Friday, January 8, 2010

It's a matter of ......Winter Gardening.

We have a guest blogger today....Brother Devirl B. The following photos and words are from him.

I recall his photos from last year of his fresh Spinach that he was the dead of winter! I love this idea.....from a self-sufficiency standpoint. Get ready to be amazed!

The "Experimentation Plantation"

In a four foot square area we planted 78 garlic cloves in March and harvested them the end of June. We then planted parsnips and thinned them to 24 plants the first part of August. In late October we dug two and put four inches of straw around the remaining plants leaving the green tops showing. I then threw a couple inches of dirt on top of the straw for more insulation. Parsnips and carrots should not be dug until after the first hard freeze because the cold turns the starch to sugar. This is probably nature's way to protect the roots.

#1 - The "winter" lettuce patch was a four by six foot area beyond the parsnips which we also planted the first of July. This was way too much lettuce for two families during August through October. Toward the end of October I put plastic over the wire dome to see how long I could keep the lettuce going. It was good through most of November.

#2 - On 21 December we dug two more parsnips. Even though they are quite large, they are still tender with good flavor.

#3 - The wire mesh marks the start of the carrot row.

#4 - The carrots were planted the first of July and were "winterized" the same way as the parsnips. They are 1 1/2 inches in diameter at the top. They are not as tender as "baby" carrots but the flavor is quite good.

#5 - The produce washed up well and the tops that were buried were still green. The tomatoes are "Long Keepers" and have been ripening in the garage since October. The tomatoes taste as good as the ones from the store but of course they fall way short of vine ripe ones. The golf ball just appeared in the garden and is included in the picture for size comparison.

Other thoughts:

With an established orchard and flower garden, we decided this year to grow tomatoes and learn about preserving food. We got a dehydrator, a steamer and a canning stove. We learned a lot!

If you steam 100 pounds of grapes too long, you get 27 quarts of slightly bitter grape juice. If you let carrots go to seed, you will have carrots everywhere; flower beds, walk ways, along the fence.

If you plant California poppies in Highland, they will overrun a flower garden in three months.

Potatoes accidentally dropped on the ground grow better than the ones carefully planted in potato bags. We also learned that 47 tomato plants is 40 too many. My wife sprouted five varieties from seed and I got to plant them all. I had tomato plantations in Alpine, Highland and Orem. The ugly purple Cherokee tomatoes taste the best and we are still eating “fresh” Long Keepers.

If you put jell-o on apple slices before you dry them, the dehydrated apples taste great.

Cantaloupe picked when the stem comes off with just a little push of the thumb is “vine ripe” and wonderful. And by the way, nectarines are easier to can and taste better than peaches.

Final thought - If food is the only reason you are growing a garden, just buy it and spend the extra money and time on a vacation.

I love honesty! However, if I needed something green, and everything was gone from my storage....and the store was not an option.....I would get out my snowmobile and go over to Brother D's home and barter if it happened this winter!

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