Blog Catchup… then transplant (repeat to infinity)

April 7, 2013 - Stanley Cottage Garden

April 7, 2013 – Stanley Cottage Garden

I’ve been a little tardy with blog posts since I’ve been spending most of my evenings lately transplanting seedlings into larger pots (hooray!) so this is a catchup/roundup post which is heavy on photos and links and low on verb-age.

Preserved Meyer Lemons

Preserved Meyer Lemons

Was very pleased to find more Meyer lemons because I hadn’t yet gotten around to salt preserving some – the regular lemons we had done at the start of the year were so amazing I did more plus a big jar of limes which will be two months old next week and ready to try. Here’s the link to our post on making preserved lemons. One update is that I now fully quarter them as it makes it easier to use them later and squeeze majority of the juice into the jar before then rolling them in salt and squishing them into the jar.

Roasted Garlic Powder

Roasted Garlic Powder

After making homemade garlic powder we decided to try roasted garlic powder and it’s amazing – very strong in flavour and smell – makes amazing garlic bread.

Camembert being wrapped on day 14

Camembert being wrapped on day 14

After a couple years break (since before the move here in 2011) I decided I wanted to try and make aged cheese again. I had tried various cheeses then including cheddar, mozzarella, blue and Parmesan but had the best outcome with Camembert. I never managed to get a cheddar that didn’t develop nasty mould and I found waxing a pain in the butt. With Camembert you babysit it for two weeks, then you wrap it and then hope for the best before you eat it in two months (or more) later. That said, the cost of Camembert ingredients is steep up front. My favourite cheese book is Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carrol and her website/online store is here. Making fresh cheese is pretty easy and requires no special equipment or ingredients – I always make queso fresco the day before taco night – here’s a link from thekitchn.com that’s easy to follow – you can also use lemon juice or 1 tsp citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup water if you have it.

 

Veggie Grow-Op before transplanting

Veggie Grow-Op before transplanting


A picture of some of the seedlings that were ready for transplant into their own pots – as usual I’ve over sown for what I need but can never bring myself to sacrifice them. I just ordered another grow light this morning to set up veggie grow-op #3 next week. Below: home gardener tip beer cups make great tomato transplant pots (way cheaper than buying pots) – I use a sharp paring knife to carefully slice four drain slits into the bottom of each cup and they will last for years.

Beer cups make great plant pots (cut drain holes)

Beer cups make great plant pots (cut drain holes)

Garlic - First day of spring - 2013 vs. 2012

Garlic – First day of spring – 2013 vs. 2012

Visual representation of how much warmer winter was last year – the garlic bed last year and this year on the same day. I’ve tripled the garlic planting this year – about 160 cloves – because we finished last year’s crop in only a couple months.

Fermented Carrots with Garlic

Fermented Carrots with Garlic

We started fermenting vegetables this year and were surprised how easy it is. Andrew always has at least four batches of Kimchi going and my absolute favourite has been fermented carrot and garlic per this recipe at Well Preserved. If you’ve been wanting to try fermenting this is your recipe to try.

Red Wine Vinegar - Batch 2

Red Wine Vinegar – Batch 2

Homemade vinegar is the search that produces the most hits on this blog. So I’m going to put all the links for my previous blogs below for easy reference in case anyone is interested. One update after bottling batch 2 a couple weeks ago and starting a white wine vinegar experiment using raw cider vinegar (it worked!) I just want to confirm you only need raw vinegar that contains mother to make vinegar at home – you DO NOT need to buy a chunk of mother of vinegar. In a previous post I had noted that the red wine vinegar from raw vinegar didn’t taste as good/strong as the one I made with a mother, but the second generation one from that vinegar was just as excellent as the mother batch.
Previous vinegar blogs: Post 1 Post 2 Post 3

Homemade seed tapes - carrots, turnips and green onions

Homemade seed tapes – carrots, turnips and green onions

There was in interesting blog post on Away to Garden about why vegetables stretch into spindly seedlings (or trying to explain why). I had big problems with this last year – this year I’ve lowered the lighting closer to the plants and trying to keep temperatures cooler in the rooms with plants. Related to this is about thinning seedlings vs. planting them with the proper space in the first place so as an experiment I’ve made some homemade seed tapes – I used these instructions on Susan Wittig Albert’s Lifescapes blog. Helpful tip: using more cornstarch than suggested (as I did first try) gives you a solid lump and not glue.

Pink Lemonade Blueberry

Pink Lemonade Blueberry

And finally we’ve been on a fruit buying binge for the garden this year – dwarf apricot and peach trees, red and white currants, two kinds of blueberry including the lovely one above and some more raspberries because you can’t have too many of those. I also bought a hardy fig in a moment of weakness, I really should have a garden center chaperone this time of the year.

Oh and I did manage to get in the peas and broad beans last weekend before the rains turned the back yard into our own Lakes District, fortunately they are on high ground. I am a little worried that I’ve started my sweet potato slips too late as they aren’t sprouting yet… time will tell.

The end until next time… Happy spring and enjoy gardening.

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About stanleycottagegarden

We garden, we cook, sometimes we blog.
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