Saturday, July 17, 2010

tomatoes- canning

Yesterday while canning the peaches I was also able to begin canning a few tomatoes up. Since they are both water bath items  it made the process super easy as  they are basically the same when it comes to prep work and canning.  I only had 3 quarts of tomatoes to do  but it is three more quarts than I was able to do last year so I was happy. Hopefully this was the first of many tomato canning sessions.

Rather than  typing out something that is already written everywhere  and written  in a much better fashion than I can do, I will just give a couple links to the sources that I use when I need to  reference a manual.

 The first link has many ways to can tomatoes, from whole to juice and soups.

The second link is to a very well put together picture tutorial from start to finish. The site  has  tutorials on canning many other types of fruit and veggies too.

garden update-tobacco-pests and issues

The tobacco is finally doing quite well and is in a nice growth spurt. Unfortunately, this also brings the pests in to wreak havoc on the crop. While we have been fighting a bit with aphids over the last few weeks, the worms are just beginning to show up. These fellers do a lot of damage in very little time so it is important to spend one on one time with each of your plants on a daily or near daily basis to keep issues under control.

The following  two  pictures are of damage done to a plant in approximately 24 hours by worms. The worms have tell tale signs that they leave behind on the leaves. Large holes and chunks are generally gone from the plant and there is almost always worm poop left behind. The poops  generally show up near the stalk and where leaves attach. The poops are little round balls  that are black. When finding worm  damage the easiest control method is to  physically inspect each plant carefully. This means looking at the tops and bottoms of every leaf on all of the plants. The worms  get very large and ugly if allowed to and will decimate a crop in short order.
The next picture is of the aphids. They are difficult to see in the picture but they are the little reddish colored  things on the lower right side. These fellers are always on the underside of the  leaves and while their damage is not near as quick to destroy  a crop they can and will if left unchecked over time. For these guys we use  one cup  of 70% or greater isopropyl alcohol  with a tablespoon of castile soap  in a quart of water and spray the plants on the underside of the affected plants. The spray will kill them and they turn a nice shade of black. Never spray plants with this in the heat of the day as it will kill them. Repeat the treatment as needed.
The last issue we tend to find with the tobacco is  a folding over of  the leaves on some plants. I have no idea why this happens as  we never see any damage on the plants  that this happens too but if left upside down, the leaves  snap off much easier in wind and rains.Do be sure to inspect the plant for any other signs or symptoms of disease or infestation to be sure it is simply a screwy leaf. To fix the leaf, gently turn  it back over  from near where it connects to the stalk and work it back to  the upright position. Once this is done they  generally are fixed.
Soon, suckering and topping the plants will be needed on a regular basis along with your inspections. Remember too that the tobacco is now getting all  its toxins so be sure to wash your hands well before playing in the rest of the gardens  and NEVER touch or go in to your tomato patch after  working the tobacco.

Friday, July 16, 2010


The peach tree here is on a slow suicide mission. The poor thing is so laden with peaches that her branches are just snapping off. This also happened the last time she had loads of fruit but  most years she only puts on a handful of peaches and they get eaten by bugs. This year however is different and while the poor tree gets uglier and uglier each day from breakage the fruit on it is astounding.
The other day  two  small branches completely snapped off  so I decided to harvest the fruit from them because I could not let the small but beautiful and tasty things go to waste. I pulled about 8 gallons of peaches off and left the other branches hanging on the ground in hopes that they could finish ripening on the tree. After this evenings rain though I am fairly sure that I know what I will be doing tomorrow. If I had to  make a guess, I would say there is probably another 25-30 gallons on the tree yet.
Today  I canned up about a third of the peaches from the other day and got 7 quarts of sweet Georgia  peaches. I saved the peals so  after I get done with  the actual peaches I can make jelly or "honey"from them. The peaches, while tiny, will sure be nice to have  this winter. Fruit is something that we really could use more of in our daily diet and something we never ever have enough of, so having an abundance  of it is splendtabulous.  Of course after I am through with the harvest this year I might tell you something completely different .
And... since the manthing has been singing this song for approximately three days now, I give you  PEACHES!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

monday's mountain musings-better late than never -oops!

well, I was going to do a late MMM's post but once I had it nearly finished my fat fingers magically hit the control + key instead of the shift + key and I erased the entire thing. Needless to say,I am not very happy with said fingers and am too annoyed with myself to type it all out again.... It's ok everybody,   laugh!!!!