Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

September 29, 2009

The Greenhouse!!

Fall is here and so is the greenhouse!!! Just in a nick of time to huh?
I'll let the pictures tell the story...

When I opened the box and saw all the pieces I have to admit I was a little taken aback. "What did I get myself into??" I thought. As it turns out though, it was actually pretty easy to put together. Oh yeah, and man was I lucky too. You can see the original floor that was in the pergola that previously sat in this spot. I literally did not have to change a single piece of the "urbanite" that was used as a floor. The greenhouse fit perfectly around it.
You can see in this photo that the roof windows are being held up by a special window hinge. These are special pieces that I picked up extra. They are wax piston hinges that expand when they heat up and contract when they cool. hopefully they'll help me regulate the temperature inside.

I'm hoping to be able to build some kind of a solar heat sink inside to hold heat naturally over the cool evenings here. I may need extra heat, I'm not sure yet, but either way it will be fun to play around in here this winter.

Till next time!

September 28, 2009

Put'n it up!

A big part, and to be honest it's a really big part, of the idea of a sub-urban farm or urban homestead or whatever you'd like to call it, is deciding what to do with all the stuff you've grown after you've grown it.

With the economy as it is, we'e been happy to be able to help out friends and neighbors with some extra produce from time to time and we've eaten a ton of really good fresh meals, but at some point, you just have to either put up or shut up. By put up I of course mean putting up food for later. We've done a good bit of that this year. We've dried, frozen, pickled, jellied, juiced and canned much more this year that in any year past. It is by no means enough to feed us all winter, but it helps me to justify to myself the effort, time and let's be honest here, money, that we put into our garden. I wish I'd had a chance to get good pictures of everthing we did, but alas the technical difficulties raised they're stupid heads more than once for me.
Here's some pickles, potatoes, plum jam and salsa that we put up one weekend. It was a busy one for sure.

I also tried my hand at making sour brined pickles this year. I can't take credit, as much as I'd like to, for the beautiful pickle cukes. I can't grow them to save my life! But I did find a local grower that had a great deal on these and they worked great.
After seasoning and brineing them and letting them ferment for three weeks they developed a great kosher dill sour pickle taste. I really really like them. This will be a definite do again project.
This year we also tried our hand at dried tomatoes. Believe me, we have much more than this. After they're dried we can re-hydrate them in a little basamic vinager and then store in the fridge in some olive oil. Very very good!
And of course we canned tomatoes. These are some of our chopped tom's. We also have done whole romas, tomato sauce and even tried ketchup.

Slowly but surely we're building a good food storage in the basement. It would be easier to freeze a lot of stuff, but that won't help me if the power goes out.

There's still more to go, but soon these jars will be regular guests on our dinner table.

Few things taste better than something you planted from seed, picked at the peak of ripeness with your own hands and put up for later.

It's a good life, eh?
Till next time.

September 27, 2009

On the garden front

All is well.
Some things are starting to show some signs of slowing, while others are really just kicking in. Some of the tomatoes for instance, while still giving prodigious harvests, ( I'll go into that later ) are starting to show signs of stress. The long hot summers do take their toll on things by this time of the year. But hey, They take their toll on me too so I can't blame them.

on the other hand, our green pole beans are really just coming on strong now. I thought that we wouldn't get a good harvest of them this year, and it still won't be as good as last years, but after consulting that garden journal from last year (can I tell you what a blessing that thing has been!) we found that our first substantial harvest of green beans last year wasn't until mid September either. We figure we're about 2 weeks behind. That will catch up to us on the back end, but honestly I couldn't have handled more if they'd have come any earlier!

A couple of other things that have been fun this year have been our green peppers and eggplants.
I don't know if it was a product of the long cool spring that we had giving them a chance to root well, or if the new Lasagna garden that I planted them in just acted like rocket fuel to them, but we got a better crop of both of them this year than we've ever gotten. And of course this years new crop for us was Okra. I followed the instructions of a woman that I met in our Master Gardener program that had learned to grow them in the south and they've done great! To think that last year I never even managed to get them to germinate and this year I'm harvesting bunches at a time. It's all about planing the seed direct well after any chance of cool weather. They like it hot.
I mentioned that we pulled our Mid season potatoes a while back. I never did manage to get a photo of that harvest up though. It was a good one so I thought I'd share.

We got a few tomatoes, cukes, a watermelon and such then too. We've eaten a lot of potatoes, but they're mostly a fall/winter thing for us so many of these are in the cold storage waiting for Thanksgiving.

I guess while I'm on the topic of harvests I can meander off in that direction with you. We've done well this year. We set a goal of 1500 pounds during the winter while we were working up our garden plan for this year. It was ambitious to say the least, but we figured what could it hurt to shoot for the moon. Well, we lost our entire pumpkin crop as well as a few zucchini plants and our watermelons to squash bugs this year. They were TERRIBLE. That's set us back quite a bit I think but as of tonight we have a running total of 745.25 pounds (Not counting eggs of course.) so I think we're doing pretty darn good. We'll hit 1000 lbs this year I'm sure or at least come pretty darn close. Last year for the entire year we got a total of 521 pounds so if nothing else we can be glad to have well beaten our own best.

We also set a one day harvest record for ourselves a couple of weeks ago. Remember
I said I'd get back to the prodigious tomatoes? Well, thanks in no small part to a one day harvest of 140 pounds, we brought in just over 166 pounds in one day. Curious what 140 pounds of tomatoes looks like?

For perspective, they're covering the top of our full-sized chest freezer. Suffice it to say we had a lot of tomatoes!

So then what's a family to do with all this stuff? Well, besides eat it of course. We gave a good bit of it away to friends and like the old saying we're so fond of...

"Eat what you can and CAN what you can't" we put up a bunch of jars this year. more to come on that.


September 26, 2009

Hi again.

I won't bother to go into the who's what's where's and such regarding my conspicuous absence this summer. I've tried to excuse myself the best I could, but in all honesty, I just had too much to do and compounded it with tech problems (That are still slowing me down) and you get the picture. The blog has suffered it's biggest dry spell since... well, since ever really. I'll skip the appologies too, because honestly it's been kind of nice to not have the self inflicted pressure to keep it up on top of everything.

That said, I 'm currently working on a couple of posts that I hope will wrap up some things. The basics really, how grows the garden? What happened to the greenhouse? You know the "burning issues."

With any luck here in the next couple of weeks things will be slowing to the point that I can get back to normal, or some variant thereof.

All the best to those of you still dropping by or checking the reader. Looking forward to reconnecting with you!