Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sauerkraut Anyone?

My husband and I went to the Delano Community on Saturday and picked up lots of fresh vegetables including a box of cabbage. My husband has wanted us to make sauerkraut for some time. Our own cabbages are not ready yet and we wanted to try making sauerkraut. I made kraut with my grandmother when I was a child, but her method was different in that she cooked in a pressure canner prior to storing for the winter. We wanted to try the traditional method. It's an unbelievably easy thing to do and I found these resources helpful.  Wild fermentation and How to Make Your Own Saurkraut. I also found recipes that offered options like the addition of juniper berries, caraway seed and mustard seed at Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar.
This box had already had three cabbages removed for processing when I thought to get the photo. Also the Mennonite Community recycles cardboard gathered boxes gathered at local supermarkets. 

 I don't think any of these cabbages weighed less than 7 lbs. and the largest was more like 12 lbs
We started with the basic recipe and instead of putting into a five gallon bucket, we used mason jars, which is what I'm used to and it also keeps portion sizes easy to manage. We used the basic recipe and dumped Granny's canning method.
Finely chop the cabbage and mix w/ salt.        

It is important to use canning salt or salt that does not have iodine because iodine will stop the fermentation process.
Because of limited space, we would pack a few jars then, chop some more cabbage and mix w/ salt.

Filled jars w/ filtered water. Cap and set aside for 2-3 weeks to ferment.
 Be sure to use filtered water or to let your tap water stand for about 24 hours prior to using to allow the chlorine to dissipate. Chlorine interferes w/ the fermentation process.

The kraut has started bubbling away. We still have several heads of cabbage, so I plan to try one head w/ the additions of spices as well. I am thinking of using the rest to make chow chow, this is pickle relish using cabbage that is popular here and maybe trying kimchi. I'll post updates as those projects are completed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dry To The Bone

We haven't seen rain since the tornado came through almost one month ago today, so I have been watering w/ the hose. This dry spell is a little early and I haven't had an opportunity to get the watering system back up and going. It's being fast tracked to the top of the list and I will do my best to get pics out here soon. In the meantime, a few garden pics of current state of affairs.

Tomatoes blooming. This one is Granny Cantrell. Knock out rose in background.

Honey super added to bees. Bzzzzzz!

Buckwheat seeding. What till I have a post on buckwheat flour!
Can these possibly get any more blue?

Garlic scapes, aren't they pretty. Garlic will be ready to harvest soon.

Rouge Vif d'Etampes squash fruiting. Aren't the booms gorgeous?

 This corn is planted Three Sisters style. The squash is to the outside because this area gets quite a bit of shade, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. The corn is Cherokee White Flour corn and the first row is planted w/ Scarlett Runner Beans. The second and third with King of the Garden Lima Bean the remaining three in McCaslin 42 Pole Bean. The outside is planted w/ Rouge Vif D'Etampes that you can see in one of the photos above and Yellow Moon and Stars Watermelon on the outside corner. The links will take you to my gardening pages at Folia Social Garden Tracker and Organiser. Where I try to keep up to date on everything in the garden. I am still uploading plant info, so it's not complete, but a more comprehensive picture of the highlights I have here.

Pineapple Madness

I thought I would just post a pics of my dwarf pineapple fruiting for the first time.


Please excuse the dying sweet potato vine. Well the potato vine is not really dying, it did dry out between watering and I just haven't pulled off the dead leaves. Since I have to set it out this weekend, I was just waiting until then.

Isn't it pretty?
I've had this plant for a couple of years and it's been pretty maintenance free. Pineapples are great in the landscape both for their foliage and the appearance of fruit if you live in a 8 zone or higher, but have to brought in for wintering in my zone 7 area. Just regular water and my organic compost tea to fertilize. Pineapples respond very well to good fertilizer.

This variety is Ananas Nanus, a dwarf pineapple.  It is reasonably suited to indoor culture. Bright, warm conditions are required. I generally move my plant outside during the summer months. For good quality fruit, you need fertile organic soil, somewhat sandy and well drained. Pineapple is a heavy feeder if you want good sized fruit. Plant only in full sun to develop leaf colors and best possible fruit. From a small plant to fruit maturity is commonly near 2 years.

I am looking for a cultivar of the pink pineapple for its pink fruits.

For propagation, there are 3 ways to go:

1.) If you have a plant, you can divide the ‘ratoons’ (root parts) of mature plants.
2.) On less mature plants, you can separate side suckers from the mother plant.
3.) If you have no plant, buy a pineapple at your grocery. Cut off the top leaving about 1/2 inch of meat. Plant the top immediately only slightly below the surface of your soil. Soon your piece will start new growth. However, it may take longer to see fruiting. Finally, you can look for specialty varieties, dwarfs, pinks, etc. through plant nurseries and online dealers. 
Pineapples do not need cross pollination to bear fruit. 

Water moderately but keep soil moist, not wet, always insure good drainage.

If you want to see more of my gardening adventures, you can check it out at Nena's Gardens.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blog update

I have chosen to update the blog to just use chelohi as the address as this seems simpler to use. If you attempt to link to an older post, it will tell you the blog has been removed. Not removed, just merely updated.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More pics of garden

Just a few more pics of things going on in garden. These are pics of some of the roses and one of the lillies I have around.

 Please overlook the porch that needs repainting. That's not going to happen until this fall. Also, as you can see. I had blackspot on the last rose and had to treat for that.

Monday, May 16, 2011

setting up frames for foundationless use.

I am using natural beekeeping methods. If you are thinking about going foundationless, here is how to set up a frame for use w/o foundation.

 While I am planning on using a more organic beeswax in the future, this is some foundation that I had purchased. I don't want to use the foundation as is for a variety of reasons:
1.) Chemicals, it is permeated w/ the chemicals used to treat the bees that made the wax.
2.) Cell size, the cell size is does not match the way the bees make the cells in nature and this promotes the growth of pests especially the varroa mite, that you then have to treat w/ chemicals. See that nasty cycle getting started.
3.) Cost, this stuff costs money and why buy it when the bees make it on their own. I am recycling this wax b/c I need to use it up and because it is used in much smaller the quantities in the colony that this fat sheet of foundation.
Wax melts at about 145F degrees. I use a make shift double boiler to melt in. That pot is designated only to was. See the little wires that were in the foundation in the bottom of the pan.

 There are a variety of other materials you could use including paint sticks and shims. Natural or organic beekeeping sites will have more ideas to offer. See my separate piles. The box hold 8 frames and each frame takes 5 sticks to get the guide to go all the way across.

 By the way you will need frames w/ grooves in the top.

 The frames can get heavy w/ comb. You want to make sure your sticks stay in place.

Run wax along both sides of craft sticks.
  Hold the frame at a tilt to pour excess was back into the pot. You will find that the wax cools rapidly.

Don't worry about drips, the bees will clean it up and use it.

Put the frames back into the box and you're ready to go. This process took about 1 sheet of foundation as opposed 8.


Update on the bees. Went into the hive this weekend to check to see if the honey super needed to be added. Not yet. Had to do some cleanup where the bees were working the bee space b/t boxes and where they had the frames stuck together.

More gardening

Coming Up!
Comtesse de Chamborde 

 These are coming up my Comtesse white rice beans are up after only a week. This one of many heirlooms I'm planting for the usual reasons. The ability to collect seed w/o reprisal from Monsanto, keeping old varieties alive and well to keep a diverse gene pool, and of course the getting the qualities in these varieties that have been sacrificed in creating grocery store vegetables, you know things like taste.

Winter squash.

Here is that comparison of the same volunteer winter squash Rouge Vif d' Etampes.
See the flowering and size on this squash plant.

Another plant in the box from a different angle.

I was busy and didn't get a great photo, but if you look really hard, the plant is behind the corn. I'll get a better pic for comparison.     

Just for informational purposes, this is Cherokee White Flour Corn. Information on all my gardening is available at My Folia Garden Info.

Getting caught up

O.k. continuing catch up. Here are pics of what's going in in the garden.

Grapes are forming, but won't be ready for until around August 1.
  I am redoing trellis this year, so vines have to trained onto trellis every few days.

Lots of peaches!

Right now the peaches are just need monitoring for pests, but next month, we'll be harvesting these. 
Blackberries starting to get ripe!

We have fewer blackberries this year. I pruned the canes pretty heavily last fall to train canes in another direction. I am growing these in this location to help define the property line. While the house next door is empty now, there were tenants there for a while that liked to drive over onto my side to park. This natural boundary marker also produces yummy pies. 


 Strawberries have been coming in since around the 1st of May here. While most of my strawberries were destroyed while I was away last year, a few made it. My grandson eats these as they ripen. I went to the Delano Amish Community (hope to have pics up of this great find soon) and bought 2 gallons and put those up over the weekend and still need to pick up at least 2 gallons more before the season ends at the end of this month.
This poor fella needs a some pest control. I treated around the plant w/ diamateous earth, weeded and sprayed with homemade pest spray.

Raspberries are just getting going w/ the bloom.     

Raspberries have also gotten a major overhaul this year, but should have the bed filled by the end of the season. Starts are available at My Folia and enter heritage raspberries.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bees are a Buzzin'

One of my major goals this year was to get bees and boy did I. I have been planning for over 2 years to get bees and the stars just would align in the right way for it to happen. My father kept bees before he passed away and when he kept bees, I admired that he kept bees, but other than listen and occasionally observe, I wasn't very involved. Later I began to have problems in my garden w/ pollination of summer crops that need pollinators and so I started to think about bees and read about CCD (colony collapse disorder) and the crisis with loosing bees and began to think about what I could do with bees to help my garden and help the bees. I read books on keeping bees, joined a bee club, went to bee schools, helped others with their hives and did a lot of online research and saved for the equipment and bees. So after all that I finally got my bees. I started with one hive because that is what I could afford. I used traditional equipment because I'm new to beekeeping and didn't have someone local to teach me about top bar bee keeping which is what I want to transition to with a second hive. I've chosen not use chemicals to kills pest because those poisons end up in the wax and honey. I am using frames without foundation and allowed to bees to make their own comb, which they are doing just fine thank you. I am more in tune with Barefoot BeekeepingNatural Beekeeping or Backward Beekeeping methods and so far my bees are doing well. Just look and see. These pics were taken on April 30th.

Great brood development at 2 weeks in the hive!
No signs of pests or disease!
Can you see all the pollen and nectar the ladies are bringing home?
I am feeding sugar water as you can see by the feeder.


I've added on a second hive body and will check on the ladies this weekend to make sure they are getting moved in. I couldn't be more pleased.

catching up

You know that old saying about the road to hell. Well I had good intentions of staying current w/ this blog, but you know what life happened and it has been busy! So I'm going to do my best to catch up and stay caught up. Went through seeding and got everything up to transplant size. I still have a few tomatoes and peppers to plant and I won't even get into the direct seeding that hasn't been done, but let me focus on what has been done and some of these things I will go into more detail on in separate posts. I got bees, yay! They are doing great and I will discuss them in detail in a separate posts, planted radishes, spring/English peas and am now harvesting them both. Planted buckwheat primarily for the bees and it's blooming, planted spinach and now harvesting, planted corn white Cherokee flour and Floriani would like to plant more, planted scarlet runner beans, Mccaslin pole beans, king of the garden lima beans, Cherokee trail of tears black beans, white rice, Comtesse de Chambord rice beans, rouge d' vif winter squash, Georgia rattlesnake watermelons, moon and stars watermelons, red shallots, several varieties of onions, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, flowers, lions tigers and bears oh, my. I have added 2 new beds and so much more. So let me start separate posts to provide detail on all these goings on.