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Fresh grown food, nothing like it- not many know how it tastes. A recent topic on TEOTWASWI, or TSHTF as others call it should remind us of how a garden can help us through disruptions in services which we regularly rely on to get food to stores. Electric, natural gas, water main breaks, contaminated food in stores, and all kinds of events- natural or man made and out of our control. Having a garden with some edible plants, storing a little extra food and a case or two of bottled water in the house is becoming a better idea as we see more extremes in weather. Check out:
to see a few things you can do. Back to the garden, how many people have been canning things they grow? As for me, whatever manages to grow gets consumed, nothing left to can if I wanted to. Has anyone ever tried dehydrating food?
I’m trying to go to a canning class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden tonight but they’re all full. I’m on the wait list. Although there’s plenty out there online, in books and websites, etc., on canning, I think I’d feel more comfortable with it if I learn it from someone who really knows what they’re doing. I’m pretty squeamish about food going bad. While we were away, the person watching our house left the fridge door open (very easy to do with the double door version we have). Although it could not have been open very long (the items weren’t lukewarm but still not regular fridge temp. cold), I’ll be throwing out all the dairy and a few other items (which is really too bad because this includes the eggs that I got from the CSA on Wednesday which are bar none the best I’ve ever had).
I’m finding that while the plants are producing, they are not producing as much as usual. By this time last year I had tomatoes in abundance and peppers coming out of my ears. Like you, though, this year I’m finding there’s barely enough to make a salad or to complement whatever else is going on the table that week. I’m wondering if the lack of abundance is another effect of the dismal growing conditions we’re seeing.
One way that I’m adjusting my approach is that I am going to be planting longer than usual. My cilantro is done for the season but I plan to fill its spot with oregano. I have some basil that I just started out about a week ago, and plan to do more basil and dill in the week or so ahead. (Yes, I finally plan to put those Triscuit seed cards to use – why not?).
A friend of mine who spends a lot of time in Mexico gave me a loofah (from Mexico). She wasn’t sure whether it would behave in this cooler climate but, interestingly, it’s really taking off. I’ll keep you posted how it grows… I do suspect its success has something to do with our ever changing climate.
During this morning’s garden check, I pulled up a few weeds and found the soil on their roots was pretty dry. It’s been a few times now that although the soil appeared OK, down below it was kind of dry. Even the cement blocks I use as a walk path were noticeably moist. I am really beginning to think I should get a ‘dripper hose’ and just lay it across the ground. As much as I hate to start pumping water into the garden, maybe it actually needs it. How often do you water your garden? When I do mine I just put the hose end on the ground without a nozzle and let it run until it starts to ‘flood’ the area, then move to the next section doing the same. I don’t spray everything with the hose any more.
On the up side, my new bamboo culm ( the correct term is culm, not shoot- no idea why ) is nearly as tall as me now! It has about 4 branches coming out from it. I thought the one before this grew fast, but this one is really taking off. By next year I should be able to split it into more plants. Look out bananas, you have competition out there 🙂
I don’t pay close attention to all the canning stuff I hear, but if memory serves the steam type canners are the only ones approved by the FDA, probably because they produce higher heat than boiling. A lot of podcasts I listen to have episodes on canning since it applies to survival and prepping food storage. More than once I heard of canning meats, and from what they say it makes a really fast and good ‘meal in a pinch’. Apparently, dehydrating is another good way to store your surplus. If you want I will try to find a few links on the subject. Maybe they’ll give you a few ideas before the class gets an opening. BTW, before you go out and start buying canning jars there was a program on different types of jars, some good, some not so good. I do recall them saying avoid cheap Chinese made jars. There was also a slightly more expensive, but superior jar that recently came out. I hope I can find that particular episode, it had a lot of good info.