Monthly Archives: May 2012

It RAINED!

It Rained and it’s gonna rain again tonight!  I dug down into the dirt in the garden this evening and it was moist down over 2″.   I don’t know how much rain we got last night, but the lightning show was terrific.

I am proud to finally say that the Blue Lake Green Beans are blooming.

I am so looking forward to canning some green beans this year.  Three years ago I canned 52 pints.  The past 2 years I’ve grown Purple Hull Peas along with the Green Beans.  The Peas produced like crazy and the Green Beans hardly produced at all.  My guess is that the insects that pollinate the Beans were too busy pollinating the Purple Hull Peas;  they must be sweeter or something.  Last year the bees, bumble bees, wasps, hornets, dirt dobbers,..well anything with wings, were all over the Purple Hull Peas but not the beans.  This year there are NO peas in the garden.

Here’s a couple of fruitful plant pictures.

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Oh I Wish It Would Rain

It has not rained in over 2 weeks now and the ground is very dry.  I’ve noticed that the ground in the deep woods along our lane to the house are looking dry.  Even though, the queens anne lace, yarrow, and the black-eyed susans are blooming like crazy along the road sides and fields.  There is a queens anne lace that bloomed last year right next to the mailbox and this year it is back; so pretty.
This is last yrs. bloom:

    The garden is doing well.  I am having to water something everyday.  I’ve a rotation on the watering of the corn, green beans and tomatoes to every other day.  I keep waiting for the green beans to bloom, but I’ve not seen any.  I just know that they would if the rain would shower on them.  There is just something about rain water that is better than tap water that just makes plants come alive.
     The potato plants still have blooms on top of them.  I’d say the blooms have been there a couple of weeks; looks like a flower garden. 

     My orange bell pepper plants are making, but the peppers are green so far.  I am new to growing these and I don’t understand why they’re green and not orange.  Perhaps they will turn orange as they mature. (?)  I know if they don’t I’ll have to give them away; green bell peppers don’t like me.
     It is time to plant the okra and I’ve got a bit of a grassy patch in the garden where they go.  This morning 7:00 ish  I headed up there to till and in the end it didn’t go well.  I started with the grassy patch (did I mention Bermuda Grass? Previous Post) and just as I finished that the tiller died.  I discovered it had Bermuda grass wrapped all around the blades; so I cut that out with some sissors.  The tiller wouldn’t start.  I looked at the blades and discovered that one of the locking pins was not sitting right  so I took it out with much effort.  I compared it to the other side and that sides pin moved freely.  So I reset the blades by pushing them toward the center (the blades are removeable for putting on an attachment) and replaced the locking pin.  The tiller did not start.  The tiller went back into the shed and I am in my cool house in front of my fan.  Bad side…I did need to till a few patches of grass here and there.  Good side of this story…I did what I went out to do.

Strange Zucchini Update

Today I showed a picture of my strange round zucchini to a elderly friend.  She pulled out her seed catalog so we could look for a variety that looked like my squash.  We found a squash called Eight Ball Zucchini.  Here’s a pic from the web.

Here’s some info at the Burpee website.  BTW, Burpee also created a squash called Roly Poly.
http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/squash/summer/zucchini/squash-summer-eight-ball-zucchini-prod000913.html

I bought last yrs Regular long zucchini as starter plants.  These just came up from last years zucchini that was tilled up in the garden.  I am greatful to Kelly at Birds Blooms and Bugs for her comment about my strange zucchini being from a Hybrid.
Your volunteer seed was possibly from a hybrid zucchini. The seed from hybrids won’t produce a zucchini like its parent, but like one of its “grandparents.” So you may have some type of heirloom throwback. Very likely good to eat though!”

Here is some info from Specialty Produce.
http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Eight_Ball_Squash_6296.php
Current Facts
Eight ball squash are a hybrid zucchini variety, with a round shape reminiscent of a billiard ball.

Description/Taste
The eight ball squash is similar in color and taste to the longer, Italian zucchini. The squash have a shiny, speckled, green skin, and creamy, white flesh. They are firm and very mild-tasting.

Applications
Eight ball squash may be substituted for zucchini in most recipes. The size and shape of this summer squash variety are ideal for stuffing; slice off the top stem end, scoop out some of the interior and fill with meats, cheeses or nuts and grains. Eight ball quash may also be steamed, baked, roasted or grilled as you would other summer squash. Dice and stir-fry or saute with garlic, onions, fresh herbs and spices. Slice thinly, layer with other sliced summer vegetables and bake. Keep dry and refrigerate until ready to use.

Strange Zucchini


These cute round things came off of the volunteer plants in the garden that I guessed in a eariler post are squash. They look more like zucchini pumpkins. Has anyone had this happen before?
Oh and, those are my first Sweet Banana Peppers of the season.

Sharing Relish Recipes


Green Tomato Relish posted on last years Blog.  Find the recipe at
http://arkansasfarmerette.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/green-tomato-relish/

I love making relishes and green tomato pickles.  Here’s a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
1. When the recipe calls for “sprinkling the vegetables with salt, let sit overnight,and drain & squeeze out the water”;  just put them in a large colander or colanders over a pan(s).  Let drain this way and you won’t have any squeezing to do the next day.
2.  I used to tie my spices in an old tea towel, but I lucked upon a large mesh tea ball at a Whole Foods store.  If you can’t find one, cheese cloth works well.  

I am a cookbook collector, of sorts.  I recently picked up some recipe pamphlets at a local resale shop. 
I thought I would share some of the recipes in them with all of you just to whet your appetite for canning.
The following recipes are from Circular 458 (REV) Pickles and Relishes, Agricultural Extension Service, University of Arkansas, May 1962

Pepper Relish
1 pt. sweet red peppers, chopped
1 pt. sweet green peppers, chopped
1 pt. onions, chopped
1 pt. vinegar
1 Tbsp. canning salt
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. crushed celery seed
2 tsp. mustard seed
(If desired the green peppers can be omitted and 1 qt. of red peppers used.)
Cover onions and pepper with water.  Bring the water to a boil, then remove from the heat.  Let onions and peppers stand in the water 10 minutes before draining.  Mix sugar, vinegar, and spices.  Bring to a boil, then add onions and peppers.  Cook slowly for 15 minutes.  Then pack in hot jars, seal and store.

Piccalilli
2 qts green tomatoes, chopped
3 c. green sweet peppers, chopped
1 c. cucumbers, chopped
1/2 c. onions, chopped
1 qt. vinegar
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. canning salt
2 Tbsp. pickling spice (tied in a cloth)

Combine the chopped vegetables and mix with the salt.  Let this mixture stand overnight.  Next morning, drain and press out all the liquid possible.  Mix sugar, vinegar, and spices (tied in a cloth).
Bring to a boil, then add the vegetables.  Simmer slowly about 30 minutes, or until thick.  Pack into hot jars, seal and store.

Corn Relish
2 qts. cut corm (12 to 15 ears)
1 at. chopped cabbage
1 c. green sweet pepper, chopped
1 c. red sweet pepper, chopped
1 c. onions, chopped
1 c. sugar
1 qt. vinegar
2 Tbsp. ground dry mustard
1 Tbsp. celery seed
1 Tbsp. canning salt

Boil the ears of corn in water for 3 minutes to “set the milk.”  Then cool them and cut the corn from the cob.  Mix pepper, onion, and cabbage with the corn.  Add vinegar, sugar, and spices to the mixture.
Cook about 20 minutes, or until tender.  Pack into hot jars, seal and store.

Chow Chow
1 qt. cabbage,, chopped
1 qt. cucumbers, chopped
1 qt. green tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c. green peppers, chopped
1 1/2 qts. vinegar
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. celery seed
1 Tbsp. mustard seed
1 Tbsp. allspice
1/2 c. canning salt

Mix vegetables and salt, then let stand overnight. Next morning drain and press out all liquid.  Combine vinegar, sugar, and spices.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Add vegetables and cook until hot and well seasoned.  Pack into hot jars, seal and store.

Chili Sauce
   For a good red color in this product, observe these four points:
1. Use ripe red tomatoes.
2. Cook rapidly in a large open pan.
3. Use whole spices instead of powdered ones.
4. Add sugar and vinegar near the end of the cooking time.
Ingredients
1 gallon chopped ripe tomatoes, peeled
2 c. chopped onion
2 c. chopped sweet red peppers
3 Tbsp. canning salt
1 c. brown sugar
3 c. vinegar
1 red hot pepper (if desired)
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 med. clove (section) of garlic

Combine chopped vegetables.  Tie spices in a bag and add to vegetables.  Cook vegetables rapidly, stirring often to keep from sticking.  When the vegetables have cooked down to about half the amount you started with, add the sugar, vinegar, and salt.  Boil rapidly for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Pour into hot jars, seal, and store.
NOTE: The vinegar, sugar and salt can be heated separately and added while hot to the vegetables.  In this way, the mixture is not cooled down too much.

Beautiful Sunday

How nice it is to get out at 7 a.m. and see the beginning of the day when you don’t have to go to work.  I saw a huge red headed woodpecker in front of the house; he sure makes a loud noise.  In the garden, a ruby throated hummingbird flew within a 2 feet of me looking for flowers.  The two little birds who have been eating the dewberries were out to greet me.  I was reading a post by a fellow Blogger about his morning yesterday and was inspired to write that this morning.

This morning I was out early to place the metal fence posts between the tomato plants.  I use these because they’re sturdy; no falling over.  My Dad made a “post slammer” out of a long piece of metal pipe (about 4 feet long) and welded the end with lots iron.  You place this over the end of the post and slam it into the ground. Such fun. UGH!  Now that that is done I have to find enough baleing twine to tie up the tomato plants.

It is looking like RAIN.  Could we be so lucky?

Where’s the Rain

We’ve not had any rain in over two weeks.  I had to give the garden a good soaking Thursday.  While I was doing that I finally set out the yellow squash plants I’ve had for a wk. or more. (So lazy) Two of the volunteer squash plants have zucchini growing on them, but the vegetables are growing in a ball form.  The plants are blooming constantly; four or five blooms per plant.

I am hoping that this good soaking will help the green beans to start blooming. 

Here’s another pic of my “gee I’m so proud” potato plants.