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2012 Garden Blog

Follow along with me this year


Kraut In Jars Update

Sunday, 26 June, 2011

In a previous post ) I listed an old recipe for Sauerkraut in Jars from my Great Grandmother;  I’ve an important update for you.

I was discussing this recipe with one of my elderly Home Health clients and she explained to me that the jars they used back when the recipe was written are different from the ones we use now.  She explained that the jars her mother used had aluminum lids with glass inlaid in the underside.  She said that her mother would place a rubber ring on the rim of the jar, filled with kraut, and then place the lid on; leaving it slightly ajar.  Over the next few weeks the Kraut would ferment in the jar releasing the gas from inside and as this progressed her mother would slowly screw the lid down on the jar.  Her mother would keep the Kraut jars on top of newspaper or in large pans incase the jars should leak while fermenting.

All this said I had to take a look-see at mine and discovered that most of the jars that were sealed, when I put them away in the dark cabinet, are now unsealed and fermenting.   I am not sure how to progress from here and will be keeping an eye on the jars.  I’m in hopes that they will reseal themselves when they’re done fermenting.  This is turning into a learning experiment for me and hopefully you all too.

Here is a picture of the jar explained above.  My mother had/has a small collection of these jars with lids.

Getting Caught Up

April 11, 2011

   Busy day at work; into the garden when I got home.  Today was plant the green beans, corn and purple hull pea day.  My Dad and I started with the green beans.  He is big on straight rows so he started by putting a string along side the cabbage and I started there.  We used the, for lack of a better word, push planter.  (Really should take a photo for you all to see.)  This device has a funnel in the center of it which has exchangeable wheels that insert in the funnel.  Each wheel has cups that pick up the seeds and drop them on the ground, so far apart.  It also has a part that scratches the ground making up to a 1/2-inch ditch in the ground for the seed and then a chain that covers the seed as you push it along.   There is an arm(stick) that falls to either side and makes a scratch in the ground so you’ll know where to make the next row.  This arm is spaced so that there is room enough between the rows for the rotatiller.
   Having said all this let’s back track to earlier that morning when my Dad took the tractor and disked the areas we were to plant in.  It had rained the day before and the ground was wet.  He did this to help it dry out a little so it would be easier to plow with the planter.  The disk left large long piles of dirt at odd angles up and down the length of the garden.  Thinking that it would be hard to walk on all that lumpy dirt I started using my metal leaf rake to smooth out the dirt a bit.  Dad made me stop after I done a row or two.  Once I got started with the push planter things went well with the arm making a line for the next row, that I could see; but once I got passed the section I’d smoothed with the rake the arm skipped across the tops of the dirt piles making the mark almost impossible to see.  This became frustrating; as my Dad wanted straight rows, and I couldn’t do that.
   He planted the sweet corn and I finished up that evening with the purple hull  peas.
Total planted: (approx. 50 ft rows)
6 rows Blue Lake Bush Beans and Purple Hull Peas
4 rows Sweet Corn
April 16
One bunny down…literaly.

This morning a rabbit was sitting near my cabbage.  He stayed there in one spot long enough for Dad to shoot him.
No rain yesterday or today so I finally set out the leaf lettuce and romaine plants.  They don’t look like much but I set them out anyway.  Dad made fun of my crooked row.  Ah, who cares.
Here’s a picture of the lettuce in the starter pots.
April 24
Rain, RAin, RAIn and RAIN!

   Did I mention the rain?  Every other day, the week of 11th thru 17th,  it rained.  This past week it rained here everyday but one.  This has been one wet April so far!  The garden is doing okay.  Okay meaning that Dad’s cantaloupes got water-logged so he bought more to plant later.  My cucumber leaves are turning brown; guessing it’s because too much RAIN.  The seeds of the green beans, purple hull peas and corn have come up randomly, so far.  The soil is so sandy and the garden is at a slight tilt to the right and down as you face it so the soil is washing down.  I am hoping the seeds are not being washed away to who knows where in the garden.  I’m starting to think that we should have waited as we usually do and planted the green beans and purple hull peas in early May.
   The cabbage looks great, well at least half of the 2 rows do.  I was watering them on the 16th and noticed that Dad had sprinkled some of his 10-20-10 fertilizer on the dirt around them, but only on half of the two rows.  You can sure tell a marked difference.  I highly recommend this fertilizer, but remember NOT to USE it on your radishes and purple hull peas; they don’t like extra nitrogen in the soil.  Do not sprinkle too much around your plants or it will burn them up.
   BTW, it has rained here 3 times today and it’s only 1p.m.

3:00 p.m.  Just went out to check the garden between showers.  The green beans, purple hull peas and corn are up and looking good.  Some of the seeds haven’t come up.  I’m thinking they got covered with extra dirt and will or won’t come up later; when the sun finally visits us.

Here is cool picture I found behind a picture of my Dad and his family. Cira 1940’s.   (Somehow seems appropiate for today, Easter.)
Farmers Co-Operative Gin

Text reads:
For Your Protection Let us do your Ginning

Mart Smith, Mgr.
Owned and Operated in the Interest of the Farmers


Nothing much to post lately.  The cabbage and all continue to grow.  The radish seeds came up last week.  It’s been raining most everyday last week and tonight it looks like rain again.  We had temps in the 70’s and 80’s all weekend.  The temps are supposed to go down to the 60’s tomorrow with 30’s at night.

I’m continuing to wait for the time to plant above ground crops. (best days 11 & 12 this month).  The seeds for the green beans (Blue Lake) and the tomato plants (AR Travelers) have been purchased.   

My father jumped ahead and planted some watermelon plants, week before last and they are all dead.  He had a touch of gardening fever and well, “Just because the stores are selling certain plants now doesn’t mean it’s the correct time to plant them”.   Wait till the weather warms.  I think they died because we had a touch of a frost last week.

Well, the waiting continues…

Spent too much

   I think I had illusions of grandeur at the Farmers Co-op today. I bought 40 green cabbage plants and 4 red cabbage plants. I have thoughts of using a simple Sauerkraut recipe of my mothers.   I will be setting these out tomorrow in the garden.
   I think I’m gonna need more jars.
   I also bought Rosemary and lavendar plants for my herb garden.  I love the smell of both of these.
   And… One bunch of white onions and one bunch of red onions.

Total spent $32.

Sprouts Sprouts Everywhere

March 10, 2011

   The Brussels Sprouts have sprouted.  Surprised again!  Package says Germination 7 – 14 days.  The little suckers sprouted up 1 1/2-inches over night.
   The Lettuce sprouts are 1 1/2-icnhes tall too.  The little stems are white with green tops.  I uncovered the tray and put them next to a partial sun window.
   The spinach is starting to sprout up a few today, but not all the pots.  Germination on the spinach is 8 – 10 days.
   Let’s take stock here…it’s been 3 days for the lettuce and 5 days in the dirt for the Brussels Sprouts.  OK.
   Today I hoed up a little flower bed I have next to the garage to aerate the soil.  Last year I planted zinnias in it; this year I’m considering putting an herb garden there. It is a VERY sunny spot.  Last year it dried out quickly so this year I’m going to get some mulch to put around what I plant there.  Hoping it will help keep the soil from drying out so fast.  I’d like to put the herb garden in the corner of the main garden but it would make it harder to till the garden with the tractor.  I don’t think my Dad would appreciate having a blocked off herb garden in his way.  I need to do some research to see when it’s a good time to plant herbs.  I know that the garden centers have herbs for sale right now; but they also have just about everything else.  It’s too early to plant the largest part of the garden.  My Dad and I know that it will frost again, as it always does, and to wait till mid-May.  I’ve heard too many people, every year, bemoan about losing their garden because they got gardening fever and planted too soon.  It’s a “timing thing”.
   Dad has told me that the Farmers Co-op has some great looking plants now and he mentioned Cabbage more than once.  Is that a hint?  Depending on my money situation, after bills tomorrow, I may go by and see what might catch my eye.  This early garden is total experimentation for me since I’ve not planted a cold crop before and if I buy cabbage it’ll be my first time to grow it too.  I’ve got a piece of paper that was attached to the bedroom wall of my Grandmothers house that gives a recipe for killing cabbage worms.  I might just have to buy some so I can see if it works; not that I want worms on my cabbage.  NO NO NO
   Saturday is a good day to plant ‘Above ground’ crops.  I’m looking forward to finding something to stick in the ground.


March 8, 2011
The Lettuce seeds have sprouted!

I am really surprised at this since the seed package says Germination 7 – 10 days.

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