Fresh Pumpkin Butter (made with homegrown Pumpkins)

This past weekend we had our annual Trails for Kids fundraising ride. We had to postpone it a little bit… because we all know there’s this Pandemic thing going on. Honestly, I think it was a good time. In April we’re always fighting rain. Now, if you think about September… you could fight fall rains, but you also have a little warmer temps… so who knows. It’s kind of hit and miss on both occasions. We actually discussed that during our follow-up board meeting.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… first things first… a few weeks ago my I had to harvest my pumpkins early because of squash bugs. They were sitting in my wagon behind my house waiting for me to do something with them.

Jump forward a couple of weeks… I’ve now made some pumpkin purée, but I still have pumpkins running out of my tookus. That’s even with sitting a few up on the front porch for fall decór. And don’t read that wrong, I was extremely excited that I could grow pumpkins!! But my thought is, I don’t want them going to waste.

I was having conversations with my friend Jody on what we were each bringing to the bake sale at the Trails for Kids auction. She mentioned her dad was making biscuits for her to donate. She wasn’t sure if they’d be plain or cheesy/garlicky, but if they were plain, she was going to try and convince him to make Apple Butter. I mentioned since it was fall, she should also throw in some pumpkin butter. She laughed and said she a) didn’t have any, b) didn’t know how to make any, and c) didn’t have time to learn.

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Pumpkin Purée

Let’s make Pumpkin Purée from the fantastic pumpkins you grew in your garden! You didn’t spend all summer growing pumpkins for nothing, after all. Oh, I guess… you can use them for Fall/Halloween decorations… but you should probably put up a few just because, right? Well today, I’m going to show you how!

Pumpkin Purée

1.Start with the pumpkins. Now, my pumpkins here are a little smaller than they should be, but sometimes you have to harvest pumpkins early. That was the case here. These pumpkins weighed in between 4 and 6 pounds. Wash them off. While you will remove the outer shells, it is best to clean off the excess soil. Preheat oven to 375˚F.

2. Make sure you have a sharp knife to be able to slice the pumpkins in half. You’ll also want a spoon, olive oil, and salt. Plus, go ahead and prepare your pans. Get a large jelly roll pan (half sheet) and line with parchment paper. The parchment paper helps with cleanup later. (more…)

Pumpkins

As the summer draws to a close and fall takes over, it’s finally time to harvest your summer’s hard work in the shape of a pumpkin. I have spent a lot of time this summer researching pumpkins. This is the first year I’ve tried to grow pumpkins. In the past, I’ve dumped pumpkin seeds in a fence row and had voluntary pumpkins grow, but now is time to learn about pumpkins.

I planted 2 types of pumpkins this summer. 

The first was from seed.

When Jody was here helping plant marigolds and my Blackberry Bush, we also planted pumpkin seeds. In the past, I’ve had good luck just throwing pumpkin guts away in the fall after carving jack-o-lanterns. They wind up in a fence row. Come next spring/summer plants start growing. But a pumpkin is 90% water and if you don’t water them in a dry summer, they won’t survive.

The second type of pumpkin was a store-bought plant. I bought it at the local farm store. It was a Bonnie Plant – Pumpkin Heirloom Jack-O-Lantern. (more…)

How to Get Rid of Squash Bugs

Squash bugs are enough to drive you crazy. You walk out and your garden is growing just fine one minute, and the next there is a crapton of some weird bugs that will drive you mad. Squash bugs seem to appear out of nowhere. One minute nothing and the next BAM! I have no clue where they came from or how they found me, but they did. Stupid bugs.

What are Squash Bugs?

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How to Freeze Okra

When I decided to start and plant my garden this spring, I asked my family what they would like to see planted. I mean, after all, they were going to be reaping the rewards too. At that point in the day, I think that we were eating lunch (or dinner… but we were definitely eating) and the oldest and my husband had fried okra. They both immediately chimed in and said, Okra.

Okra… um… okay. I know nothing about making fried okra, but okay, I’ll figure it out. Oh wait, you mean you can eat okra that isn’t fried. Okay, I’ll learn about that too while I’m at it. Because, why not. (more…)

How to Can Peaches

It is that time of the year… Peaches!! They are in full supply. I love peaches. They are so great to eat as is or you can can them for later. Like the dead of winter when you are wanting that zesty, sweet taste of summer. There are 2 ways to can, we’ll get to that.

I would like to start some of my own Peach trees, but until that happens, I know where there is a stand on the side of the road ready to sell! And that’s just where I went on Sunday. I also bought a watermelon and my mom a cantaloupe. I don’t like cantaloupe but she does.

A fun side note about the word syrup… Grandma had me reading in her Joy of Cooking Cookbook about freezing peaches. We were looking for sugar measurements. Anyway, they kept spelling syrup, sirup. That spelling was driving me nuts. I wish I was still in Grad School so that I had access to the Oxford English Dictionary to look up the spelling history.

Also, side note: if you are canning anything… canning lids and jars for that matter are difficult to find right now. Supposedly it isn’t a shortage, but more so everyone was home and raising a garden. All canning is happening RIGHT. NOW.

Peaches

Grandma told me that she read that 1 bushel of peaches should produce 15, 20, 30 jars of peaches. It’s so funny that 3 different things she read said 3 different things. Either way, we were well on our way to that. We had 3/4 of a bushel of peaches. We got 13-quart jars and 2 half-full gallon bags for freezing.

Not all the peaches were ready for canning, so grandma’s tip is to lay them out on plastic overnight. The next day most all of them were ready to go. (more…)

Sweet Corn vs Field Corn

Isn’t all corn the same? Well, no. Sweet corn is the type of corn that you grow in your personal garden or you buy at the store, Farmer’s Market, etc. Field Corn is what you’ll see in fields as you drive through Nebraska (or Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, etc). You’ll see the Farmer’s out in the field planting with a big planter and harvesting with a combine. The other big difference is when it is peak harvest time.

Similarities and Differences

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Planting Blackberry Bushes

This poor blackberry bush kind of became a laughing stock at my house. Why? Well… because, here we are in June and I bought it at the end of April. So what? Well… I just planted it yesterday.

I know, I know. It’s been living in the pot that I bought it in. That’s not a good thing really. The root system gets used to that size and then the plant could be stunted. But I wasn’t really sure where to plant it.

Jody came over yesterday and she and I went around planting stuff. We planted Marigolds in the garden as well as a couple of pumpkin plants. And… we planted the infamous Blackberry Bush. FINALLY. 

Some things to keep in mind when planting a Blackberry Bush: (more…)

Garden #2

Yes, you read that title correctly. I started my first garden in March. It sounded like a good thing… but garden number 2. Now I think I’ve seriously lost my mind. So here’s how we got to this point…

When I finally decided to start a garden, I had 2 places chosen. One was where the original garden went in and the second was this spot.

There were pros and cons to each spot that was chosen.

Original garden

  • Pros
    • Closer to the house
    • Closer to water
  • Cons
    • Less potential space
    • Trees in the yard to contend with

This garden area

  • Pros
    • Larger area
    • Very few items to compete with (i.e. trees)
    • Lots of sunlight
  • Cons
    • Harder to get water to 

Because of this… the other area was chosen. Then, I started to have “issues” getting my corn to grow (or so I thought at the time). So yesterday morning I decided I was going to start a garden in the second location

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Planting the Garden – Coronavirus Day 42

This weather has been nuts. I swear, it goes along with this year. This year has been nuts. Wow! So weird, in fact I put my sweatshirt on backward this morning. Oy! But, it’s the perfect time to plant a garden since we’re all sitting at home with nothing to do. And that’s just what I did yesterday. I started the garden, planted it once, that didn’t work, so I’ve proceeded to grow seeds in the greenhouse. Update on that to come shortly. But, when the first set of seeds didn’t work, I added more soil, tilled it up a couple of times… AND… now we’re ready! Ready to plant. Except the weather isn’t cooperating.

It has rained at some point every day this week. Yesterday morning included. BUT then…

So first off…

My friend Janet talked about planting corn on her Instagram stories the other day. She mentioned an Earthway Precision Garden Seeder. I went on the hunt to do a little research and kind of fell in love. I was trying to find one locally so that I could get my corn planted… I might be itching to get my corn planted. (more…)