Summer Harvest Starts in Earnest
I save all of the silica gel packets and store my dehydrated foods with a silica packet each in quart canning jars. You're not supposed to reuse the lids to make a new canning seal, but you can use them as simple closures, as plain screw on lids. And you can keep an eye on things so you so not worry that the contents of a bucket have gone fuzzy or rotted. Plus, they're pretty.
Currently we have figs, sun-dried tomatoes, dehydrated blueberries, dehydrated jalapeno rings, dried cherries, croutons and spices stored that way. They sure look pretty.
Quart jars are the new Ziploc bags.
Don’t discard the Muscadine skins! That is where all the awesome flavor, all the complex intricacies are. That is what |akes Duplin Hattaras Red so good.
I’m not honestly sure what I’d do with them, maybe see if they could be dried and ground, but I’m sure there’s a good use.
I have ten pounds of Concord grapes to make jam with later today, and more figs than I know what to do with: jam with some, dry others I guess.. We have enough okra for the year frozen, and tomatoes and basil are doing great. My experiment with fennel is doing well and we may add more next year. The pole lima beans did mot work as well as the bush type for us. We found that canning the incredibly prolific HOT banana peppers as if they were jalapenos works best. The transplanted sunchokes form my father-in-law all made it and are 4-ft tall and about to flower. New onion crop about to go in.
Tomorrow I will be making vinegar with the purple muscadine grape juice. Bronze muscadines not ready yet. Pears and apples are done. Green beans are taking a break and not flowering until things cool off a bit (they hate 100-degree-F weather). Experiment: we ordered black plastic mulch for the winter and to keep weeds down; we will cover that with the pine straw mulch to keep it from frying roots in hot weather
Kale is in. My husband did not sprat the cabbage with Bt while I was gone and you can tell; it's Swiss cheese. I have until November to bring that back to health.
I know you’re an easterner, so watch out for dog fennel. It’s highly poisonous… a kidney destroyer, IIRC.
Wild fennel is not to be messed with.
At the same time, I find myself frustrated with the low productivity of my gardening efforts. Not enough time/focus spent on it; still working full-time, a mom, etc excuses. And apparently not enough practical knowledge yet to translate the time I do spend into enough successes to feel like I'm making good progress. I try to keep my chin up -I know I've learned a lot. But I also believe that the ultimate measure sometime down the line won't be whether we are "further down the path than the majority of people". It will be "are we far enough down the road to actually sustain our family" (ignoring for the moment the additional factors like everyone else who will need/want help as well). Very stressful.
Ok, reset. One thing at a time, one thing at a time, one thing at a time…
Taking a cue from your post, Wendy, we went to the Chesapeake Rte 17 campground, rented canoes, and went out on the George Washington Canal.
Many of the black muscadines were ripe, and boy, are they delicious.
Thick black skin, filled with flavor; sweet inner pulp,3-6 seeds… but to my way of thinking, that is a wine grape beyond compare. I wouldn’t suggest making it sweet with sugar, though. If you want more sugar, I’d mix with something else… watermelon, maybe. But I’d actually try for a wine without any additives.
I happen to think God has an issue with us, and the best way to deal with it is to let people read the Bible and pray on it. So that’s the Christian part, maybe the first hour.
However, the rest of what you said, Pinecarr, … gardens have to be maintained. Yet the poor have to take jobs when offered, and therefore can’t maintain their gardens. For that reason, a community garden in which people work according to a plan with direction, but use their labor to bid on the produce, is a way to ensure that they and you both can get full value for their labor.
I know what you mean jandeligans!
A note about the apple storage – remember to wrap each apple in paper 🙂
ask me how I know,…
A community garden is a good idea, Michael. Also, I have heard of local vegetable farms that "sell" shares of their output to others -e.g., so working people like me who don't have much time to garden still have a source of fresh produce. Both sides benefit from the arrangement. The reason I haven't pursued the latter approach to date is that I think it is as (or more) important to learn the skills associated with growing veggies as getting the veggies themselves.
What I probably should do is apprentice myself to someone who already knows what they are doing and can teach me in exchange for labor!
We have an acre market garden and we took in a family this year. We had a 10 year old show up every week at the farmers market and he was first in line at our booth, we finally put him behind the booth and put him to work. This spring he wanted to come down to our garden to help us out, we had a bit of a surprise for him, we offered him his own 50 foot row to grow in. In trade we would get 5% of his veggies. With out a moments hesitation he asked if he could have two rows and give us 10%. He now has three rows and he and his mom show up twice a week and help weed and harvest.
We adore him, and his mom has really been a god send helping us keep ahead of the weeds.
Check with your local farmers, there might indeed be a small internship available for you. Especially if you just won't go away.