Tag Archives: gardening

Canning our garden harvest

15 May

My husband and I have been busy bees trying to keep up with our garden. With over 10 tomatilla plants and 20 tomato plants and dozens of a varieties of pepper plants we certainly have our hands full.

We started canning for the first time last year. Neither one of us really had any idea how to do this. I didn’t exactly have any warm and fuzzy memories of parents or grandparents doing any such thing. So, through a little trial and error we started off with a couple of simple recipes from the Ball Blue Book guide to preserving. We bought the necessary pots and tools, burned a few fingers in the process, forgot to sterilize lids and promptly had to start all over. Trust me, you only forget once! Now that we’re ‘pros’, canning has become much easier and more routine and we work well as a team.

Here are some of the things we’ve been canning this season.

1) Tomatilla salsa, mild and spicy

2) Jalapeno salsa

3) Pickled banana peppers

4) Pickled zucchini spears

5) Dill pickles

Advertisements

Garden pictures April 2012

24 Apr

Just a few pictures on how our garden is coming along.

We have a lot of canning, dehydrating, and food sharing in our near future.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Edible flowers

24 Apr

I was inspired when reading another blog where school children created amazing dishes using local food and tropical flowers. Check out these amazing pictures at the following link. 2012 March « FlipSide Adventures.

We enjoy growing borage in our garden. This edible plant has gorgeous star-shaped blue flowers that taste like cucumber. Honey bees are attracted to the flowers and are crazy for the nectar.

The entire plant is edible, however, the stems and the leaves are covered with numerous tiny hairs making it distasteful. The flowers, on the other hand, do not contain the hairs and can easily be separated from the stem. Just grab the stem and gently pull and separate the stem from the flower.

The leaves work well in stews and the petals can be used in a variety of dishes such as cake and dessert decorations and salads. When used in salads, add the flowers at the last minute or the dressing/vinegar will cause the petals to wilt.

Our queen bee died

10 Apr

My husband tried capturing a wild bee hive a few months ago. With the help of his brother, they built a beehive to capture and trap the bees living in an oak tree one block from our house. After a few months, multiple bee stings, and no luck, he decided to visit a local apiary instead, and bought a hive with a queen bee.

This was the maiden voyage home:

Unfortunately 10 days later, the queen bee died for unknown reasons. There are no signs of new eggs or larvae in the hive. We have approximately one to two weeks to replace another queen or the entire hive will die. This was really disappointing. We’ve been looking forward to warm weather and finally having our own bees in the yard to pollinate the garden. Hopefully, the next queen we buy will survive and our garden will continue to flourish.

Dr Oz, you are NOT smarter than an Okinawa Sweet Potato

24 Mar

I’ve been told many a time I have strange eating habits. Huh, what’s so weird about eating purple sweet potatoes?

My husband and I instantly fell in love with these potatoes while on our honeymoon in Hawaii last year. The yummy Okinawa Purple Sweet potato. Wow, babe, we could grow these in our Florida climate!!  So when we returned home, we searched endlessly. We tried California, local Oriental Food Markets, Hawaii, and yes, Japan, but no luck. What the heck? We finally discovered Hawaii has a little problem. They are called weevils. These weevils tirelessly decimate their crops. Hawaii’s answer to the weevil? Irradiate the crops. Well, darn it, you can’t sprout a sweet potato that’s been irradiated. And Hawaii has strict regulations about importing and exporting foods. It’s impossible to grow this sweet potato outside of Hawaii.

Apparently, Dr Oz, in all his brilliance, isn’t aware of this either. The Okinawan Sweet Potato: A Purple Powerhouse of Nutrition | Down to Earth. Thank you for the tease Dr Oz! Well I hope the Hawaiian’s are enjoying their new ‘superfood’. What about the rest of America?

Well, we found another purple sweet potato, the Stoke’s Purple Sweet Potato. (well, technically its a yam, but no one needs to know, shhhhhhh)   Purple Sweet Potatoes (Purple Yam) – Home of the Stokes Purple Sweet Potato – Stokes Foods, Inc..

So, if you’re invited to our house, and you’re served this for dinner…

know that a lot of time, hard labor, sweat, love, and patience, went into this fabulous tasting potato.

And no more making fun of me, Dr Oz thinks I’m cool for eating a superfood! 🙂

For more info Sweetpotato Production Guides for Hawaii.

Onion Thrips

14 Mar

Our first garden pest of the new season.

Our onion and scallions easily survived our mild winter this year.

However, we were noticing discoloration on the leaves, but couldn’t find any bugs.

Thrips gather on the leaves, leaving white blothces, eating away the chlorophyll.

We treated the leaves with Pyrethrin, an oraganic compound that paralyzes the insect.

Is it safe for human consumption? If you trust the goverment, the USDA says “it is probably the safest of all insecticides for use in food plants”.