Saturday, June 26, 2010

garden 2010- tobacco update

 The tobacco  has finally started growing! It has sure taken its sweet old time in establishing itself and starting  its growth spurt. This morning the manthing and I spent three full hours down there weeding, hilling and running the tiller between the rows for what will be the last time. The true work of growing tobacco is set to begin now with topping, suckering  and worm picking but that ain't my job. From here on out  the tomatoes are my job and tobacco is the manthing's, this is  so we do not risk losing the tomatoes with tobacco mosaic. Tobacco is truly a labor intensive crop, I could not imagine trying to be a small farmer trying to make a living growing tobacco years ago.
 Many of the plants are now knee high but all that are planted are growing well, FINALLY! My direct seeded plants are still too small to detect so I can not give an up date on them. I still have another 40 or so plants that are in the original starter flats that will need to be planted in the next week or two as well. I did not bother to transplant them into individual grow cups as they seemed to do better in the flats this year. The volunteer plants seem to be doing well too although a couple got weedwacked  this last week. Just one of the risks when you are a volunteer plant growing where you were not planted last year.

Friday, June 25, 2010

canning potatoes

One of our potato beds was looking a bit rough the other day and dying off quicker than I like to see. Rather than lose the crop  or wonder and worry about what was wrong with  it we decided to harvest that bed. After  curing them for a couple days it was evident that these potatoes were not going to store well long term, so today we canned them up.We got 15 quarts canned, enough cooked for a week or so of  meals and have another 20 or so pounds to use over the next months or two. The rest of the beds will be dug around the fourth of July,  hopefully they will look a bit  better than this crop did.

I normally can  just the smallest potatoes and can them whole but this year I used various sized spuds. I do not peel them  when I can them. The peels slough off in the canning process and they are easy to pick  out if you do not like them in what ever recipe you are using the potatoes in. This peeling nonsense take a lot of time and wastes good  nutrients. I rarely do just one canner full of anything so time becomes a  big issue for me. I do not dice my potatoes either. I leave them in larger pieces, pretty little cubes all of uniform size is just too weird for me. Once I got my taters the size I wanted , I washed until clean.

Jars, rings and lids were all sterilized, Next, I just chuck my taters in, add a teaspoon of salt fill with  hot water, make sure air bubbles are out, cap and process in the pressure canner for 45-50 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure. I add 5-10 extra minutes of time  what is usually recommended   because  I also skip the blanching  process. I find by skipping the blanching my potatoes do not turn  in to mush during the processing, that is another reason I do not make too small of pieces. Mushy watery potatoes are not my thing.
 Now this is just my way of doing things. I have never made any of us sick using the methods I do  but I have been canning since I was a small child. I know what I can get away with and can't. For those that are just beginning to can  your own  vegetables I recommend following UGA's  canning guide. They also have a wonderful  home food preservation website that I highly recommend to anyone starting to preserve their own foods.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

mystery plant

I hate trying to identify  plants on my own  because it is near impossible when you have no where to start. I do not think entering "stinky weed"  in a search  engine would yield me any results that would help me in the identification process and besides it is much more fun  to see what others think it is and then I can search from there to see if it is indeed what someone thought it was.

This mystery plant is here on the property and every time we  weed eat  it stinks up the entire area and the person weed eating.It is a hard to describe smell other than odorific to the point of over powering and sweet. It has a thick woody  type stem and gets a few feet tall. The leaves have little serrations and feel thickish. Does anyone have any idea what this plant is?

taking tomato cuttings-extend the growing season

I decided the other day that since I could not find my photos of taking tomato cuttings I would just make a little video of it as it would be much easier that way. (insert rolling eyeballs here)

HA! It turned out to be one of the stupidest decisions I have made in a while and one that has caused me much frustration only to have it turn out horrible! I however got so frustrated in the making of this that I couldn't bear to just delete the many hours of hair pulling frustration and call it a lesson learned. Instead I chose to publish the monstrosity, annotate it and blame anything I could but myself.Enjoy it as it will be the last real video you get. :D