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Archive for the ‘Garden Eats’ Category

As I explained in yesterday’s post I’m trying to get canning down so when it comes time to make a ton of jams, chutney, pickles, and preserves in general I’ll be all set. I really want to get it right the first time so I don’t botch a ton of great produce from faulty methods. Yesterday I canned some pizza sauce and today I tried my hand at what I thought would be strawberry jam. Well, I wasn’t sure how much “2 quarts” was equal to in lbs while standing in the store so I just grabbed one lb of strawberries – it was about half the amount I needed to make the jam. Actually less than half! It was a total of 2 cups crushed. Thankfully my mom had loaded me up on raspberries from her garden and I still had a big bag left over. I thawed them out and added them to the mix… still not enough – how about 1 cup of blue berries too! Perfect.

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Here is how I made my jam
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This year I was so lucky that Jason and I’s friend Mike offered us a huge amount of space in his huge backyard for a garden. You see he wants to garden and has a yard, but has never really gardened before. I have gardened before – pretty much my whole life except for the last 3 years – and want to so badly! So he tilled up a 20 X 24 foot plot and is letting me do whatever I want to in it. All he asks is that there are lots of green beans, potatoes, carrots, and onions – easy! I want all those things too!

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After an average of 4 hour a day for the last 3 days (saturday, sunday and today) I finally have everything all set and planted. Just some twice a week weeding, daily watering, and more seeds in 3 weeks so we can get some staggered harvests.

So what did I plant? it’s a long list.

Herbs

Cilantro
Dill
Oregano
Chives
Basil
Sage
Parsley

Leafy Greens

Arugula
Lettuce – four seasons
Lettuce Romaine Cos
Lettuce Salad Bowl Red
Lettuce Tango
Lettuce Blackseeded Simpson
Lettuce Oakleaf
Lettuce Romaine Cimmaron
Lettuce Ruby
Spinach Bloomsdale
Tatsol
Swiss Chard Golden
Swiss Chard Magenta
Endive Broadleaf Batavia
Mustard Mizuna
Mustard Red Giant
(all the the above were in a great huge packet labeled Sassy Salad Mesclun)

I already kicked a bird out of the salad patch – he was eating up all my seeds! B@#%ARD!

Vegetables

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Tomatoes – beefsteak, large red cherry, celebrity, and rutgers select
Eggplant
Cucumbers
Jalapeno Peppers
California Wonder Orange
Poblano Peppers
Sugar Snap Peas
Carrots – danvers half long, little fingers, danneens
Table Queen Squash
Small Sweet Pumpkin
Black Beauty Zucchini
Cantaloupe
Black Diamond Watermelon
Beet – Detroit Dark Red
Peas – Early Frost
Okra
Radish blend
Green Pole Beans

Underground

Onions – yellow and white
Shallots
Garlic
Potatoes – red, russet, sweet potatoes, and some other potato I can’t remember the name of

Flowers

Cardinal Climber
Zinnia
Canterbury Bells
Aster
Bachelor Buttons
Candy Tuff
Four O Clocks
Sweet Peas
Black Eyed Susan Vine
California Orange Poppy
Columbines
Morning Glories
Moon Flowers
Lavender
Marigolds
Grandmother’s Cut Flower Garden (seed mix from botanical interests)
The flowers are mostly borders or fit in with the herb patches. I had a lot of really old seeds from 4+ years ago that I just spread around. So even though the list of flowers looks long, I’m expecting most of them will not be showing their pretty heads around the garden this year.

Today I did the final planting and built a compost bin. When I got home I did my frist test run of canning. The way I figure it I want to have everything all square and figured out by the time I start getting huge yeilds of tomatoes and basil (I planted so much basil so I could make a ton of pesto and can it for the winter). I’m going to do another test run of canning tomorrow and I’ll take pictures so I can post them and some general instructions and links to canning veggies.

Oh you can see how I built my compost bin on Craft Leftovers – like how I built up the pile and also how I made this “open” pile into a dog safe pile.
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I’ll be back tomorrow with a post about canning. I can’t wait to try my hand at strawberry jam – yum yum yum!

++Kristin++

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