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Gardening &

   BirdsNest  I have not mentioned that the "Garden Porn" has started to trickle in. Got a Johnny's Seed catalog and a new one for us, Vermont Bean Seed Company. I have flipped through both. We found a new place to order from this year, not everything but we want to try their tomatoes and eggplant. I don't know about you but I can spend hours looking at seed catalogs online. Our garden would be already planted if the weather wasn't so miserable. Can't wait til April. Actually Feb is when we start most of our plants indoors. Our house isn't big enough for everything we want to start early. We sold so many plants last season at "the tracks" and our friend R may not do so much this year(he is a horticulturalist ). His money is tight and he won't have the funds for heating his greenhouse this winter so he will lose a lot of plants he has had for years.
December 9 at 07:48 EST .

   16 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Update on R....he has enclosed in plastic a porch that he will move the best of his tropicals into and heat that smaller area for the winter. He still will need about $500 more a month than he gets in SS, so that is just a stopgap measure. I wish him luck, everyone is pretty much in the same leaky boat.
December 11 at 07:52 EST .

  11 people like this.

   Escaped commieny  I'm sure he doesn't want to part with favorites, but can he sell some others for income ?
December 11 at 12:41 EST .

  13 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Around here tropicals are not all that popular. He does well with outside stuff and some houseplants. These plants are his "mother" plants that he has had for years, even back when he was in his family's florist shop in Jersey. He gave us a big Rosemary plant-ours bit the dust in last winters fury.
December 11 at 15:14 EST .

  9 people like this.

   BirdsNest  A customer from the flea market yesterday brought us a Jack LaLanne juicer for free. He got a jar of pepper relish in return. He had given us a blender, hoping it would help make the job of preparing fresh horseradish easier. It did not. Our old Oster blender, given to us by our friend M when her grand daughter decided she did not want it because it was old. That thing rocks. But it is a slow process. We peeled and processed enough horseradish to make five 1/2 pint jars plus some for sampling. But it took over 2 hours with both of us working. Still searching for something to do the job faster.
November 30 at 09:37 EST .

   16 people like this.

   Escaped commieny  I wish we could grow and make our own Horseradish, but you need a good frost, which we don't get in central Fl.
We used to make it on the NY back porch, one time in the kitchen, thought we would have to call the EMT's.
Do you ever mix a little beet juice in your jars? That is fantastic for Easter Ham dinner.
November 30 at 16:17 EST .

  12 people like this.

   BirdsNest  I have seen recipes for beets and horseradish but the HR is always just grated. For our horseradish we liquify it so it mixes nicely.
November 30 at 18:40 EST .

  13 people like this.

   Balogreene  They aren't "cheap", but older sister got a Ninja set from QVC on sale. I mocked her, we have a mixer, and a blender. It turns out, I use the Ninja all the time. It is great.
December 4 at 23:58 EST .

  11 people like this.

   Flaming Sword  I'm out of my league here as I've never made it. But if a blender can't quite handle a job, wouldn't putting stuff through a meat grinder, then through the blender work? Then the blender would be starting with something manageable.
December 5 at 15:04 EST .

  12 people like this.

   BirdsNest  FS-the juicer was to be a test of grinding the root and then adding the juice back in with the pulp and if needed to put that in the blender and liquify the contents. Too busy this week with traipsing to and from the doctors. Still have not tried it. But I will. We also have a meat grinder so if the juicer doesn't work, the meat grinder is next. There is a fine line it seems with the horseradish. You have to wait to add the white vinegar, vinegar stops the "heat" and most of our customers want the heat. A bit of water added to get things mixing in the blender, then wait to add vinegar, then liquify to get the consistency. Just got a call from a customer, we will deliver 2 jars tomorrow. He will be in the same area at a doctor visit, Hagar has an appt to get the PICC line bandage changed, so we will meet up and chat a bit. Lovely people, from NJ moved down here, but wants to sell to move to FL. He hates the cold.
December 7 at 18:18 EST .

  7 people like this.

   BirdsNest  EC, the frost makes the horseradish sweeter. Lack of rain in the growing season makes it hotter. I can tell the difference in the horseradish we first prepared, it was blow your head off hot, the ones we did Friday are sweetly hot.
December 7 at 18:21 EST .

  9 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Looking at the garden yesterday makes me realize I need to get to work ripping out some dead plants. We have had some rain and rain today should make the ground soft enough to work in. The other day I was digging worms for the chickens and the ground was frozen some 3" down. It was easy enough to work in once I found some warmer spots. The chickens appreciated the protein.
November 26 at 08:23 EST .

   15 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Another great link, every state is listed.
November 23 at 15:49 EST .

   17 people like this.

   BirdsNest  It is a source for GM free seeds. We have ordered from several of them in the past.
November 23 at 15:51 EST .

  17 people like this.

   BirdsNest  I would like to challenge each of you to add a "pollinator habitat" to your home garden or yard.

What is a "pollinator habitat"? It is a place where native pollinators can
#2..nest and lay eggs in host plants or nest environment that is free of pesticides.

We all know or have heard of the colony collapse with honey bees. Pollinators also include bees and wasps,butterflies,flies,moths and beetles. The honey bee is not native to North America. Using native plants you can attract more pollinators and more different types of pollinators. Consult your local master gardeners or state extension agent. You will want plant diversity with bloom time succession, nesting and egg laying sites, and pupation and over wintering sites. The Xerces Society has much of this information on their website

Start small and add to the site each new season.
November 22 at 20:21 EST .

   16 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Monarch butterflies depend on Asclepias (Milkweed ) plants to lay their eggs, milkweeds are the sole host plant of the Monarch. They are the only butterfly to regularly migrate some thousand miles to winter over. Milkweed plants are poisonous, and birds do not feed on the Monarch because of that-the colours of the Monarch(orange/black ) are a blinking light so to speak that tells wild birds "Do Not Eat".

Check what butterflies are native to your area, do a bit of research and plant some flowers and shrubs that will entice them to your garden to pollinate your plants.
November 26 at 08:35 EST .

  16 people like this.

   BirdsNest  We rely on bumblebees to pollinate our blueberry plants. Bumblebees are very important as pollinators because they can tolerate cooler temps than a honeybee. In the Spring when things are just getting started, bumblebees are out early pollinating whatever they find. Most of them are easy going but there are a few that are aggressive. A couple of years ago I disturbed a couple of them and got several stings on my face and got chased inside!!
November 26 at 08:40 EST .

  13 people like this.

   BirdsNest  The garden is officially "Toast". We had a freeze and everything is dead, except the Chard,Savoy and beets. Time now to pull up the dead plants and maker compost. It is sad to see. I am glad I harvested all those peppers. Spring cannot get here soon enough.
November 18 at 06:10 EST .

   20 people like this.

   Surfhut  Toast here, too. The only thing I had left to harvest was a lot of rosemary. Now we plan for next Spring and enjoy the fruits of our labor from this growing season.
November 18 at 20:05 EST .

  17 people like this.

   Balogreene  I've been waiting for "toast". I had way too much to do at work to garden this year. Now that it i over I can pull weeds, and start over.
November 18 at 22:04 EST .

  17 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Balo, you should really consider the Garden Soxx for your garden. I may try some next year, they fascinate me for some odd reason.
November 19 at 18:56 EST .

  17 people like this.

   Hollyhock  It is the sign of the end of the season. We can look back with satisfaction or regret and look forward to the next spring. Bring on the seed catalogs!
November 21 at 00:17 EST .

  17 people like this.

   Balogreene  Thank you Birdie, I've bookmarked their site.
November 21 at 18:04 EST .

  14 people like this.

   BirdsNest  The garden was kissed with a touch of frost Saturday morning. Still the peppers are hanging on so I will pick them this week and share some and maybe make the last batch of pepper relish this year.
November 9 at 11:02 EST .

   17 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Picked ALL of the peppers...five 5 gallon buckets full. I reserved one for our friend M and the remainder we shared with sellers and customers at the flea market today. Everyone was thrilled to have fresh peppers and we were just as thrilled to share the last of the bounty. Those were amazing pepper plants this year, we sold,gave away,and made over 70 jars of relish that included lots of peppers. We made some new friends with them, all summer long folks would stop by and get their weekly peppers and rave about how good they are. It has been a fun summer and Fall is eeking closer to Winter. It was cold out there today, but there was a good crowd of people buying and looking. Everyone was in a good mood and eager to chat.
November 15 at 18:35 EST .

  19 people like this.

   Hagar  Today's gift from the garden: Peppers, peppers, peppers!!!
We processed 11pts, 1 1/2pt and a sample jar of Hot Pepper Relish.
We were road testing a new OSTER food processor, it is the "bomb",
almost pureed the peppers.
Powerful and Quiet!!!
October 27 at 17:49 EST .

   22 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Saturday at the tracks...we have so much fun. we have to get there by 5:30 in order to get "our spot", but it is worth the lost sleep. As soon as we get there, the other sellers start pulling their goods out to sell. Everyone wants to feel safe so it is best not to be there by oneself that early. It was cool this morning,and by sun up it started to warm up. Our friend that sells plants, showed up after daylight, not a good spot to be in, so he was wondering if he should even bother was such a beautiful day, little wind, maybe he would go flying and take pictures that the realtors had asked him to. He makes decent money doing that and he LOVES to fly, so with just a little coaxing from us, off he went. About half hour later an ultralight plane appeared above, and sure enough it was him. We all waved and told others who it was, they waved too. He did not see us because he was taking photos of us all and the long line of sellers at the tracks. Very impressive, he sent us a dozen pictures he took.

We had a blast, Hagar's birthday today,one guy bought 4 jars of pepper relish and 4 jars of watermelon rind pickle. That was fabulous. Another customer told us about the horseradish he got from someone else and how bad it was, so I got my sample jar from the cooler and handed him a spoon. Told him if he liked it he could have it. He loved it, and it really opened up his sinuses!! He wants a jar next week.
October 25 at 17:33 EST .

   22 people like this.

   BirdsNest  The garden....still have peppers producing,some eggplant,beets are making,savoy growing nicely,chard ready to pick,and luffa gourds getting ready to harvest. Hagar bought 90(! ) asparagus roots that had to be done something with. Our friend came over and tilled the row for us, she was sick but promised she would do it and she did it. I got out the shovel and dug down to make a trench.....took 2 tries to get the 75 ft row done, then I collapsed for a couple of days. Put mushroom compost in the hole,laid out the roots(107 actually )and filled in the trench. Boy was I ever glad to be done!!!! I have been dealing with a sore throat from breathing the fumes of Habanero jellymaking. Not my best week for sure.
October 16 at 14:33 EST .

   26 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Hagar reminded me that I said I would mulch the asparagus row and cover the mulch with netting to keep it from blowing away. Darn!! Thought I was finished with that row. I did get the mulch on top but the thought of stretching the netting out and somehow anchoring it so IT doesn't blow away was too I worked on the last of the blueberries from the freezer, making them into jam. Then because I was not yet totally exhausted I dug up a big clump of horseradish and worked it up into prepared horseradish. Hagar helped me, so glad because I was getting worn out and crabby. We made 2 half pint jars, one is sold already to a customer we will see tomorrow. It packs a punch. Sometime on Sunday I will cover the asparagus row with netting. THEN I am done with it til Spring.
October 17 at 20:05 EST .

  25 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Today's work involved making piccalilli(also called chow chow or green tomato relish ). I forgot to net the asparagus row...ruh roh, I could get fired!!
October 19 at 19:29 EST .

  23 people like this.

   BirdsNest  The asparagus row is done,done,done. Til Spring.

We jarred 18 pints and 2 half pints of Piccalilli(Chow chow ). One of the half pints we will open to give samples out. Today we are making prepared horseradish and pickling some beets. Our friend Teresa got some beets from someone and asked if we would like them. She said she did not have time to deal with making pickled beets, but if we made some she would appreciate a small amount. These 6 beets were enormous!!I cooked them and they were not fibrous so will make pickled beets and give her some.
October 22 at 11:12 EST .

  18 people like this.

   MeiDei  I love sweet pickled beets. Someone gave me a bag of them when I came home from the hospital after foot surgery. I hated beets. My mother was visiting to help me with the baby & she reminded me I should be grateful - suggesting that my father liked pickled beets. So I made & canned 7-8 pints. She flew home with 6. I finished off the rest & have been a fan since. I've seen them in the store but the cost was way too much for the amount. One day my garden will be ready for me to plant again - by then my knees may say otherwise : ) I'm happy for you.
October 22 at 20:49 EST .

  24 people like this.

   BirdsNest  MeiDei, these beets were bigger than softballs and we were sure they would be fibrous but they were sweet and yummy. The result was 7 pints of finished pickled beets. We will keep one and gift the rest to Teresa. She will be tickled.
October 23 at 10:23 EST .

  22 people like this.

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