Monthly Archives: June 2012

Corn Harvest and Tomato Shade

     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.

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.

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

     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.”

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, ( on the Monarch Watch website.
(end of excerpts)
Butterfly Milkweed, one of my favorite wildflowers.

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


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.


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!

May YOUR garden produce beyond your expectations.

Canning Green Beans

Had a day off today wither I wanted it or not.  So I was able to can the green beans I picked.  I ended up with 6 pint jars and some left over for supper.  I’m thinking I’ll go up in the garden and pull up one of the potato plants and put the small potatoes in with the beans.  If only I had some bacon to add to it.  Now that is yummy, but fattening. Ah.

Anyway here’s a tutorial, of sorts, about canning green beans.

BeansStep1Wash your beans and snap them or cut them, I used scissors, into about 1 1/2″ links.

Place your cut green beans in a enamel or stainless steel pot and cover slightly with water.  Place on stove and bring to a boil.  Boil for 3 minutes.  Place your canner on the stove and add 2″ of water and bring to a low boil.  Make sure your canner has a rack in the bottom of it to keep the jars off the bottom of the canner.


While the green beans are heating to a boil get your jars, lids, rings, canning salt, scoop or measuring cup, tongs, and bubble free-er at the ready.  My mother taught me to place my lids in a stainless steel  saucepan (see Pic #2 above) covering them with water.  Bring the water to a slight boil and reduce heat to low; just enough to keep the water good and hot. This softens the rubber on the lids and allows them to seal better when placed on the jar.


Once the green beans have boiled for 3 minutes use your scoop or measuring cup to pour them into the jars.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each pint jar and fill the jar to within a 1/2″ from the top with the liquid from the green bean pot. Now you’ll want to remove any air that is trapped in amoung the green beans.  I use a bubble free-er which is a thin flat plastic stick.  You use the stick by sliding it along the inside sides of the jar. If you don’t have a bubble free-er you can gently tap the bottom of the jar on your towel covered counter.  You should see bubbles coming to the top. Next wipe the top rim of the jar with a clean moist dish cloth.  Remove the lid from the hot water, with a pair of tongs, and place on top of the jar.  Immediately screw the ring on the jar.  You might have to use your dish cloth to hold the jar while you tighten the ring.


Place your jars in your canner leaving some space between the jars. Next tighten down your canner lid, leaving your pressure valve open for 7 to 8 minutes and then close it.  According to my Kerr canning book you bring the canner to 10 lbs. of pressure and let stay there 20 minutes for pints.  DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CANNER UNATTENDED.  Keep your eye on the pressure dial incase you need to raise or lower the temp. setting on your burner (stove).  It may take up to 10 minutes or more for the canner to reach 10 lbs of pressure.  Hang in there.


After 20 minutes remove the canner from the stove and let sit until the pressure dial has gone down to zero and the canner has cooled some.  Remove your lid and take your jars out.  Sit them on a towel, away from a draft, and allow them to cool and listen for that wonderful lid popping sound of a successfully sealed jar.
Note: The canner I use belonged to my mother.  I’m not sure how old it is.


Home canned things are so pretty.

Oh yeah, while the green beans were in the canner I made two quart jars of dilled mixed vegies: cucumbers, sweet banana peppers, and onions.

Tutoral to come…

Good news!  Sears called the other day and said my Craftsman Mini Tiller was not fixable and they would replace it.  I went to town this afternoon and got a brand new one.  YEAH!

May YOUR garden produce beyond your expectations.

Fruitful Day

The weather this evening turned cooler after 7:30 so I went out into the garden.  I’d planned on picking the green beans in the morning but since it was cool  I went ahead and picked three of the 5 rows.  I didn’t get much, but not bad for the first picking and the plants are full of blooms.  I’ll finish picking in the morning.  Looks like I’ll be canning tomorrow when I get home from work.

I picked 16 more Sweet Banana Peppers this evening.  That’s a total of 38 off 4 plants.  I remain stunned that my pepper plants are doing so well.  The Bell Peppers are getting big enough to pick, but they are not turning orange like they should.

Waiting for the red…

Pretty little cantalope…
One last note:  Sears called today and said my tiller was not repairable and would give me a replacement.  YEAH!  I can till the garden again; it needs it…BAD.


Just a Shovelfull

As you can see my onion crop is not as good as I hoped.  I should be disappointed, but I’m not.  I’ve been learning these past years that there is always a good side to things.  I think I’m gonna pickle some of these onions.  My brother was over the other day telling me how much he enjoyed my pickled vegie mixture I made last year.  He espically liked the onions.

I checked on my green beans and they will need picking tomorrow or the next day.

I’ve been very busy this past week getting my Dad’s stuff together for his trip to a Bluegrass Festival in Waldron, AR.  He is not walking very well on his new knee so I had to clean and load the 5th wheel trailer for him.  I took him down there yesterday and got his trailer loaded with last minute stuff and made the bed.  Between work and doing all this I haven’t had much time to do anything in the garden like hoe up grass or kill these blasted Aphids that are all over my squash plants.

Sevin dust is now covering the squash plants; top and bottom of the leaves and the Aphids.  I took the last of the Sevin dust and gave the tomatoes a sprinkle just in case.