Saturday, August 28, 2010
My thoughts have turned to preparing for next season and I am preparing to move hay and manure from the goat and chickens to the garden for next year. This is best done in the fall, so it has time to compost before the next spring planting.
Speaking of goats, I've been very busy keeping up with and learning about caring for my new doe, Holly and new wether, Harry. Holly is currently at a friends house being bred and Harry appears to be very lonely without her. We are adding on to the goat pen, keeping up with the chickens, and preparing the soil for next summers vegetable crops. Oh, and I should not forget keeping the baby fruit trees alive through the summer heat.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Some of the canned pears I will later dry during the winter months. I love dried pears and to get the the sweet, candy-like flavor similar to those found in stores, you have to can them and let them soak up the canning syrup for a few months before drying them.
In the past I have also done Pear Butter, which is basically a very cooked down version of pear sauce. Similarly, you can make apple butter by cooking down applesauce.
The weather has been unbelievably hot and dry, but despite the heat and lack of rain, the tomato plants are producing wonderfully. My favorite way to use tomatoes is to simply wash, half and seed them. I then place them in freezer containers and freeze them. The skins just peel off after freezing and I can use them however I wish throughout the year.
I had a pumpkin vine pop up out of the compost bin this year, so I just let it grow. It bore a pumpkin before the heat killed it. Tonight we used the pumpkin. We baked it in the oven, then pureed it in the blender. We used the pumpkin puree to bake a pie. The smell of cinnamon and pumpkin has me looking forward to fall already. Off to enjoy pumpkin pie in August!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Ben harvested mulberries from our mulberry tree in the backyard. It is the only time we have done it this year. He said they enjoyed eating the mulberries as they picked them. I combined the mulberries and some grapes for jam as well.
The zucchini are growing abundantly this week and I've been comparing notes with Facebook friends about the best way to use them. When someone mentions frying zucchini, I envision battering and deep frying. I do not like them this way, but if you combine them in a pan with a little butter, potatoes, onions, corn, tomatoes and garlic they are heavenly. I couldn't stop eating them. I also made some zucchini whole-wheat bread. I'm going to be trying zucchini brownies, lasagna, and as a vegetable vinaigrette mixture later this week.
The lemon balm needs to be harvested and dried very soon.
We have picked a few of our first tomatoes of the season. I am looking forward to many, many more.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
How to Grow Organic Stawberries at Home
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Plastic milk jugs can be turned into garden cloches, plastic and scrap lumber are also great for larger scale protection of garden rows during a frost. Pop bottles and milk containers also provide pots for growing in small spaces or sources of drip irrigation for traditional gardens.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I also got the peas and radishes in the ground. The tulips in the front yard are beginning to spring up. The dandelions aren't around yet this year, but I expect to see them very soon. I used the many of the weeds last year to prepare Herbal Tinctures.
Monday, March 15, 2010
I am also planting outside at this time white potatoes, and radishes.
To learn more about what can be planted and when in zone 5 see my article about starting seeds.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
In zone 5, where I live, corn is started around the first week of April. That is one week prior to the last expected frost date, which occurs on April 15th. Corn will not germinate until the ground is warm enough, but there is no harm in sowing the seeds just before the last frost.
A lot of home gardeners prefer not to bother with corn, because it is pretty inexpensive to buy at the store, but organic and heirloom varieties of corn are so much better! The kernels are smaller and more flavorful. They make the grocery store varieties taste like the bland fertilizer pumped up crops that they are.
Beans and squash make ideal companions for corn in the garden. The principal is based on "The Three Sisters" Native American traditions. All of these plants are to be planted just before the last spring frost and have synergistic benefits when grown together. To read more about this and other tips on growing corn visit: How to Grow Corn at Home
Monday, March 8, 2010
An old pomegranate made a beautiful yellow dye. I also used some old blackberries thinking they would make beautiful purple, but interestingly enough, the dye wasn't very strong. I am currently working on black walnut hulls.
Eggs dyed from food have more subtle pastels than eggs dyed with food coloring.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Seeds, being part of nature and created by God, not man, remained unpatented for many years. However, that changed several years ago. In today's world a large corporation, known as Monsanto, is allowed not only to alter life by genetically modifying the seed given to us by God, but they are also allowed to patent it. To claim ownership of the genetic components of the seed itself.
For those of you that aren't bothered by eating genetically engineered food, let me explain why this is still a problem. Historically, farmers stored their own seed from this years crop to germinate next years crop. Genetically modified (GMO) seed ended that tradition because the seed from the vegetation is not fertile. In other words, if I grew GMO soy beans, I could not use them to grow more beans next year. You must buy the seed from Monsanto. Furthermore, the soy crops spread to other heirloom crops inbreeding with them.
In time, we will all rely on Monsanto for seed and they will have a corner on the market charging anything they wish for their GMO seed. Not only that, but heirloom (or non-GMO seeds) may not exist any longer exist. It is no surprise to me that the cost of soy bean seed is rising. Soy beans are one of the most widely grown GMO crops in our country.
Give Monsanto time and the rest of the seeds will be equally expensive and we will be at their mercy.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
How to Make Herbal Medicine at Home
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
A favorite seasonal food of winter is nuts and seeds. This is because nuts and seeds harvested in the fall can be stored without energy consumption throughout the winter. The native Americans had a process for harvesting, storing and using acorns that I find fascinating. Acorns are the fruit of the oak tree and are abundant in many places. To use acorns the tannins must be leached from them.
To use other types of nuts, raw peanuts, raw black walnuts, or any other raw nut your heart desires, I suggest making raw nut butters. The are created by adding a small amount of raw honey to the nuts in a food processor and processing well. Yum!
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Canning skin-free tomatoes requires blanching. I have a few canning recipes that do not require the tomatoes to be peeled, or blanched, prior to canning. However, freezing tomatoes causes the skin to become loose, when you thaw them, the skin slides off easily. Freezing is also the healthiest way to preserve food.
The aerial part of the dandelion is better preserved by freezing because it retains more of its medicinal value when frozen rather tha...