Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This and That

Yesterday I had two things on my mind the first was planting my fig trees (behind hte strawberries). They had finally come. It took forever since I didn't want them to show up while I was out of town. I could have picked them up since they were from Roslindale, but I just had them ship them. For me it was much easier. I picked the smallest size they had since I want to train them in the Japanese style. The trunk will grow horizontally along the metal bars and the branches will go up vertically from there. I'm a touch worried. When the sun hits the bars they get really hot. I'm hoping it doesn't damage the plants. I wanted to train them this way because figs are only semi hardy in my zone. Anything unprotected over the winter could die. Grown this way I can always protect at least the trunk.

Chamomile on the right in front of the zinnias

The second thing was to harvest my chamomile. This is quite a project. I've got a lot of tiny little flowers on the plants and picking them is slow. As I was halfway through I decided that the plants sprawling in the pathway just had to stop. So I staked them up with some bamboo and twine. While I was at it I did the dill and the blooming cilantro too. They both had been knocked over in the rain.

Then I took the flowers in to dehydrate. I will use these for tea in the winter.

They look so pretty in the glass jar. One thing always leads to another. Since I was starting to store my tea for the winter, I had to clean out the tea cabinet. It has some really old tea leaves in it. I got them all cleaned out.

Then I figured it would be canning time soon and I'd better get my pantry cleaned out. I got rid of all the things I wasn't going to eat ( I didn't like the pickles I'd canned last year, didn't like the dried tomatoes). And I moved things around so I could find out what is left. I haven't been eating applesauce as much I should be, but I'll use more as zucchini season ramps up. My zucchini bread uses applesauce. And I barely touched the Salsa Verde. I really haven't figured out what to do with it. I tried it in pork and it was OK, but hubby wasn't impressed. I eat it on chips at parties, but I don't eat chips on a regular basis. The rest seems to be getting used up pretty well.


  1. We're still eating stuff I canned in 2009. I overdid the pickles, relishes, tomato sauce and tomato juice, but ran out of salsa and crushed tomatoes. I'll miss Pat's peaches this year, as I doubt the new neighbor will be so willing to share. I might get through another year with what I canned in 2010, as I'm the only one who eats jam. Mr. granny will only eat grape jelly and apricot pineapple jam, won't touch my peach and strawberry! That' OK, it leaves more for me.

  2. We have troubles around here eating everything we put up as well. So I'm trying more to have fresh food at all points of the season rather than freezing/canning/dehydrating, etc. What we didn't have enough of was salsa, ketchup, well, tomato stuff in general. Probably because our year last year was so cool. I hope to have much more this year!

  3. Wow, that pantry looks so neat and tidy - and well-stocked too.
    I'm interested to know why you are using metal bars for training the figs. Why not wooden ones - like bamboo canes?

  4. Granny, I'll have a couple of jars too much of relish, but the recipe makes so much. I did about the right amount of sauce, but I need diced tomatoes this year. I missed using them last year. And I'd eat your jellies in a flash before I ate Mr Granny's. Strawberry is one of my favorites.

    Vegetable Garden Cook, I just have to learn what we do eat and what we don't, but the problem is that we vary so much from year to year. I made the same amount of apple sauce last year as the year before. We ate up the stock from the year before, but are behind this year. I just have to pay attention and remember to eat it up.

    Mark, because wood rots out and has to be replaced. The metal will last for decades. This is to support a tree trunk horizontally so needs to be strong. It will be taking the weight of the tree. Probably not for the first few years, but in a decade it ought to be fairly large. I suppose I could have put pressure treated wood in, but I avoid that as much as possible around the garden. My fence has pressure treated wood and when I train the plum it will be on cedar and bamboo, but then I'm following the normal tree shape there, so the trunk is underneath the tree and the supports won't need to take the weight. They will just be for training.

  5. Daphne -
    I wondering if you could wrap the metal pipes with the insulation that is used to keep them from freezing. It would rot after a few years but maybe by then the fig trees would be shading the pipe from direct sunlight. EG might have some ideas too... We both seem to have trouble taking off our work hats when we get home.

    I do love the pipe idea as my fig trees are lacking structure - they appear to have had some storm damage. Cheryl

  6. I grew morning glories on a metal trellis a few years back and it scorched it quite badly. I painted the metal white--problem solved. Hope this helps.

    Your pantry looks very neat---I just love it!

  7. I like Sue's suggestion of painting the metal with a thick coat of white paint.

    You are making me feel inspired to finish cleaning out my home canned foods pantry shelves. I honestly don't have much left in there but the few odds and ends are things that are not likely to get used up soon - other than the last dill pickle relish jar, remaining tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, and the last few jars of pears. I went racing through my applesauce last fall and really need to make much more of it this coming year. Hubby who says he does not like applesauce... devoured it like candy! LOL!

  8. Cheryl, I might try wrapping the pipe that would help. The insulation though is black o I might do it with something lighter.Thanks for the suggestion.

    Sue, I thought about that, but would really rather not have white. But maybe if I painted them tan? Thanks.

    Laura, I had two batches. One batch was so delicious. But one batch was just OK. The apples I bought obviously weren't as ripe as they should have been. So there is a lot of pectin and it is too thick. It makes great cooking applesauce though. I'll probably use it up on zucchini bread.

  9. If you ever have a free minute, could you PLEASE come organize my pantry!

    Daphne, you are such an inspiration! WHat do you do with the chamomile? Tea? Just wondering if there are other uses for it....

    Question, do you find that plants burn on the metal? We are having problems with that with the clematis on metal trellises and I don't know how to deal with it (short of replacing them - the trellises, not the clematis).

  10. Cathy and Steve, I use it for tea. I've never used it for anything else. I would think it would make a nice if subtle jelly, but I've never tried it. So far the plant hasn't been allowed to touch the trellis yet. I touched it and it is hot enough to burn me. I figure that can't be good for the plants.

  11. That has been our experience with our metal trellises and I suspect we will be replacing them all. (Which will be a major job and an expensive one....)

  12. Salsa verde with lemon marinaded salmon baked on a base of string beans - lightly boiled, baby tomatoes, stoneless black olives, drizzled over with olive oil with garlic and lemon slices.
    It's delicious. With potato wedges and a splurt of mayonnaise - yummy.

    Your garden is inspiring! :)

  13. Daphne,
    I like your idea of interplanting michili and Chinese cabbage with chard. Must try that next year.

    What zone is Arlington, MA? How are you going to protect you fig tree? I am in zone 5 and must bring my fig tree indoor for the winter.

    You are such an organized person. Thanks for sharing your ideas and beautiful photos.

  14. Cathy and Steve, I'll figure out a way to use it. It should be easy to fix up something.

    Whats in a name, That sounds yummy.

    Norma, I'm in zone 6. Figs are semi hardy here, so the roots won't die. I'll have to wrap the stems with insulating material before winter. Not sure yet what kind I'll use.

  15. It seems I over can some years. I have lots of pickles and we really don't eat that many. I don't plan on making any this year yet I planted 4 7' rows of cucumbers. I am headed to the pantry today to get it straightened up and may be tossing some things that we weren't crazy about also. Never have enough tomatoes or tomato juice however. I use a lot of that in cooking.

  16. My favorite way to use salsa verde is in chicken soup! Especially chicken tortilla soup, with a little guacamole and sour cream... MMM! Or wrapped up in enchiladas with pepper jack and creamy white sauce - delicious!