Buying your "dream home," protecting your mailbox, starting and transplanting tomatoes, and a zucchini recipe.
Well, three years later, the open space is no longer open, and there are housing developments going up all around us. We were just the next stop down the highway. We thought it would take ten or 15 years before the area started to grow ... guess again! So, my advice is when you're looking for property, stay away from the main road.
Also, in reference to the article about protecting your mail box from the neighborhood juveniles ... we had the same problem until recently. For our third mailbox (in three years) we decided to just bring in our mailbox at night and put it out in the morning. It is mounted on a platform and attached with one long bolt through the base that is not tightened down, it just lifts off the platform - simple, not dangerous and certainly not illegal!
I have been growing all of our own vegetables for six years now and I have to disagree about not turning your grow lights off at night. Seedlings need about 14-16 hours of light under flourescents, but they do need a period of darkness. Most of a plant's growth occurs at night. A simple timer is only about $5.00 and I have found it well worth the expense (I run lights in the house as well as out in my greenhouse to supplement for the rainy, overcast springs in the Pacific Northwest). If you really don't want to bother with a timer then just turn lights on first thing in the morning and off last thing at night.
When growing seedlings I use two-ounce plastic cups. I cut some holes in the bottom with a utility knife for drainage. Then, because I don't like the tedious job of separating tiny seedlings, I just seed one plant per cup ... a package of seed goes a long way if you do this. I don't feel guilty about using plastic because I use and re-use all my plastic items as much as possible ... milk jugs and margarine tubs never see the trash around here! You can even sterilize them for use again by using a 1:10 solution of bleach and water. I save peat pots for vegetables that do not like their roots disturbed such as cucumbers and squash.
When transplanting your tomato seedlings plant them almost up to the top cluster of leaves and remove all the bottom leaves. Do this a few times increasing the height of the container each time and you will have a good root system by the time you plant out in the garden. One-half gallon cardboard milk containers work great for the last container. You can also plant them right up to the top four leaves in the garden for a really sturdy plant. I also dig a small trench and plant tomatoes "on their side" in the hole to keep the root system close to the warmth of the sun.
Not to change the subject, but I would really be interested in fool-proof recipes for canned tomatoes and for dill or garlic add pickles. My pickles always come out mushy and my stewed tomatoes leave much to be desired. Luckily I can freeze everything else I grow because canning and I don't seem to get along. The only exception to my disappointments with canning is zucchini relish so I'd like to share that with you because it is really good and a good way to use up that prolific zucchini.
10 cups ground zucchini (use food processor
or chop finely) 4 cups chopped onions 4 tablespoons salt (pickling or canning)
Mix above well, then let stand overnight in a large non-reactive pot. Then rinse in water, drain and squeeze well between towels.
Then combine the following:
2-1/2 cups vinegar 5 cups sugar 2 teaspoons celery seed 1/2 teaspoon pepper 2 red peppers (ground) 1 green pepper (ground) 1 teaspoon turmeric I teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon nutmeg All of the zucchini-onion mix
Bring to boil in non-reactive pot, then simmer 30 minutes stirring constantly. Pour into hot canning jars and process in boiling water bath for ten minutes.
This relish is great on hot dogs and hamburgers, makes a wonderful tartar sauce if you just add mayo ... and I'm not sure about this one, but my mother-in-law says it's great in beans!
Well, if somebody out there will take pity on me and send me recipes for pickles and tomatoes that are fool-proof I'll be set for this gardening season ... if only it would quit raining sometime this month!
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|Title Annotation:||homesteading hints; includes recipe|
|Author:||Llewellyn, Joyce M.|
|Publication:||Countryside & Small Stock Journal|
|Date:||Sep 1, 1993|
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