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 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…)

Homeschooling 101: Planting Seeds… Coronavirus Day 38

Once upon a time, we were in a science class in grade school. We planted beans and corn from seed and watch the germination process. Jump forward 20+ some odd years (I don’t know how many) and I decided to do that with the little. It was a time of the Coronavirus Pandemic when schools were closed for the rest of the year and we had to homeschool. And when I say homeschool, our school district wasn’t prepared for that. Eventually, they sent out daily work, that wouldn’t harm the kiddos grade, but would help it should they do it. But after we did that work, we did our own education as well. This time… science.

Since this spring we got into gardening, why not do the germinating thing, right? I had seeds waiting to be planted in the ground. Mainly corn and green beans as I attempted to start other plants in the greenhouse.

Corn prefers to be started directly in the ground. Beans on the other hand don’t mind being started indoors, but in my luck, they still do better directly in the ground. (more…)

Adding Soil/Fertilizer… Coronavirus Day 36

I gave up on the seeds in the ground. Grandma swears I should give it a little more time. And truthfully my dad always says I’m a little impatient… but they’ve been planted since March 30 and here we are April 18th (that was Saturday this all went down) and no signs of anything. The seedlings I planted were for cooler weather. Not cold… there’s a difference. But they prefer the cooler weather of April, May, and possibly June versus the summer heat of July and August.

3 weeks and nothing. So I pulled the tiller out and said screw it. Hubby started “feeling sorry” for me because I really wanted more soil from our manure pile, but we don’t have a front end loader. I wasn’t in the mood to try and bucket it as we did back in March. And truthfully he’d been wanting to rent this machine because it comes with multiple attachments including one to work on the brush in timber. (more…)

My New Greenhouse… Coronavirus Day 36

Some days I have great ideas… and other days I have ideas that make you scratch your head wondering where on earth I came up with this. Today’s project might be one of those… WHAT?!?! moments. So between the gardening and landscaping this year… I’ve really gotten into plants. I bought a lot of the flowers that I’ve used for landscaping, but the vegetables for the garden are a different story. I really wanted to grow my own plants. After garden planting #1 went awry, I decided to try the little miniature greenhouses. You know the little starter kits you buy at Home Depot (<– I used that one… not an affiliate link, just a link to what I used) or Lowes and I even found them at Dollar General.

Those starter kits are addicting. So I accidentally took over my kitchen table. Whoops. That was when I went on the hunt to see how much it would cost to make a greenhouse. There are kits you can buy but this was a DIY Greenhouse that we decided upon. This round anyway :).

My New Greenhouse

First things first… you need to decide how big it is going to be. Where you are going to put it. And buy the materials. Since I already had the trailer on from taking scrap to the scrapyard, it was the perfect time to get the materials. We decided on a 12×16. So here’s the material list: (more…)

Starting Vegetables from Seed… Coronavirus Day 35

I got a little excited back at the end of March trying to get plants in the ground. In case you wondered… none of them germinated. None of them came up. I decided to give up… although Grandma told me to give it just a little more time. But I don’t have high hopes. So I decided to go the route of starting them indoors and then transplanting them. What do I have to lose at this point? I still have time to try this method and if it doesn’t work, try planting directly in the garden again. I guess that’s one good thing about starting early.

I still haven’t given up hope on finding potato starts, but I’m not finding them either. Fingers crossed I find some… but…

Back to the day at hand…

Starting Vegetables from Seed.

  • You’ll need a good potting mix. Typically I try to use from our soil pile, but I actually bought seed starting potting mix. 
  • Seed trays that include an outer tray, inner tray, and the clear plastic dome.
  • Seeds (of course)
  • Water.
  • Optional: Seedling markers.
  • Optional: Seed Dibber or pencil. Helps measure how deep to plant the seeds.

First things first, you’ll want to put the soil into the individual trays. (more…)

Planted the Garden Today… Coronavirus Day 17

So here’s the thing… The thing is… The thing… Okay okay, the thing is… I might have planted my garden too soon. I might have gotten so dang excited I couldn’t stand myself and jumped the gun.

I live in Zone 6B. That is temperatures -5-0˚F on the cold side. A couple of years ago we got colder than that… but typically this is pretty accurate for SW Missouri.

My Grandma and my dad told me that my Great Grandpa said we needed to have our potatoes planted in the ground by St. Patrick’s Day (March 17). That didn’t happen since I didn’t start my garden digging until March 21st. Because of the country lockdown, I haven’t been many places. Lowes and a local farm store. The farm store was the only place that had potato starts. I didn’t get mine in time. I guess because everyone is home with nothing to do… everyone is starting a garden. Sigh!

But I did a little research to see if there is anything I should have planted. Turns out as long as you have daytime temps of 56˚F or more you can plant corn, celery, peppers, tomatoes, watermelons, squash, and beans. That’s what the internet tells us. These plants tend to like cooler weather… except maybe the watermelon and the corn… I’m not sure I agree with the internet on those.

I looked at the back of the package. We’re at March 30th so I figured that’s close enough to April. A lot of the packages said April so I went for it. (more…)

Landscaping My House… Coronavirus Day 14 & 15

This spring has been quite interesting, to say the least. Between school being postponed and doing some work at home for school (challenges)… and the fact that the oldest daughter’s school was canceled while the youngest was on Spring Break. And all the reports of the coronavirus… aka COVID-19. So much uncertainty. 

But one thing that has happened I think for a lot of individuals is we’ve been given the gift of time. Something we all beg for. Everything is canceled. Can’t do anything. So why not work on that “honey-do” list.

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do is landscape our house. There have been a million reasons why I haven’t. Actually, if you look at that picture above… there to the left side of the picture, that left side of the porch… last year I planted perennial flowers. What is a perennial flower?

A Perennial Flower/Plant is a flower or plant that live more than 2 years.

While we’re at it… what’s an annual flower?

An Annual Flower lives for just one season/year.

The flowers I planted there by the porch DID NOT come back. Bummer. Here is where I tell you that I have a degree in Agriculture and I’m pretty sure I have a black thumb. My background is animal agriculture. Although when I was in college I loved the agronomy side of agriculture (plants, soils, horticulture) to the point I almost switched majors to be an agronomy major. But still… growing things is not my strong suit. I struggle, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try.

So why not give landscaping a try? I actually had to take a landscaping class in college so I got the basic gist of how to landscape. The rest comes from trial and error and the internet.

First things first

Decide on the area where you are landscaping. It is a good idea to use something such as spray paint to outline your area. Another good tip is to pay attention to your sun. Study for a few days, weeks, whatever your time frame you can so that you plant flowers that are based on the lighting.

So I outlined my area. We planned on making a walkway as well as having flowers/shrubs. Next came brainstorming on how I was going to make a retainer for my material and then what kind of material I was going to try and retain.

So many questions have to be answered before you can start. (more…)

Starting the Garden… Coronavirus Day 8 & 9

A year ago I really wanted to start a garden. It just wasn’t in the cards. We were trying to finish up our house and there was no time for a garden. Gardens are actually a lot of work. I had one a few years ago that was a small raised bed. I tended it every day. They are work. 

But then this year… coronavirus hit and BAM, we all had time on our hands. haha. Back in January, we had a fire that burned up my little tiller. It wasn’t really the size to start a big garden anyway, but it was what I had… but the fire consumed it as well as that original raised bed I had. haha. Ironic… kind of.

I started probing hubby trying to question if we could get a tiller, etc. Why? Because I want to start a garden. Why? Why not? Why? Why not? Okay, you get the picture.

So hubby went on the hunt to find me a tiller. He finally landed on the Powermate 18 in. 196cc Gas 4-Cycle Rear-Tine Tiller. It’s a workhorse (pronounced haus). (more…)