Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August in the Garden

It is hard to believe that August is already halfway over. Now is the time to go out into your garden, notebook in hand and access how things went over the summer.
  • If you are doing crop rotation, make not of which crops need to go where next spring, it is a good idea to write this down so that you don't forget.
  • Also, now is the time to write down which plants did well and which ones did not. This is especially important if you've never gardened before. It will give you and idea of what plants do best on your land, which will make gardening next year a little easier.
  • Write down any ideas that crop up about what you want to try out next year.
  • If you have perennials that need to be thinned make note of the plants and thin them according to what works best for that specific plant.
  • If you have raspberries, once their harvest is over (should be towards the end of the month) they can be pruned. You will want to prune out the old canes so that new ones will have room to grow.
And of course August is always a great time to be preserving your goodies so get out your pressure canner, waterbath canner, dehydrator, etc. and make your harvest last through winter!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fall Gardening

Many people forget all about their gardens once the main summer growing season is over and the fruits and vegetables have been harvested. But you should know that fall is a great time to grow things in your garden! Plants like cabbage, broccoli, mustard, turnips, kale, and more can be grown in the fall months.

You will want to prepare your soil for your fall garden, especially if it is in the same spot that you had your summer garden in, you can do this by adding aged manure or compost, or if you prefer, chemical fertilizers. Keeping the soil moist is a biggie for a fall garden, one way to help with this is to plant fall plants in a shallow trench and to regularly irrigate the soil.

Or if you choose, you can do a simple container garden for your fall vegetables. One thing that I have found that is great for growing things in is big washtubs with holes drilled in the bottom. Add a 2-3 inch layer of gravel or rock in the bottom before adding your dirt, to allow water to pass through, otherwise your soil can stay too moist and cause the plants' roots to rot.  There are some very colorful cabbages that would make a lovely looking container garden, so that you can enjoy the beauty of nature while waiting for your bounty to ripen enough for eating.

What kind of fall gardening will you be doing?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Harvest Time

Many of you have already been harvesting a lot of different fruits and vegetables. And, if you are like me, you know nothing can beat the taste of fresh produce. But what do you do with it all? There are many methods to preserving your foods. From waterbath canning your high-acid foods, pressure canning your low-acid foods, drying, to freezing. Each method is a great way to make sure your produce lasts longer, so that you can enjoy the fruit of your labors on into the winter.

Waterbath canning is a great way to preserve fruits, jams, jellies, preserves, and more! You just need to know if your food is right for waterbath canning (There are a lot of books about canning out there to help with this), a waterbath canner, canning jars, lids, rings, and other canning tools.

Pressure canning uses a lot of the same types of tools that waterbath canning does, but instead of using a water bath canner you will be using a pressure canner.

Drying your foods is something that has been done for a very long time. However, the methods and efficiency has changed a bit over the years thanks to dehydrators. Now drying food is much quicker than it was in the old days when they dried their foods in smoke or in the sun.

Freezing is definitely a quick way to preserve foods. But you have to worry about air getting to them and causing freezer burn. This can be remedied with a FoodSaver, which vacuum seals food before you put it in the freezer, cutting down on spoilage and freezer burn.

What is your favorite way to preserve your hard worked for harvest goodies?

Want to read more? Check out this blog: Urban Gardens & Pressure Cooking

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