Tuesday, August 17, 2010
By August our crab apple tree boughs were bending under the weight of the fruit, bunches of bright red little gems waiting to picked. They were also coming off the tree in torrents every time the wind blew. It was time to start picking. I found a few recipes for crap apple jelly but none for jam. Undaunted, I decided to alter the recipe and cook the mixture longer to include some of the fruit so I could make jam. Why waste all that delicious fruit? We picked 5 lbs and learned the hard way why crab apples don't make good jam. The next day, we picked another 5 lbs and resigned ourselves to jelly.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I have been reading up on how to preserve tomatoes. It sounds like the best method is to roast the tomatoes for 3-4 hours with a some salt and olive oil and then skin them, puree, and then freeze for use in the dead of winter when a green garden is just a memory.
I also freeze my basil, thanks to Martha. I puree it and add butter and olive oil and then freeze it into small cubes to use in soups or sauces.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Our bean (and gourd) teepee is gorgeous with lots of greenery, but so far not much in the way of beans. The gourds seem to be doing fine but I think they may have shaded out the beans. The scarlett runner beans really took off and had lively bright red flowers but not a single bean to be had. I get a little crazy when planting seeds into the bare earth, more is better. Then I have a problem thinning out those precious little seedlings and I keep putting it off until finally they are a tangle of plants way too close to tell what's what. Next year I will plant with restraint.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
We planted our dwarf Tart Cherry tree a few years ago, and last year I was excited to see how may cherries it produced, but the birds stripped the tiny of all fruit before I could even say "pie".
Monday, June 21, 2010
This year I am trying to learn from past mistakes. I have been diligently pinching back my tomato plants every week to avoid too-bushy, over crowded plants which can decrease the circulation around the base. Since I religiously follow "Square Foot Gardening" my plants are placed frighteningly close together, and they already seem to be rubbing elbows. I know pinching them back allows them to invest all their energy into producing great big beautiful tomatoes, but it kills me to pick off any part of their lovely forms. The kids, on the other hand are only too happy to help.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Once upon a time there was a boy named Asher who was a very finicky eater and would never even touch a vegetable. After a while his mother gave up trying to get him to eat anything green. That was until she planted sugarsnap peas. Then she couldn't keep him away from the peas. Every morning he would sneak out into the garden in his jammies and eat up all the peas before anyone else got a chance to try any.
Friday, June 4, 2010
When we made thedesicions to get chickens last year, we started looking into coops. You would be surprised what a "Sonoma County Coop" runs. They are the high rent coops made in California wine country for the rich and famous. . The ones we looked at in town were made of ply wood and very unsightly. David, however, agreed to make a little "Red Barn" coop for me, complete with Pela windows! It took a long time to make and he almost broke his back, and that of our friend Todd's moving it, but it was worth the work. He was able to salvage a lot of wood from a house "scrape" a few doors down, and my sister-in-law donated the windows, so we didn't have to buy much. The coop is so bright and cheerful and the hens didn't need any prompting to get into it. They seem to know instinctively that's where to go at night. The other side has a small door that opens to allow you access to the eggs right from their nesting box.
I planted this peach tree last year, in the foreground and it is surviving (I had to put the green chicken wire around the base to keep the girls from scratching the roots, but it had over 50 tine fury peaches on it last month. I followed gardening advice and removed all but 12 (Ugghhh it was so hard to do, but I dropped them to the hens who loved them even in that stage.)