How To Save Bean Seeds From Your Garden For Replanting
Bean seeds are one of the easiest vegetables to collect seeds from. In this video and blog post, I refer to green beans but the process is the same for pretty much all beans. When you harvest seeds from your own plants you can be sure that the seeds are fresh, what the variety is and that they are organic! [Read more…]
Any gardener will tell you a garden is only as good as the soil it is grown in and the best to improve your soil is with rich organic compost. The other thing any gardener will tell you is you can never have too much compost! That lack of enough compost was our problem when the growing season began this year. We already had two tumblers but we realized it was time to add a third tumbler to our set up. [Read more…]
Ice, snow, and freezing temperatures usually mean the end of our growing season. This year after visiting Homestead Heritage Farm I wanted to see if we could extend it just a little longer. We usually only plant lettuce, spinach, and radishes in the spring. This year as soon as it was cool enough I began planting seeds every three weeks to ensure a continuous crop. My initial idea was to stop once we had a hard freeze. Of course, after enjoying the garden even longer than normal I was determined to find a way to save our current crop from the ice and snow that was looming in our 10-day forecast. [Read more…]
Last weekend we made an impromptu trip to one of my favorite places in DFW, Homestead Heritage . Seed planting actually began at our house about two weeks prior to this trip but why starting my seeds I realized that I was out of cherry tomato seeds. I was debating on not having any this year or maybe buying some seeds at our local shop. Neither option were very appealing. Then Saturday morning my husband asked if I had any ideas as to where we could take a motorcycle ride to. It took me about 30 seconds to suggest the trip to Waco. I mean really, what could be better, a ride along some back roads to buy seeds?!
We started of the day with a visit to the general store to buy our seeds. The store has several shelves filled with jars of seeds. Most of the seeds are heirloom seeds that have been harvested from the farms garden. Choosing seeds that have adapted to your region helps ensure quality plants that are able to tolerate the temperatures, pest and rain/drought conditions in your area. I know some gardeners don’t think it matters but our yield has more than doubled since making the switch and my tomato plants are often producing tomatoes months after my neighbors and friends have died off.
I went with the intention of buying some cherry tomato seeds but ended up buying cucumbers, eggplant, more lettuce, Swiss chard, carrots, dill and Kale seeds. Each container is marked with details about the seeds: Common Name, scientific name, depth to plant, spacing, days to germinate and days to harvest. The store also offers a great reference sheet with information about each plant they carry. If you don’t want to purchase in bulk they do offer small seed packets like you find at a traditional gardening shop.
After buying our seeds we headed down to their restaurant to have lunch. The menu consist of food that is locally grown and organic. There was a short wait so after signing in to be paged we headed off to explore the farm.
Regardless of how many times we have visited the farm we always find and learn something new. As you walk around the varies buildings you can’t help but relax. Flowers, herbs and wildlife are all around and the absence of background noise and distractions is refreshing.
Each building has someone inside to answer your questions and explain the technique/trade that they perform.
If you have every thought about metal working they do offer classes.
I always enjoy walking through their herb and vegetable garden and comparing to what is going on in mine. It is reassuring to see they have a few weed popping up in their lettuce too! Of course they did have several ladies out weeding and I have yet to plan any weeding days this year but we won’t talk about that. I also like to find new ideas for vegetables and herbs that I could be growing. They still had some winter squash going and I pulled mine up several months ago. Next year I’ll give it a little longer.
While we were in the aquaponics garden we were paged for our table so I didn’t get many photos nor was I able to read more about it. Despite my husbands insistence that we don’t have room someday I want a small set up.
We took our time having lunch and then rode back home. Below you can watch the video my husband made of the trip for his blog. I hope you enjoy the photos and videos and will stop back by next week for my post of why we choose heirloom seeds and why we don’t buy our vegetable plants gardening store.
This year when planning my garden I decided that I wanted to plant a few extra plants in hopes of canning and freezing up some recipes. I haven’t had to buy canned tomatoes for several years but I was still buying canned rotel. In my mind I was going to can up or freeze enough to get me through to next spring. In reality I probably have enough to last until February or March, 24 jars and 3 quart size bags.
Homemade “Rotel” Tomatoes
- 12-14 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (any variety) In this video I show how to peel tomatoes
- 3-4 Jalapeno peppers or other hot variety or peppers, diced
- 3-4 Poblano or bell peppers chopped. I roasted and skinned mine.
- 2-3 cloves of Garlic (optional)
- 1 cup chopped onion (optional)
- Juice from 2 limes (optional)
- 1 tbsp. sea salt
1. Place all ingredients in medium-large saucepan.
2. Simmer until mixture is reduced by half
1 cup is equal to about one 10 oz. store-bought can of Rotel. If you want to can this you will need to add lemon juice to your jars. The amount of lemon juice depend on the size of the jar. Processing time and temperature will depend on the type of canner you use.
This summer I have had an incredible tomato harvest. I planted a mixture of tomatoes all of which were organic heirloom tomatoes. I have three rows of tomatoes with about 6 plants to a row. Normally the birds get a lot more than they have this year and I usually loose a lot to the heat. This year however has been a little milder that normal. I have official claimed this year as the unofficial summer of tomatoes.
When I was planting, my husband cautioned me that I was planting too many tomatoes. Not so I exclaimed and told him not to worry I had plans, big, big plans! I knew I wanted to freeze, dehydrate, can and make my own rotel this year. To do all of that I would need lots of tomatoes!
Once the tomatoes started coming in I was excited. Before you can do much with tomatoes you need to peel them. Peeling isn’t hard but it is a tad messy and time consuming if you are doing a lot.
Instead of taking a lot of pictures I decided to turn the video camera on and grab a video of the process. That way I knew I wouldn’t miss anything; I hope you enjoy it.
I recorded several canning videos at the same time so be sure to subscribe on YouTube!
Supplies you will need:
large pot of boiling water
large container of ice water
slotted spoon or hand held strainer
When I got ready to start canning this season I knew I was going to have to do something about my current canner. I had it tested and even though it was still reading accurately every time I use it the gauge fills with steam and becomes hard to read.
At first I thought I was going to have to buy a new pressure cooker/canner. I went ahead and checked Amazon and found that I could order just a gauge for less than $20, score! The only down side was several people left comments about it not coming with a nut and that it didn’t include instructions. I looked at my current one a figured it couldn’t be that hard to install so I ordered it. We have an Amazon Prime account so 2 day shipping was free. I assumed since I was ordering it on Friday I wouldn’t have it until Monday but Amazon just added Sunday delivery to our area which is also free for Prime members. If you are interested in an Amazon prime account you can try it out for Free for thirty days. You can use it, take advantage of the free shipping as much as you want during the trial and cancel if you don’t like it.
Anyways, back to my gauge! I received it Sunday and immediately dug into the box. Imagine my surprise when I saw this beauty next to my current one. It is 1,000 times better. I was happy to see that replacing it was easy but like others warned it did not come with a nut to hold it in place. The nut from my old gauge did fit but if for some reason yours does not or you no longer have the gauge take your new one to Home Depot or Lowes and you should be able to get one for less than .25. My new gauge looks great and I am ready to start canning tomatoes!