Showing posts from September, 2013

A few recipes

I'm going to keep this short and sweet.  I had a few extra tomatoes that I had already removed the skins off of, so these were going to a batch of tomato jam.
I scoured around a bit on the internet and this one appealed to me most.
Tomato Jam
Yield: Varies depending on the kind of tomato used, pan width and the finished thickness*


5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon red chili flakes

Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer** the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat.
When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in…

Overcoming Obstacles

Four years ago we moved from Fairbanks Alaska to Aberdeen Maryland. I was interested in gardening; loved growing (and sometimes killing) herbs, a potted tomato but no where near what we do now. I played around a tiny bit with aquaponics but I was like any other American who relies solely on the grocery store for my food.
When we moved into this house we were confronted with a soggy, muddy and mossy mess. Soil that consisted of a heavy clay mixture and was ridiculously difficult to work.  For the first year each time we tilled up our soil it would smell like a septic tank had dumped its contents into our yard.

We didn't know what we needed to grow anything there, we just knew that if we were to make it for the next year or two we better try growing our own fruits and veggies because financially we were strapped. 
The first year, we believed that you either
A. Put seeds in ground, seed sprouts and grows. Sprinkle liberally with Sevin dust and Miracle Gro and later harvest fruits an…

Plentiful Harvests

Once again, we're preparing the backyard garden to be thoroughly deconstructed.  We just sold our patio table set so our back porch looks a tad bare.
I'm sad to see it go but we needed to remove some weight from our household goods that will be shipped.
I can say now, in hindsight, I am so glad I never put a massive amount of effort into beautifying our front yard as the military housing development here just delivered a letter to us earlier this week advising that we needed to "remove the vegetable garden" in the front yard. We actually never managed to grow too much out front. The most we've gotten to grow out there is Red Russian kale and Southern collards, both of which looked more ornamental.  Now the most we have out there is herbs so I was just a bit confused upon receiving the letter.
No matter, we'll be gone soon anyways.
I did manage to harvest a nice selection of items today from the garden. I have never grown sweet potatoes and this past spring …

Getting ready for the move

Well, most definitely the star of the garden this year are the SUNCHOKES.
I highly recommend this plant as it  seemed that the less attention we gave it, the more it appreciated it.
These are now approximately 15 feet tall and seem to just keep getting taller and taller every day.  I am really hoping we get a good amount out of these as this years Christmas presents will be herbs, jams, jellies, winter squash grown in the back yard and sunchokes.

Recently my husband, Edward and I decided it was time.  Between warfare with rabbits, cabbage worms and some unknown black and yellow insect that almost looked like a ladybug on steriods, we decided to completely pull up the first raised bed near the house.

I got quite a good harvest of Red Russian Kale and Curled Scotch Kale and a few hand fulls of dill.  Then, since I was getting thoroughly into the harvesting sort of mood, I cut off the one lonely Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, massive bunches of dill, a hand full of ripe Christmas Grape tom…

A living wall

So this is what happens when you just throw your hands up on your garden and say "do whatever you want!".  You get squash plants gone wild.
On the right side we now know for certain we have a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, on the left I'm pretty certain we have a Galeux D'eysines and on the bottom (you can barely tell) is an acorn squash which was a complete and utter surprise.  We have one slightly mature fruit on both vines.  Our vine that was of questionable parentage near the tomatoes has produced on the other side of the fence, much to our displeasure.
Our neighbor is thrilled though as she has told me she loves winter squash or pumpkin. Darn, I was hoping to have a neighbor who would wrinkle her nose in disgust when she heard "edible" and "heirloom pumpkin" in the same sentence.
Our last minute editions, Sprite Melons are doing well and are flowering.  My first thought was they're too small for this, as normal melon and squash plants usu…