the rewards

I’m pretty happy. Somehow the sad, downy mildew-ed pickling cucumber vines stayed alive long enough to produce another batch of cucumbers.

So yesterday morning I grabbed the cukes, dill, garlic, grapevine leaves and jalapeños form the garden and knocked out a few jars of hot dill spears. I cherish these pickles in the dead of winter. Hot and crunchy and full of vavoom on a cold, snowy night.

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Next, on to a good way to make use of the glut of fresh eggs coming our way from the happy hens. I’ve never eaten, let alone made, pickled eggs. But they sound interesting. The recipe calls for adding canned beets to the boiled eggs, vinegar and spices. I don’t think I like beets, so this is a leap of faith. Who knows? Maybe there’ll be beets in the garden next year.

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I think the very best way to put off processing tomatoes is to core them and put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. That way there’s no pressure to act before they rot. After they thaw they’re easy to peel, and still plenty fresh. And you don’t have to cook every time a new flush of ripe tomatoes comes in.

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The first buckwheat cover crop that I planted is blossoming, so that means it’s time to turn it into green manure. Thought I’d try it the easy way this time. Out came the chicken tiller.

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They did a fair job, but they need to work on technique. You don’t just eat the good parts, girls. It probably defeats the purpose of green manure to swap it for real manure. Maybe not. I’ll need to think about that one.

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6 thoughts on “the rewards

  1. Oh you are so good and handy in that kitchen! Those pickled cucs look very yummy. Great idea with those tomatoes Dan … I guess I need to grow dome first 😉, none last year, except for a self seeded. Interesting thought on those chooks .. Hmm. I would think they would be savouring your worms as an appetiser! Question Dan, how high and wide were your tomato supports?

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  2. I know how disappointing it is to get skunked with a whole crop Julie. But I think it does make you especially determined to make it work the next year. And you might be right about the worms. I don’t mind sharing 🙂 Those cages are 5′ tall and 2 1/2′ across. They seem like a good size for indeterminate tomatoes.

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  3. That’s a fantastic haul, and no doubt worth all the trouble, er uh, FUN you spent in the previous months. Coring and freezing tomatoes is where it’s at. You can always make a batch of sauce with your frozen maters later (unless one is lacking the freezer space).

    How about letting your green manure be…GREEN manure? That is, add some layers of brown on top and let all that green break down into your soil, slowly, naturally, rather than turning it into chicken poop (beneficial, but not as efficient). I always thought that’s what a cover crop would do: live its long, natural life, die of old age, and feed the soil for the next crop. I’ve never planted cover crop, but I probably should during the seasons I don’t have time to plant.

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  4. If you let the buckwheat flower, it will self-seed. I’m happy about that going on the results in my cabbage patch but it’s not to everyone’s tastes.

    Not sure if chicken manure would be more nutritious for the soil or buckwheat. However, the chucks have got to eat and you want rid of the green manure, so seems like a win-win situation to me.

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