I worked the eBay auction platform from Winter of 2016 to early January of 2018, a little over a year. I didn’t shut off my store until just a few months ago because I wasn’t sure that I was done with eBay until then.
I decided to pickle the peppers that are ripe now together as a mix of sweet and hot peppers. In this mix are green bell, purple bell, one tiny yellow bell (part of a pack of “carnival” pepper seeds), mostly yellow banana peppers, a few cayenne, several jalapeno and another small green hot pepper that I don’t remember planting :). I am using a simple hot pepper recipe from the Ball Canning recipe web site. I chose it because it has no salt in the brine and it’s a very simple, minimal ingredient recipe. Also, the garlic is boiled with the brine initially and removed before adding to the peppers in the jar to be processed. This avoids blue garlic which, I read somewhere, can be a problem in water bath canning/pickling.
Somehow the the bottom of one of the canning jars blew out. Either I had the lid too tight or when I lowered the cans into the water bath I bumped them too hard against the bottom of the pot. I’ll need to be more careful in either case next time.
It looks like there are many more peppers coming right behind these that I picked today. I should have more chances to pickle peppers. Next time I think I will fill pint jars rather than quarts because each of these jars should be used up within 2 months or so after opening and being kept in the fridge. They could go bad if I don’t find a way to use them up before 2 months.
I plan on using some of these in my future canned salsa and tomato sauces.
It looks like I will be getting a few cucumbers too, so I will probably have more chances to practice my pickling this summer.
I started planting the tomatoes and peppers Memorial Day weekend and I just finished the Hugle Mound today, June 19th. Since it was my first garden in this space it was hopefully more work than next year.
I am really glad I covered up most of the garden area with cardboard. I could really tell the difference between the areas covered since last time this year and those that were not. The soil was much looser in the areas that had been covered and the uncovered areas were thicker with roots. I have expanded the outer row with extra weed block so next year that row will be easier to plant.
Here are some images of the mound:
I also planted a row of sun flowers along our front fence line:
I also have a few containers on our deck rail, two with strawberries and two with mystery plants. I used sharpie to label my winter sown plants which is a rookie mistake. The sun bleaches out sharpie so I had no idea what some of my seedlings were. I think I got some butterfly weed, or some other herb.
In all about 1/4 of the winter sown seeds made the final cut into the garden. The salad containers didn’t work out as well as the milk jugs as the seeds dried out or were drowned due to poor drainage. I think the milk jugs are better at being tiny greenhouses in my gardening zone.
Looking out at my back yard today it is hard to believe that spring is only a few weeks away.
I have been learning more about winter sowing and found that you can put out any seeds using this method not just those needing cold striation.
There are two benefits to me for trying to winter sow most of my seeds. First, I don’t have the space for a small indoor seedling tent. I can probably fit a small shelf in front of the south facing slider window in our bedroom. That’s only going to be enough room for 2 or 3 small flats of tomatoes and peppers.
Secondly, seeds sown outdoors do not require electric lighting. I like the idea of using less electricity in general.
I will still have a bunch of seeds to direct sow. My lettuce and spinach and other cold hearty vegetables. I am also planning lots of beans and corn. Let’s not forget summer and winter squash. And Cucumbers and herbs!
We started cutting down this invasive tree that would otherwise be shading my garden.
It’s quickly become clear that my idea of using the invasive tree wood as a Hugel mound is not going to work. We are going to try and find someone that can chip the trees up for us.
This may not happen in time for my garden to be in the back yard, but the side yard gets mostly full sun too. I’ll probably start there this year even though it doesn’t get full sun and isn’t my first choice. My goals for this year’s garden are to get as much fresh food as possible and to create good organic compost for next year’s garden.
I found a stash of seeds that I have had for a few years. They may not germinate but I thought I would try to get them started anyway. I also wanted to learn how to cold stratify seeds. I did some google searching and found this technique using plastic milk jugs on http://www.wintersown.org/.
I raided the recycling and came up with a few more containers that I re-purposed into winter germination containers.
I got four of these large containers of smoothie greens at Kroger’s last week.
We closed on our purchase of this house in May of this year. We had 45 days before we had to be out of our old house to get the plumbing and the electrical redone along with the kitchen and bathroom in the new house. Not to mention the drywall, painting and flooring that we did ourselves. There are still many small projects left but we are tackling them at a slower pace since we are moved in now and everything necessary is done.
We will be having our first guests later this month. Steve’s brother and his wife will be visiting for a few days.
The only major project we will be completing before winter is the Hugel Mound and removing the tree between our house and the neighbor’s. That tree is also blocking all the potential light to my garden. It has to go.
I will be using the logs from the dead tree Steve cut down last spring as well as other logs branches and composted leaves and yard waste from around the yard. This will clear most of the debris and make space for the chopped down tree and other fresh yard waste from this year. I plan on letting that stuff age until next fall. Then we can start a second Hugel mound or replenish this years depending on how fast it breaks down. Stay tuned.