Gardening update

I love Sundays, especially early in the morning, when no one is really awake. They’re so peaceful and simple.

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Noli and I went out this morning to check on the garden and make sure everything was going well, here’s an update on everything we are growing!

Basil: I wasn’t thinking and didn’t harden it off. Dummy. Soooo, it’s growing still, but it’s looking a little rough. But I think it’ll be fine. I might pick up a few plants just to be on the safe side. You can never have too much basil!

Beets: Attacked by the Spanish Leaf Miners. *insert crazy gardening lady with clippers and a spray bottle filled with soapy water*. Good news, although the leaves might look a little rough, the roots themselves are good and growing strong!

Cantaloupe: Still no sign..I didn’t keep track of when I planted it, although it was the same time as corn. (2 weeks ago?) I’ll give it a few more days and replant it.

Carrots: Carrots, you never fail me. You are delicious. I love you. (They are growing amazingly well, of course).

Celery: I’m not sure how this is going. It’s growing. It’s small..there’s no guarantees it’ll make it. I’m not placing any bets.

Cilantro: Harvested 3 HUGE bunches of this. We cut back the plants to the base and are waiting for more to sprout before it gets to hot and bolts.

Corn: It has started to pop up! Thank goodness! I felt like that took forever! Something about growing corn makes me feel like a real farmer.

Garlic: Everything is looking good so far. This is definitely one of the harvests I’m looking forward to most. Unfortunately we had to harvest one a little early (someone, or some furry black dog named Charlie, stepped on it).

Green Beans: I started these outdoors last-minute, in a spot that wasn’t even intended for anything. But they are growing great and I’ll be glad I planted them.

Horseradish: My one regret, NEVER GROW HORSERADISH IN ANYTHING BUT A CONTAINER. They will take over and conquer. The good news is, horseradish is delicious.

Hubbard squash: This beautiful plant has popped up and is looking strong and handsome. Has anyone else grown it? If you like pumpkin pie, grow this. Pumpkin doesn’t hold a candle to Hubbard.

Kale: Kale is doing beautifully, already harvested 3 HUGE bunches.

Potatoes: Wowee. These guys. They sure know how to grow. Handsome little taters.

Snow Peas: Growing STRONG, but….it’s getting hot. Like really hot. So I don’t think they’re going to be very tasty. But we’ll see!

Spinach: Damn Spanish Leaf Miners.. but overall it’s been a good harvest so far. Probably about 2 big bunches/or 3 salad bowls full (I’m going to get a better system down this week).

Strawberries: I’m so glad we have strawberries. If you don’t have berries in your garden, you need to get some. Your gardening life will never be the same. I think next year I’m going to double and/or triple our strawberry plants.

Tomatoes: This year I started my tomatoes indoors, and although they did great in the beginning, they became spindly from lack of strong light (we were using shop lights). Next year I’ll definitely build a mini green house, just for the tomatoes and peppers. I think they will do fine since we re-planted some of them sideways to give them more roots. A few we left as is to see if it made any difference. (8 in total). AND they are flowering which is a good sign!

Zucchini: I bought an heirloom plant of this about a week or so ago. I didn’t think I wanted zucchini this year, but when I went to the store and had to pay .69 cents for ONE zucchini squas. I about died, and immediately put a plant in the ground.

Things I wish I had room for: Cucumbers, broccoli and raspberries. And about a billion other plants. But these were the top 3.

Is anyone keeping track of their harvest this year? I decided to see how much money I’m saving this growing season and I’m keeping track of the number and weight of my produce! So far I’ve harvested: 1 lb of organic spinach ($4.12 per lb), 10 oz of organic garlic scapes ($7 per 1/2 lb), 1 lb 8 oz of organic cilantro ($1.46 a bunch), 3 lb of organic kale ($1.97 a bunch), 1 German Red organic garlic head ($3.50 ea), and 3 organic strawberries!
Estimate savings price for May: Est. $27.91
Total savings to date: Est. $27.91

So far so good.

And…I’ll end with a few pictures!

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Hey tomato flowers, lookin’ goood!

 

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My daughter already ate all the partially ripe berries. She knows what’s up.

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Bouquet of cilantro.

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Potatoes aren’t wasting anytime!

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Had to harvest this guy early, got trampled. Not sad one bit!

Strawberry Raspberry Jam

I’m pretty sure Sundays are the best day for making jam. Everyone is home, the sun in shining; maybe you have some homemade bread baking in the oven.. and you are pretty sure that today couldn’t get any better.

Until…

You find the most amazing strawberry raspberry jam recipe in the entire world. I mean it. Your world will officially be changed for the better. The sun will shine a little brighter now, the birds sing a little louder, and the best songs will always play on the radio… and it’s commercial free radio.

First off, you need to find the best fruit. I’ve started going to our local Utah Food CoOp in Murray Utah. They have wholesale organic produce that you can buy in bulk for a good price, plus the people are just so nice there. We bought 12-6 ounces containers of raspberries and 8 lb of strawberries. That gave us plenty for jam and a lot left over for snacking. I got this recipe from the blog Simply So Good, but switched out the corn syrup for my own home made simple syrup, recipe below.

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Strawberry Raspberry Freezer Jam
 
1 1/2 cups crushed strawberries (2 pints)
1 3/4 cups crushed raspberries (2 pints)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup (or simple syrup)
1 package Pectin (this recipe is from a package of MCP pectin)
  1. Wash and rinse containers with tight fitting lids.
  2. Prepare fruit by rinsing and crushing berries.  Measure exactly and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in lemon juice.
  4. Gradually stir 1 box of MCP pectin into fruit.  Mix thoroughly.  Set aside 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to dissolve pectin thoroughly.
  5. Measure exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl.  Do not reduce the amount of sugar.  If you do, your jam will not set.  Set aside.
  6. Pour 1 cut light corn syrup into fruit mixture.  Mix well.  This prevents sugar crystallization during freezer storage.
  7. Stir in sugar gradually.  Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy.
  8. Pour into prepared containers, leaving 1/2-inch space at top for expansion during freezing; cover.
  9. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set.  Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to one year.  Thaw in refrigerator.
Makes 7 cups of jam
Simple Syrup
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water
Put ingredients in a small pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let it stand till it’s cooled down.
Makes about 1 cup of simple syrup
Enjoy!