Country Traditions

March 25, 2011

How to Grow Radishes : Organic Gardening

Filed under: family, gardening — dmacc502 @ 7:58 am

 

 

Colorful and crisp, radishes are a popular addition to salads and vegetable trays. Radishes mature very quickly—some in as little as 3 weeks. They’re a useful marker crop when sown lightly along rows of slow germinators such as carrots and parsnips.

via How to Grow Radishes : Organic Gardening.

March 15, 2011

Spring Tonics Dandelions Greens Nettles

Filed under: gardening, herbs, home remedies — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:34 am
Comparison of the yellow flower and parachute ...

Image via Wikipedia

Dandelions Tonic

Dandelions were so valued that they were cultivated in gardens.

Try using the tender young leaves in salads, either fresh or blanched, as the French and Dutch settlers favored.

Or, use the leaves as one would spinach or make them into soup.�(Those who boiled dandelion greens in water often made a point of drinking the “pot likker” or cooking water, which was, in fact, loaded with water-soluble vitamins.)

Did you know? Dandelions can also be used as a relaxing body rub. See our Natural Remedies for Stress and Anxiety.

Rhubarb Tonic

Rhubarb, or pieplant, was widely regarded as a fine spring tonic to aid the blood and the digestive system.�Cooked and stewed rhubarb was called “spring fruit” in early cookbooks.

Boil rhubarb and enjoy it as a soup (with some sweetener). Rhubarb is also delicious in preserves, puddings, and pies.

via Spring Tonics Dandelions Greens Nettles.

February 20, 2011

Organic Gardening: What To Store In A Root Cellar

Filed under: family, gardening — dmacc502 @ 3:40 pm

 

 

Vegetable Ideal Storage Temperature (°F) Relative Humidity (percentage) Average Storage Life

Beets 32 95 1-3 months

Cabbage 32 90-95 3-4 months

Carrots 32 90-95 4-6 months

Celery 32 90-95 2-3 months

Garlic 32 65-70 6-7 months

Horseradish 30-32 90-95 10-12 months

Jerusalem artichoke 31-32 90-95 2-5 months

Onions 32 65-70 5-8 months

Parsnips 32 90-95 2-6 months

Potatoes 38-40 90 5-8 months

Pumpkins 50-55 70-75 2-3 months

Rutabaga 32 90-95 2-4 months

Sweet potato 55-60 85-90 4-6 months

Turnips 32 90-95 4-5 months

Winter squash 50-55 70-75 3-6 months

via Organic Gardening: What To Store In A Root Cellar.

February 6, 2011

Gardens: Old wives’ tales | Life and style | The Guardian

Filed under: composting, family, farming, gardening, wisdom — Tags: — dmacc502 @ 11:26 am

 

 

Crocks in pots improve drainage

The theory Water drains more quickly through coarse materials, so�a layer of gravel�or pot fragments in the bottom of containers lets excess water drain freely.

The evidence Research by soil scientists shows that water doesn’t flow freely from fine-textured materials into coarser ones. Water moves into coarser materials, such as gravel or crocks, only once the soil above is saturated, so a sudden change from a fine to a coarse texture causes water to collect in the�soil above, rather than drain away. This can be bad news for roots. Pot feet help to improve drainage and prevent waterlogging, especially in containers sitting on a�hard, flat surface.

The verdict False: a drainage layer in�the bottom of pots reduces the volume of soil available to plant roots. Don’t add gravel or crocks, but ensure pots�have drainage holes.

Watering in the middle of the day scorches leaves

The theory Water droplets act as�mini magnifying glasses, which�focus the sun’s rays and scorch leaves.

The evidence For the first time last�year, researchers investigated the effect of water droplets and sunlight on leaves. Scientists in Budapest studied various types of�leaves and found no evidence of sunburn caused by water and light. Watering in the middle of the day should, however, be avoided, because it’s wasteful. More water will evaporate compared with the amount lost when watering at a�cooler time of day. And not only that: watering in the heat of the day also raises humidity levels around plants, creating conditions loved by�fungal diseases such as�powdery�mildew and�grey�mould.

The verdict False:�watering in�bright�sunlight does not cause sunburn, but it�does waste water�and can create�problems with�fungal diseases.

Urine speeds up composting

The theory Human and animal urine is�a source of nitrogen, which�speeds up decomposition by�boosting the activity of composting organisms.

via Gardens: Old wives’ tales | Life and style | The Guardian.

January 25, 2011

Companion Planting – iVillage

Filed under: gardening, herbs — Tags: , , — dmacc502 @ 5:19 pm

 

 

 

Cucumber + Corn

 

With her tender skin—whether bumpy or smooth, pleated or pale—crispy cucumber prefers to protect her delicate complexion by growing upward rather than lying on the ground. With his tall stature and regal bearing, corn is especially desirable for this purpose. Cucumber is also sensitive to cold; fortunately, Corn is happy to cuddle. Intertwined together in their warm bed, this pair will flourish all season long.

via Companion Planting – iVillage.

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January 16, 2011

Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores

Filed under: canning, family, gardening, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 10:23 am
Balsamic vinegar, red and white wine vinegar
Image via Wikipedia

Back in November, at�the height of apple season, I decided to try making vinegar as a way to use up all the apple cores and peels that were left over from making dried apples. I thought I’d wait to see how the vinegar turned out before sharing the recipe. It finally appears to be as close to vinegar as it’s going to get, so here’s the story.

The recipe I used was from an old cookbook my mother picked up at a garage sale years and years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve just got some photocopied recipes from it now, so I’m not sure what the title of the original book was. I think it was probably the White House Cookbook, circa the 1890s. We had a copy of that one along with a few others from the same era, and I spent many an hour as a little girl happily reading through recipes for horehound cough drops and walnut catsup, instructions for cleaning lace, and five-course breakfast menus. What a different world – but still one I could somehow imagine myself in. Occasionally, my mother and I would try out a recipe or two. We even found our favorite Christmas cake recipe – a dense mace-scented white cake studded with hazelnuts and raisins – in one of the old books (they really knew how to bake back then).

via Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores.

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December 9, 2010

For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press

Filed under: canning, gardening, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:50 pm
Inside a canned food factory. Engraving by Poy...
Image via Wikipedia

What can I can?

Fruits (including tomatoes) are the most popular, along with preserves like jams, jellies, pickles and relishes. Fresh veggies, and things like meat, fish and poultry are also possible.

What’s the deal with acid?

Canning foods are either deemed high or low-acid. Low-acid foods are things like meat, fresh veggies (except tomatoes) or milk, and high-acid foods include fruits, pickles, and jams. The amount of acid affects what method you should use to can safely — pressure canning for low-acid foods, boiling-water canning for high-acid.

What do I need?

Proper jars, a jar lifter or rack, a small spatula to deal with air bubbles, a wide-mouth funnel, a boiling water or pressure canner, and a well-tested recipe. Remember that some methods, like ‘open kettle’ canning or the use of paraffin wax, aren’t agreed upon as safe by all experts.

How long should jars be boiled?

That depends on factors including the type of canning, jar size, type of food and even altitude — which is why it’s important to stick to the recipe.

How long will it keep?

Home canned food should be eaten within a year.

via For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press.

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For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press

Filed under: canning, gardening, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:49 pm
Inside a canned food factory. Engraving by Poy...
Image via Wikipedia

What can I can?

Fruits (including tomatoes) are the most popular, along with preserves like jams, jellies, pickles and relishes. Fresh veggies, and things like meat, fish and poultry are also possible.

What’s the deal with acid?

Canning foods are either deemed high or low-acid. Low-acid foods are things like meat, fresh veggies (except tomatoes) or milk, and high-acid foods include fruits, pickles, and jams. The amount of acid affects what method you should use to can safely — pressure canning for low-acid foods, boiling-water canning for high-acid.

What do I need?

Proper jars, a jar lifter or rack, a small spatula to deal with air bubbles, a wide-mouth funnel, a boiling water or pressure canner, and a well-tested recipe. Remember that some methods, like ‘open kettle’ canning or the use of paraffin wax, aren’t agreed upon as safe by all experts.

How long should jars be boiled?

That depends on factors including the type of canning, jar size, type of food and even altitude — which is why it’s important to stick to the recipe.

How long will it keep?

Home canned food should be eaten within a year.

via For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press.

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How to make fragrant, delicious Christmas gifts – Telegraph

Filed under: decorating, farming, gardening, herbs — Tags: — dmacc502 @ 6:44 pm

Colourful potpourri - How to make fragrant, delicious Christmas gifts

Image 1 of 3
Colourful potpourri is sure to delight any friend over Christmas Photo: TONY BUCKINGHAM

As the pantechnicons start to gather in the drive, ready to transport our worldly goods from Suffolk to Whitstable, thoughts of additional ballast in the form of received Christmas presents suggest that my wish list should be composed of edible offerings.

 

Presents from the garden are always welcome. From harvest time onwards, we gardeners are rarely seen without gifts of jars of chutney, bags of apples, bottles of home-brewed plonk or surplus veg.

During the season, beekeeping friends travel with a jar or two of honey and I always sally forth smugly with a box of eggs. With a little thought and flair with packaging, your presents will always be appreciated.

via How to make fragrant, delicious Christmas gifts – Telegraph.

December 7, 2010

How to Compost: Hot and Cold Methods

Filed under: composting, gardening, wisdom — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 4:45 pm
A picture of compost soil

Image via Wikipedia

Composting is a method of recycling naturally decomposing matter. Ingredients, size of the pile, local weather conditions, and your maintenance habits will affect the outcome. Note that shredded leaves, chipped wood, and chopped food scraps generally decompose more quickly than whole or large pieces.

Hot, or Active Composting

The quickest way to produce rich garden humus is to create a hot, or active, compost pile. It is called “hot” because it can reach an internal temperature of 160°F (140°F is best) and “active” because it destroys, essentially by cooking, weed seeds and disease-causing organisms. The size of the pile, the ingredients, and their arrangements in layers are key to reaching that desired outcome.

Size: A hot compost pile should be a 3-foot cube, at minimum; a 4-foot cube is preferred. The pile will shrink as the ingredients decompose.

Ingredients:

  • One part high-carbon materials (shredded, dry plant matter such as leaves, twigs, woody stems, corn cobs)
  • One part high-nitrogen green plant matter (green plant and vegetable refuse, grass clippings, weeds, trimmings, kitchen scraps—but avoid meat, dairy, and fat) and good-quality soil

Pile the ingredients like a layer cake, with 2 to 4 carbon materials on the bottom (twigs and woody stems here will help air to circulate into the pile). Next, add a layer of soil. Add 2 to 4 inches of nitrogen-based materials, followed by soil. Repeat until the pile reaches 2 to 3 feet high.

Soak the pile at its start and water periodically; its consistency should be that of a damp sponge.

Add air to the interior of the pile by punching holes in its sides or by pushing 1- to 2-foot lengths of pipe into it.

Check the temperature of the pile with a compost thermometer or an old kitchen thermometer. A temperature of 110°F to 140°F is desirable. If you have no heat or insufficient heat, add nitrogen in the form of soft green ingredients or organic fertilizer.

If a foul odor emanates from the pile, flip the compost to introduce more air. And consider: Did you add meat or dairy products? Remove and discard them, if possible.

Once a week, or as soon as the center starts to cool down, turn the pile. Move materials from the center of the pile to the outside. (For usable compost in 1 to 3 months, turn it every other week; for finished compost within a month, turn it every couple of days.)

Cold, or Passive Composting

Cold, or passive, composting uses many of the same type of ingredients as hot composting and requires less effort from the gardener, yet the decomposition takes substantially longer—a year or more.

To cold compost, pile organic materials (leaves, grass clippings, soil, manures—but avoid dog, cat, and human waste) as you find or accumulate them. Bury kitchen scraps in the center of the pile to deter insects and animals. Avoid adding meat, dairy, and fat. Also avoid weeds; cold compost piles do not reach high temperatures and do not kill weed seeds. (In fact, weeds may germinate in a cold pile.)

Compostable Goods

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, any of these items may be added to a compost pile:

  • Coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Dry goods (crackers, flour, spices)
  • Eggshells
  • Hair
  • Nutshells
  • Pasta (cooked or uncooked)
  • Seaweed
  • Shredded paper/newspaper

http://www.almanac.com/content/how-compost-hot-and-cold-methods

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