Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canning Applesauce

Last week, Momma and I canned applesauce. We bought our apples at Carter's Mountain Orchard. Momma and I used a bushel of york apples for our apple sauce. We probably won't do anymore than a bushel a day since we started around 10:30 in the morning and finished around 4:30!
I cut the apples using an apple corer, leaving the skin on.
We placed the cut apples in a pot with an inch of apple juice at the bottom.
We cooked the apples until they were soft, stirring them often.
With our bushel of apples, we had 4 pots on the stove full of the cut apples!
After they were completely cooked, Ben helped us when we cranked the food mill to make the sauce. :)
Momma and I seasoned the applesauce with a bit of sugar. You can also add cinnamon and other spices if you want. We had two large pots full of fresh applesauce!
We filled up the quart jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
We processed our quart jars in the water bath canner for 20 minutes. (Pints process for 15 minutes.)
Momma and I made a total of 16 quarts of applesauce! Our hard work will taste great when the snowflakes fly this winter!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winterizing your Garden

This week, we had a rather heavy freeze, with temperatures down to 29! I had to clean up my garden by pulling plants that would not make it through the freeze. I also will be planting some bulb root crops that will come up in the spring. Here are some things that will help get your garden ready for winter!

Garlic should be planted in the next few weeks. You should separate the bulb into cloves. I plant my garlic about 2 times deep the length of the clove, and I plant each clove about 3-6 inches apart. The point of the garlic clove should be up. Gently cover the cloves with dirt and pack it down. In late November, mulch the garlic with straw which protects the sprouts from cold. Keep the mulch over the garlic until late March.

I get onion bulbs from my Grammy to plant for spring. Momma loves spring onions because of their mellow flavor. They can be planted much like garlic, but in closer spaces of 1-2 inches between each bulb.

Clean the leftover plant debris from the garden to prevent insects from overwintering in the garden. Diseases get established in the garden’s soil from overgrown gardens. Haul all of the plants out of the garden to prevent the possible diseases.

Summer-bearing raspberries should have their 2 year canes removed. The canes that are left will bear fruit next year. Summer bearing raspberries only will bear the fruit when they are 2 years old. Fall bearing raspberries should be pruned after the first freeze.

Cool weather crops, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, do not need to be protected from frost. They can normally stand temperatures down to 22-25 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people actually think that the flavor is better because of the frost!

Hoses and drip irrigation systems should be drained and stored for the winter. One freeze can destroy the hoses and nozzles!

When your leaves fall from the trees, and they cover your yard, you can shred the leaves and put the in your compost. (Ben and I love to shred our leaves by raking them in a pile and jumping in them with Kathie! (: ) You can get excellent compost by building (or buying) a composter and placing the leaves in it over the winter.
My garden is mostly ready for its dormant stage during winter. Is your garden ready?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Garden Tours - Part 6

A few weeks ago, we visited our adopted grandparents. Grammie has a raised bed garden at their country home. She grew some kale, kohlrabi, beets, cabbage, purple hull peas, peppers, blackberries, cucumbers, and heirloom tomatoes. Grammie is also growing a fall garden this year with lettuce and other greens.

Grammie also cans many vegetables and meats. She canned pickles, green beans, tomato sauce, beets, okra, salsa, apples, pears, venison, chicken and other vegetables and jams. Did you see the antique square canning jar in the lower right corner?

Grammie's rural garden is surrounded by beautiful mountains. She also has an electric fence around the garden to keep out the unwanted deer! She has used an irrigation system this year for watering.

Thank you, Grammie, for letting me tour your garden!

You can read Grammie's blog at Titus 2 Joy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gardening Giggles

As this gardening season winds down, here are some funny pictures that we took this year.
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Maggie grew some long, flowing, corn silk hair! Kathie, as always, was a trustworthy supervisor. :)
And, when jalapeno peppers are dried, a jalapeno monster comes! :)
However, when we froze corn, Ben thought that we had corn coming out of our ears!Lends a new meaning to carrot top...

So, what does Ben do when he waits for his sister? Any guesses?He claimed that he was framed...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Harvesting Turnip Greens

In this year's fall garden, I planted turnips. Turnips are cool weather root crops. The root can grow up to 5 inches in width! The greens of turnips are edible and can be cooked like spinach. They also can be eaten raw in salads. Like lettuce, the greens will get bitter in hot weather.

Turnip greens should be harvested only once if you also want the root. They also should only be gathered around the outside of the root so the plant will be able to grow more. Turnip greens should be picked when they are 2-3 inches tall.

Turnip greens are high in many vitamins and minerals, as well as low in calories. They will not lose many vitamins even when they are cooked. Turnip greens also help prevent some cancers and other ailments.

We will try some turnip greens this weekend from my fall plants!