The Weekly Digs #139

by Becky

In the Garden

We took a few days this week to get some spinach and kale planted. I planted them outside of the caterpillar tunnel, which I may regret later but it will be a good experiment just the same! I’ll see how they do.

I think next week (or maybe the week after since next week is Thanksgiving) I will plant spinach inside the caterpillar tunnel to compare.

I didn’t retouch this photo at all. It was beautiful how the light hit the trees. This is our “front yard”.

In addition to the spinach planting, I was watering my plants and forgot I had some radishes! Eek. They were huge! I brought them in and put them in the cold room. I think maybe I’ll try and pickle a few and see if they are still good.

Radishes

I also harvested some carrots and kale to make a soup. It’s awesome to still have lots of greens to choose from this time of year.

We had our first hard frost on Thursday. It had warmed up during the day and I opened my tunnel and took off all the row covers. By the time I got home from taking the kids to an activity, it was 33ºF out! Usually I’m more on top of the weather but I hadn’t checked that day.

Chasing chickens. Such a fun activity for the kids. They LOVE the chickens!

When I covered the plants in my tunnel, there was already frost on a few and the row cover was frozen together. I had Cameron go out with a propane heater and warm up the tunnel just so it was above freezing. 

I have cold hardy crops in there except one, some cucumbers that I have been babying. They made it through the night just fine but I wasn’t really thinking when I planted them.

I wasn’t thinking because they are a variety that requires pollination and half the time I have it under a row cover. I have been trying to pollinate some by hand when I see them blooming. 

Preserving

The pantry is all done!!!! *Big sigh of relief* This signals the season of being able to slow down, read, and enjoy more family time. I am very happy to have it done and very happy to enjoy healthy homemade food all winter. I am also an artist and I’m hoping to spend some time drawing and painting over winter too.

It took me three days (with lots of interruptions) to edit the video and get it ready for the tour on Youtube. I hope you guys enjoy it.

YouTube video

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12 comments

Wendy November 22, 2021 - 7:42 am

Wow, just wow. Looks great everything. Its wonderfull to look at. Rest earned big time.

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Katie C. November 22, 2021 - 2:38 pm

Good job!

The one thing that surprises me is that you don’t have more dried herbs. The amount of dried oregano alone that I use amazes me.

It would be interesting to me to see how you use some of you canned and preserved items in your cooking.

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Alison November 23, 2021 - 12:53 am

Do you vacuum seal your dried foods in the jars to remove all the oxygen? If so, when you open one to use some of the ingredients, do you have to reseal it again and remove the oxygen? Do you rehydrate the veggies before cooking with them? I have a dehydrator but I’m struggling with the best ways to use the finished product.

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theseasonalhomestead November 27, 2021 - 4:32 pm

Sometimes. I did remove oxygen in several of the jars this year just to test it out. And yes, the plan is to reseal it again after using some. I think it’s nice not to need to use oxygen absorbers and vacuum seal.

But all that said, if you’re planning on using up the dehydrated food in two years or less, you don’t really need to bother taking the oxygen out. I’ve had dried leeks last 3 years in a mason jar with a lid and did not vacuum seal it or use an oxygen absorber.

I generally do rehydrate vegetables before cooking. This week I made some stuffing for thanksgiving using the celery I dried this year and put it in hot water for a few hours then simmered the water for 15 minutes before I used the celery in the stuffing.

Exceptions would be if you’re using dried vegetables in a soup or something with liquid in it. Soup already has lots of liquid and the vegetables rehydrate as it cooks.

Soup is definitely my favorite way to used dried food. You hardly notice any textural difference. I make black bean soup with my dried peppers and we all like it a lot.

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Angie f November 23, 2021 - 1:58 am

Wow! Just wow! You are amazing and your cold room looks amazing! Lots of hard work in there! I have a couple questions, not sure you answer questions but thought I would try. How do you use your dehydrated peppers? I’m getting more into dehydrating and would like ways to use them besides the obvious soup/chili. What is the name of the paste tomatoes you grow? Where do you purchase most of your seed from.? I love to can tomato sauce and want to can other tomato based items but mines are always too watery and I have to cook forever to thicken. Thanks for any information you don’t mind sharing.

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theseasonalhomestead November 27, 2021 - 4:38 pm

Hi Angie, I have some resources for you on my website.

I like to use the peppers mostly in soup and chili as you mentioned, but have also rehydrated them and used them on pizza, in eggs, or to make fajitas.

All the seed I used this year can be found here, it has varieties and links to where I buy them): https://www.theseasonalhomestead.com/seed-picks-for-my-2021-garden-warm-season-crops/

My favorite canning recipes can be found here: https://www.theseasonalhomestead.com/canning-recipes-that-actually-taste-good/ It has where I get my pizza sauce recipe from which is nice and thick without all the simmering.

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Katie C. November 25, 2021 - 12:49 pm

I was scooping out my butternut squash and had a thought. Do you save your seeds from things like squash to plant the next year?

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theseasonalhomestead November 27, 2021 - 4:43 pm

Yes, you totally can, as long as it’s an open pollination variety and wasn’t grown next to any other different squash varieties. I often refer to a book I have when I have questions about seed starting. Here’s my affiliate link to it https://amzn.to/3ldVwqa It’s a great resource.

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emily hookom November 26, 2021 - 11:37 pm

It’s beautiful! Congratulations on your harvest.

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theseasonalhomestead November 27, 2021 - 4:43 pm

Thank you so much!!!

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Julie Fisher November 27, 2021 - 12:37 am

Wonderful! Your site is very well done. I really appreciate your attention to detail. I have never been interested in trying Kimchi until I read your recipe. We harvested our first ever Pak Choi today, but it is headed for soup and an experiment in the freeze dryer; so probably I will try the Kimchi next year.

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theseasonalhomestead November 27, 2021 - 4:46 pm

Thanks Julie! Mmm, I love Pak Choi, that sounds delicious.

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