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Friday, August 2, 2013

Garden update - early July 2013

We've been so busy gardening and homesteading that we haven't had the time to actually blog about it.  Here's a rundown of what's happening so far.

*  We picked, cleaned and frozen (or dried) 17 lbs of strawberries.  We have strawberries growing in our own yard, but not enough to really do much with other than eat fresh.  So, we went to the place we've gone to for the last couple of years and ate to our hearts' content, then processed like crazy.  We are really looking forward to picking blueberries too.

*  We bought 22 lbs of cherries and froze half while using the other half to make the cherry butter that is currently scenting the kitchen from the crock pot.  We'll be using a mix of the two recipes here and here.  Can you imagine what that cherry butter will taste like on white chocolate cherry English muffin toasting bread?  No?  Well, we'll make up a recipe and let you know.

* We went to a flea market and bought a small van load of fruits and vegetables.  After a day and a half of sitting in a hot van, the strawberries were useless but for compost.  We did, however, have much more to process. We dried 3 lbs of bananas, froze a case each of peaches, mangoes, blackberries, blueberries, and sweet corn (this method really works for shucking quickly, except we didn't even bother nuking).  We ate fried plantains with our fish tacos topped with avocados and mango salsa that night.  It was, as our 2-year-old says "de-yi-cious."

* We are done with kale.  I picked the last of it and blanched it to be frozen.  Same for cilantro, which we'd never preserved before but I had to figure out how we could do that because it bugged me so much last year that our cilantro had gone to seed (coriander) by the time the tomatoes were ready.  For cilantro, basically you just freeze it and vacuum seal it. 

* Lettuce is about done.  It's getting a bit bitter.  There have been many lovely salads with lettuce, beet thinnings, turnip thinnings, cabbage thinnings, lambs quarters, and asparagus. 

* Yarrow tincture is in the jar and ready to keep away pesky bugs, both viral or bacterial and the nasty flying around skeeters with our homemade bug spray.

* The potatoes are growing like crazy (at least the tops are, so I hope the tubers are too).  We didn't grow sweet potatoes this year because last year we only got tops and not the tubers.  Maybe we could do some sweet potatoes for house plants later.

* Our parsnips, again, did not come up. Several of our ordered plants also didn't take too well to either the severe rainy weather or the some other reason.  I will be writing the company to get replacements because the fortunately have a one-year replacement.  Of course that means that you go online to the website and end up wanting more stuff.  Unfortunately, we lost some things that were not covered by a guarantee because they were more than a year old.  We lost a cherry tree to a large ant nest, and a paw paw tree to heavy water runoff from the downspout.  We did have a large ant nest by our honey berry plant but boiling water and cornmeal shut that down and there is small growth on it again.

* And besides the garden, we are still raising the chickens.  No eggs yet, but they are really loving the scraps from strawberry tops and mushy cherries.

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