Almost the Middle of August!!


NO! NO! IT CAN’T BE! IT’S THE MIDDLE OF AUGUST!  HOW CAN THAT BE?

Pole Green Beans August 13, 2011

I’ve been very busy for the last month. My mind was definitely somewhere besides on my blog. Been busy with family things and then a recuperation period because of exhaustion but now I’m starting to feel a bit better. I need to refocus and tell you what’s going on with me.

First … our garden … has been doing very good once we treated the conditions of the drought with two garage sale soaker hoses. Once we did that, the beets, carrots, pea pods, and beans have blossomed nicely supplying our table with a wealth of vegetables.

One thing we learned about beets. They like watering and like their leaves trimmed back and in doing so the growth is redirected to the root part of the plant. Once we regularly harvested the beet greens to eat, the beets got bigger and bigger.

The broccoli has been awesome although it doesn’t look like the broccoli I buy from the store. It has looser head clusters. The taste is very good though. It is starting to go to seed. Pea Pods have just finished producing and I picked the first dried pod from the vine.  I will be actively collecting seeds from all the plants for next years planting.

A friend ask me what I thought was a good winter cover crop to plant on your home garden plot. I have been around farms a good bit and so winter rye came to mind but I decided to search and see what info I could find.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds is a site I’m fond of for getting information that is valid. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-6578-fall-green-manure-mix.aspx

http://www.johnnyseeds.com Fall Green Manure Mix

The link above describes a mix of seeds that can be planted on garden spots (usually farmers plant a field of it) to enrich the soil and plow under in the spring before planting. It’s called Fall Green Manure Mix and is a ready-made mix comprised of winter rye, field peas, ryegrass, crimson clover and hairy vetch. Vigorous late summer growth provides winter erosion control. The peas, clover and ryegrass will winter kill to provide organic matter and soil cover. The hairy vetch and winter rye will regrow in the spring to provide nutrients for crops to utilize.  That’s one option as well as any one of the selection in the mix or buckwheat. I really enjoy there site for all kinds of garden questions.

Mother Earth News is the other site where I looked to see what they had to say. Here is that article and the address where you can find it.


Preparing Your Vegetable Garden for Winter

10/14/2011 10:17:22 AM

By Mary Lou Shaw

Tags: winter gardencompostroot cellarautumn plantingMary Lou Shaw

Every gardener probably has a different version of the “best” way to prepare a backyard garden for the winter. Because our Ohio garden is large, and each year is different in climate and crops, I find that our garden goes into each winter with a little different variation of preparedness. Winter preparations occur over several weeks, but perhaps the following suggestions will give you ideas that you can try now and in the years ahead.

One thing that most gardeners will agree upon is that it’s worth the effort to clean out all the old annual plants. Some of the vines and climbing plants will die on their own and can be hauled to the compost by now. Others like tomatoes will wait for a hard frost to die. I’m in no rush to clean out crops if I can still get some green tomatoes or a sweet pepper or two. However, when the season is over, cleaning out the dead plants prevents the build-up of disease and harmful insects. The heat of composting will kill them.

The dead plants and weeds that you clean out from your garden in the autumn become valuable additions to your compost. Don’t worry about knocking all the soil off the roots. Soil contains microbes that will boost the decomposition of your compost. The compost recipe is “two-parts brown and one-part green. Dried leaves, pine needles can be added to the dead plants to provide the “brown.” Kitchen waste, grass and still-green plants will help provide the “green” component of your compost recipe.

If you don’t have room for a compost pile outside your garden area, consider digging trenches in your garden where you can bury this debris along with the other compost ingredients. After one trench is filled and one area of your garden cleaned out, dig another trench for the next area. This will compost and enrich your soil for the next year.

There are lots more options for your garden before you say good-bye to it until next spring. For one thing, if you plan ahead, your garden can continue to provide food through much of the winter. Kale and collard can be planted in the heat of August and then ignored until cold-sensitive plants have died. Carrots can be planted about late August or September and then covered with straw and not harvested until frost has sweetened them.

The garden is also a good place to create a “root cellar” of sorts. Plants don’t have to be deep in the soil to be protected from the cold. If you have cabbage in the garden that you would like to save for the winter months, dig it up now with the roots attached. Next, dig a hole to put it in, head-first, with the root sticking out to mark the spot. (You might also want to mark the spot with a stake in case you have high snow). When you dig it up this winter, you can remove only the outside leaves and have a perfect cabbage. Potatoes and carrots can also be dug now and preserved with a mound of straw and dirt above them.

Depending on where you live, you might still have time to put in some plants for next year. Spinach is planted four to six weeks before frost and then covered with straw for a late winter or early springtime treat. It’s time right here to plant garlic, rhubarb and shallots for next year’s harvest.

Some people say that soil should not lay bare through the winter because top soil will be lost to erosion. The best solution for this is to plant a cover crop (see the photo for an example of a buckwheat cover crop as well as compost rows). Cover crops can do more than hold your soil in place. Some plants can also serve as “green manure” when tilled back into the soil next spring. You want crops that will break-down readily, and buckwheat and rye serve this purpose well. A good source of cover crop seeds is Johnny’s Seeds.

Another purpose of cover crops can be to enrich the soil while they hold it in place. Legumes do this best because their roots have nitrogen-fixing nodules. Red clover is my favorite for this purpose because its stems don’t contain silicone and therefore breakdown readily in the soil in the springtime. Other clovers are difficult to get rid of when you’re ready to plant your crops.

The granddaddy of all cover crops is a mixture of buckwheat, red clover and turnips. The buckwheat feeds the bees, holds the soil in place, suppresses weed growth and breaks down readily after a frost. The red clover enriches the soil, suppresses weeds and also helps to hold the soil. And the turnips? After the buckwheat dies, you can protect them with a bit of straw and have turnips to eat throughout the winter!

I have one more way that I am getting our garden ready this fall, but it is next springtime that I have in mind. Last spring was so wet right up into June that it was difficult to get into the garden to plant seedlings. The only parts of the garden that I was able to plant were the rows that I had already laid out with compost and straw-paths the previous autumn. I am therefore getting my daily work-out now by hauling compost, cart-load by cart-load, from the compost pile in the meadow to the garden. Who knows what next spring will bring, but with every part of the garden in a different stage of preparation, some part might be “just right.”

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/the-happy-homesteader/preparing-your-vegetable-garden-for-winter.aspx#ixzz23P3BKYwa

This article suggested the use of your garden spot as a composting spot and also using it like a cold cellar for root crops like beets, turnips, parsnips, carrots left in the ground to pull up as needed from a late planting. I would like to try what they said about cabbage. Pull up the head, roots and all, dig a hole and place the head upside down in the hole leaving the roots exposed. When you need it, go out and dig it, clean off the outer leaves and wash and use it for whatever recipe you need it for.

Rhubarb Swiss Chard out of my garden.
We’ve been eating it..see the trimmed stems?

Ready for last picking … Rhubarb
From my Garden

Mid August progress of the Wild Strawberry Patch. See the Volunteer Squash at the top of the Strawberry Plants?

The patch started in the spring with 12 little plants! I think they’ve spread!

Hey you gardeners out there, what do you do with your garden plot in the winter? I would love to hear what you have to say about all this. I really have not done anything with ours in the winter except for composting right on the plot. Darnell has gone out when snow melts from the soil and chops everything up and mixes it in the soil. We are planning to purchase a tumbler composter sometime in the future. I think this year we will try planting beets and other root crops and leaving them in the ground to pull up as needed. We will continue composting in the walking paths  I just love gardening. It makes for awesome meals all year-long.

Thanks for letting me think out loud. I am in a constant state of brain storming. My husband and I love trying different things. Stop by and visit again.  See you soon,     Jan

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Success… and Seed Saving


You Do Need a Few Other Things…but….

Saw this on Facebook and thought it is only a good place to start! Just thought I would share it with you. You do need grit and humor to go through life. There are really broad ideas about success’ definition. Do you have thoughts on this? I do and I can guarantee that it is nothing like most people think. It definitely has very little to do with money or accomplishment. It does include God. He is a great inspiration. What is really valuable?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:19-21

Earth is a small place when you look at it from heaven. (Wikipedia)

Now for the some of the rest of what’s on my mind:

SEED SAVING!

Had a request about how to save seeds.

FROM THE WEEKEND GARDENER:

If you are going to save corn seed this year, make sure it has not been cross pollinated, or that it is not seed from a hybrid plant, because hybrid varieties may not produce fertile seed. You’ll want to do this seed saving exercise only with a non-hybrid variety of corn.

Here’s How To Do It:                                                                   

Corn Seed

1. To save corn seed choose the earliest and the best-developed corn cobs you can find

2. Cover them with a large enough paper bag to be able tie the top off to keep the bugs and grubs out

3. Do not use a plastic bag as the cob needs to breathe

4. Allow the cob to develop and dry out on the stalk as long possible

5. To store the cobs, remove them from the bag, pull back the husks, and hang in a dry area away from bugs or rodents, or you will end up with a dried out corncob with no seed

6. When the cobs are fully dried out, carefully break-off the seed, store in a paper bag, and keep in a cool place (the bottom of the fridge is a good spot) until springtime and you want to sow it

7. Good seed should be viable for at least two years

http://www.weekendgardener.net/blog/2007/08/how-to-save-corn-seed.htm

Here is another resource:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/save-vegetable-seeds-backyard-zmaz77zsch.aspx

I learned things here I definitely didn’t know. Seed saving isn’t as simple as it would seem to be. I am so glad that I read this one. We are not at seed saving time yet but if you don’t have it clear in your head, you won’t be ready.

I love Mother Earth  News! I have a friend that passes them on to me. I love reading it. I love all the info you can get there. It used to be such a hippy magazine for those that traveled on the road less traveled  I think there is a lot of valuable information there. I judge information after searching a bunch of places and kind of find out what the consensus of the reading brings me.

Seeds are very important to continue life. Hopefully we will all be diligent about saving seeds.

I enjoy my travels along the garden path.

Come visit my garden. I will be here.

Jan

The Best Foraging Rules I’ve Found


On April 30, 2012, I published a blog called: Precautionary Warning! The Other Side of the Coin.

I wanted to make sure if anyone read about the foraging, that the readers were safe as they explored this area in the wild. I came across the site I’m going to show you and thought this was a more concise list that seemed more understandable. You decide. If you are going to forage, please save this list and follow the rules that are there for your safety.

May Apple Plants on the Forest Floor

The Rules of Foraging


These rules are for your own protection when investigating plants that are new to you. If followed closely, they will protect you in the field.

  1. DO NOT collect plants closer than 200 feet from a car path or contaminated area.
  2. NEVER collect from areas sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals.
  3. DO NOT collect plants with RED STEMS, or red striations or stripes.
  4. ALWAYS BE FAMILIAR with all dangerous plants in YOUR area of collection.
  5. POSITIVELY IDENTIFY all plants you intend to use for food.
  6. Take a piece off the plant and roll between your fingers. SNIFF CAREFULLY. Does it smell like something you would eat? If it doesn’t, DISCARD IMMEDIATELY. If it does, go to rule 7.
  7. Take another piece off the plant and roll until juicy. RUB the tiny piece on your gum above your teeth.
  8. WAIT 20 minutes.
  9. DOES YOUR GUM ITCH, BURN, TINGLE, SWELL OR STING? If no reaction occurs, go on to rule 10.
  10. Take another piece of the plant and put in a teacup. Add boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. SIP SLOWLY for 20 more minutes. WATCH FOR NAUSEA, BURNING, DISCOMFORT.
    If no reaction occurs, you may ingest a small amount.
  11. WAIT ANOTHER 20 MINUTES and watch for any reaction.
  12. Keep all samples AWAY from children or pets.
  13. Store all seeds and bulbs AWAY from children and pets.
  14. Teach children to keep all plants AWAY from their mouths and DO NOT ALLOW children chew or suck nectar from any unknown plants.
  15. AVOID smoke from burning plants. Smoke may irritate the eyes or cause allergic reactions QUICKLY.
  16. BE AWARE of your neighbor’s habits with chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.
  17. BEWARE: heating or boiling doesn’t always destroy toxicity.

Disclaimer


This is information about wild food. The owners of this website (www.ofthefield.com) make no claims as to the correctness, safety or usability of the data.

The information contained herein is intended to be an educational tool for gathering and cooking wild plants. The information presented is for use as a supplement to a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. The nutritional requirements of individuals may vary greatly, therefore the author and publisher take no responsibility for an individual using and ingesting wild plants.

All data is to be used at your own risk. Using the Rules of Foraging, above, greatly help to reduce that risk, but they are not foolproof.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

English: Hiking trail Soonwaldsteig

I got this information from a site called: http://ofthefield.com/

Click on the “Ongoing Information” link on the left side of the screen and below a list of  several plants that you could look for and what they are good for, is The Rules for Foraging. This list seems the best to me. Foraging is a wonderful experience as long as you are well-informed and cautious. Remember the saying, ” An ounce of prevention (or caution) is worth a pound of cure!”

One of the plants she listed is the Red Clover you read about in my blog post: Gathering Red Clover (5/27/2012). The following is what Lind Runyon has to say about Clover:

CLOVERRed Clover

When I homesteaded in the Adirondack wilderness, the intake of calcium and protein was my main interest. Reading references about wild foods became a very necessary occupation when I went to the town library.

Red clover is one wild food that is high in vegetable protein and calcium. Red clover buds are sold in health food stores as a tonic for the body.

I began by putting red clover leaves between two pieces of whole wheat bread and pretending it was cheese. After a week or so, I began to forage freely on red clover leaves and buds for my sweet candy.

Little did I know the plant would eventually supply casseroles, teas, stir-fry and flour for baking. For a few months, red clover was added to spaghetti sauce and cream sauce for a halfway normal diet.

English: Trifolium pratense, Fabaceae, Red Clo...

Red Clover
Photo Credit~Wikipedia

When foraging for any plant be sure include careful, 100 percent identification. For a complete set of foraging rules, please see below in the Dandelions section, “Rules of Foraging”. For red clover, rub the plant on your upper gum and wait 20 minutes for any reaction. If no reaction, make a weak tea then consume small sections of this new plant.

You may be fortunate to have a weedy backyard. If not, locate an access field and call to inquire how long ago the field was cultivated and what was grown there as far back as five years ago.

Most chemicals are washed down below the quick-growing weed root system and wild food roots are in the first 4 inches of topsoil as a rule. Hardy and fast-growing, these plants are the very ones the agricultural system needs to eradicate.

English: Trefoil crop in South Hams. Tramlines...

Clover Crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clover: Trifolium pratense (red clover), Trefolium repens (white clover), Legume Family, LeguminosaeTrefolium pratense (L.)

History: Throughout all cultures; a Native American vegetable.

Characteristics: Biennial or perennial herb. Red clover reaches the height of 10 inches or more, with hairy stems. Red or purple blossom with oval nectar sections; elongated leaves form trefoil with white vein when mature. White clover reaches the height of 2 inches or more. White blossoms have dozens of nectar filled sections; round leaves form trefoil at end of stem.

Location: Fields, roadsides, backyards.

Collection and Storage: Plants are most succulent in spring and early summer. Gathering a winter’s supply of clover takes only a few minutes. Clover can be frozen by placing it in a single layer on freezer wrap, folding over 2 sides to hold the clover in place, and freezing. After the clover is frozen, roll the paper to make a compact package, fasten, and label. Dry seed heads separately for an attractive potpourri.

Parts used: Leaves, blossoms, stems, roots. All can be used raw or cooked, dried or frozen.

Medicinal Value: Red clover is used as tea for cough, whooping-cough; blood tonic or purifier. Clover syrup used for chest congestion and bronchitis.

Hot Clover and Rice

1 cup milk or water
2 cups washed clover leaves
4 cups fluffy cooked rice

Add rice to a greased baking dish. Stir in clover and water (or milk). Stir again and serve hot. A protein delight. Serves 4.

Clover Sprout Muffins

3/4 cup partly cooked clover sprouts
1-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
5 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
1 cup milk or water
1 egg (optional)
2 tablespoons melted shortening (author uses water, no baking powder or egg, and sesame oil)

Stir flour, baking powder and honey together. Add milk or water and egg. Mix well. Add sprouts and melted shortening. Bake in a well-greased muffin tin at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Serves 3.

(Medicinal remedies suggested by this column are intended to be used solely at the discretion and responsibility of the user.)

CAUTION: Always check identification of wild foods with photographic sources. Some wild foods are toxic to humans. So when in doubt: DON’T! Also be aware of the use of chemicals in your lawn and neighbor’s lawn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wonderful information! Thanks Linda

I hope there are those out there that are opening their eyes to what is around you. Knowledge can add to our lives and bring joy as you shop in the free grocery store that is fields, your yard, woods nearby or places you may visit. Hope this is helpful.

Come and visit a bit when you can. Love to see you every time.

Jan

The Full Picture


Wild Onions~Remember These?

Remember when we found these wild onions? They were so good and fresh! Now I’m going to show you the next step.

Dried and Gone to Seed Wild Onion

Here is the wild onion gone to seed. The whole plant has dried and those ball-shaped flower heads have dried reveling many seeds for next years provision. The dried plant from flower tip to onion ball at the bottom measures 2414″ long.  We have carried these home and will plant them in a place where the can provide us with onions every year without and labor of planting. Work smarter not harder! This is the full picture of the life of a wild onion. This is so exciting. Simple Pleasures as I love life. 😉

Stemmed, Twice Washed Turnip Greens Ready to Cook

I went to church Wednesday and brought home more turnips and the greens. I am altering the way I did the greens last time since I love my hubby and want him to enjoy them too. He says things so rarely that I know that the stems left in to cook were not appetizing to him. I stripped the leaves from the stems and have contacted a dear friend that know so much. She is 94 so she has had lots of time to figure things out. I haven’t heard back from her yet. Turnip greens have a bitter taste caused by the calcium they contain. I rinsed them twice and cooked them in heavily salted water since I haven’t heard back.

When I looked online, this is one response to the question:

But not that bitter! Seasonal means after the first frost is the best time to pick the greens, the smaller leaves are better and more tender.
I never heard of cooking longer helping with the bitterness; you just have more tender greens or overcooked greens .
Cracker Barrel or country cooking serve pepper sauce consisting of small hot peppers pickled in vinegar to put on the greens so I guess vinegar or an acid helps with the bitterness. There is nothing wrong with adding a spoon of sugar or to taste–At any time in the cooking process, even the end. It definitely takes care of the bitterness.
Mustard greens have a stronger flavor than turnip greens but not an unpleasant bitterness. It’s okay to cook them together. Both cooked down much more than collard greens.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/284194   Interesting!!

I did see a recipe I would like to try:

TURNIP GREEN CASSEROLE
Printed from COOKS.COM

1 (15 oz.) can Bush’s chopped turnip or mustard greens, drained (Or Freshly Cooked out of the garden)
1 tsp. sugar
Salt, pepper to taste
1/2 of (10 1/2 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. wine vinegar
1 tsp. horseradish
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Bread crumbs
Grated cheddar cheese
Blend all ingredients together except crumbs and cheese. Spoon into casserole. Cover top with bread crumbs and cheese and bake one hour at 350 degrees. Serves 6 to 8.NOTE: This dish multiplies well for a big crowd.
I figure that this is more of a Southern delicacy so I checked and found this recipe on http://www.southernliving.com/food/kitchen-assistant/turnip-greens-recipes-00417000072384/

Southern Turnip Greens and Ham Hocks Recipe
1 3/4 lb. ham hocks, rinsed
2 bunches fresh turnip greens with roots (about 10 lb.)
1 Tbsp. sugar

1. Bring ham hocks and 2 qt. water to a boil in an 8-qt. dutch oven. Reduce heat, and simmer 11⁄2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender.

2. Remove and discard stems and discolored spots from greens. Chop greens, and wash thoroughly; drain. Peel turnip roots, and cut in half.

3. Add greens, roots, and sugar to dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45 to 60 minutes or until greens and roots are tender.

So I’m learning that,

  1. These might be better picked after the fall frost and pick the smaller leaves.
  2. Vinegar and maybe some hot sauce are possible additions that help.
  3. Cooking with meat or beans is a good thing.
  4. Sweetening can be added.
In the last post, Harvest, I told how I cooked them the first time:
Here is how I fixed the turnip greens. I cooked 4 pieces of bacon till crisp. Set them aside to drain. Put the twice washed and chopped greens (8 cups)in the pan and just started frying them for a few minutes turning every once in a while. Add 1 cup water, salt (1 tsp), balsamic vinegar to taste, and a tsp honey then stir it and put the lid on and let it simmer on low till stems are tender. Crumble the crisp bacon and mix it into the greens.
I did leave larger stems on and cooked them so I changed that this time. The next day I mixed some of the greens with bean soup in equal parts and saw a definite improvement in them that way. I remembered having them that way growing up in West Virginia and served with cornbread.
Today I will take the cooked greens and make something, I hope good, out of them.
We had beet greens yesterday. They are much sweeter and very good.

Beet Green with Balsamic Vinegar, Lemon Pepper, and a Pat of Butter

Darnell loves beet greens.. 🙂 Me too!
Does anyone out there have a special way you fix them? I would love to hear from you. I’m always interested in learning.
See you next time,   Jan
Fill in your Name, Email, Website if you have one, and leave a comment. I would love that.

Harvest and Sharing


Pickling Cucumber Beside Angel Wing Begonia

It rained yesterday and broke the stretch of unbearable heat.

Very Small Cucumber Started Where Flower is Brown

Heat makes me sick and I find it very hard to function during stretches of very high, unbearable heat. It’s very hard on the garden and the plants looked as frazzled as I felt. Darnell goes out right at dusk and even sometimes after dark to water the garden and our flower beds. I’m amazed at how quickly the grass looks fried when the heat doesn’t let up. After the rain the cucumber in the picture above perked right up. At the bottom of the picture at the right, see the very small cucumber where the browned blossom has died. There will be a cucumber where each flower is. Yea!! Can’t wait.

Heard from my friend and blueberries are ready. Fruits had a rough time this year because of the 80 degree weather in March and then some freezes later than usual. She got 5 pounds for between 11-12 dollars. We will go get blueberries soon because I’m not sure how much damage was done to the crop.

We have a garden at our church. Pretty good size one. Thursday the pastor and his wife came and brought me turnips with the greens, chives, peas and raspberries and blackberries. I live the farthest from the church, I think and I can’t always make it to the services. I appreciated so much that they brought things from the garden out for us to use. They know I will put it all to use and it won’t be wasted. We are trying to have 0% waste. I even take the parts of veggies that I don’t chop up and cook it to make vegetable broth for soup and other uses.

Here is how I fixed the turnip greens. I cooked 4 pieces of bacon till crisp. Set them aside to drain. Put the twice washed and chopped greens (8 cups)in the pan and just started frying them for a few minutes turning every once in a while. Add 1 cup water, salt (1 tsp), balsamic vinegar to taste, and a tsp honey then stir it and put the lid on and let it simmer on low till stems are tender. Crumble the crisp bacon and mix it into the greens. They have a bitter taste which is because of the calcium content. Vitamin content is similar to Kale so it’s very healthy. My husband didn’t like the stems and you can trim the leaves and leave off the stems. On Wednesday, Darnell made the best bean soup so I took the left over turnip greens and the last serving of the bean soup which was pretty thick and put one on either side of my bowl / plate. I ended up kind of mixing it up and eating it together. It was so tasty. I remembered then eating it that way when I was growing up with some good cornbread. That is an awesome way to eat greens like turnip or kale greens.

I can’t do peas the way I always heard you should do them.
On the side of the pea that is rounded outward, I cut the tip.

Cut a slim cut right down the side so that when you are done the pod is open and you can see the peas.

It is easy to open then and you break them from the pod into the bowl.

I got the peas out of the pods so we can have them with lunch tomorrow. I will put them in a steamer insert for my sauce pan. Only put enough water so that it doesn’t come through and touch the peas and it said to cook them covered for 2-3 minutes, but it took more like 5-6 minutes. It’s very quick. Salt if you want to and possibly melt a pat of butter in them. They will taste so fresh and good.

We washed and froze the berries.  The turnips I can wait a bit before cooking them. We had omelets with chives and cheese this morning. I just love having fresh vegetables. You know exactly whats in them especially if no pesticides are used.

I hope you are all enjoying fresh produce. It takes a little effort but the benefits are huge.

What are you growing in your gardens or picking up at the farmer’s market? Do any of you have different things you do with turnips or greens? Are you growing anything different in your garden? I would love to hear about it. We all learn something everyday if we share with one another.

Have a wonderful day!    See you next time,   Jan

Tying Up Loose Ends


What a nice week……with varied temps and some rain. Today it was sunny and 70 degrees. The perfect day.

This was a week of tying up loose ends.

Pictures 1 & 2.

All the Red Clover Blossoms and leaves are dried and bagged.

I will harvest more soon.

1. Half-Filled Gallon Bag Red Clover Blossoms

2. Half -Filled Gallon Bag of Clover Leaves

Worked carefully to not waste anything in the leftovers in the frig.
Browsed through the corners of my mind for creative recipes.

Set up the payments for the June bills.

I Read over and over parts from the book: “The Blood Sugar Solution”.
Battled with myself over what I read.
Since the book isn’t mine; Typed the tests from the book, that help in making health decisions.
Made notes that will help me remember important information later from the book.

I am rather befuddled by some of the things in the book. As usual I will have to blaze my own trail and find my own ways to come as close as I can to do what they’ve described. I agree with so much in the book. In treating disease, they approach it in looking at the  whole body and finding the balance in 7 key areas as they relate and work together in the body. There is a correlation between all the preservatives, dye, pesticides, hormones and other polluting factors and how it affects our body. This isn’t just for diabetics though. I would recommend this to anyone who cares about their health.

I will find a way.

3. An End Stalk of Celery That I’m Re-growing

Picture 3

This picture shows the end of the celery stalk after we ate the stalks. I just put the stalk end in the container with a quarter-inch of water and basically forgot about it. One day it caught my eye and I saw it was growing. I will plant it in the dirt this week. I first told you about this in a post called, “Gratitude and Contentment and How Gardening Helps!”

I sat the container in the pot that contains a pickle especially made for pickling. The pickles will be smaller so I thought it might work in a hanging basket since the pickles are smaller.

4. Flower Bed with a Pink Rose

Picture 4 and 5

I wasn’t outside this week much.

When I went out I discovered that aphids had attacked all of the roses. I have a pink, a white, and a red rose. I had no way to treat the plants and couldn’t go get something ,  I was told by a friend that orange oil could be used to repel the aphids. I have some face cleanser that is all natural ingredients and has a major amount of orange oil  in it. It’s Burt’s Bee Orange Oil Facial Cleanser. I figured I would try it so I put a nickel size spot in a spray bottle and put just a little hot water in with it to dissolve it, then filled the bottle with cooler water. I shook it up really good and sprayed the roses all over. It seemed to work but I didn’t want to use all my face cleaner for that so when we went into town, I got some Whitney Farms 3-in-1 Rose and Flower Care.

5. Close-up of the Pink Rose

Picture 6. This flower bed is flanked on either side by half barrels. One has Lettuce planted in it. I made a salad this week with this lettuce and radishes from the garden, then added cucumber, tomatoes, celery, and onions.

6. Lettuce, One Marigold, One Nasturtium

The other barrel has a plant I don’t recognize that has purple flowers, zinnias that haven’t come up, and hen and chicks. I don’t have a picture of that one.

7. Daisies


Picture 7. This is a raised bed and I have one on either side of my back door.  This bed has Daisies, Snow on the Mountain, another ground cover that is silvery in two tones. There was a field down the street where they brought in fill-dirt. Evidently there were daisies planted in the place where the dirt was picked up because these are cultivated daisies. My husband pulled them up in that field and brought them to me and planted them in my garden. What a sweet guy, going to the free flower store to bring me flowers! You don’t need money to show someone you love them.

8. Echinacea and ONIONS!

Picture 8.

This is the bed on the other side of the back door. I have Echinacea and Onions

English: Echinacea purpurea blooms in a flower...

Echinacea Blooms   Wikipedia

will be hidden behind them. The picture from Wikipedia shows what the Echinacea will look like blooming. My youngest son and his girlfriend gave me the glass sculpture that you can see part of it. It’s made out of glass plates and green vases. I love it! This is just a little of our flower beds I don’t want to talk your arm off so I will say adieu for now. Hope you have a good week.Come and visit again.

Jan


Mushrooms and Strawberries :-)


What an exciting day!  The sky was a beautiful blue and the temperature was comfortable.

I’ve been walking everyday I can. Some days I’m too weak but I try to walk even if it’s just a little. Today was one of those weaker days but I went with my husband for a small walk and we were rewarded with the most amazing discovery. We found a morel mushroom. After I got back home, Darnell, my husband went back there and looked more hoping to find enough for a meal. He searched several areas but came home empty-handed. Bummer!! On the bright side we did find one huge mushroom. It’s almost as big as my hand. I’m making us an omelet with ham, mushroom, tomato, and  cheese so we can savor that wonderful find.  I know we will enjoy it. There is enough there for us to share. I’m glad!!!

Wild Strawberry Plant with White Flower

After a little rest, I went for another walk to where I found the wild strawberries. Only one plant had a bloom on it and it was white which is the sign it is the right one. There is a fake strawberry plant. It is not  poisonous and is edible. Called  Wood Strawberry, has yellow flowers, and a similar fruit that has no flavor. I was glad the plants I dug had the white bloom. I left ample dirt around the roots so as to not disturb the growth process. They say that the strawberries that they produce are smaller than cultivated strawberries but are much more flavorful. I may not get any this year because of moving them but I’m a patient woman. I waited till the third year before I could fully harvest the rhubarb that I planted from roots given to me by good friends. Here in the middle of April, we picked from one plant enough rhubarb to make Rhubarb Bread. It flopped terribly but tastes delicious. We can eat it with a spoon.

What is wonderful about sharing plants is that every time I look at those rhubarb plants I think about the friends who gave it to me. I have another friend who gave me  Rose of Sharon bushes. When I look at them, it gives me a chance to pray for them and ask God to bless them and care for them. What they gave me is treasures that produces joy in my life. I love those gifts.

It will probably be a while before I can bake a Rhubarb Strawberry Pie. It’s a work in progress. It will be worth the  wait. We all have to wait for things. I’ve heard that things that we have to wait for usually produces something lasting that is of value so  how about we wait together. Come and visit.         Jan

What things have you gathered, pampered and waited for? Tell me about your experiences.

I’m in learning mode always so any contribution will be welcome. Leave a comment. 🙂

Learning to Forage


It’s been so nice outside and when it is, I find anything I can do so I can enjoy the weather. It’s been chilly but not bad. Before it rained a few days ago, I planted zinnias and marigold seeds. We planted more plant starts out in the garden too. The rain helps them get started better than watering. Why is that? Is it that it is more natural? I just know that I am always glad when it rains. It cleans and waters and makes all things fresh.

Carya glabra

Hickory Nuts

I found a hickory tree near by with tons of nuts strewn under it. I brought a few home at first and cracked and tasted them. The nut meats were so sweet and good. I found them hard to crack and not have a million little pieces so I went to the internet and started searching for a way to get the nut meats out in more whole pieces. We are so spoiled. Factories crack them with a machine and you go to the store and buy packages of nuts without any little pieces. I have a very patient friend in Arkansas who gathers black walnuts and saves the nut meats. She has jars and jars of them but they are all in little tiny pieces. I love them and when she gives me a jar, I know how many hours of work went into gathering those precious gems of flavor  and nutrition. I am going to have to develop my persistence and tenacity to forage food from around me. It definitely takes patience and determination. I watched a few videos that showed a man cracking these nuts and taking out whole nut meats. He cracked it all over with a hammer or a stone, like a boiled egg and then gently picked the shell off piece by piece.That’s my goal.

Queen Anne's Lace (Wild Carrot)

I gathered dandelion greens early this year before they started blooming. I was told that they aren’t good after the blooms start. They were delicious. That wasn’t hard.

I spotted some wild onions  and wild carrots. I knew about the onions before and had heard of the carrots but had never investigated them. I don’t know that I will gather the roots of the wild carrots but if I ever needed to I could now. The research I did said they are not tender, sweet and good like their garden cousin. The big surprise was that the wild carrots was a plant that I have always called Queen Anne’s Lace. I never looked at the leaves because of the beauty of the bloom. I wonder what God was thinking when He put the one small purple dot in the middle of the bloom? You will see these along the road or in a field. The blue flower is Chicory and the roots can be roasted and ground to use as a coffee substitute.

Ever use pine nuts in a recipe. I have a couple Sicilian recipes that have them in them. I had no idea where they came from nor why they were called pine nuts. Now I know that they are little seeds hidden under every scale of the pine cone. I read that you pick them up off the ground or pick off the tree when they are tight together not more opened.

They are high in protein and fiber but after you get them out of the pine cone you still have to crack a shell similar to a sunflower seed from around the nut.

After I gathered them, I wrapped a cookie sheet with foil to protect it from the sap, and baked them for an hour at 200 degrees. Amazingly the scaled started lifting apart so the seeds could drop out. The pine smell while I did that was very pleasant.

It is good to know how to do these things. I do know that some things, I will probably not do on a day-to-day basis because of how hard it is. I want to become proficient at it so that what things are worth it to me to do… I will do and the rest I will store in the recesses of my brain for a rainy day when it might come in handy. That makes good sense, doesn’t it?

When all six of our children were home, we didn’t have a lot of money. I’m sure there were times when they felt it but I tried very hard to focus on things much more important than money.  We used what we had in the most creative way we could. I focused on the things in life that are free. Nature, God, Music, Books, and felt wealthy for all that was available to us. I don’t regret one day of my life. It is a gift!

Thanks for dropping by, Love having you visit and come again,                                                     Jan

P.S.   Had to show you this idea for the garden. I saw it on http://www.gardeners.com. It is an awesome way to save space in the garden. It shows it for cucumbers but I think it could be used for any of the smaller spreading crops like squash or muskmelon. There is a wealth of  great ideas available.

Cucumber or Vegetable Trellis

Gratitude and Contentment and How Gardening Helps!


Gratitude is a good thing.

Knowing what is a need and what is just something you want is also a good thing.

I was thinking about the attitudes I experience from people who cross by my path and the people I rub elbows with everyday. Attitude and perspective makes a big difference. Some people have created an attitude of dystopianism no matter what benefits they enjoy in life.  What they have is never good enough and the value and joy of a day is wasted on wishing for something else and hating what they have. Contentment is a valuable commodity worth more than gold. That doesn’t mean that you never set goals for something else that you think is important but can you do that and be happy today while you reach for it? I imagine except for maybe a few, we are all in survival mode. The cost of living has gone up. The farther you have to fall maybe the harder it is. Attitude is paramount no matter what level you are experiencing. The richer a person is, the more they might have to give up. They are used to having certain luxuries and we are creatures of habit. Whether we are rich or poor, if we need to pull in the cinches, it is important that we do it the best we know how. Change is hard for everyone. One of the things we can do is look for information and make it an adventure of learning and experiences. We can find it in ourselves to focus on  the good and be grateful for it. Even the things that are bad, we can be thankful for the strength God gives us as we go through the challenge and be grateful. Seems like when I have a pity party day, I will find someone who has it so much worse. Now on to an adventure. Adventure is what I call all the little quirky tips I find that helps me provides for the family something that is needed in a less expensive way. Gardening is one way I can help our family. I also do things like make my own yogurt or cottage cheese or make cakes or pancakes from scratch. I got a tip the other day. A friend of mine directed me to a site and told me about something I could do that I had never thought of. This is kind of a silly thing but its something that kids or grandkids will enjoy doing. This way they learn to help. It’s good when they are involved.

Grow your own celery from your celery remains. Just chop off the base and plant. One week of growth shown in photo.

I buy celery all the time and I don’t remove one stalk at a time and chop it. I cut off whatever I need from the end of the stalks so that when I’m done I’m left with the piece at the end of the celery where the roots were when it was harvested. This is perfect because they said to take the root end of the celery and put it in the ground and it will produce more celery stalks. I’m going to replant my first celery at the end of this week. To me when you can do things like this, it’s an adventure and makes surviving more fun. Pretty soon it isn’t surviving but it is joyful living in the present. You can be happy while you accomplish it. I planted my cucumbers the other day in a hanging basket. I’ll let you know how that works. We don’t have room in our little garden for anything that spreads. One spreading plant and it would fill our whole garden. She had this link connected to this picture:

http://homesteadingsurvivalism.myshopify.com/blogs/news

This link will take you to a gardening guide with lists of plants. It’s very well presented and easy to refer to it for information. It tells you when to plant and other valuable information. I found several things on the site that might be of value. One was a cold frame set up made by setting bales of straw around a small section of your garden and start the plants there. Cover the area with clear plastic so that it rests on the bales. That way you get a head start and the plants are already where they are going to be planted so you don’t have to even move them. That is pretty awesome. This is the link to the original site that had the Straw Cold Frame:          http://ozarksalive.org/larrapin/?p=929

Straw Cold Frame

They used sliding glass doors but you could make frames and cover with plastic. That might be safer for kids and animals.

I am definitely going to try this next year. Love finding new ideas…new to me anyhow. 🙂 Hope you benefit from my travels on the internet. Love technology! How much do we all have in our lives that we can be grateful for?

I read an article in Wiki about gratitude. Here is one section out of that article:

“While many emotions and personality traits are important to well-being, there is evidence that gratitude may be uniquely important. First, a longitudinal study showed that people who were more grateful coped better with a life transition. Specifically, people who were more grateful before the transition were less stressed, less depressed, and more satisfied with their relationships three months later.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude

Gardening exposes you to the whole cycle of life. It is usually a quiet task that gives you time to think, meditate, calm your mind, and bring something wonderful to others.

It is a great time to contemplate the good things in your life. Make a list of those things and be grateful, and share with others.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

Mother Nature’s April Fools Joke


I am dumbfounded that it is 80 degrees in the middle of March. It seems like a huge April Fools Joke from Mother Nature to all of us. It’s a little unsettling. I have the Spring Fever though that comes whenever great weather crosses our path. I’m spending every second I can outside.

For the last week I have been raking my yard. With that amount of time you would think I had a big yard but that is not the case. It is postage stamp size but I just do a little section at a time. I love the smell of burning leaves. It evokes memories of a nice clean yard from when I was young and working on the yard with my Dad. I’m pecking at the weeding in my flower beds. My children came and made me two raised bed gardens and we also bought two half barrels to plant in. This was about ten years ago. I love them because I can sit on the wall or pull a chair up beside  the barrels and just work at it a little at a time. Last year my husband put in a raised bed at the end of the house. I have some things planted that come up each year and then I plant a few from seeds like zinnias, nasturtium, and marigolds. The zinnias are wonderful for cut flowers.

Darnell, my husband has spring fever too. He loves the vegetable garden.

Flat of Starter Plants

He has been busy as a bee planting seeds inside so that they will be ready when it’s time to plant. He couldn’t resist though and planted some peas, carrots, beets, and radishes right in the ground out in the garden. I just know that we are going to get a surprise and have snow the first of May but if we do we will cover it and try to save them. If we fail we will replant. It made him feel good to plant it anyhow. The flat to the right has been planted about 10 days.

Our houseplants need re-potting in the spring so we got most of the pots done. We have palms, aloe, christmas cactus, purple heart, geraniums, angle wind begonia, and Hoya. We have really thinned out our plants so there isn’t so much to care for. We used to have a jungle.

To start our plants for the garden, we saved the plastic box containers  that spinach and lettuce come in and grape or cherry

Planting in Egg Carton

tomatoes also. We put a little dirt in the bottom, water it completely and plant the seeds apart enough so they have a bit of room to grow. We used egg cartons in the same way. The boxes act like a green house since you can close the lid.  We did save a flat with a lid from last year  So many of the seeds are so minuscule that it is so hard to plant them but we keep on doing it.

We mist the dirt or the plants if they are up, everyday. The anticipation nearly kills you as you watch for them to come up. We are going to try to start cauliflower and broccoli from seed this year. We are going to plant some heirloom seeds this year for part of the plants. A friend is going to share with us. Heirloom seeds have not been genetically altered and the seeds have been gathered from the plants year after year.

Most seeds take 7 to 10 days to come up then you thin them out

Planting in Lettuce Box ~ Instant Greenhouse

and give them time to mature into a healthy strong plant before you put it into the garden soil.  I told you our garden spot is small. In the picture toward the bottom of the page, you can see what it looks like now as it’s waiting for the plants. Soon it will be filled with plants. Darnell goes out when they are producing and picks what is ready and brings it to me. I do the preparation that is needed for us to eat it right away. If there is more than what we can eat, I will package it to put in the freezer.

My rhubarb is just up and looks so tiny compared to the size the leaves will be very soon. You have to watch the rhubarb and not let it go to seed at the top of the leaves. As soon as you see something that isn’t a leaf you cut it off so that the plant will continue producing.

                                  

Baby Rhubarb

We still have to finish framing in the box around the garden spot. We will add compost to the box each year and occasionally a bag of fertile soil from the hardware store. We water our plants once they are in the garden some but not too much. I want the roots to reach for the water. If you water too much then the roots just lie in the first few inches of the soil and are much more vulnerable.

 

It was framed in but when Darnell decided to expand the garden, he moved the frame over and he will finish building around the whole area.

We have better meals since we started growing a garden. It is wonderful what we get from the plantings.  I hope you will try growing something. It doesn’t have to be a lot but even one plant will bring you good nutritious food for your family to eat. I hope that I have enticed you to make a garden path of your own. I am always glad when you visit mine. Thanks and come visit again soon and see what surprises you will find along my garden path.             Jan

A New Day


Sample of Seeds Collected 2011

What a nice weekend!  It’s actually like winter but the sun is shining. It’s awesome. I love sun shine and I like the snow. I’m torn between the two. I’m just glad to live in a place that has different seasons. The time has come to look forward to spring. That’s my favorite season. Everything about spring speaks of Hope and Life. I have an itch to scratch and that itch is the itch of the gardener. I’m already looking at what needs to be planted. I feel like a current day Johnny Appleseed.

There is this thing about seeds . It’s like I’m driven to collect and plant. I save every seed that crosses my path. I take them home to care for them like a child. I dry them, package them, and date and label them. Then I itch untill I can plant it myself or find someone who will treasure it as the wonder it is.

“Today’s mighty oak was once a single nut who held it’s ground.”~Mark Twain  Love this saying!! I found this @ this site:http://www.quotegarden.com/food.html

I told you in a past post that we have a postage stamp size kitchen, well, we have several postage stamp size garden spots. One is 4×8 behind the shed and 2×8 to one side of the shed and 4×4 behind the addition. This is a combined square footage of 64 square foot.  We plant not in rows but in mass 3″ wide strips. A very special woman in her 80’s gave me 3 rhubarb roots. that is in the 2×8 strip by the shed. I waited several years like you are supposed to giving it time to mature before we finally pulled the stalks last summer and had rhubarb and strawberry pie and rhubarb sauce. Splenda is a great sweetener to use if you are diabetic

I was amazed at the amount of produce we got out of our little garden. My husband and my labors in the garden paid off. Out of just such a small amount of space we ate all summer and froze goods for the winter. Not a huge amount left for the winter but every little bit counts.

We saved seeds from our produce … tomatoes, peppers both green and jalapeno. We had a volunteer plant come up in our garden because during the winter we composed on the main garden spot. We distributed egg shells and vegetable peels and coffee grounds out there and anytime the weather broke Darnell, my husband would go out and rototill the garden. We have a mini rototiller for our mini garden. It’s awesome!  So the volunteer that we had come up because of composting was a sweet potato squash which is  about the size of a large sweet potato and tastes just as good. Yum!

This year we are planting:

  1. Tomato-of course – saved seeds
  2. Peppers-Green and Jalapeno – saved seeds
  3. Swiss Chard – Rhubarb Swiss Chard with a red spine – already have seeds
  4. Basil-for some good pesto and seasoning – buy these as plants
  5. butternut Head lettuce – small loose heads – dark green – buy seeds
  6. Carrots-buy seeds
  7. Beets -buy seeds
  8. Onions -buy seeds
  9. Butternut Squash – saved seeds from squash we bought
  10. Fennell – buy seeds
  11. Kale – buy seeds
  12. Potatoes – Planted 6 whole potatoes and got 10lbs potatoes!

A Little Topsy Turvy Like Me

We have a “Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter” that we plant cherry tomatoes in that hangs by the patio so

we can eat them at will. It hangs down from the bottom of the container.

Hope you gardening fans are out there looking through the gardening catalogues and planning. Spring is coming. Tell me what you like to plant and if you have any special ways you plant things. I would love to hear from you.

I will be pre-planting tomatoes and peppers soon. I save the plastic containers that cherry or grape tomatoes and spinach or spring mix lettuce come in that has a hinged lid and is clear and makes an awesome mini greenhouse to start seeds. 🙂  Can’t wait to start!

I have flower seeds too. I gathered hibiscus seeds. I read that they’re hard to start from seeds but I’m

going to try. Anyone out there have any tips for me?

Till next time…happy dreaming about spring!

Jan

Journey Along the Garden Path

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