Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chapter 15 Who Cultivates His Own

Thought for the Day

“A gardener who cultivates his own garden with his own hands, unites in his own
person the three different characters of landlord, farmer, and labourer. His
produce, therefore, should pay him the rent of the first, the profit of the
second, and the wages of the third."

This quotation is from Adam Smith, and is taken from his book "The Wealth of Nations". He lived from 1723 to 1790. Isn't it amazing that words of wisdom are often timeless in their truth and power?

I came across this quotation today and thought I would share it with you; especially if you are a gardener who enjoys the 'fruit of your labor'. At some point I hope to add a feature where you can download pictures of your flowers or produce. I would enjoy seeing the highlights of your gardening experience. In the meantime, See you in the Garden.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chapter 14 'Jiffy Cake' Blueberry Fruit Dessert

A Blueberry Dessert that is easy and scrumptious

Autumn is nearly in the air (at least in the evenings) and Nancy seems to be drawn to more baking. She made the dessert you see below yesterday morning. I wanted some last night but she made me wait until tonight. She wanted it to cool completely. We each had a piece tonight and it was sublime. The crust was fabulous and of course the Blueberries were simply divine. She asked me if I wanted a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Can you believe I said “no, I want the complete taste of the Blueberries”? I made the right choice. Maybe I will have the ice cream on my next piece, tomorrow night.

If you would like to try the recipe I have printed it below. You can use whatever fruit you like; blueberry, blackberry, cherry, raspberry, apple, or peach.

Jiffy Cake Fruit Dessert

1 can fruit pie filling 1 package Jiffy Cake Mix; White or Yellow. 1 stick melted butter. Spread Cake mix over fruit and add melted butter, over all. Bake 350-400 about 45 minutes

Nancy said this dessert was out of her late Mothers recipe collection; so it goes way back. It is easy to make and so enjoyable. Please let us know if you try it and how you like it. I am sure Nancy would enjoy seeing your comments. See you in the Garden.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chapter 13 Cockscomb Perennial: A Brilliant Scarlet

A New Perennial: Just what the Doctor ordered

Last summer I was going for a walk in the neighborhood. As usual I was admiring all the flower gardens I came upon. One of the gardens had an unusual flower that I was not familiar with. I wondered what it was.

Finally, on another day the lady of the house happened to be in her yard and I inquired " May I ask what you call this bright red flower?" She replied "It's called Cockscomb". I told her it was quite beautiful and I had never seen it before. I asked if I might be able to get some of the seeds when they are ready. She told me "Take some right now; there are plenty". So I got some seeds. This February I planted at least a dozen seeds. Virtually every seed germinated. What you see above is a first year bloom. The other flowers next to it are called Cone flowers.

Cockscomb is an old, old perennial that seems to be a bit of a secret. You don't see it offered in the greenhouses very often. You may want to consider growing it sometime. The color is so vivid and bright. Deegan in the Garden will have a supply available next year. Just check for Special Offers on my blog. See you in the Garden.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chapter 12 Bouquet of Purple and Yellow Asters

The Asters are in Bloom

We returned home today after a week of Family vacationing in Ontario Canada. I could not wait to see if Mother Nature had watered my garden while I was away. Noticing how green the grass appeared in the front yard I was confident all the flowers were in great shape. When I reached the back gardens I was greeted by a delightful array of purple and yellow asters.

I mentioned to Nancy how gratifying it was to "let go and let Mother Nature do the watering this year". The day before our departure I waited until the last minute to ask my neighbor if she would keep an eye on my plants. Of course I never got the chance to ask since she was out for the afternoon and evening. So it was sort of "Well, that takes care of that; it's now up to the whims of nature". It is nice to know you don't always have to be in control of everything; sometimes things just take care of themselves, when you let go. I hope you enjoy the bouquet of asters picked today. See you in the Garden.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chapter 11 Beautiful rain fills the rain barrel

Mother Nature comes through with pure rain water

Sometimes you discover something by accident and it works out great. I had such an experience with a rain gutter this Spring. My gutter came loose from its connection in the ground. There was some erosion and it simply disconnected; so I had water running down to the patio. I had an "aha" experience and said " Gee, what if I got some kind of an flexible extension to hook onto the end of the gutter; I could divert that water to a barrel and get water direct from Mother Nature, rather than through the spigot".

I made sure I measured the gutter so I would buy a connector that would fit properly. I zipped over to my Home Depot store to buy the parts I needed. Sure enough, I found everything I needed; and it cost less than $10.00. I couldn't wait to get home to hook it up.

For once, everything worked as planned. I fastened the flexible gutter extension to the gutter and brought an extra plastic garbage barrel from the garage and placed it on the patio with the gutter positioned over the top of the barrel. I did have to prop up the gutter connector to help keep it at the proper grade so gravity could do its thing. I also had to keep it in line to dump the water over the barrel. All I needed now was a rain storm to see if it would work. I was like a little kid with eager anticipation.

Smaller water containers are a convenience and are available: free

A few days later we did get rain. It rained 'cats and dogs'; just what I was hoping for. I actually put my rain coat on during the storm to see how quickly the barrel would fill up. (Don't try this at home going out during the storm; I took a little risk with the lightening) I soon discovered that it was filling fast and I thought quick; I had an extra trash can in the garage and went to fetch it. Later, when the one container was full, I knew I could not move the barrel to make room for the empty one. So instead, I just bailed the water out of the full barrel into the empty one.

The next day I had just about two full barrels of rain water. Now I had to find containers to store the rain in; so I could use it to water my garden and flowers as needed. I started asking the neighbors to start saving their gallon milk containers. We did the same. Within a few weeks I must have had about 20 gallon containers. Since then I have about 50 containers; enough to keep the cycle going. With the two barrels I collect about 40-45 gallons of rain water.

Enough pure rain water to water my house plants and garden plants

There is a double benefit here. I save on my water bill, but perhaps more importantly I water my plants with rain water, including the vegetable plants. This means there is no chlorine in the water and it has not gone through a filtration process. Pure water strikes me as a nice alternative to tap water. A win/win that really doesn't take that much effort. The use of rain barrels is another pleasant surprise in my gardening experience. See you in the Garden.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chapter 10 Canning Banana Pepper Rings

Banana Peppers are Easy to Grow

The peppers are doing well this year. Check out the Banana Pepper growing in the picture. One of the reasons the peppers look so healthy and sizable is that I cultivate the soil between the rows, pull the weeds and water regularly; when we do not get rain. I use a hand cultivator that has the appearance of a claw. I have purposely let the peppers grow long this year; it's easy to pick them too soon. Why not let them reach their full potential?

Since we are going on vacation next Saturday for a week, Nancy wanted to get some Banana Peppers canned. She made 1/2 of the recipe since I did not want to pick those peppers that were half their expected size. We can process more peppers after we return.

Banana Peppers Grow to Six Inches

You can get an idea of the size of the peppers by seeing them laid out on my hand. It is exciting to see the good length because that means we get more slices in the jar.

The Banana Peppers can be Yellow and Orange

Notice in the picture to your right there are a few orange peppers mixed in with the yellow. The orange peppers grew on the same plant, but because I allow them to grow for a longer period of time they are ripening into an orange color. I will research the variation in color to see if my theory is correct.

Canning Recipe for Banana Pepper Rings

Source: http://CleanEatingClub.com


8 pint jars, lids and seals
8 whole garlic cloves (optional)
2 1/2 to 3 lbs of banana peppers (estimate)
4 tsp. salt ( you will use 1/2 tsp. per jar
4 tsp. alum (optional-1/2 ts. per jar)
7 cups white vinegar (estimate)
7 cups water (estimate)


Prepare jars (wash in hot soapy water)
Wash whole banana peppers to remove any dirt
Remove tops from peppers and cut peppers into rings (your choice of thickness)
De-seed the peppers for mild taste
In a large pot, combine 7 cups of water and 7 cups of white vinegar
Heat on high until boiling
At the same time, in a small pot, place jar lids and boil them.
Once the jars and lids are boiling, turn on low heat.
Add 1 clove of garlic to each empty jar, than pack banana pepper rings tightly
Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp alum to the peppers
Pour hot vinegar-water mixture over the peppers
Immediately out on lid
Immediately put on lid and ring to seal.
Repeat with remaining peppers and jars.
Once the jars start to cool, they will seal.

Nancy's Canned Banana Rings

Aren't Nancy's jars of Peppers beautiful? We will have another ample supply of Banana Peppers to can when we return home from our fishing Vacation. I plan to water the garden this Friday night to tide us over for a week. Hopefully we will get at least one day of rain while we are gone. I used to have the neighbor water the garden but they just don't have the same touch I do. Watering is a bit of an art, don't you think? So I decided to forgo asking neighbors to water. I am counting on Mother Nature to help me out. What do you do about watering your garden when you are on vacation? Until next time, See you in the Garden.