Friday, July 29, 2011

BIG corn

Corn has been coming in now for a week or so at a steady rate. I have been picking a couple dozen every couple days. I have been watching this big boy grow since our last rain and picked it today as it was growing out of the end of the shuck. As you can see the smaller ones are prettier ears but at 14 1/2 inches its a BIG ear of corn!

leather britches

Leather britches or shucky beans are simply beans that are preserved through drying while still green and in the shell. Although we do not grow many beans because they are cheap to buy in bulk quantities, we do enjoy them on occasion. Rather than have them taking up shelf space, canning them or freezing them I generally use this method. It is simple to do and I like seeing them hang around the shack.

When beans are mature simply snip off the end of the pod where the stem was and run a string down through the center of the beans(feed bag strings work great for this) or simply lay them out in the sun to dry for a couple few weeks. Once dry, hang them anywhere that they will keep dry until you are ready to use them. If you lay them out in the sun, remember to bring them in during inclement weather. I typically hang ours up under the carport rafters and bring them in once the weather changes come fall.

To cook, just throw them in a pot of water overnight to soak, drain them in the morning and then slow cook all day long in water with a chunk of fat back, bacon, or a ham bone. Season to taste and serve.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

alternative gardens-midsummer update

Here are a few of the alternative planters that I lovingly refer to as my junk beds. All are doing quite well growing what I have put in them and some are doing excellent. The peppers in the tires are hip height already (not saying a whole lot as I am only 5'2) and have little peppers growing. The tomatoes that sprouted from last years tomatoes after I pulled the taters from the hot tub (the first week of July) are already getting blossoms.The tomatoes surrounding the tub are all volunteers too. The vent gardens, bathroom beds, wick and tin can beds are giving us fresh flowers to look at and veggies for eats. Not a one that I really complain about when it gets down to it. They were all completely free, everything was recycled and they require minimal care to maintain. Even watering them daily is not much of a hassle. I quite enjoy wandering about with my coffee, camera, and buckets of water early in the morning when the birds are noisy and the goats are quiet.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

topping tobacco

We spent the morning down in the tobacco patch checking for bugs, worms, yellowing leaves, and tipped over plants from the rain yesterday. We had a few more to get in the ground yet too and it was also time to top the first round of plants that went in. Very few bugs and worms thus far thankfully and there were only a handful or two of plants that had fallen over so it was not too tough of a job.

Tobacco, like all plants begins to set seed before the end of its life cycle. Since one plant can provide enough seed for about an acre of garden, they are topped when this begins to happen. We typically only allow one or two plants to make seed for us. This way, the plant continues to do what it is supposed to do rather than putting energy in making seeds. Topping a plant is just like it sounds, taking the top off. This also tends to help the plants stay upright better as they finish growing. The flower/seed heads get heavy and the upper leaves that come with them make the plant top heavy so any heavy rains or winds can take the plants down.
Once the plants were topped, we hauled the big pile of broken or yellowing leaves up and began stringing them in small bundles to hang and begin curing.