Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting Some Chores Done

Well I never got a chance to go out to do more digging in the garden. I've been busy with other things. This week I've been mowing the leaves. I love sucking up the leaves with my little Neuton. It isn't perfect. It can't suck up the leaves from depressions, but anything on the grass works great. I end up with some nice chopped leaves for my leaf bin.

This year I found the leaves that I collected from others (which I haven't started yet but will soon) decayed in various quickness. If the leaves were chopped up they decayed very well. Most of the leaves were used up over the year to add to the compost pile, but what was left in the bin at the end of the year was leaf mold if the leaves were chopped. The maple leaves decayed, but not as well. The only holdouts were the oak leaves. My whole backyard is oak so getting them chopped is great. I think when I do go out to collect leaves I'll empty the bags out and chop them up before adding them to the bin.

I've also been busy with apples this week. At the farmers market they had 10lb bags of apples for $6 so I got a couple of bags for applesauce. The varieties were Cortland and Spencer. The applesauce wasn't as good as the earlier batch with Ginger Gold and McIntosh.

When I first ran them through the strainer the sauce was such a pretty pink. I then proceeded to destroy the pretty color by adding cinnamon. Cinnamon applesauce is my favorite.

Twenty pounds of apples makes a lot of sauce. I filled up a case of pint jars and still had three quarts left. I froze two and left once quart for eating this week. I kept looking for one of my stray pint jars. I thought I had a couple jars emptied already, but couldn't find them anywhere.

Oh yeah. I pickled some hot peppers earlier and totally forgot about them. I'm guessing they might be ready to eat by now. Mostly I pickled them just so I could keep them in my fridge instead of the downstairs freezer. I'll use them more often this way.


  1. I adore chopped leaves as well. They're a great mulch for garlic as well. The applesauce and peppers look delicious!

  2. Lovely! Homemade apples sauce is the best. I should try pickling peppers to get rid of the ones I have. Do you have a recipe for them?

  3. Oh gosh...I bet homemade applesauce is yummy! Composting madness is just around the corner!

  4. I am envious of those beautiful jars of applesauce. Yum!

    The fall constructed compost pile is my favorite to use when finished. Not only does it get the garden clean up debris - but lots of lovely grass and leaves all chopped up and combined together from the final mowings of the year. Lovely combo for the compost and for deep mulching garden beds through the winter.

  5. I've never canned before but have wanted to learn for some time now. I thought I'd put it off until next summer but the other day, I came across my crock pot (which hasn't been used in a long time) and remembered your post about making apple butter with it. Maybe I'll run out and get a canner and some jars before the last of this season's apples are gone.

  6. The Mom, I mulched my garlic with compost since I had plenty.

    Lzyjo, no recipe. I just throw it together. Mine are refrigerator pickles. Whenever I make refrigerator pickles of any kind I have a rule of thumb to follow. Use no more water than 1/2 and 1/2 with vinegar. I usually use more vinegar. The more you use the longer the pickles keep. I use about one tablespoon of salt to two cups of liquid. I like sweet pickles so add some sugar. Then I throw in any spices that strike me at the time. I know I put in garlic and whole mustard, but can't remember what else.

    EG, I don't actually compost a lot in the fall. I just collect the leaves. I have a huge bin to fill up. Then next year I'll use them to compost when I get green material. I'm thinking of mulching my paths next year with chopped leaves too. It is cheaper than the salt march hay and chopped straw that I've been using and better for the environment. I'm just hoping they won't be too slick when wet.

    kitsapFG, I've never mulched my beds with leaves. I've been afraid of all the slugs they would house. The fruit bed could use some leaves though.

    Thomas, oh I loved the apple butter I made. I've already eaten two jars. If this keeps up I'll be out of it very quickly.

  7. Those peppers look hot, they've still got the seeds! I'm a bit of a chicken and always remove all the seeds and pith!

  8. The serranos (right) are pretty hot, but I find that peppers mellow a bit when you pickle them. Maybe the capsicum leaches out into the vinegar. The Jalapenos (left) don't have any heat at all if I remove the seeds.

  9. I was going to ask about your peppers, too, Daphne! I make refrigerator pickles with cukes, but haven't ever heard of them with peppers... and oh, my, we have a lot of hot peppers right now! I wonder if I should try this simply substituting the hot peppers for the cukes. It would really be interesting! I do heat the vinegar beofrre pouring it over the cukes---do you heat yours for the peppers?---Silence

  10. I've heard that you can empty bags of leaves and mow over them over and over to chop 'em up.

    Nice applesauce! I have to push some on the kids. And figure out how to do the in-out with the empty jars more efficiently!

  11. fall fun!

    I've mulched with chopped leaves and haven't noticed any more slugs that the usual bunch.

    Even though I live under several maple trees, there still doens't seem to be enough leaves to go around once chopped up! I usually donate a good bit of it to mix in the vegetable garden.

    Thanks for the pickle instructions. I've been wanting to try this for a while!

  12. Our friend Ben, No I don't heat the vinegar or peppers. They would probably last longer if I did, but it makes the peppers more soggy. Most of the time that is ok but occasionally I want crunch.

    Stefaneener, yup, that is what I'm going to do. I'm guessing this weekend will be the start of the big clean up, but early November is often better for collecting leaves. A lot of people around here will wait until all the leaves are down before raking.

    Wendy, that is why I collect others' leaves. I like about three times as much as my own produce. Around here everyone has to put them in brown compostable bags so I can even compost the bags.

  13. Great job on the applesauce! I wish we could get apples at that price around here. I'm interested in your mason jars with plastic lids...never seen that before. Do tell!

  14. Jackie, Ball makes the plastic lids to fit their canning jars. They are great after you open a jar (or to store things like herbs in the jars). This way you don't have to deal with a two part lid while using the contents.