Thursday, July 31, 2008

Red Currant

Huge apology for the quality of this photo.
Pictured is Red Currant berries along with a few leaves. This is by far my favorite berry to pick as there's no thorns on the bush nor tell tale finger tip stains. Currants come in 3 varieties, Black, Red, and White. A good friend of DH's offered his bush to us. After all was said & done I got about 2 1/2 cups of juice (20 mins. of picking) which is sitting patiently in the freezer waiting to be canned up into jelly.
I use the Red Currant Jelly as a sauce with either Chicken, Rabbit, or Pork Roast cooked up in the crock pot. Depending on the meat herbs such as Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic, or Fennel are added.
Projected cost is estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of .20 per jelly jar - accounts for pectin & lid.
~~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Broccoli Repeat

Broccoli crop so far is mixed results - on one hand the plants themselves are really looking pretty good, standing about 18" with good Broccoli green color. On the other hand the heads only grew to about the size of Acorn Squash (farmer's market Broccoli was melon sized but not organic) before they started bolting (turning yellow/flowering).
This is a pic of a Broccoli plant that has already been harvested but was left to grow a second set of smaller florets. A repeat.
The first harvest yielded almost 9 cups of florets. So enough for 4 meals.
Retail value estimated @ $4.50. Subtract that from the original $27 paid for seedling planted in this bed. Silent scream in my head for not starting plants from seeds in April!
I'll be starting Broccoli from seed for a fall harvest (cold frame'ng it). Hopefully the bed that the Bun's are making will be ready to accept planting in a few weeks .
On today's chore list is; clean the 2 pints of Black Raspberries ( retail for $10 since their organic) DH & I picked yesterday afternoon from our satellite farm, then freeze. At the end of berry season I'll collect every thing from the freezer & can it all. Also pick all the mature Chard, clean, & freeze. This will also be held until enough is gathered to warrant a pressure canner load full of pint mason jars. It is amazing how produce like Chard & Spinach cook down to a fraction of their size.
Concoct an organic Aphid repellent to spray since all of the Apple Trees are infested.
No Ladybugs in sight. Spotted only a handful of Honeybees, 3 Bumble Bees, numerous Dragon Flies & wasps. Oh and a very inquisitive Blue Jay.
~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Taking advantage of a great opportunity to pick Cherries are my GF's young sons climbing (wearing bike helmets) her oldest Cherry tree.
She hasn't owned this city homestead long so this is the first Summer that she has been able to gather a sizable harvest of Cherries from this tree. Unsure as to what type just that they are red & juicy.
Since the tree has major issues her plan is to gather saplings growing ten feet away & replant in her corner lot. My plan is to snag the wood for a smoked meat project when it eventually falls.
This is for all those people who say that fruit trees are too much work. That they have to be sprayed. That they have to be netted. That you can't just let them grow - yes you guessed it this tree wasn't sprayed, netted, or watered. Did have a more than a few children climb it though.
~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Garden updates

This is the raised bed that last year held Celery. I expanded it width wise by about a foot & removed the rectangular pavers that sat on top of each cider block which allowed me to plant the perimeter with the French Army a.k.a. Marigolds for insect control.
Back of the bed has 2 Rhubarbs going on about 3 or 4 years old now. This year trying recipes from Ball's Complete Book of Preserving - pg. 193 Sunshine Rhubarb Juice Concentrate (similar to Cranberry per the book) & Victorian Rhubarb BBQ Sauce pg. 259. Also old standby favorite Strawberry -Rhubarb jam.
In the middle is Broccoli a hybrid variety. While it may look great foliage wise I'm disappointed that the heads aren't the size of basketballs or even volleyballs. More like the size of an Acorn Squash. Will be harvesting them today so that any off shoots can produce smaller heads. I'll have to experiment to see if I can get the those heads to the size of softballs.
Thanks to a fellow HT'er on the Garden Forum Broccoli is a cool weather plant so the red plastic mulch idea is a bad one.
In the very front is one of 2 beds of Chard Rainbow Variety. I love Chard. Sauteed in a bit of butter, lemon, & garlic.
Potted plant in the foreground is (L) is a Bee Balm which will be planted next year after I'm familiar with it. Tiny potted plant to the right is Lemon Balm to dehydrate later for Winter's tea.

Far right is what is left of the salad garden planted in Spring. The top of the cold frame has been removed. I was bemoaning the fact that I forgot to plant mustard as I had hopes of canning up some Beer Mustard pg. 274. DH informed that all those greens , ones with the yellow flowers that I was pulling up & feeding to the buns are Mustard. I'll thin out that bed & leave the mustard greens in hope of having enough (1 cup) and the right type (brown) to can up some gourmet mustard.
Today hitched a ride with a GF to a local Nursery where they had flats for $10 so I picked up a six pack of cabbage (planting in 1/2 gal pails), more broccoli (5 gal. pails), Green Bell Peppers (no clue where to plant) , cantaloupe (again no clue) , and pretty flowers. Now to go scrub down plastic pails bought curb shopping. Poke a few holes and spray paint them black.
Also need to can up a few things since it isn't suppose to rain today & tomorrow.
This bed has about $27 worth of plants not counting the Rhubarb which has recouped it's cost last year ($6).
Starting more of our plants from seed would have been much more cost effective.

~~ pelenaka ~~