Monthly Archives: August 2010

Other Garden Life

I have a new challenge to face in the outside garden.  These bugs were present in the garden last year, but I was unaware of any problems with the produce being created by them.  It turns out that they did … Continue reading

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Zucchini Fritters & Chickpea Salad

Always on the lookout for ways to use zucchini, and also for ways to make fritters of one kind or another, I tried making zucchini fritters yesterday.  Well, not exactly zucchini fritters.  Most of the zucchini fritter recipes I saw … Continue reading

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Pickled Peppers

I have a lot of pepper plants. I love growing peppers. I have at least five different varieties this year. I don’t know for sure, because I seem to always get a stray pepper seed or two in my seed packets that isn’t the same variety as the rest of the seeds in the packet. This year I have some hot peppers that I can’t identify. I’m growing two hot varieties; Anaheim, and salsa delight; two Italian sweet peppers, carmen and ‘the godfather’; and ‘red delicious’ bell peppers. The carmen seeds were left over from last year. I’ve been getting most of my seeds from Burpees, but I’m thinking about starting to grow some heirloom seeds next year.

Italian sweet peppers really are worth growing. Their flesh isn’t as thick and juicy as bell peppers, but they have the most amazing flavor, especially when they are allowed to fully ripen. I use them for all the same things I would use a bell pepper for, including stuffing, even though they are narrower and much longer than a bell pepper.

I’ve made pepper relish, and I put some peppers in my cucumber relish this year. I froze peppers last year, and I froze some pepper puree and some roasted peppers. I still have some of those. I didn’t see much point in freezing any more peppers this year. I expect to get a lot more peppers this year even though it’s already August. Last year I was still picking peppers in late November or early December. I needed to find another way to preserve some of my peppers.

This year, I canned some pickled peppers. I pickled rings rather than whole peppers so I could mix the sweet and hot peppers together. The recipe doesn’t call for onions, but I decided to add a few Vidalias to the mix, also. We usually get two or three 20 pound bags directly from either Vidalia or Lyons, Georgia each year, so this is also a good way to preserve some of the Vidalias. I’ve already made and frozen Vidalia marmalade, Vidalia jam, and crock pot caramelized Vidalias, so I needed to find another way to put some of those up, too. One of the things I like about this mix is that is has more sweet than hot peppers, and with the addition of the onions, it’ll be a great mixture to put on home made pizza, and to add to pasta salads and bean and grain salads. It could also be included in antipasto, and added to other dishes as a garnish.

I got this recipe from the internet also, and I tweaked it. Here is the original recipe – Continue reading

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Garden Essentials

Machaelle Wright has a list of soil amendments and nutrients that she uses in her garden. She uses muscle testing (applied kinesiology) to determine what nutrients and soil amendments are needed for any given plants at any given time. This method clearly works very well for her.

This is not a practical solution for my garden, so I have found a really good organic fertilizer that covers the garden’s basic needs, and I supplement as needed. The fertilizer I use is Garden Tone, by Espoma. I have gotten excellent results with this fertilizer. I also use compost that I make myself, and a product called Superthrive, which can be added to water and fed to the roots, but I use it for foliar feeding. I get amazing results just from these three things…. Continue reading

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Exploring the ‘net and getting back to the land

In some of my travels around the internet, I come across some interesting websites and blogs (I’m sure I’m not at all unique in this regard). Here’s a few that I found today. I think they’re kind of cool. There seems to be a movement these days of people who are trying to live more closely to the land and nature. It reminds me of what some of us were doing in the ’70s. Maybe the geezers out there will remember Euell Gibbons and the joke that was a spoof of his Post Grape Nuts commercial – “Hi! I’m Euell Gibbons! Ever eat a doorknob? Most parts are edible!

I am encouraged to see this happening. For a long time, the whole “back to the land” aesthetic seemed to be mostly the butt of jokes and ridicule. I’m seeing a resurgence in many of the ways people were practicing self-sufficiency back in the 1960s and ’70s – urban farming, primitive skills, and wild foods foraging. I think it’s great. One of my sisters posted to her Facebook page a while back that she was going in the direction of self-sufficiency, and described all of the things she was going to be doing as a part of that. My response was, “Welcome to the ’70s!”

The decade of the ’70s was a heady time for those of us who were involved in the “back to the land” movement then, and it’s quite gratifying to see it coming back into some degree of respectability now in the new century. Back then we had the Whole Earth Catalog. Now we have blogs. This is good. Continue reading

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Me and nature had a little talk today

I finally did it. It’s been way too long since I last sat down and had a serious tête-à-tête with nature. I am always connected with nature to one degree or another when I am working in the garden, but sometimes I need to sit down, get my energy as clear as possible, and make a direct connection. And communicate clearly and intentionally… Continue reading

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Make your own mayonnaise

We never buy mayonnaise any more. We haven’t bought any for at least a couple of years. It all started because I have allergies and it’s really hard to find mayonnaise that doesn’t contain stuff I’m allergic to. So I started making my own. Once I started doing that, I discovered how much better home made mayonnaise tastes than store bought, and how much money we could save by making our own. And it doesn’t contain any junk. The only ingredients are eggs, oil, and seasonings. That’s it.

It takes me about ten minutes, maximum, to make a little over two cups full of mayonnaise. You can use a blender, but it takes longer because you have to stop and scrape the sides down a lot as you go, and it’s a lot harder to make a double batch in the blender. I use a hand blender and a wide mouth quart mason jar. I double the recipe I got off the internet. When the mayonnaise starts to get thick, I move the hand blender up and down to help it incorporate the oil in to the mix more efficiently.

Here’s the recipe I use, with some modifications… Continue reading

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