Monday, June 20, 2011


That could easily be an exclamation. It's also my non-patented way of dealing with tomato horn worms completely organically and chemical free. Well, ok, I use plastic chopsticks but I don't think that the plastic leaches out enough chemicals to consider it to any degree, otherwise I would also have to stop using the garden hose and city water since I know that the lines going to the house are PVC.
Anyway, I found that the little buggers are not as fond of the tomatoes as they are of one of the pepper plants. He had nearly chewed through the entire plant when I found him this morning. The tomato plant he started on was only slightly chewed before he spotted his goal.
I'm going to have to be more strict when examining the plants in the back now. Once the horn worms come they don't seem to stop that quickly.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Harvesting Echinacea and Other Root Herbs

Again we like to grow things that we can use but how do you harvest it?
Echinacea is one of the things we have growing in our garden but it's not the only root herb we have. The other one is orris root or bearded iris. I would suggest harvesting them and drying them the same way to preserve the roots for the most benefit.
Do not dig everything up at once unless you want to get rid of the entire crop. The roots will keep growing as long as you have some in the ground. Personally I like to keep 3/4 of the plant still planted so they will keep producing more roots.
When drying it's best to let them air dry for some time. I recomment drying orris root for several weeks in the sun. but if you're in a hurry you can always use a dehydrator. When it's dry you can crush it up in a morter orspice grinder.

Eat What You Grow

It's a fairly common idea and one that many if not most gardners use as long as the crops make. The problem I seem to have is I don't remember what all I've planted, much like many people don't know what's in their cabinets when thinking about what they want to eat. Today for instance it finally donged on me that I had chives in the garden. Probably not the worst thing to forget but I've had it there for almost two years now and this is probably only the second time I've used it.
The green onion up front has decided that it likes walking. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's when the flower stalk forms little onion plants in the flower head and bends over. The little onions then root and grow without going through the seed stage. Since I noticed them I was able to just remove them from the flower stalk and plant them in some of the pots that didn't have anything growing in them.
The large squash in the community garden is growing nicely. One of them is really getting big and two others are hanging in there. Hopefully this fall we'll have some nice squash to eat.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Roses are Red, Garlic is Blue

A lot of people have used that rhyme to express love in poetic form. Roses have been used for ages to show not only love but friendship, purity, passion and even mourning. Roses are probably the most used flower when proposing marriage so the rhyme is very fitting.

Garlic is... Wait isn't that supposed to be violets??? Usually that's true but in this case I would like to show my wonderful experience in preserving garlic.

It was supposed to be a nice happy jar of garlic cloves to put in whatever might be needed in the future. If we had followed the recipe exactly we would never have had this happen. I avoid the word problem on purpose since the garlic is still perfectly edible and tasty.

The recipe said that the garlic should be blanched to make it easier to remove the skins but it failed to mention that this step also prevents it from turning blue, or possibly green or purple as I soon found out.

There seems to be some chemical or another that reacts with the vinegar solution used in the canning process. Yes I know this is a jar but for some reason it's still called canning.

Personally I kind of like the color it gives it and recommend that everyone skip this boring step of blanching and enjoy the color it adds to your dish.

On a side note I began to wonder if garlic could be used to dye fabric but quickly abandoned this notion when I also realized that even if it did, your clothes would probably then smell a bit of garlic.