- It's harvest time and I'm sure lots of folks will be preparing to store some of their bounty. Remember some of these helpful hints:
Instead of heating up the house, use your crockpot for things like tomato paste and apple butter.
Grapes will dry faster if you nick the skin with a sharp knife. To dry apples, peel, core, and cut into rings which can be strung on a string to dry. Remember not to let apples touch each other.
To dry green beans, string, blanch and hang in a cool dry place making sure beans aren't touching.
- Horsetail - you see it everywhere. Why not dry it and use it for a fungicide spray. Horsetail dries quickly when spread in a thin layer. Place in a dry, airy place. When plants are thoroughly dry, crumble and store in jars. For spray, use 1/4 cup dried horsetail to one gallon of boiling water. Remove from heat and let stand overnight. Strain. Horsetail spray is poisonous if ingested, so keep away from children and pets.
- Here's a good technique to use up those leftover seeds. Plant a salad garden! This will work in the vegetable garden and can be adapted to living spaces which have no soil by using large containers or even a child's plastic swimming pool. Whatever planting vessel you use, be sure it has adequate drainage holes.
In a small bowl or bucket dump all your lettuce, radish, carrot, spinach, beet, and any other cold season vegetable seeds and mix well. If you want to grow onion sets from seed for next year's garden, add them too. Prepare your seed bed and broadcast the seeds on the soil. Don't worry if it sows a little thick in places. Cover the seed bed with about 1/4 inch of soil, tamp down, water, and wait. When the seedlings start to come up and reach about 1/4 to 1/2 inch high rake thin them. I know it sounds scary but just get out your rake and drag it across the bed so that the teeth dig into the soil about 1/2 inch. It catches just enough seedlings and thins the bed. In a few weeks you will have a bed full of salad makings. If you decide to use this technique in the spring you could also add herbs like parsley, basil, and thyme to the salad garden mix. Enjoy!