Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Garden Update

Here is what we pulled after our camping trip last weekend (pics of camping to come).
Some notables for gardening this season:
We've been pampering some cabbage since our earliest Spring planting and they are finally edible. We have never successfully grown cabbage. We were worried the heat would get them but they pressed on to maturity. Also, our onion bulbs have always been the same size as the stalk. Who knows why. But this year for the first time we are getting little "round" they're supposed to be. Otherwise there is an odd hybrid squash, some straight neck, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, chard, kale, collards, and okra. We are about half way through our potatoes and trying to figure out what to do with that empty space. We are also beginning to pull up squash plants as the tiny vine bore eggs have now become juicy hungry grubs inside our plants.

Our heirloom tomatoes are once again suffering. Although there is no blossom end rot we have serious yellowing leaves and are not sure why. But Romas are taking off and we are growing those to can. We found this book STOCKING UP: How to Preserve the Foods You Grow, Naturally at a used books store some years ago and it is coming in quite handy (click on the book title to see this old edition on Amazon for under $1. I don't know whether it is better or worse than others but it is suiting our needs). It not only gives info on what types of foods to preserve covering fruits, veggies, meats, dairy, and nuts but recommends different types of preservation: drying, freezing, canning, storing. It also contains detailed info on times in the canner or drying, pressure levels, and has some nice simple recipes for pickles and jellies. I've got my eyes on pickled okra and pickled hot peppers but we started with something a bit easier.

We've frozen some jars of pesto but here are our canning starts: pickles and beans. We think everything went well but I guess you never know till you try um. I have made these cans off limits. If all goes as planned we'll save them till the fall and winter and stretch the gardens giving a bit. I'm a Canning Tyrant!
All this is rather experimental but it's been fun to learn slowly and on a small scale. Maybe one day we will line our walls with homegrown.Last, and I know this is off subject, but, for any of you who have been on HWY 321 in Hickory you may have noticed Wonderland Books. It's been there for years. When we were making trips regularly between Boone and Charlotte we would always stop by and browse. Well, they are looking for a buyer. They also have books at 50%. We stocked up while we were there. So, if you are in the area and want to not only help out a good independent book store but take advantage of the discount swing by Wonderland Books. BUT the store is not operating on normal hours so the owner advised that anyone call before heading over. Here is their info:
5008 Hickory Blvd
Hickory, NC 28601
(828) 396-7323

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