Uwharrie Farm

  (Asheboro, North Carolina)
Sharing tips and how-to information on growing and preparing delicious and nutritious food.
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A Guide to Choosing and Preparing Awesome Food


Sally Fallon's book, Nourishing Traditions, is one of my all time favorites.   Sally combines the wisdom of our ancestors and current scientific research to teach us simple methods for preparing delicious, nutrient dense food.  At a time when food based on empty calories is fueling a health care crisis it is time for individuals to wake up.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2000 that obesity-related health care costs alone totaled an estimated $117 billion,  The American Cancer Society reports that many studies have shown links between diet and cancer, and staff at the Mayo Clinic state that diabetes prevention is as basic as losing extra weight and eating more healthfully. Individual responsibility will go a long way toward solving the health care crisis that our nation faces today.  This book can empower you with knowledge to take charge of your health and that of your family.  Remember, your body and your children's bodies are your responsibility.  Please take care of them, they have to last for a lifetime! 

Of the more than 700 delicious recipes contained in Nourishing Traditions these are two of my favorites.

Kimchi (Korean Sauerkraut) made with chinese cabbage, onions, carrots, peppers, ginger, garlic, sea salt and whey from yogurt.  Busy Moms will appreciate the fact that they can just take it out of the refrigerator and serve it on a hot dog or as a side dish, not to mention the fact that it packs a lot of nutrition plus beneficial lactobacilli bacteria.

Chinese Cabbage  Kimchi


Preserved Lemons - a delicious condiment with a nutritional punch.  This simple recipe gives you the advantage of using the whole lemon to create a superb condiment with the added bonus of beneficial lactobacilli bacteria that aid digestion.  I use organic lemons, cinnamon, sea salt and whey

Making Preserved Lemons from yogurt to make this recipe.  Try it on fish or chicken, it is delicious. 

What more could you want?  Both Kimchi and Preserved Lemons are easy to make, nutritious, delicious whole foods and they will keep in the refrigerator for months.

Kimchi, Preserved Lemons, fruits, vegetables, meats, deserts, condiments, and much more - you will find recipes for them  all in Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.

 

 

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Growing Tomatoes: Greenhouse

Sawing wood to heat the greenhouse  Preparing tomato beds      Planting tomato plants 

Heating the greenhouse can be one of the greatest expenses.  Fortunately we have been able to cut the cost by heating the greenhouse with scrap wood collected from local businesses.  Keeping in mind that healthy soil promotes healthy plants we periodically add leaves and compost to our tomato beds to increase soil fertility and soil life.  This year our tomato plants were planted the last week of Feb.and the first week of Mar. with harvest expected to begin in May.

Fertilizing tomato plants  Pollinating tomatoes

    
I use a simple hose end sprayer to fertilize our tomato plants.  Our organic fertilizers do not go through the drip irrigation system as easily as non-organic liquid fertilizers.

Organic Fertilizer Mix    Pour into a 1 quart container:  1/8 cup liquid fish fertilizer (nitrogen), 1/8 cup Biolink 0-5-5 (phosphorous and potassium), 1/8 cup Epsom Salts (magnesium; if you applied dolomitic lime to the planting bed you do not need the epsom salts as dolomitic lime contains magnesium), 1 teaspoon Borax (boron).  Finish filling the jug with water.  This is a concentrate and should be enough for 40 - 50 plants. I place this in a hose end sprayer, attach to the end of my garden hose and water the plants.  The number of times that I fertilize is dependent on existing soil fertility and the availability of soil nutrients.

Some hand pollination is beneficial as the greenhouse environment does not get the benefit of wind and insect pollination that occur outside. 

Potato aphids on tomato plant After planting, yellow sticky cards were placed in the greenhouse to trap pest insects.  Once potato aphids were discovered on the plants I removed the yellow sticky cards and released a parasitic wasp, called Aphidius, to parasitize the aphids.  The yellow cards had to be removed because Aphidius are also drawn to them.  Aphidius Ervi effectively control potato aphids while Aphidius Colemani control Green Peach Aphids.  You can also purchase a mix of Aphidius to control a number of different aphids.  We have used these parasitic wasps to control aphids in the greenhouse for many years.

  

            Uwharrie Farm Tomatoes - 2010 harvest began about mid May

 


 
 

Uwharrie Farm planting schedule: March - April

 freshly dug potatoes   Broccoli        

 We are in USDA Planting Zone 7  

Spring is almost here!  It is time to review the planting schedule for March - April

Plant tomato, pepper, watermelon, canteloupe, cucumber, okra and pumpkin seed in 3 inch plant pots to grow your own plants for the summer garden.  Corn can be planted in smaller plant cells.  Place pots and  plant cells in a greenhouse or approximately 2 inches under florescent lights.  Watermelon, canteloupe, cucumber, okra and pumpkin seed can be planted directly in the garden later, however growing plants in pots gives me a head start before the outdoor temperatures are warm enough.

Plant carrot, beet, and garden pea seed directly in the garden.

Plant cabbage, lettuce, onion, broccoli and strawberry (for berries next spring) plants plus shallots and potatoes in the garden.

Happy Farming and Gardening in 2010!

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Corn

Sweet Corn        Damon Morgan Kentucky Butcher Corn

      Scientists believe people living in central Mexico developed corn at least 7000 years ago.  As you probably know it was a staple in the diet of the native American Indian.  Corn is often classified as dent corn, flint corn, flour corn, popcorn, sweet corn, waxy corn, and pod corn.  Over the years many different varieties have been developed in each class.   Corn is a good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B5, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, phosphorus and manganese.

     I enjoy many wonderful foods from my garden but my all time favorite is sweet corn.  There is no comparison between the corn in stores and that which comes directly from the garden to your kitchen.  When you grow your own you can also by-pass the GMOs and chemicals.  Peter Whoriskey reported in the Washington Post, Nov. 29, 2009, that 80% of the corn grown in the US is grown from seeds genetically altered.  If you can't grow your own corn local farms and farmers markets are good places to look for it.  Sweet corn is great raw, steamed, boiled, creamed, with beans and many other ways.  Breeder's Choice sweet corn seed has performed well for me and taste delicious.  Damon Morgan Kentucky Butcher is my choice for cornbread and corn tortillas.

Corn transplants The first planting of corn should be planted after the soil has warmed and the danger of frost has past.  To get a head start I grow corn transplants and put them in the garden when frost danger has past.  This also gives the corn an advantage over the weeds and eliminates poor seed germination.  I plant successive plantings at 2 - 3 week intervals through June to provide a lengthy corn harvest.

Corn is a heavy feeder yet I have great success growing it in well managed organic soil with a small amount of organic fertilizer that provides nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.  It should be watered once a week if there hasn't been sufficient rainfall.   Raccoons love corn.  A good fence is your best defense against these masked corn thieves.  Corn earworms are annoying but can be controlled with a couple drops of mineral oil placed on the silk at the tip of the corn ear just after the silk begins to turn brown.  Using mineral oil before the silk begins to turn brown can interfere with pollination.

Visit these sites for more about corn:

Whole Foods - Corn

Monsanto's GMO Corn Linked to Organ Failure, Study Reveals

Genetically Modified Foods:  Harmful or Helpful

               Genetically Modified Corn Farmers Breaking the Rules
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January and February Planting Schedule

Greenhouse TomatoesOnion Seedlings

     Do you ever wish you could just start all over again?  That is just what we gardeners get to do every year.  The 2009 garden season has ended and 2010 is just beginning.  Last year's garden is gone and we get to start fresh and new in 2010.  Here at Uwharrie Farm the fall greenhouse tomato crop will soon come to an end.  Powdery Mildew and Botrytis Gray Mold have taken a toll yet we still had a good harvest.  And just think, I can clean out all the old plants with their problems this month and start all over with a fresh new spring crop. 

     In mid January I will plant tomato seed to grow plants for the spring greenhouse tomato crop and onion seed to grow plants for the spring garden.  Usually I plant the tomato seed in December, however, for various reasons we are running a little later this year. 

     Mid February is a good time to plant seed for broccoli, cabbage and lettuce to grow plants for spring planting in the garden.

Remember we are in USDA Hardiness zone 7

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Healthcare: Common Sense Solutions

Vegetables from the home garden      

     Webster's Dictionary defines common sense as ordinary good sense or sound practical judgment.  Now in the case of Healthcare a little ordinary good sense could go a long way in solving a significant amount of this problem.  Consider this simple example:  you intentionally hit your hand with a hammer and break some bones.  Then you visit the hospital after which an insurance company, the government or you are expected to pay the bill.  Now either consciously or subconsciously you must decide if you will again hit your hand with a hammer.  Sounds ridiculous doesn't it?  Yet, I would like to suggest to you that many of us injure our bodies again and again and again by what we put in them which leads to sickness that an insurance company, the government or an individual must pay for.  As long as we choose to neglect and abuse our bodies it is not likely that individuals or the government will ever have enough money to cover Healthcare.  Common sense would say, don't hit your hand, don't abuse your body, don't create so many bills.  Take care of your body, it has to last for a lifetime.

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How healthy can a person be when consuming chemical-laden and nutrient-deficient food with an emphasis on carbohydrates, bad fat, salt and sugar? How many healthcare billions are being spent to address health issues that have their roots in poor diet? It’s a hard number to come by, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of healthcare spending goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Treatment for obesity alone runs a tab of $147 billion, and that doesn’t figure in diabetes ($116 billion) or cardiovascular disease.  Excerpt from Healthcare:  The High Cost of the American Diet


Most of the food we eat that contains corn or soy was sprayed with glyphosate herbicide, and we’re being exposed to higher and higher levels of residue. In response to petitions from Monsanto, the EPA has approved up to 20-fold increases in the legal residue limits for food crops.

“Our bodies are gigantic spider webs of chemical communications that work in the parts-per-trillion range,” says Warren Porter, professor of zoology and environmental toxicology at the University of Wisconsin. “When you put so-called ‘insignificant’ amounts of toxic chemicals into the mix, you have a molecular bull in a china shop. The possibilities for impact are endless.”  Excerpt from  Roundup Kills More Than Weeds

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     Our bodies have an amazing ability to function well if we put in them what they need and don't put in them things that interfere.  When we put our food needs in the hands of restaurants, food manufacturers and agribusiness we are treading on dangerous ground.  As businesses, their purpose is not just to make a profit, but to make as much profit as possible.  You, on the other hand, are responsible for protecting your health plus that of your children.  There are a wide variety of food choices available today, from healthy to extremely unhealthy.  I encourage you to educate yourself and make wise choices.  With the start of a new year I challenge you to commit to serving yourself and your family  delicious, nutritious food. 
 
 

Christmas Harvest

Christmas Harvest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is the week before Christmas and I am harvesting fresh veggies here in central NC.  How fortunate I am.  Collards and Savoy Cabbage have survived well in the garden with temperatures dipping into the low 20's on several occasions.  Tomatoes and cucumbers are producing well in our greenhouse.  One of the cabbages in the photo weighed 6 1/2 pounds with the other one close behind at 5 1/2 pounds.  The larger tomato in the photo, weighing in at over a pound, was about half the size of the one picked a few days earlier that weighed over 2 pounds.

The tomato harvest is about half done, the cabbage harvest is coming to an end and the length of the collard harvest depends on how low night-time temperatures go.  Feeding the wood stove that keeps the tomatoes and cucumbers warm keeps us plenty busy. (No need for a gym membership here).  This week I planted the garlic bed then covered it with a blanket of leaves and compost.  Soon the materials we've collected from the chicken coop and cow pen will become a new compost pile.  Finally, as the new seed catalogs come in, I am reminded of all the winters that I have searched through them, like a child in a candy store, anticipating the delicious treats I would choose to grow in the coming year.  Remember these catalogs are a wealth of information.

Merry Christmas and Happy Gardening in the New Year!

 
 

How to Grow Great Tomatoes

First Prize Tomatoes     Nothing says summer like that first vine ripened tomato from the home garden.  Now is a good time to brush up on your tomato growing techniques.

     Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, lots of vitamin C and many other nutrients.  However, don't be fooled, not all tomatoes are created equal as a test done at USDA Agricultural Research Service in Albany CA illustrates.  When 13 ketchup brands were tested researchers discovered that the organic ketchup contained far more lycopene than the non-organic.  Also as an organic market gardener I can tell you that our customers tell us ours are the best tomatoes at the farmer's market.  Flavor, texture and shelf-life surpass other tomatoes.

     You have heard the saying, you are what you eat.  Similarly tomatoes and other vegetables are what we feed them.  So how do you grow a first rate tomato?  First rule in organic agriculture, feed the soil.  Healthy soil promotes healthy plants which promote healthy people.  Now what type of tomato are you going to put in your healthy soil?  There are a vast number to choose from.

     Look over the seed catalogs and you will find tomatoes of different shapes, sizes and colors.  Other choices include determinate or indeterminate; hybrid or heirloom; early season, mid-season, or late season; and disease resistance.  I suggest you study over seed catalogs to discover what tomato varieties are best suited for your situation and preferences.  You will find a wealth of information in seed catalogs that you will not find by going to your local garden center and buying plants.  Burpee, Tomato Growers Supply, Totally Tomatoes,Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Peaceful Valley are catalogs that I find very useful.   Of all the tomatoes I have trialed over the years First Prize and Health Kick have won out in my situation.  First Prize, an indeterminate tomato, is good for slicing,  has good resistance to disease and nematodes plus it produces an abundance of large delicious tomatoes.  Health Kick, a plum shaped determinate tomato, shows good disease resistance, is very prolific, resist cracking, has more lycopene than other tomatoes and is delicious.  It is perfect for fresh eating and sauces and because it is determinate it is easily trellised with a stake and weave method.

     If at all possible, grow your own transplants.  Prepare a bed or row in your garden that is rich in organic matter and amended with compost.  If the bed or row has not had lime applied in the last 2 or 3 years you should apply 2 cups for each tomato plant and thoroughly mix into the soil.  Lime supplies calcium which helps prevent blossom-end rot.  The planting bed or row should receive 8 hours or more of sunshine each day.  After all danger of frost has past and the soil is warm, plant your plants.  Remember that tomato plants benefit from deep planting with the soil pulled up around the stem.  Additional roots will grow from the stem if it is covered with soil.  Apply mulch (leaves, straw, hay) to the planting area and trellis your plants as they grow.  The mulch helps with weed management and water conservation plus when it decomposes it feeds the soil.  Tomatoes need nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and a very small amount of boron.  I fertilize my tomatoes a couple of times with the following mix:

Organic Fertilizer Mix    Pour into a 1 quart container:  1/8 cup liquid fish fertilizer (nitrogen), 1/8 cup Biolink 0-5-5(phosphorous and potassium), 1/8 cup Epsom Salts (magnesium; if you applied dolomitic lime to the planting bed you do not need the epsom salts as dolomitic lime contains magnesium), 1 teaspoon Borax (boron).  Finish filling the jug with water.  This is a concentrate and should be enough for approximately 40 plants.  Place in a hose end sprayer, attach to the end of your garden hose and water your plants after planting and  again 3-4 weeks later.   Keep in mind that this is a general recommendation.  The amount of fertilizer needed is dependent on existing soil fertility.  

     Keep the soil evenly moist.  Water deficiencies can cause blossom-end rot while too much water or uneven watering can cause cracking.  Summer heat can also cause cracking.  Choosing a crack resistant variety can help with this problem.  Watch for insect pest such as worms and hand-pick them.  In time you should be rewarded with delicious, nutritious vine-ripened tomatoes.

    

 
 

Seed Starting: How to Grow Your Own Transplants

Seedlings under florescent lights  Seedlings outside on a warm, sunny day  Corn seedlings 

The basis of a healthy transplant is a good soil-less potting mix.  Using a soil-less mix eliminates disease organisms, pests and weed seeds that may be found in soil.   I prefer organic and mix my own.   There are a number of potting mixes available at local stores including organic mixes.  You may want to experiment with various mixes or mix your own.

Basic Organic Potting Mix Recipe

2 parts Compost 

3 parts Sphagnum Peat Moss

1 part Perlite

1 part Vermiculite (optional)

Add per every 8 gallons of mix:

½ cup Bone Meal (Phosphorous)

1 ½  cups Dolomitic Limestone (Raises soil pH and provides calcium and magnesium)

½ cup Blood Meal (Nitrogen)

½ cup Kelp Meal (Nitrogen, potassium and minerals)

Mix thoroughly and add enough water to moisten well.

If you can't find organic fertilizers locally Espoma and Peaceful Valley Farm Supply have a wide selection to choose from.

Put potting mix in plant cells or 3 inch pots and add seed.  As a general rule cover the seed with a layer of mix that is 4 times the width of the seed.  Place in a sunny window, a greenhouse, or under florescent lights.  Keep evenly moist.  Most vegetables will grow quite nicely at temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees  with 8 hours or more of sunlight or light from florescent bulbs.

Growing transplants rather than direct seeding can give you a head start on the growing season.  Transplants in the garden also have an advantage over the smaller weeds that germinate around them which makes weeding easier.  Planting corn at 2 week intervals will give you an extended harvest.  Using corn transplants rather than direct seeding makes better use of your garden area.  No space is wasted because of poor germination and seed is not lost through plant thinning.  I like to grow the following plants to transplant to my garden:  Onions, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, collards, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, okra, pumpkin, squash and corn.

 
 

Thanksgiving

Free range turkey

     When I was a child, Thanksgiving on the farm was a special time.  Mom got up very early to chop onions and celery for the traditional dressing that was stuffed inside the large turkey which she always baked for Thanksgiving.  It had to be put in the oven early as she let it bake long and slow until lunchtime.  Then there was dough to make for the yeast rolls.  There must be enough time for the dough to rise twice before baking the rolls.  After breakfast relatives would come.  The ladies would help Mom in the kitchen, the men would go hunting with my Dad and we children would play and anticipate the coming feast.  After lunch the ladies cleaned up the dishes, the men could hunt more and we children could play more. 

     Do you have a special Thanksgiving memory, tradition or recipe?   If so, I invite you to share it with us in the comments section. 

     This recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole is one of my family's favorites.  

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

2 eggs, well beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup milk

Mix these ingredients and spoon into a 2 quart casserole.

Topping:  1/2 cup packed light brown sugar                   2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

               1/4 cup plain flour                                                 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine and sprinkle on potato mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.

For a variety of instructions on roasting a turkey visit Food Network.

 
 

Choosing Vegetable Varieties

Aji Dulce and Pasilla Peppers, dehydrated and ground make a great seasoning    Damon Morgan Kentucky Butcher Corn for cornmeal and corn totillas   Health Kick Tomatoes, higher in lycopene

     As this gardening season is winding down we need to turn our thoughts to next year's garden.  Knowledge and good planning are the foundation of a successful garden.  Choosing vegetable varieties is a very important factor in determining the success of your garden.  Your hard work and good intentions will not be justly rewarded if you plant the wrong vegetable in the wrong place at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.  Here are some things to consider when choosing vegetable varieties.

Flavor:  When choosing a vegetable variety flavor is one of my primary concerns.  Flavor depends on variety selection and growing methods.  Our customers were willing to pay more for our produce because of superior flavor, texture and keeping qualities.  We were often told our products were the best they had purchased.

Nutritional Content:  We are often told that more color in the diet equals more nutrition.  Eat the rainbow some have said.  For this reason I choose to grow yellow and multicolored corn instead of white, blue and yellow potatoes instead of white, and orange and blue sweet potatoes rather than just the orange varieties.  As for tomatoes, the main variety I grow for home use is called Health Kick.  It contains more lycopene than other varieties.  You get the idea. When reading seed catalogs be alert to statements made concerning nutritional content.

Productivity:  Some varieties are much more prolific than others.  Generally speaking hybrid varieties tend to produce more than heirlooms.  You should also consider how a specific variety may grow in your environmental conditions - length of growing season, soil texture, temperature extremes and amount of rainfall.

Pest and Disease Resistance:  Many varieties have been bred for resistance to certain types of diseases.  For instance Big Beef Tomato has the following letters beside the name in the seed catalog, VFFNTASt, meaning it is resistant to Verticillium Wilt, Fusarium Wilt: races 1 and 2, Nematodes, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, Alternaria, and Stemphylium.   I try to choose the most disease resistant varieties that have other qualities that I am looking for.  Also some varieties resist pest better than others.  One example is Neck Pumpkins.  Most pumpkins have a hollow stem at ground level that vine borers like to enter which kills the plant.  The Neck Pumpkin has a solid stem that resists vine borers.

Space Requirements:  If your space is limited you can find seed for vegetables with compact growth.  You may also consider growing pole beans and cucumbers on a trellis.  You can also find varieties that grow well in containers.

Drought, Heat and Cold Tolerance:  By reading seed catalogs carefully you can find the varieties best suited for your climate.

Length of Time to Harvest:  Gardeners in northern areas have a shorter growing season than those in the southern regions.  Consider the length of time until harvest when choosing your vegetable varieties.

     I would encourage you, if at all possible, to grow your own transplants.  By doing so you have much more choice in what varieties you plant in your garden.  Study the seed catalogs, they are a wealth of information, then choose what works best for you in your situation.

     From choosing the seed to harvesting, gardening is not a one size fits all application.  There are a variety of ways to grow a successful garden.  I suggest that you learn tips and techniques from a number of experienced gardeners, then choose the techniques that work best in your situation.  The winter months would be a good time to read some of the great gardening books that are available.  In his book, Four Season Harvest, Eliot Coleman teaches how we can grow food year round.  Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening is a valuable resource for beginners as well as skilled gardeners.  Eileen M. Logan's book, How to Grow Organic Vegetables in Containers, can be very useful for those of you who have limited space.  I encourage you to read, learn, plant, grow and enjoy!

 
 

Halloween Pumpkins

Neck Pumpkins    Preparing Neck Pumpkin for Pie    Pumpkin Pie

Does this look like a Halloween Pumpkin?

     I must say, it does not.  So what is the point?  The Halloween pumpkin and the pie pumpkin have a lot to say about our modern society.  

     October, time to bring all those pumpkins in from the garden or field.  Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are everywhere but where are the pie pumpkins?  If you search you can scarcely find one.  Why do farmers grow so many Halloween pumpkins?  Simple answer - because that is what their customers want to buy.  Herein lies my concern.  The Halloween pumpkin is associated with fun and entertainment, whereas the pie pumpkin is associated with nourishing food for the body.  The point is, I fear that we as a society are leaning more toward fun and entertainment at the expense of things of substance and greater value.  I'm not suggesting that we throw out the jack-o-lantern but that we have some balance.

     Pumpkins were a staple in the diet of the native American Indian. They were grown with corn and beans and called the three sisters.  The corn provided a support for the beans to climb, the beans were able to fix nitrogen in the soil, and the pumpkin leaves helped shade out unwanted weeds.  By teaching the early colonist to grow the three sisters, the Indians helped them survive in the new world.  Pumpkins are a storehouse of nutrition - Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, Potassium and more.  

     You can add these nutrients to your Halloween treats and children will love helping you do it.  Check out the following recipes.  It's fun!

Pumpkin Pie

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Pie Pinwheel Cookies

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Fudge

 
 

Visit the fall garden and greenhouse

Broccoli    Sweet Potatoes    Savoy Cabbage, Collards, Broccoli

I have begun harvesting broccoli and finished digging all the sweet potatoes.  Mice nibbled on a few of them but left plenty for us.  They will keep all winter in a cool area in our house (55 - 60 degrees).  Never store sweet potatoes in the refrigerator as temperatures below 50 degrees can cause cold injury and rotting.  Savoy cabbage and collards are still growing very well.  The rest of the peppers and neck pumpkins need to be gathered soon.

 

Greenhouse Tomatoes  Pest Control,Yellow Sticky Card  

The greenhouse tomatoes are pollinating very well without my help even though we have had a lot of cloudy days.  No serious pest problems so far.  The yellow sticky cards have caught a variety of insects.  I've seen a few white flies and a few aphids.  We expect ripe tomatoes in the first or second week of November.

After quite a bit of searching I finally found some Chandler Strawberry plants.  They should arrive the middle of next week.  A little later than I usually plant but it should be all right.  Remember its time to clean up the garden, take soil test (see your local extension office), apply lime if needed and plant cover crops.

 
 

Pear Marmalade Recipe

Pear Marmalade

Make your own Pear Marmalade.  It's fun and it is delicious!

3 quarts organic pears (ground)

Juice of 3 organic lemons and zest

6 cups sugar

1 cup crushed pineapple

Juice of 3 organic Valencia oranges and zest

Mix all ingredients together.  Boil until clear.  Put in hot sterilized jars and seal.

Try it on your homemade bread.

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The Fall Garden

Fall vegebable garden    Chinese Cabbage    Kimchi

     Fall is a great time to get those fresh green vegetables that we are told are so good for us.  They are said to provide an abundance of nutrition and even prevent some diseases.  It seems easy for us to neglect the green foods to our own detriment.   My fall garden consists of Chinese Cabbage, three varieties of collards, broccoli and Savoy Cabbage. The soil for the fall garden was mulched with hay.  I fertilized with liquid fish, bone meal, sulfate of potash, epsom salts and borax.  Pests have included a few worms, harlequin bugs, grasshoppers and crickets.  Until recently I have hand picked worms and harlequin bugs.  The plants are getting so large it is more difficult to find the worms so yesterday I sprayed with Bacillus Thurningiensis, brand name Dipel, to control the worms.  

     Chinese Cabbage was the first vegetable ready for harvest.  It is tender crisp with a texture I compare to a cross between lettuce and cabbage.  Each fall I like to use the Chinese Cabbage to make a few quarts of Kimchi, Korean Sauerkraut,  which keeps for weeks in the refrigerator.  Being preserved by lacto-fermentation, it provides good bacteria needed in our intestinal tracts to aid good health.   In her book, Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon explains the health benefits of lacto-fermentation and provides many easy to follow recipes, including the one I use for Kimchi.  

     Broccoli is almost ready for harvest.  After the main heads are cut, smaller shoots will grow to extend the harvest.  Because frost adds a sweeter flavor to collards, I will wait until after frost to harvest them.  Cabbage and collard harvest should last at least through January.

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