Monthly Archives: June 2012

Corn Harvest and Tomato Shade

6-27-12
     The temps here have been in the 100s this week.  I’ve been watering the garden every evening hoping to keep it from burning up from the sun.  Today I discovered that the sweet banana pepper and bell pepper plants had scrubed to the heat.  The peppers on each plant had sun burn spots on them so I decided I’d gotten my share and decided not to water them anymore.
     I picked the corn today.  Sad harvest.  The ears had 1 worm each and some had ants and/or some kind of long thin black bug.  The bugs had eaten anywhere from a quarter to half of each ear.    I only picked 25 ears and out of that I was able to only put 6 away, in the deep freezer, for corn on the cob.                  I cut the rest of the corn off the cobs to make some Corn Relish.  I didn’t have any garlic so I waited till Sat. to make the relish. (Friday shopping)  A couple of years ago I made a Zucchini and Corn Relish that you could pour over your pan fried chicken breasts.  I wanted to make something similar, so I invented a recipe using ingredients I had on hand.  See the July 1 post for the recipe.

 6-28-12 
With the sun blaring down on my tomatoes I was concerned about them getting burned up.  I was thinking, during the day, about how I could shade them a little.  My Dad used to put 6 fence posts up, two on each end of the row of tomatoes and two in the middle.  When the days started to get too hot he would then lay a piece of rebarb, he had laying around, on top of the tomatoes. (Hog fencing would work also.)  He would use wire to tie the rebarb to the fence posts.  Once this was done he would take the old corn stalks and lay them on top to shade the tomatoes.  He always had beautiful bushy tomato plants that grew up through the rebarb and then they ended up shading themselves.
Anyway back to shading my tomatoes…Having the corn stalks in mind I decided that I would lean some of the corn stalks against the West side of my tomato plants.

In The Garden

Quick post:
     I’ve picked 10 tomatoes so far but the plants are full.  I’m afraid to let them ripen fully on the vine because of the “sucky bugs” You know, the ones that suck the juice from the tomatoes.  I’ve no idea what they are. ? I dislike using it but I sprinkle Sevin Dust on the tomato plants. 
     I also picked 3 more bell peppers that are green, not orange.  I’ve one plant that I have left the bell peppers on longer than the others and they are not turning ornage either.  The sun has partically baked them with a sun spot.  As I said in an eariler post I can’t eat green bell peppers so I’ll be giving these way.
     I’ve yet to get gas for my new (replacement) tiller so the garden is a bit grass.  I am thankful that most of the grass growing amoungst the plants is crabgrass so it is easy to pull up.
The potato plants are still greenish; there is one in the garden that is still flowering.  I can’t believe that, but there it is. :O)
     I was watering the green beans and picking them at the same time Friday night.  I only got 3 pts. and one 1/2 pt.  So far that makes 13 1/2 pts this year.  The plants are still lush, green and flowering so I’ve hopes yet of canning more than 30 pts.
     The weather is supposed to turn HOTTER (100 degrees plus) with no rain in site for next week.  I see the water bill going up. :O)
     When I water tonight I’m going to put some 10-20-10 fertilizer around the plants.  They look like they could use it.

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May YOUR garden produce beyond your expectations.

For the Love of Butterflys

     I BREAK FOR BUTTERFLYS should be on the bumper of my car.  I love these beautiful creatures. 
     This year, in the garden, I attribute them as the pollinators of my green beans.  They are little yellow butterflys, no bigger than a moth.  I don’t know their name and they are too fast to take a picture of. 
     I was recently reading an issue of Country Gardens magazine (summer 2012) and discovered an article called “Of Milkweed and Monarchs, Plant milkweed to help pollinators: Monarch larvae depend on it for their survival.” by Anne Raver.  I was astounded by the news I read which explained how important milkweed is to the Monarch butterfly and how the population has dwindled over the years.  The article is too long for me type and I couldn’t find it online, so here some excerpts from the article.

     “Common milkweed and it’s cousins, swamp milkweed, and butterfly weed, to name a few in the milkweed family, are crucial to the Monarch butterfly.  The female lays her eggs on the underside of a milkweed leaf, and the larvae feast on the leaves.  Milkweed is the only food these caterpillars eat, though the adult butterflys will sip nectar from many flowers.  And so, if milkweed disappears from the face of the Earth – destroyed by herbicides, mainly – so, too, will the beautiful black, orange, and white Monarch butterfly.”
     “The main culprit, scientists say, is Roundup, or glyphosate, the popular herbicide farmers spray on million of acres of soybeans and corn that have been genetically modified to tolerate the weed killer.  According to Chip Taylor, Ph.D., a professor of insect ecology at The University of Kansas and director of Monarch Watch (monarchwatch,org), milkweed has disappeared from 100 million acres of corn and beans grown in the middle of the United States.  These fields, which used to be dotted with milkweed and other familiar weeds such as chicory and Queen’s Anne’s lace, are in the Monarch butterfly’s migration path.
     Monarchs, of course, are the heroic butterflies that can fly as far as 2,000 miles from their northernmost range in the eastern provinces of Canada, down through South Dakota and Texas, on their way to the Transvolcanic Range of centeral Mexico, where they cluster by the million in the  oyamel fir forests.”
     “Since the 1990’s, when over wintering Monarch populations covered an average of close to 23 acres in Mexico’s fir forests, numbers have plummeted to cover as few as 5 acres.”
Monarchs on Fir in Mexico
http://interchange.lefora.com/2009/09/08/monarch-butterflies-mexico/

     About the migration: “The fall migrators are born in late summer, without the hormone necessary for reproduction.  If they ae lucky, the make it all the way to Mexico.  In mid-February, when temperatures raise above 55 degrees F., those same butterfly’s awaken, triggering the hormone that will prompt them to mate when they touch down on a milkweed somewhere in the southern United States on their flight back north in spring.  some females scatter eggs over 1,000 miles, and most die before they reach their spring home.  But those eggs hatch into larvae – that will eat your milkweed, if you plant it – and develop into butterflies that continue the journey.  They mate and lay eggs as they go, and these offspring grown up to fly north.  So, as Taylor puts it, the grandchildren or even the great-grandchildren of that monarch that made it to Mexico for the winter could be sipping nectar in your garden the next summer.”
www.monarchwatch.org

The website Monarch Watch encourages people to plant milkweeds in gardens and create a Monarch way station.  “Which can be as simple as planting 10 or more milkweed plants, of two or more species, in our gardens.  A truly effective Monarch way station, he says, is at least 100 square feet and includes a number of milkweed species as well as others flowering plants.”  Their are over 100 different species of milkweed and you can find some of them here, with pictures, (http://www.monarchwatch.org/milkweed/guide/index.htm) on the Monarch Watch website.
(end of excerpts)
Butterfly Milkweed, one of my favorite wildflowers.http://www.butterfly-weed.com

It Rained

The dark rainy looking clouds that have teased us with rain for the past few days have been blown away by the wind and it brought the real rain clouds this morning.  The rain only lasted about a half hour, but I will not complain. 

My bell peppers continue to get bigger and are not turning orange.  It’s my guess that someone put the wrong stick in the 4 pk.; pehaps at the market. Who knows.  I’ve picked 4 so far off two of the three plants.  I’ve been thinking about the jars of bell peppers and onions my Mother used to can since I mentioned them in a eariler post.  I went a head and made one jar yesterday just so I could relive old memories.

Pickled Bell Peppers and Onions
Mothers’ recipe does not list it but I’m guessing the vinegar solution will fill 3 to 4 jars.  No amount of the bell peppers and onions listed either, again I’m guessing, for 4 jars 6 bell peppers and 6 med. onions.  That’s 2 per jar depending on size of your vegetable.

2 c. cider vinegar
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
Salt, 1/2 tsp. per pint

Heat the above in a large enamel or stainless steel pot.  Bring to a boil.
Remove seeds from bell peppers, slice into 1/4 to 1/2-inch rings.
Cut onions into 1/4 to 1/2-inch rings.

Stack onion and bell pepper slices alternately in jars.  Cover with boiling vinegar mixture.
Put on lids and tighten the rings as you put them on, securely.
Do Not shake.  Sit aside on a towel in a draft free place and listen for the poping sound of the sealing lid.  Wait 3 weeks or more before opening.  This allows the peppers and onions to absorb the vinegar and sugar.    Enjoy!

 

Morning Gardening

Green Beans and Corn 6-17-12Morning sun on the green beans and corn.

I went out before breakfast and picked the green beans.  I didn’t get as many as the other day.  While I was in the garden I dug up two potato plants that had dried up. I got 4 big potatoes and a few medium sized.    I have one tomato that is just about vine ripe and I am dying to pick it.

My Dad will be home today from his Bluegrass Festival.  I hope I get the green beans canned before he arrives.

CornCobs6-17-12The corn ears are getting larger.  When do you know they’re ready to pick?  Last year my Dad took care of the corn so I didn’t pay any attention to the proper picking time.  Guess I could ask him when he gets home but, what do ya’ll think.?

Wildflower Morning

Something pretty to look at:WoodSage-Germander
Arkansas Wild Flower – Wood Sage

Mixed Dill Pickled Veggies

As I mentioned in my post eariler today I made some Dilled Vegies while I was canning the green beans.  Did I mention I Love To Can?

Mixed Dill Pickled Veggies

Gather up your vegetables to pickle.
Wash, clean, peel, slice, remove seeds whatever you need to do to prep.

     You can dill pickle lots of things: zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, celery, bell peppers,  pimentos, califlower, broccoli, green beans, onions, banana peppers, cucumbers, and more, I’m sure, but I can’t think of more right now.
     Last year I pickled two half pint jars of red radishes.  I thought this was unique, but it turns out, after internet research, that  Chinese/Japanese people use them in salads and such. 
     My Mother used to pickle bell peppers and onions together.  I loved them as a youngester.  I remember they were sweet.  When I find the recipe I will post it.

For 2 quarts:
For my jars today I used:
2 med. cucumbers
16 Sweet Banana Peppers, assorted sizes
25 small onions
8 cloves garlic
Fresh dill sticks (I had no seeds.)
Note: 2 teaspoons dill seed, preferred
3 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup water

DilledVeg1

First I made a salt water bath for the cucumbers by mixing 1 Tbsp. salt with 2 c. water in a three pound butter tub.  Stir to melt salt.  I ended up putting all the vegies in the salt water, but didn’t leave them there long; about 20 mins. while I did other things.

DilledVeg2

I sliced the cucumbers into chunks and after removing the seeds I did the same to the Sweet Banana Peppers.  For the onions, if they were the size of a pearl onion I left them alone, but the larger ones I sliced thickly.

Pour 3 cups Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 cup water in a enamel or stainless steel pot.  Add 2 to 3 Tablespoons of canning salt.  Stir until salt is melted.  Heat to a boil.

Put your lids in  a saucepan with about 2-inches of water.  Heat to a boil and lower temp. to Med. or low.

Fill your jars: In the bottom of the jars place 2 garlic cloves and 1 tsp. dill seed.  Then layer the cucumbers, banana peppers, and onions, in any order, till you fill the jar.  Add 1 tsp. dill seed and 2 more cloves of garlic.

Pour the boiling vinegar mixture into the jars.  Wipe off top rim of jars and put lid and ring on.  Tighten lid well.  Sit on towel till cool.  Wait for the lid pop to tell you your jars have sealed.  
Mixed Dill Pickled VeggiesDone!

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May YOUR garden produce beyond your expectations.