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Stocking the Pantry

September 29th, 2016

This time of year the pantry, root cellar, and freezer start to fill up once again. I always am amazed by how full the freezer gets, I think I’ll never be able to eat all the vegetables tucked away inside. Then, come March, I’m thankful that I spent the effort to freeze all the garden bounty. For the most part, the vegetables I freeze last us until spring greens are available from the garden once again. While I do buy a few vegetables here and there throughout the winter months, the majority of it comes from the freezer.
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One of the things I’m most thankful for in the winter: onions. I grow loads of alliums: leeks, onions, shallots, potato onions, and scallions. Having a full year’s supply of onions in the pantry is a wonderful feeling. Most of them get put into baskets and are stored in an unheated bedroom upstairs, but I can’t resist making a few braids to hang in the pantry off the kitchen. Every time I come and go they bring a smile to my face.

What’s your favorite item to grow for storing?

Harvesting Popcorn

September 28th, 2016

One of the things I’ve been working on this week is harvesting the popcorn. While you’re supposed to let it dry on the stalks, there’s rain in the forecast and I don’t want it to mold. Plus we’ve had a pesky raccoon that’s been getting in and eating a few bits off of each ear, ruining about a third of our crop so far.
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I grew four different varieties of popcorn this year, hoping for a four color mix. The black popcorn outperformed them all and did beautifully. Amazingly, it was also the least favorite for the raccoons. You can bet I’ll be growing this variety again in the future! Popcorn is one of our favorite snacks, we love making it the old fashioned way in a big pot on the stove with lots of ghee.

Are you a lover of popcorn?

Catnip

September 27th, 2016

If you have cats, you should have a catnip plant in your garden. They can be a little thuggish, seeding down everywhere if you don’t get them cut in time, but they’re still worthwhile to have around. The pollinators love them, and of course, so do the cats. While I was cleaning out the main vegetable garden I decided to cut back the catnip plant to dry for the cats. I threw the herbs on the porch and came inside to look up string to hang it with. When I got back to the porch Dexter has already settled in on the fragrant herbs.
catnip-dexter
Such a silly cat, but this is exactly why I dry it. Most of my cats will eat both the fresh and the dried herbs. I figure it must have all sorts of healthy vitamins & minerals in it for them. Cutting it back also keeps it from taking over the garden, overall, it’s a win/win!

Do you grow catnip or catmint for your cats?

Rest assured more lovely gardens from our trip to Sweden are in the works, I’ve been a bit busy getting the garden ready to fall and haven’t had time to go through all the photos yet.

The End

September 26th, 2016

Well, we have our first frost advisory for tonight (Sunday night, which was last night). Luckily, I’ve been out all week harvesting all the remaining peppers, tomatoes, and beans. I’m amazed by the amount of green peppers I had on my plants, they totaled about a bushel. I had about the same amount of tomatoes.
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The peppers already made their way into the freezer, the green tomatoes are laying in wait till they ripen. I may make some green tomato chutney if I have the time.
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The hot peppers (cayenne and Korean bird peppers) are going to be dried for crumbling into curries and stews to add a little heat this coming winter. There’s actually something nice about having a frost, it’s a definite end to the season. Sometimes I need that to get me to finally rip out the tender plants and prepare for the coming winter.

When is your typical first frost?

Friday Favorite: Rue

September 23rd, 2016

I bought this rue a few years ago and love it. Earlier this summer, I thought I had lost it in the drought. After much watering it started sprouting new leaves and then bloomed beautifully.
meadow-rue
Last week I cut a sprig of flowers and it looked beautiful in a vase, it also lasted for a really long time. I’ll definitely be adding more of these to my garden in the future.

What flower are you loving right now?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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