, rosemary, sunflowers, and other herbs. It’s where we sit in the evenings. 

Harvested: Beets (we use the greens for salads), carrots, romaine, mesclun, strawberries. One more harvest then I’m letting the rest of the lettuce go to seed. We’ve also harvested some giant green tomatoes to fry. As always my garden tomatoes have escaped their cages and are running rampant all over their “boxes.” I’ve not found an effective way yet to support them.

Planted:  Dill, cilantro, okra, and two ornamental hot, hot peppers aptly named Explosive Embers and Chilly Chili. I’ll pick and dry them for winter’s cooking.

Food storage: Our backyard blackberries are ripening; what we don’t eat, we freeze. We also pick berries along a country road nearby and have done so for six years now. The berries are small and full of flavor.  We don’t get a lot out of either venture, just a small steady stream. This year we plan to expand the blackberry area in the yard into a BLACKBERRY EMPIRE!  Also checked my jars and lids for annual pickle making with my mom. Bought cukes at Farmer’s Market this week.

Reused, recycled, repurposed:  Worked on stuff for the new composter. It’s huge. I have some compost maker I plan to use. I added some shredded newspaper and dried grass cuttings. It’s located in direct sun so I have to wet the compost down good. My plan is to plant some butterfly bushes around it to shield it from sunlight.

Our kitty enjoying one of the garden benches. Enormous blackberries! And one of our little French intensive garden beds.

Watch for updates! I'll be sharing our method of tranplanting blackberry bushes, keeping the birds out of the strawberries and defeating the dreaded hornworms.