Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unmentionables in the garden!

First, thank you all for your kind words and condolences with respect to our loss of Torre.  So kind and dear of you to send words of comfort. 
And now...on to other things!

So, what in the world does this (notice the missing feet....)

Have to do with this?

Panty hose makes the BEST tomato ties!!  It's stretchy,offers cushion to tomato stems, it's strong....and it's cheap or even free.  Of course, as a just-before-the-baby-boomers retiree, I have scads of panty hose left over from those "career days" and am happy to find a use for them, aside from straining paint!  But, if we were to run out, it's a lot cheaper to buy panty hose (the knee-highs are best) than tomato cages!  With respect to those cages, we are trying out a new method of staking this year using what we have around the farm.  We're using Re-bar and wooden stakes horizontally tied with baling twine.  Like this:

We had so many tomato plants this year that buying cages was simply out of the question...even if they worked!  Which in our experience, they don't.
I'll keep you posted on our success or lack thereof!  Experiments are always dicey!

Yesterday marked the beginning of the "canning season."  As hot as it was throughout the day, it made me wish we'd planned for a summer kitchen--the kind old-timers used to (sensibly) have when woodstoves and coal stoves provided the only source of cooking heat.  On the other hand, with MM having designed and built our house, our naturally cooled interior was a tolerable 73 degrees (without air conditioning), while outside it was 93 degrees in the shade.  We finished the day with fourteen quarts of a greens combo of Swiss Chard and Beet Greens which will be so tasty this coming winter.  Today, we'll add to that number and then tomorrow will be the day we can (bottle) beets which are all about 2.5 inches in diameter right now--perfect for preserving!

Sunset last night was a welcome relief after a steamy kitchen all day. 


  1. Elora, How I wish that I was a diligent canner. I laud your stamina to face the heat and get it done. Me, I dry, the lazy homemaker method. Of course greens are out of the question to dry, at least I think they are? -- barbara

  2. Even when I did grow vegetables it was only ever enough for immediate consumption.We did have alot of marrows one year when the courgette harvest got out of hand. In London I would make blackberry jam (jelly)and I have made blackcurrant jam here but I'm the only one who eats jam and I shouldn't really. If there are extra blackcurrants I throw them in the freezer and use them in crumbles.

  3. Oh, that hot steamy kitchen! I just blanched a little broccoli for the freezer and even that was pretty awful. Time to consider an outdoor canning kitchen?

  4. Barbara,

    Drying veggies is a lot of work! I use the dehydrator a lot and it takes time and work to get everything evenly prepared to dry uniformly!! My dehydrator has become a FAVORITE kitchen tool!! Last year I dried corn, carrots, zucchini, apples, celery leaves, sage, onions (90 pounds of onions!), green beans, and asparagus. Making a soup was so easy with the dried veggies ad leftover broth from cooking a chicken. Drying veggies has found itself a permanent place in our menu! The only disadvantage is having to plan ahead to use the dried produce! You do have to have time for it to reconstitute.


    I am picking black currants today. We have a huge crop this year (probably due to the cow manure I put under the plants! ) There are a few red ones and a few white ones, but mainly black this year.

    Our other berry crops are "in transition" this year--strawberries haven't produced anything as they are new plants this year.


    Yes, indeed! HOT,HOT,HOT!! I find myself drifting AWAY from stove-related chores! How are your chickens doing?

    Thank you all for comments. I finally learned how to answer comments more easily! (Can you believe I didn't know until this week?)

    On to beet-canning, today! HOT, HOT, HOT! :-(