Category Archives: Gardening

Harvest just before the snow.

Harvest just before the snow.

Turnips, beets, carrots, tomatoes, mustard greens and snap peas.

10-29-12

Growing spinach indoors for the winter

Growing spinach indoors for the winter

You can grow your own fresh spinach indoors even in the winter.

Supplies:

Potting soil

Something to plant it in (I used a left over seed flat from the spring plantings)

Seeds

Water

I started the seeds by soaking them in water over night then transferred them to a wet paper towel sealed inside a baggie until they sprouted.

Then I prepared my seed flat by adding the soil, getting it good and wet and adding my sprouted seeds.

Spinach likes cool weather so I leave the seed flat outside unless it is going to frost in which case I bring it in and put it near a window.

Come winter when it is below freezing just place in a sunny spot in your house and it will take off.

As you harvest plant more sprouted seeds so that you will have yummy spinach all winter long.

Growing your own is cheaper and these days safer than buying it from the store.

Good luck and happy harvesting!

Herbs

Today I picked some herbs from the garden to dry the winter. I cleaned them up and picked out any blemishes, I tied them into small bunches and strung ribbon through them and then I hung them upside down to dry.

Basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano hang from my light fixture in my kitchen to dry for use though out the winter.

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This is thyme hanging from a hook in my kitchen window to dry.

After a few weeks I took them down and crumbled them in to baby food jars.

Cherokee Purple Tomato

 Here at The Cunningham Homestead we are trying out different varieties of fruits and veggies, we like the idea of finding Heirloom breeds because they haven’t been genetically modified. I have been told that heirlooms are harder to grow; in my experience it has not been that different although that tomato plant did take longer to mature.

Cherokee purple tomatoes are really neat looking they are an heirloom breed tomato so they are not perfectly round. The skin is prone to splitting and is a purple red color but not too different. When you cut it open, however the flesh is a brilliant dark purple color. My husband said it looks like a tomato that is going bad color wise. It has a sweeter taste than traditional tomatoes and seems to be less acidic with soft flesh. If you are looking for a different heirloom breed tomato for your garden I would suggest this one.

 

Garden Notes

Garden notes: started our fall garden seeds today, they are soaking in water and I will plant them tonight. We are planting snap peas, snow peas, loose leaf lettuce, beets, turnips, collards, mustard, carrots, spinach, Heirloom lettuce and green onion. These are in addition to the tomatoes and cucumbers I have already planted for fall.

We currently have cherry tomatoes, plumb tomatoes Cherokee purple tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, bell peppers pumpkin, zucchini, green beans, watermelon and cantaloupe. The herbs we are growing include; dill, basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary.   We planted cauliflower but the bugs ate it and we had to remove them.

This was the first garden we have attempted and we have learned a few lessons so far; you don’t need 5 cherry tomato plants, 3 green bean plants aren’t enough, pumpkin and cucumber seeds can be easily confused, one zucchini plant is not enough (who knew it would be so tasty) pepper plants need to be started earlier if they are going to make peppers, peas are a cold weather crop, watermelon is just plan hard to grow, and growing your own food is incredibly rewarding!          

Some of the most fun we have had is spending the day in the garden together weeding, planting, harvesting, and planning what to grow next. Sophia loves to play in the dirt and who would guess it I do too. I have rarely felt more fulfilled then when I harvest veggies from my garden to cook up for dinner for my family. I have seen those veggies from seeds through harvest and know they are perfectly healthy never sprayed with chemicals or artificial fertilizers. I can feel good about my daughter grabbing a tomato off the vine and eating there in the garden. 

Something about growing your own food makes you not want to waste even a little bit of it, you stop seeing it as just food and start seeing it as all the hard work it took to get to that point. You look for ways to use it like zucchini chocolate chip cookies, and ways to preserve it like canning and freezing. You turn to friends and neighbors for advice, cook books have become permanent members of my kitchen and the need to preserve my efforts even gave me to courage to ask the young Mennonite lady at my local farmers market if she knew anyone who would teach me how to can. That turned out to be fun, her mom is teaching me and it opened up a whole world of possibilities with in their community.