Monday, September 27, 2010

Tomato Hunting

After we went apple picking @ my brother's suburban backyard we headed downtown to the Rochester Public Market in search of deal on canning tomatoes. No deal to be had as the tomato harvest wasn't yet in full swing, but we did get a deal on bananas & peaches.

While there we partake of good food @ Juan & Maria's Empanada stand.

Unique food offerings for all tastes.

The other white meat - Rabbit. Health & Harmony Natural Foods stand was doing a brisk trade.
Really enjoyed getting to know the owner & his son. Bought a few pounds of Redmond Real Salt.

Community garden a few blocks from public market in the Marketview Heights neighborhood.
A great spot without shade. I have garden envy.

~~ pelenaka ~~
Good day spent with a good friend

Sunday, September 12, 2010

As American as

When my Mommie saw this photo she remarked," Usted tiene un selector de América Apple ".
No Mommie I have a good friend who happens to be an American read white, that picks apples.
This is my brother's Apple tree next to his house in a very upper middle class neighborhood far far away from where I live.
I won't dell on the fact that he has a corner lot with an ungodly amount of Sunshine on a daily basis.
My brother grows mostly lawn and a few shrubs besides this fruit tree.
This will be the last harvest from this Granny Smith (?) tree. The inner core is rotten & as of last week a good sized limb broke off. It really isn't very stable. The Americana shouldn't be up there.
Later this fall hubby will stop by with his chainsaw and our daughters. I have a few years to convince my suburbanite brother to go in on a pig with me. Then we can smoke us some hams.
Between the two of us we picked about 7 bushels of organic Apples.
I keept about 4, bbgf got the rest since it was her ride that we used to go pick.

Thank you to the person who planted this tree in the early 1970's. I have enjoyed the last 4 harvests.
You have provided me with Mint Apple jelly, Apple Butter, Applesauce, Pie Filling, and have been a contributor to our homemade cider. I unlike my brother will miss you.

Prepping on my electric stove @ 0148 raining pitchforks & paino stools

It took myself & two daughters along with a hand cranked apple peeler to work up a bushel of apples into pie filling. 100% organic never been cared for apples have allot of blemishes that need to be cut out. I believe a bushel should give me over 15 quarts of pie filling. I'll know tomorrow after service when I plan to can this batch up. Used tapioca instead of clear gel or cornstarch.

Look like cocktail franks huh?

Nothing goes to waste. Apple cores are being dehydrated for rabbit treats later this Winter.
I plan on bartering my fresh baked Apple pies made with organic apples this Winter.

~~ pelenaka ~~ 


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ain't No Sunshine

Blame lack of Sunshine as the primary reason behind my poor harvest this garden season.
So far I have gotten 7 quarts of stewed Tomatoes, a handful of deformed curly -q Cukes, about a dozen fair sized Zucchini and Summer squash. Peach trees had a small harvest made even smaller due to flying rats. We were robbed in both broad daylight and rhythmic calm of an inner city night. In years past playing children and hours spent in the garden posted our sent as a deterrent. Or it could be that this upcoming Winter will be a hard one. 

Early afternoon on the back half of thirtyfivebyninety.
Notice the shadows in both the foreground and the right side of the tomato plant against the trellis.
Total amount of direct sunshine in this part of the garden is > 3 hours.

Raised bed just to the right of the beds pictured above.
Same day, same time, same lack of direct sunshine.
Cantaloupe growing on trellis along with Roma toms, and a volunteer Sunflower.
Sunflower is a direct descendant of hybrid Mammoths that I planted 9 years ago. Sunflower fence along the white picket in the background. Tallest is over 18 feet high.
Interesting to note that this year is the year that all the heads were numerous but very small.
Enjoyed by Finches.

Shadows, shadows, shadows.
Too many cool nights and rainy days.

Neighbor's 100 plus year old Maple tree shaped like a broccoli stalk.
2 years ago paid out $350 to have it trimmed with moderate results. Upside was that no limbs fell on our 81 year old dilapidated garage these past few Winters.
Notice the moss on both the roof's of our garage & the neighbor's home.
Tree top right hand corner is city owned planted in the hell strip.
Yeah it's that tall that it's shadow reaches my backyard.
As much as I petition for removal neighbor petitions against.

One of two directions I can grow - don't put in a garden next year devoting efforts to foraging & gleaning, find a way to increase sunlight with artificial methods, kill neighbor's trees.
Plural because I didn't photograph the Walnut tree that blocks all early morning sunshine.That tree is located just behind my greenhouse on a vacant lot. A lot that gets 9 hours of glorious sunshine.
5 years ago DH attempted to barter lawn care for use of the lot for container gardening but the owner wasn't interested. Should have cut it down 10 years ago when it was only 15 feet high.
Lost opportunities suck.

Yeah I'm gonna need a really good alibi.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Friday, September 3, 2010

Donner Party Dead

Here's a pic of why I haven't been posting on the topic of homestead gardening, and in turn preserving the harvest. This years garden bounty has been poor, pathetic & pitiful.
In short if we only had what we grew this season to survive on then we'd be dead.
Donner party dead.

Nursery Stock Roma Paste Tomatoes Summer 2010
Last year I started my canning tomatoes from seed, San Marzano an Italian paste variety. They were to say the least all that and a whole lot more until the blight hit.
The quantity of this year's crop is nothing compared to 2008 plum tomatoes. While the average size of the plum tomatoes are slightly smaller than previous years, the number of plums per plant this growing season is drastically less.

Total of home canned home grown tomatoes to date is drum roll please ... 5 quarts from 19 plants.
5 quarts of stewed tomatoes preserved over two canning sessions.
Did I mention late blight showed up last week in the sunniest corner of my garden ?
I am needless to say down hearted after all the composting & bio char I did in the past two years.

Neighbor's 100 year old Maple a.k.a. Sunblocker pic taken @ 1 p.m.
Apparently there is no substitute, no magic soil formula to replace the required 6 hours of sunshine each day that my city garden lacks.

Plan B - call around to both the barter buddy network & outside sources to score a good rate on canning tomatoes. Prices range from $12 a bushel for U Picks to $25 from a faux Amish furniture store. Green bell peppers range from $10 to $14 half bushel. Also need a small handful of hot peppers and garlic. Lots & lots of garlic.
Goal is to can up at least 30 quarts of stewed tomatoes, 25 pints of salsa (can you ever really have too much salsa on the pantry shelf), and if the price is right 30 quarts of sauce. I have been blessed this season with an abundance of Rosemary, Basil, & Thyme.

Would be too much to ask for a gleaning opp on canning tomatoes preferably plum type.

~~ pelenaka ~~
who has been knocked down a peg by Mother Nature