Elderberry Juice

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?NYVCU 12 August 2010 Elderberry Juice

Nine pounds of elderberries were picked today. This makes a total pf 21 pounds in the last week or so. To utilize them it was decided to make juice. After some experimenting this is my method. Four cups of berries are placed in a container, and water is added to fill the container still containing the berries. The purpose is to obtain a fairly strong juice. The berries are placed in a pot set to gently boil for about 20 minutes, meanwhile mashing periodically to break the berries apart. The mixture is strained through a cheese cloth to extract as much juice as possible from the pulp. Pictures depict the method.

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Thornless Blackberry

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?IZJEX 11 August 2010 Thornless Blackberry

Seven pounds of berries were picked from these two thornless blackberry plants in their third year, and the first year of production. The berries ripen over a period of time. Quality is excellent. All the berries have a slight tart taste. This depends on the degree of ripeness. If the berry is fully ripe, determined by it falling off the stem when touched, the berry will be sweet with almost no tart taste.

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More Elderberry

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?CHFRS 11 August 2010 Elderberry

More elderberry bushes are producing. Today 7 pounds were picked. I am experimenting with making juice by gently boiling for about 20 minutes then squeezing the pulp through cheesecloth.  Depending upon the amount of water the juice can have the consistency desired. According the some the juice is beneficial. At least it cannot be worse than commercial fruit juice. One or two pounds of fruit produce about one liter of juice.

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Processing Black Walnuts.

There are millions of Black Walnuts, which are an excellent food source, that go to waste yearly in North America, since people do not know how to process or crack the nuts, due to the strength of the hull and the nut proper. . First it is necessary to remove the hull, then crack the nut to get the meat. Here is my simple method utilized to process this wonderful nut. The pictures are annotated and are self explanatory.
http://www.durgan.org/URL/?UFWOW 17 October 2008 (Juglans nigra L. – black walnut) or American Walnut.
http://www.durgan.org/URL/?IWMKD 19 October 2008 Black Walnut Nutcracker.

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?Squirrel 25 June 2009 Black Walnut and Squirrels.
Black Walnut nuts are extremely tough and the meat is in the four quadrants around the shell. These nuts are very difficult to crack even for humans. I observed that the squirrels simply gnaw the four corners and remove the meat.

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Processing Elderberry.

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?VGLUS 8 August 2010 Processing Elderberries.

Eight pounds of elderberries were picked this morning, and removed from the branches. The berries were picked by snapping off the fruit bearing branch and placing in a plastic bag. The problem is removing the small berries from the branches. Usually the process is done by hand plucking. Since I had a 1/2 inch screen, it was decided to see if this would work. It did with amazing results. The berry removal only took a few minutes and was more than satisfactory. After all the berries were removed, all were put through the mesh again to trap any small branch parts remaining. This could be improved by utilizing as 1/4 mesh screen, which was not available. The berries will be used for juice, some cooked as a table fruit, and some frozen for later use in juice.

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Dark Fleshed Tomatoes

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?RPNTK 7 August 2010 Dark Fleshed Tomatoes

Two types of dark fleshed tomatoes, heirlooms, indeterminate are depicted. The flesh is darker than a normal red tomato, depending upon the amount of ripening, and the fruit has a unique, pleasant, distinct taste. These are field ripened, which are seldom seen in stores. Usually any tomato that has a perfect shape with no markings is picked green or long before ripening. The dark fleshed tomatoes are certainly my favorites and when a tomato is needed these plants are checked first. At the present time they are a hard sell, since the public has become use to perfect shaped tomatoes, picked green.

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Blackberry. Picking Today

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?GJZUW 5 August 2010 Blackberry. Picking Today.

Blackberry plants (2) are producing well. I stand up between the net and the bushes when picking. The staggered ripening is convenient, since I pick about every three days. There is little wastage.

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Okra Flower

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?WMCZM 5 August 2010 Okra Flower
Four flowers were in bloom on the Okra plants. The delightful, clear form of the bloom is a pleasure to behold. Flowers exist only for one day. I enjoy them.

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Cooking Mushrooms (agaricus bispous)

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?RXDXZ 4 August 2010 Cooking mushrooms (agaricus bispous).
Cooking the (agaricus bispous), common commercial mushroom. I decide to experiment and have for several years utilized the following cooking method. The mushrooms are scrubbed thoroughly with a brush under water to remove any growing media residue. A pot on high heat with a slice of butter is placed on the heat and the mushrooms introduced. Any reasonable amount of mushrooms can be placed in the pot. The mushrooms are cooked (boiled in their own juices) for about fifteen minutes and stirred periodically. There may be a significance amount of moisture present, and this is absorbed by boiling without the lid being removed. A splash of soy sauce is added and stirred vigorously until all the mushrooms are brown. The finished product retains the mushroom shape, and is very meaty in texture. The finished product may be kept in the refrigerator and warmed up in a microwave for serving with little loss in shape.texture and taste, hence the mushrooms can be cooked prior to a meal. Often at family gatherings, I am asked to bring the cooked mushrooms, indicating the method has a bit of merit.

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Tomatoes Ripening

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?JFQPW 4 August 2010 Tomatoes

Tomatoes are ripening quickly. There are very few culls and quality and shape is above average. There are about 15 varieties of about two plants each. The plants are all heavily laden with fruit. There appears to be some type of leaf damage, but the fruit is so advanced that this is no problem. Some varieties are not ripe yet. These are all basically table slicing tomatoes. Lemon Boy and Supersonic appear to be the most prolific and of high quality. The Old German heritage has many fruit, but is not high quality similar to most heirlooms.

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Cauliflower ( Snow King)

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?XIRFU 3 August 2010 Cauliflower ( Snow King)

The cauliflower is later than usual in my garden, since a rabbit ate the top of the seedlings, and they had to be replanted from seedlings. Usually the heads have to produce in June, but these heads are almost perfect, much to my surprise. This type is self blanching, meaning the leaves curl over the head and prevent discoloration from sun exposure. Most commercial growers in my area plant in the Summer for better head formation in September when the weather is cooler.

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Okra, (Clemson Spineless)

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?LOKPV 3 august 2010 Okra, (Clemson Spineless)
This is the first year that Okra has been successfully grown. The last two years the plants simply didn’t produce, but this Summer has been warmer and more sunny than usual.The seeds were sown in the garden in early June. I usually eat the produce raw, but apparently it makes a fine gumbo for stir fries and thickens soups.

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Phlox Plant

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?MLUUR 24 July 2010 Phlox Plant

There is one Phlox plant in the garden. It is a perennial, and is quite attractive. There was once a white phlox, but it never really thrived, and did not grow this year. The clump gets slightly larger each year, and this plant has been in situ for about five years.

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Powdery Mildew

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?OIAAY 24 July 2010 Cucumber damage Powdery mildew fungus.

This fungus has damaged my cucumbers, and acorn squash plants. Some years it does not appear. This year there has been more moisture than usual. Generally I do nothing to control, since all attempts in the past have been failures. One method of inhibiting is to never water the foliage, but one cannot control rainfall. The spores are always present, and will start growth when ideal conditions are encountered.

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Harvest today.

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?EVJZG 1 August 2010 Harvest today.

A few vegetables were picked and dug to take to a friend, whom I was going to visit later in the day. An appropriate amount of what was available was selected.

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Castor Bean Plant (Ricinus Communis)

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?FGAFA 30 July 2010 Castor Bean Plant (Ricinus Communis)
Castor Bean Plant (Ricinus Communis) is an annual.. It has very large tropical appearing leaves, and is grown for its decorative addition to my home garden. The beans if ingested are very poisonous, and must be accounted for to prevent animals and others from ingesting. One or two beans are apparently the route to a very painful death. I remove the large seed pods during the Summer, and only allow a few to mature for the following year’s seed.

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Thornless Blackberry

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?HQSYO 23 July 2010 Thornless Blackberry.

The first season’s picking was commenced today, since a few berries are now ripe.. This is the third year for these two plants, and the first year of full production. It takes two years to establish the plants with no berries allowed to produce by removing the few flowers that form during the first two years. The branches are loaded with berries. Ripe berries are large, and sweet. The berry should be picked when it is released with only a slight pull. Fully ripe the berry falls off when touched, and is then at peak flavor. The name of the cultivar is unknown, since I purchased the small plants in pots with only the name Thornless Blackberry attached. The netting is 8 foot wide crinoline material, which will be improved upon next year using fiber glass screening, since the crinoline netting tears rather easily.

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22 July 2010 Supersonic Hybrid Tomato.

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?EQCCD 22 July 2010 Supersonic Hybrid Tomato. First tomato of the season.

The first tomato was picked today, Supersonic Hybrid. there are 41 large, healthy tomatoes on this one plant. The bed consists of two plants of about 15 different types. All are indeterminate. The support system is a six foot rebar, using strings to support the various branches. Spirals and rings are also used. The objective is to allow the fruit to form without crowding. No fruit is allowed to lay on the ground. Only a few suckers are removed, when they are causing overcrowding. Fruit production should be about a month earlier, but I was away so could not start the seeds at the end of February. No water was added to this heavily mulched bed. There was sufficient rainfall, and much hot, sunny weather this year.

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Hardneck Garlic further drying

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?NTYRF 16 July 2010 Hardneck Garlic further drying.
Garlic has been drying in the shed for about 15 days, and was trimmed today for further drying (curing). Adequate drying insures long storage life. Four bulbs equals one pound weight. The bulbs are almost uniform in size. The largest bulbs were selected for seed stock to be planted in October 2010. There are five to six cloves in each bulb. There are about 60 bulbs or about 15 pounds for consumption.

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Viking Potato

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?XKLUS 15 July 2010 Viking Potato
One Viking potato plant was dug long before the tops have started to die off, meaning long before maturity. The potatoes were perfect and the weight was 2.5 pounds. From previous experience I would consider this plant to be perfect, justifying my growing procedure. Notice how the new tubers congregate around the seed potato around the root.

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Bush Berries.

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?ZCGHJ 14 July 2010 Bush Berries.
About 15 liters of bush berries were picked tonight from three bushes. The types are European gooseberries, American Gooseberries, and Black Currants. The European gooseberry is larger that the American type as indicated by the penny in the photographs. All the berries are excellent quality, and most prolific,and sweet enough to eat with no difficulty. The bushes should not have so many branches, but I was away when pruning should have been done. About 15 branches per plant is sufficient. This will be corrected during the dormant period this year. I will eat raw, cooked, a few pies, and blended for juice. Do not wash bush berries until just prior to utilizing, since they last longer without deteriorating.

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Monarch Butterfly

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?DFWFT 14 July 2010 Monarch Butterfly

Compare this butterfly to the Red Admiral.
http://www.durgan.org/URL/?OUJDC 14 July 2010 Red Admiral Butterfly. The heading is mis-named.

After mis-identifying the Monarch, while walking to my shed I found a dead Monarch. This was most astonishing, maybe because I had Monarchs on my brain. A comments poster corrected me.

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Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?PATUX 14 July 2010 Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

This perennial Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) was planted in the garden five years ago, from a pot purchased from a nursery. It enlarges each year and the blooms last most of the Summer. It is one of my favorite flowers. The flowers look like rockets in flight.

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Red Admiral Butterfly

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?OUJDC 14 July 2010 Monarch Butterfly

A correction this pretty butterfly is not a Monarch. It is a Red Admiral.

This is the first Butterfly seen this year. It was mis-identified a Monarch.

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Crinoline Nylon Mesh

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?ZEKBZ 14 July 2010 Crinoline Nylon Mesh

This crinoline nylon mesh appears ideal for protecting plants from insects and bird attacks. It is not starched. This crinoline nylon mesh is 72 inches wide and comes in rolls of any reasonable length found in fabric stores. It is relatively easy to work with. The price was two dollars a meter, and width is two meters. It could have been useful earlier in the season to protect cabbage from the white cabbage butterfly, and my cherries. It appears I will have to cover my blackberry bushes, since the robins appear to eat them as they ripen. The pictures indicate covering strawberries and a fruiting mulberry bush.

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