My fascination with the Pawpaw Tree – Asimina triloba

The Pawpaw tree (or paw-paw, or paw paw) is an easy to grow fruit tree that is native to the eastern temperate climates of North America. The scientific name for the pawpaw is Asimina triloba. The pawpaw is the largest edible fruit native to America. Individual fruits weigh 5 to 16 ounces and are 3 to 6 inches in length. The larger sizes will appear plump, similar to the mango.  The pawpaw fruit resembles a green mango, and the tree has many nicknames including “Hoosier banana”, “West Virginia banana”, and “wild banana”.

Pawpaw trees produce large, edible, green fruits, also called pawpaws. The fruit is fragrant and has a distinctly bright, tropical flavor, often described as taking a banana and a peach or mango and mashing them together.  They are ripe when they seem ready to fall off the tree and pick easily. The flesh should have a slight “give”, similar to ripe pears. Eat them fresh or puree and make ice-creams, quick breads, or pies. They don’t store well and should be used as soon as possible, although refrigeration will extend their shelf life a bit.

Pawpaw trees have a rather deep and wide root system and once established don’t need much attention. That’s one of the great bonuses of them being native, they like it here. They don’t tend to be very tall (12-20′) and do well with a nice mix of sun and shade. In the wild, they often grow as an understory tree, in thickets. For the best results, pawpaw trees from different cultivars should be planted together. They are rather pest (see zebra swallowtail below) and disease resistant and do well is well draining soil. Pawpaws have gained popularity because of their nutritional value and because the leaves, bark, and twigs produce anti-cancer and insecticidal compounds called acetogenins. Deer do not typically feed on pawpaw trees, though raccoons and squirrels have been known to eat the pawpaw fruit.

Pawpaws requires a minimum of 400 hours of winter chill and at least 160 frost-free days. Pawpaws appear to be sensitive to low humidity, dry winds and cool maritime summers. The deep winter dormancy of the tree makes it highly frost tolerant, withstanding temperatures of -25° F or lower (hardy to USDA Climate Zone 5). 

The leaf is dark green, and have an appearance of being a tropical fruit tree. The leaves turn yellow and begin to fall in mid-autumn and leaf out again in late spring after the tree has bloomed.

Pawpaw flowers have both male and female reproduction parts, but they are not self-pollinating. The flowers are also protogynaus, i.e., the female stigma matures and is no longer receptive when the male pollen is shed. In addition pawpaws are self-incompatible, requiring cross pollination from another unrelated pawpaw tree, however, bees show no interest in pawpaw flowers. The task of pollenization is left to unenthusiastic species of flies and beetles.

The Zebra Swallowtail, Eurytides marcellus, is the only species of the genus Eurytides (the kite swallowtails) that makes its home in the temperate zones of North America. The sole source of food for the Zebra Swallowtail’s caterpillars is the foliage, particularly the young leaves, of the pawpaw tree. If you see these beautiful butterflies flutter by, there’s a chance there might be some pawpaw trees nearby.

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly

Zebra Swallowtail caterpillar

Zebra Swallowtail caterpillar

Summerfield Herb Farm Easy White Bread

This is a favorite around here, especially for me. Our white bread for market is slightly different and a much larger quantity, but this is the recipe that it started from.

Enjoy

Summerfield Herb Farm Easy White Bread
Yields 2
A delicious simple white bread that can be used as the base for many flavorful breads like rosemary garlic bread.
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Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cups water
  2. 1 cup milk
  3. 1/4 cup butter
  4. 5 cups flour (approximately)
  5. 3 tablespoons sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
  7. 1 package or 1 tablespoon yeast
Instructions
  1. Heat water, milk, and butter until 115 to 120 degrees (butter may not be fully melted and it's ok).
  2. Combine in mixer bowl, 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.
  3. Add liquid mixture and beat at low speed for 2 minutes, you may need to scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl with a mixing spatula or spoon (please not while the mixer is running 😉 )
  4. With mixer on low, and with dough hook, add 1 cup of flour and beat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add 1 1/2 more cups of flour, slowly, then let mix for another 5 minutes (still on slow setting).
  6. Add small amounts of flour until the dough ball begins to pull away from sides of mixing bowl.
  7. Remove mixing bowl from mixer and dough hook from the dough.
  8. With floured hands, form a rough ball of dough in the bottom of the mixing bowl, spray it with a thin coat of cooking spray, and lay a damp towel over the bowl to let dough rise.
  9. When dough has doubled (approximately 30 minutes, give or take) and with floured hands, remove dough from bowl onto floured work table surface (you may use spatula or spoon to help it out).
  10. Split into two even parts and with a dusting of flour, knead briefly, then form into a loaf and place into a loaf pan and repeat for the other one.
  11. Let rise until doubled (approximately 20 minutes, give or take)
  12. Bake 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  13. Remove from bread pans and allow to cool on cooling rack.
  14. For a nice finish, brush butter around the outside of each loaf right after removing from bread pan.
Notes
  1. If you aren't using a machine, after line 5 remove dough from mixing bowl and knead for 5 minutes adding very small amounts of flour as needed to keep it from being too sticky to work.
  2. If you'd like to turn this into an herb bread here are some suggestions
  3. Basil Bread - 1/2 cup fresh chopped or 1/4 cup dry basil
  4. Italian Herb Bread - 1/8 cup dry Italian seasoning
Adapted from Unknown
Adapted from Unknown
Summerfield Herb Farm https://www.summerfieldherbfarm.com/

Simple Sweet Cornbread

Simple Sweet Cornbread.

Our children love this when I make it and often ask me to make it. Hope you enjoy.

Simple Sweet Cornbread
Serves 9
A very easy to make sweet cornbread. Our whole family loves it and I hope yours does too.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup cornmeal (we use Hodgeson Mill GMO free)
  2. 1 1/2 cups flour
  3. 2/3 cup sugar
  4. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/3 cup oil
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 1 cup milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees.
  2. In large bowl add cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt.
  3. Mix these dry ingredients thoroughly.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour into a greased 8 inch square baking pan or dish.
  6. bake for 40 minutes or until knife or toothpick comes out clean.
Summerfield Herb Farm https://www.summerfieldherbfarm.com/

Salt Rising Bread

Authentic, classic, no-yeast salt rising bread, also known as salt risen bread. Available at the Depot Street Farmers Market on Saturday mornings in Greeneville, TN.

We only make a few full loaves, and a few more are cut in half for half loaves. Prices for all of our breads are

  • Full loaves – $5.00
  • Half loaves – $3.00

If you would like to make certain that you have bread available for you to purchase you may let us know to reserve yours. Message me buzzmandt@gmail.com, or by text message to 423-525-6702 to reserve your loaf today.


Salt-rising (or salt-risen) bread is a dense white bread that was widely made by early settlers in the Appalachian Mountains, leavened by naturally occurring bacteria rather than by yeast. Salt-rising bread is made from wheat flour; a starter consisting of either water or milk and corn, potatoes, or wheat; and minor ingredients such as salt and sugar.

Salt in the name is a misnomer; the bread is not leavened by salt nor does it taste salty. One explanation for the name of the bread is that the starter was kept warm in a bed of heated salt. Another possible origin of the name is the use of salt to inhibit yeast growth and provide an environment more conducive for the microbes to grow, enhancing the distinct flavors which predominate over the more typical yeast flavors.

Compared to a sourdough starter, salt-rising bread starter requires a shorter incubation period of 6–16 hours and a higher incubation temperature.

Salt-rising bread is denser, with a closer grain, than yeast-leavened bread, and has a distinctive taste and odor. The pungent odor of the fermenting starter has been described as similar to “very ripe cheese”.

The exact origin of this bread is unknown, but evidence suggests that it was the pioneer women in early American states who discovered how to make bread this way. Commercial yeast was not available until the 1860’s. Currently, the tradition of making salt-rising bread is kept alive by relatively few individuals and bakeries that tend to be clustered in the central to eastern United States. It is particularly popular in Kentucky, West Virginia, Western New York, and Western Pennsylvania.

2017 Plant Brochure

Finally it’s done. We have our 2017 spring plant list brochure completed, and ready to view. Please share this link with others. As always, availability and inventory supplies vary and somethings on this list will sell out quickly. If you have any questions or comments you can contact us here, or on facebook.

For a much prettier and detailed printable brochure in PDF format, click here: 2017 brochure.pdf

Herbs, Perennials, and Annuals 4”pots $3. some availability in 1 gallon pots for $5

Ajuga, Chocolate Chip
Alyssum, Blueberry (6pack $3 ea)
Amaranth, Hopi Red Dye
Amsonia, Blue Ice
Angelica
Anise
Anise Hyssop
Arnica
Aster, New England
Baptisia
Basil, Cinnamon
Basil, Genovese
Basil, Holy
Basil, Lemon
Basil, Nufar
Basil, Thai
Basil, Rosie
Beebalm, Jacob Kline (Monarda didyma)
Beebalm, Lemon Bee Balm (M. citriodora)
Beebalm, Panorama Mix (M. punctata)
Beebalm, Spotted (M. punctata)
Beebalm, Wild Bergamot (M. fistulosa)
Blanketflower
Blue Lyme Grass
Boneset
Borage
Brown Fox Sedge
Calendula
California Poppy
Catmint, Persian
Catnip
Chamomile, Bodegold

Chamomile, Roman
Chervil
Chives
Cilantro
Citronella Balm
Columbine
Coreopsis, Cutting Gold
Creeping Phlox, Crimson
Creeping Phlox, Lavender
Cumin
Day Lily, Chicago Apache
Day Lily, Stella D’oro
Dill, Bouquet
Dill, Mammoth
Dill, Superdukat
Dragon’s Head/Moldavian Balm
Echinacea, Lance/Cut-leaved
Echinacea, Purple Coneflower
Echinace, TN Conelfower
Elecampane
Epazote
Evening Primrose
Fennel, Florence
Flax
Foxglove, Foxy
Foxglove, Giant Shirley
Geranium, Rose Scented
Hens and Chicks
Hibiscus, Perennial Luna Red
Honeywort
Horehound
Horseradish ($5/gallon pot)
Hyssop
Indigo
Irish Moss (available this fall)
Lamb’s Ears
Lavender, English Lady
Lavender, English Munstead
Lavender, English Ellagance Pink
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Liatris
Lion’s Tail          
Lovage
Luffa
Mallow
Marigold, French Crackerjack 6pack $3
Marigold, French Bambino 6pack $3
Marigold, French Lemondrop 6pack $3
Marsh Blazing Star
Marshmallow
Milkweed, Butterfly weed (A. tuberosa)
Milkweed, Common (A. syriaca)
Milkweed, Swamp (A. incarnata)
Milkweed, Tall Green (A. hirtella)
Milkweed, Whorld (A. verticillata)
Mint, Applemint
Mint, Ginger
Mint, Lime
Mint, Mojito, Cuban
Mint, Pineapple
Mint, Spearmint
Mint, Mountain
Motherwort, Chinese
Mugwort
Muhly Grass, Pink Cloud
Mullein
Nasturtium, Empress of India 6pack $3
Nasturtium, Gleam Mix 6pack $3
Nasturtium, Jewel 6pack $3
Nepitella
Nettle, Stinging
Obedient Plant
Oregano, Cleopatra, Syrian
Oregano, Greek
Parsley, Curly
Parsley, Flat Leaf, Italian
Parsley, Krausa
Pennyroyal
Penstemon, Husker Red
Purslane
Rabbit Tobacco (coming soon)
Rose Campion
Rosemary Arp
Rudbeckia
Rue           
Sage, Broadleaf
Sage, Clary
Sage, Extracta
Sage, Pineapple
Sage, Prairie Sagebrush
Sage, Russian
Sage, White
Salad Burnet
Saltwort, Japanese
Salvia, Blue Bedder
Sedum, Autumn Joy
Sedum, Neon Pink
Shasta Daisy
Self Heal, Heal All
Shisho, Red
Skullcap
Skullcap, Mad Dog
Soapwort
Stevia, (coming soon)
Sweet Annie, Sweet Wormwood
Sweet Marjoram
Sweet Vanilla grass
Sweet William
Tarragon, French
Tarragon, Mexican Mint Marigold
Thistle, Holy/Blessed
Thistle, Milk
Thyme, Aromatic
Thyme, Lemon
Thyme, Orange
Thyme, German Winter
Tithonia
Tobacco, Rustic
Velarian
Verbena, Homestead Purple
Verbena
Weld, Dyer’s Weld
Winter Savory
Woad
Wormwood
Yarrow, Cerise Queen
Yarrow, Pastel Mix
Yarrow, White           
Tomatoes $3 ea/4” pot
Tiny Tim (cherry, det)
Baxter Cherry (cherry, det)
Black Cherry (cherry, ind)
Gardeners Delight (cherry, ind
Amish Paste (paste, ind)
San Marzano (paste, ind)
Roma (paste, det)
Principie Borghese (drying, det)
Juan Flamme (drying, ind)
Cherokee Purple (purple, ind)
Black Krim (purple, ind)
Black Prince (purple, ind)
Mr.Stripey (bi-color, ind)
Hillbilly (bi-color, ind)
Pineapple (bi-color, ind)
Garden Peach (orange/yellow, ind)
Yellow Brandywine (orange/yellow, ind)
Dixie Golden Giant (orange/yellow, ind(
Ida Gold (orange/yellow, det)
Marglobe (red, det)
Mortgage Lifter (red, ind)
Homestead (red, semi-det)
Rutgers (red, ind)
Box Car Willie (red, ind)
Sophies Choice (red, early-det)
Glacier (red, early-det)
Stupice (red, ind)
German Johnson (pink, ind)
Arkansas Traveler (pink, ind)
Oxheart (pink, ind)
Pink Brandywine (pink, ind)
Aunt Ruby’s German (green, ind)
Peppers $3 ea/4” pot
California Wonder, green/red bell
Purple Beauty, purple bell
Yellow Bell, yellow bell
Hungarian Paprika, spice
Sweet Banana, sweet
Pretty N Sweet, sweet
Corno d. Toro Red, sweet
Jimmy Nardello, sweet dryer
Jalepeno, hot
Habanero, hot
Cayenne, hot
Numex Joe Parker, hot
Chinese 5 Color, hot
Fish, hot

Vegetables (6 packs/ $3.00)
Arugula
Broccoli, Bay Meadows (heat tolerant)
Broccoli, Windsor (heat tolerant)
Butternut Squash, Honeynut
Cantaloupe, Hale’s Best
Cucumber, Muncher
Cucumber, National Pickling
Eggplant, (4 varieties)
Green Bean, Tendergreen Bush-type
Kale, Blue Scotch Vates Curled
Lettuce-assorted varieties
Mustard, Tendergreen
Okra, Burgundy Red
Okra, Jade
Rhubarb, Victoria ($3 4 inch, $5 gal)
Spinach, Nobel Giant
Spinach, Whale (heat tolerant)
Watermelon, Crimson Sweet
Watermelon, Sugar Baby
Yellow Squash, EP Straightneck
Zucchini, Cocozelle Bush—type

Summerfield Herb Farm
3060 Babbs Mill Rd, Afton Tn 37616
Heather 423-525-2621
Dale 423-525-6702
www.summerfieldherbfarm.com
facebook.com/summerfieldherbfarm

Look for us at:
Old Oak Festival, Tusculum College, TN, April 21-23

Exchange Place Spring Garden Fair, Kingsport, TN. April 29-30

Depot Street Farmers Market
Every Saturday from 8am-12pm
Starting May 6, 2017

Spring Opening Day:
Join us at our very own open house on our farm Sunday, May 7, 12pm-5pm. See everything we have to offer.

Farm Hours Starting May 7:
Sunday: 12pm-5pm
Monday – Wednesday: closed
Thursday & Friday: 9am-5pm
Saturday: closed (see us at Depot Street Farmers Market 8am-12pm)

Some items are limited and may sell out early.

 

Tomato and Pepper plants projected list for 2017

Our 2017 season tomato and pepper plant list
With descriptions included.

20160421_085155One thing about being a plant nursery, you never know for sure what’s going to be popular next season, especially when you’re making your seed list now.  This time of year usually has us discussing what improvements we’d like to see going into the next season. More often than not this discussion leads us to the painful fact that we usually have way too many plants that no one seems to want, and in this business that’s just like throwing money away.

So, in preparation for the 2017 season, we have decided to streamline our tomatoes and peppers into a much smaller, more manageable list. For the 2016 season we offered up 40+ tomato plant varieties, and 16+ pepper plant varieties. Going into 2017 we will have 10 tomato plant varieties, and 6 pepper plant varieties. We apologize in advance to our regular customers that purchase plants that we will not have available in the coming season, but giving the high cost of throwing plants away it has become necessary.

Having said that, if there is something that you just can’t do without, please let us know and if we can we will see what we can do for you. And, with our peppers and tomatoes list so much smaller, it leaves a giant gap in our total offerings which we will fill with even more herbs than we’ve ever offered before.

And now, the much awaited for list….

Tomatoes:

  • Tiny Tim – Introduced in 1945, Tomato “Tiny Tim” is a surprisingly tiny plant, growing to only 30cm (12in) tall so no staking is needed.
  • Black Cherry – Bred in Florida by the late Vince Sapp, the round, 15-20 gm., fruits are almost black in color.
  • Gardeners Delight – This old German heirloom boasts many clusters of 6 to 12 cherry tomato all summer long. It’s indeterminate, crack resistant and very prolific.
  • San Marzano – a variety of plum tomato, considered by many chefs to be the best of its kind in the world.
  • Cherokee Purple – Famously rich flavor and texture make this a colorful favorite among heirloom enthusiasts.
  • Mr. Stripey – delicious and pretty to slice because of the bi-coloring.
  • Mortgage Lifter – Large, smooth, 1-lb. pink fruit have a delicious, rich, sweet taste.
  • Homestead – An old favorite dating from 1954. Developed by the University of Florida especially for hot climates.
  • German Johnson – few seeds and lots of flesh and is a North Carolina heirloom tomato notable for having been one of the four parents of the famous Mortgage Lifter tomato.
  • Aunt Ruby’s Green (A Greene County native 🙂 ) – large, brilliant, neon-green flesh with a strong, sweet, and fruity flavor, much tastier than most red tomatoes. This fruit is a family heirloom from Ruby Arnold of Greeneville, Tennessee.

Peppers:

  • California Wonder – (Scoville 2500) An excellent green/red bell pepper of nice size and very good yield; a popular old-time variety.
  • Jalapeno – (Scoville 10,000) the most popular chile pepper in the United States.
  • Habanero – (Scoville 100,000 to 350,000) wrinkled fruits ripen from dark green to salmon orange.
  • Cayenne – (Scoville 50,000) also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, red hot chili pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper
  • Chinese 5 color – (Scoville 50,000) Screaming hot little peppers turn a rainbow of vibrant colors; from purple, cream, yellow, orange to red as they ripen.
  • Pimento – Considered one of the mildest of the chili peppers, Pimentos are commonly used as the filling inside green olives, in the making of pimento cheese and stuffed to be served as an appetizer.

 

We will be posting our flowers and herbs list for 2017 soon.  Make sure you bookmark us and like us on facebook to stay updated going into the 2017 growing season.

-Dale

 

 

 

Low Carb Tangy Cucumbers

Tangy_CucumbersWell, once again I’m on my low carb diet. Trying to do things really good this time around and get my healthy low carb vegetables too. AAAANnnnd just for the record a cucumber is a fruit, but that’s a discussion for another day .

Otherwise, 
Cucumbers are REALLY good for you and apple cider vinegar is REALLY good for you too. This combines the two, and some salt, into a really easy to make and tasty low carb treat.

Enjoy:

Tangy Cucumbers
My Low Carb adaptation of Tangy Cucumbers in honor of my father, "Skip", whose original recipe that I remember had some sugar.
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Ingredients
  1. One large cucumber
  2. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  3. 3/4 cup water
  4. 1 tablespoon salt
Instructions
  1. Peel and thin slice cucumber into bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients, cover tightly and shake.
  3. let refrigerate 24 hours and enjoy. (Mine hardly ever make it past the couple hours mark lol)
Adapted from My father, "Skip" had a similar recipe, this is in honor of my fathers recipe.
Adapted from My father, "Skip" had a similar recipe, this is in honor of my fathers recipe.
Summerfield Herb Farm https://www.summerfieldherbfarm.com/

Easy Beer Bread

This is quite simply the easiest bread recipe I have ever seen, and done. The taste is quite amazing. Everyone in the house loves this right down to our 10 year old. Give it a shot and tell us what you think.

 

Easy Beer Bread
Yields 1
Delicious and super simple bread. A little dense and nutty. Be sure and use a beer you like to drink.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 Cups Self-rising flour
  2. 1/2 Cup Sugar
  3. 12 oz beer, can or bottle
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients. pour into bread pan. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes
Summerfield Herb Farm https://www.summerfieldherbfarm.com/

Skips famous single serve eggnog

For me this one was a real treat growing up. Odd thing is it was lost in time and nearly forgotten. Somehow we rummaged it up one day looking through my mothers recipe cards. It was labeled ‘Dad’s Eggnog’ if I remember correctly. I made some and it was absolutely delicious. It was nearly lost in time again and I had my mom email it to me and I made some with my teen age son and he found it delicious. Some time went be and he started asking for it again, and again I had to search for the recipe. So I will list it here, to be an easy find for the next time I, or my son wants some. Or anyone else for that matter. 

Enjoy

Skips Famous Single Serve Eggnog
Serves 1
My fathers recipe
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large glass of milk
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (preferably the real thing)
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. Dash of cinnamon
  6. Dash of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender, blend for 30 seconds. Pour into glass. Enjoy
Notes
  1. Simple
Summerfield Herb Farm https://www.summerfieldherbfarm.com/

SF Famous Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are an absolute treat here at Summerfield Farm.

Enjoy 🙂

SF Famous Chocolate Chip Cookie
Delicious and Soft
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/4 Cups Flour
  2. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  3. 1 tsp Salt
  4. 2 Eggs
  5. 3/4 Cup Sugar
  6. 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  7. 1/2 Cup Butter
  8. 1 tsp Vanilla
Instructions
  1. Add eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and butter to bowl and mix for 1 minute on low. Add baking soda, salt. Add Flour in small amounts until all is added. Finally add 12 oz bag of chocolate chips and stir in with mixing spoon.
  2. Place golf ball size rounds on cookie sheet and cook at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Cookies will appear undercooked. When cooled they will be soft and delicious.
Adapted from Dr Jones Famous CCC
Adapted from Dr Jones Famous CCC
Summerfield Herb Farm https://www.summerfieldherbfarm.com/

Small space gardening, apartments, condos, etc

While at the market this week, a lovely lady approached me and asked me about growing food in an apartment. While this is not the first time either Heather or I have been asked this question, this time was certainly a little different. How so you ask. This time I have a newsletter to fill and this seemed a perfect subject for this weeks installment of a newsletter. Since we are not limited much by growing space I have taken it upon myself to scour the internet in search of a great and concise answer to the question, “How can I have a garden in an apartment?”.

tinytim

A Tiny Tim dwarf tomato plant.

A determinate container tomato

A determinate container tomato

Tomatoes: One of the great questions of limited growing would be what to grow. Most limited resource growers want to grow tomatoes, and I think this is a great thing to start with. With only one or two plants you can have all the tomatoes you might wish to have with possibly enough left over to can a few or dry some as well. Be sure and leave your container tomato plants in a location that they will get the very most light possible during the day. Tomato plants are self pollinating (mostly) and can be pollinated with a small breeze (a small fan set on low is nice) or by gently shaking the plant several times a day. Tomatoes will grow very well in large containers. Most of my research indicates tomatoes do best in a 5 to 10 gallon container, I would argue that bigger is better as the tomato root system of a large plant can be quite large as well, or go for a smaller plant like a tiny tim or other dwarf type tomato plant. With very large tomato plants (most indeterminate types) I would recommend using a small to large trash can, and will also require a tomato cage above the soil line to hold the tomato plants shape. Tomato plants a very diverse and varying. With a little trial and error you can have fresh, home grown tomatoes throughout most of the year, even with very little location to plant in.

burlapsackpotato

burlap sack potato growing

Potatoes: Potatoes are a good, limited resource crop in the simple fact you get a lot out of a potato and they store very well in a cool and dark location. There is a lot of information on the net about sack planting, but most of what I have found are trying to sell you something. Potatoes will grow well in large burlap sacks or large buckets or trash cans like a tomato plant. Fill the sack or bucket about half way with soil or compost and lay the seed potatoes in the soil. Several may be used. In a 5 gallon bucket plant 4 or 5. A large burlap sack could accommodate even more. Cover the seed potatoes with about 2 more inches of soil and add more for the first few weeks as the plant grows. The only real downside I can see to limit area growing of potatoes is that potatoes take a long time to mature and be ready, unless you’re just after new potatoes which are just young potatoes.

Other crops: Radishes I think merit mention just in the fact that I love radishes, and they are ready quickly. With proper soil and watering you could have a crop of radishes ready to eat in less than a month. Beans would be good as well but you should make sure to look for a bush type bean and not a vine bean. Plant 4 or 5 in a large container or several smaller containers. Leaf lettuce would be better than a head lettuce since leaf lettuce keeps giving and head lettuce is done once you pick the head. Bell Peppers do well in containers and aren’t as resource hungry as tomato plants. Herbs are also excellent to either add to your existing plantings as companion plants or in their very own containers as a small herb garden section. Also some herbs are perennials as long as they don’t get frozen. This area tends to get too cold for most herbs to survive until the next growing season, but, if they’re planted in a container they can be pulled inside for the winter.

One of our favorite suggestions is to plant container plants of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs like cilantro and basil to make your own homemade pesto and/or salsa.

Fertilizing: 

All vegetables need Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and (K)Potassium, for growth, flowering, and fruiting.

When container planting, be sure you use only 1/2 as much fertilizer as recommended on your fertilizer container. Just as the roots don’t have as far to go, neither does the fertilizer and is in a more concentrated area in a container planter. Here is a nice breakdown of natural, organic fertilizers:

  • Fresh Worm Castings, with live worms, for some nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, but mainly to speed nutrient cycling—the breakdown of organic materials—in the potting mix.
  • Alfalfa Meal for early-season nitrogen, some phosphorous, and some potassium.
  • Feather Meal for mid- late-season nitrogen.
  • Greensand for potassium. Greensand also helps hold moisture in potting mixes. Manganese dioxide crystals on the grains absorb moisture, but greensand also encourages the growth of beneficial fungi in potting mixes, which increases nutrient cycling and water retention in the mix.
  • Oyster Shell Flour or Dried, Crushed Eggshells for calcium.
  • Kelp Meal for potassium and trace minerals that boost plant immunity.
  • We also inoculate the roots with myccorhizae, symbiotic fungi that help plants assimilate nutrients from the soil, much as gut bacteria help humans assimilate nutrients from their food.

Indoor Compost: 

You’ll need two containers — when the first one’s full and processing, you start filling the second one, and by the time that’s full, the compost in the first one’s ready for use and can be emptied out.

A smallish (10-20 gallons) plastic or galvanized iron garbage can with a lid will do. Drill 10 or 12 holes in the bottom with a 3/8-inch bit, find a tray to stand it in, and put a couple of 1/2-inch slats under it for aeration.

A 15x15x15-inch wooden box made of 1/2-inch ply (untreated) will also do well. So will a 20x20x20-inch box. Again, drill holes in the bottom and stand it in a tray with slats under it to allow an air supply, and put a hinged lid on it. Treat it inside and out with vegetable oil.

Use uncooked fruit and vegetables, no meat, fish, dairy, or oils — at least at first. Once you’re more experienced you can decide this for yourself.

By themselves, kitchen scraps are too wet to compost — the moisture content averages 85%, and compost should be not more than 65%. So you need dry bedding to mix it with. This can be straw, dead leaves, strips of newspaper (avoid colored inks and glossy paper), cardboard or cartons, sphagnum peat moss, coconut coir, or a mixture. You can also use some sawdust (from non-treated wood) — mix it with other bedding materials. Keep a bucket of bedding handy by your bin. Also keep a coffee-tin full of ordinary soil next to the bucket, and some wood ash is useful.

First, put a few inches of dry bedding in the bottom of the container. Scatter the daily supply of kitchen scraps on top, and cover the scraps with about the same amount of bedding, or a little more. Scatter some soil on top, and a little lime or wood ash. Keep going until it’s full. It is best to stir it up or move it about from time to time, once a week or couple of weeks to add air inside the mass. 

Busy weekend with a digging machine

Backhoe rental for a busy weekend

Tyler having fun working

Tyler having fun working

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Pushing the dirt back in

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Tyler just starting, still figuring out the controls

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Shovel? What shovel?

We rented a small backhoe this weekend and had a lot of things in mind to do with it.  We set right at it and I asked my son Tyler if he wanted to have a go with it.  He said he’d give it a try and he was on it the entire day (and got sun toasted lol)

 


Hydrant works

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New hydrant with trench leading away

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New hydrant

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Tyler driving, me with shovel 🙁

 

First thing we set out to do was dig a trench to the new hoop house and install a new hydrant inside. Tyler set to digging while Steve (friend) and I did the finesse of a hand shovel where needed. We also moved the existing hydrant about ten feet toward the north. 

 


Waterfall Pond

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A pond with a trickling waterfall in the works.

Managed to get a sweetie job done too (partly). Heather has been wanting for quite some time now a little pond with a trickling waterfall. Here you can see a nice little pond with a rocky waterfall. We ran the water hose to both fill it up and to have a little water trickling down to set up the waterfall structure. It turned out quite lovely. I will be changing an outside outlet shortly to get the pump running for this one.

 

 


 

Old Well (future) Rebuild

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Old well (1)

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Old well (2)

We have once again dug out the old pre-city-water well nearby the house in hopes to get it working again. Our very high hopes include it working well enough to furnish the house and the gardens with plenty of natural, un-modified, un-tampered with, un-poisoned water.  There are no records to indicate if the well quit operating correctly or if the owners at the time switched to city water on a promise and a prayer of the city. Not sure we will every know, but here’s to a well dug rebuild.


 

Last but not least, and with no pictures to show it, we fixed a water leak that had been leaking for quite some time under the parking area for the greenhouse. This was a connection in the line that ran water to the greenhouse and outlying gardens. Needless to say, I got to play in the mud and make mud pies on this one. Sorry, no pictures .

 

 

Visited by Rural Resources

Last Saturday, we were visited by a great group of young folks from the Rural Resources Teen Program. These kids are learning to grow their own food (Awesome!) and planting gardens at their homes! I love this kind of thing! The teens were full of questions about our herbs and their uses. We had a great time chatting and the kids were excited to tell us what they had already planted in their gardens. A big “Huzzah” goes out to Debbie Strickland for all of the time and energy she puts into the program!
~Heather

If you’d like to know more about this exciting program, you can learn more from Grow Appalachia.

Exchange Place 2015

What a fantastic year this year was at Exchange Place in Kingsport, TN. We had an amazing time there and met so many new friends. We didn’t have the entire greenhouse with us but we sure did try :). The weather turned out to be pretty good. All the rain they were calling for never really came, and we were certainly happy about that. This was our third year here and plan on many many more. We want to thank everyone that came out and made this year our best one yet.

Here’s a few pictures I managed to snap. Enjoy.

Canned Banana Peppers

**This is an heirloom recipe that uses a method no longer recommended by the USDA/NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation). Current guidelines recommend processing in a boiling water bath at least 10 minutes at sea level to 1000 feet in elevation (more time at higher elevations) and left to cool, upright and undisturbed, on a cloth-protected counter for 24 hours. Check for seal; if the jar hasn’t sealed, either re-process the jars within the 24 hours or refrigerate and use first.

Canned Banana Peppers
This is a recipe I found years ago, it is no longer supported as a "safe" canning procedure. If you are concerned about using safe canning practices, use the water bath method as recommended. Otherwise, an excellent recipe for keeping delicious banana peppers until the next years fresh ones start being ready.
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Ingredients
  1. 1⁄2 lb banana pepper, seeded and sliced crossways into rings
  2. 2 cups white vinegar
  3. 2⁄3 cup white sugar
  4. 1⁄2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  5. 1⁄2 teaspoon celery seed
Instructions
  1. Sterilize 2- 1/2 pint jars.
  2. Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a rolling boil.
  3. Place peppers in the 1/2 pint jars.
  4. Pour on the hot pickling juice and bring liquid to within 1/2" of the top.
  5. Be sure the edge of the jar has no juice on it.
  6. Place lids and screw on bands finger-tip tight.
  7. Seal jar and leave for 2 weeks.**.
Notes
  1. **This is an heirloom recipe that uses a method no longer recommended by the USDA/NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation). Current guidelines recommend processing in a boiling water bath at least 10 minutes at sea level to 1000 feet in elevation (more time at higher elevations) and left to cool, upright and undisturbed, on a cloth-protected counter for 24 hours. Check for seal; if the jar hasn't sealed, either re-process the jars within the 24 hours or refrigerate and use first.
Summerfield Herb Farm https://www.summerfieldherbfarm.com/

Breaking out the Baby Wolf

IMG_20141231_125824Sweetie has had the desire lately to break out the baby wolf floor loom. Blame it on winter I suppose but I have been sharing that desire of late. So, yesterday we pulled it out from the back room, yanked the sheet off of it and scratched our heads as how to use it…. yet again.

 

 

 


 

IMG_20141231_132742Down to studying…. again. And with these three books (The Weaving, Spinning, and Dyeing Book; The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory; and Learning to Weave) and an overnight sleep on it we set in to making our first baby wolf loom project. I have been very close to understanding the floor loom zen before and just never went for it. Now I understand it. I strive to understand it in the same way I understand the inkle loom, nearly like Neo understands the Matrix. 

 

 


 

IMG_20141231_101744Anyway, we set out to work on this together. I have warped this beast by myself in the past only to feel like I kinda hate it and hate working on it. This time, however, we worked it together and it went quite smooth and stress free. I very highly recommend having help warping the big floor looms if you can

 

 

 


 

The following little image archive is in order from start to finish (I will add the finished piece when we pull it out of the machine). Enjoy:

 

Low Carb Muffins

Ok, now I’m back on low carb and have made some pretty tasty low carb pancakes. But today at work, I suddenly had a brainstorm, “low carb muffins, such an easy thing to do with my low carb pancakes base”. 

OMG!!!!  Sure enough was easy and absolutely delicious. Our 10 year old had two!! The recipe below is for 3, the same 3 I made as an experiment. Enjoy….

Low Carb Muffins
Yields 3
An absolutely delicious variety of low carb muffin, made with a coconut flour pancake batter base.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
  2. 2 Tablespoons 1/2 and 1/2 or heavy cream
  3. 2 Eggs
  4. 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  6. 1/4 cup finely shredded cheese (I use the mexican blend)
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients, except for the cheese stirring well until thoroughly mixed. Add cheese and mix well. Spoon into cooking oil sprayed muffiin tins to about 1/2 to 3/4 full or divide evenly to make 3 standard size muffins. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until browned on top. Remove from oven and let cool.
Notes
  1. Don't do like I did and forget to spray the pan lol
  2. According to My Fitness Pal, Here is the breakdown for the whole recipe (3 muffins)
  3. Calories 365
  4. Fat 25
  5. Protein 22
  6. Carbs 12
  7. Fiber 7
  8. Net Carbs 5
Summerfield Herb Farm https://www.summerfieldherbfarm.com/
Gallery:

Low carb fried tuna patty

Super simple fried tuna patty. Scramble one egg, add one 5 oz very well drained can of tuna and 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan (or two tablespoons grated Parmesan plus one tablespoon coconut flour for a little less salt/cheese flavor. This will result in a slightly higher carb count though). Thoroughly mix. Split into four equal parts. Roll into a ball and place in medium heat pan with lots of butter. Press flat with fork to desired thickness. Brown both sides. About 2 carbs for the whole recipe or about 5 carbs for the whole coconut flour recipe alternative.
 

Low Carb Fried Tuna Patty
Super simple fried tuna patty. Scramble one egg, add one 5 oz very well drained can of tuna and 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan (or two tablespoons grated Parmesan plus one tablespoon coconut flour for a little less salt/cheese flavor. This will result in a slightly higher carb count though). Thoroughly mix. Split into four equal parts. Roll into a ball and place in medium heat pan with lots of butter. Press flat with fork to desired thickness. Brown both sides. About 2 carbs for the whole recipe or about 5 carbs for the whole coconut flour recipe alternative.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Egg Scrambled
  2. 1 5 oz can tuna very well drained
  3. 4 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan
  4. (or Alternatively 2 tablespoons grated parmeson + 1 tablespoon coconut flour)
Instructions
  1. Scramble one egg
  2. add one 5 oz very well drained can of tuna
  3. 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  4. (or if doing the alternate recipe add the 2 tablespoons grated parmeson and 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  5. Thoroughly mix
  6. Split into four equal parts. Roll into a ball and place in medium heat pan with lots of butter.
  7. Press flat with fork to desired thickness. Brown both sides.
Notes
  1. About 2 carbs for the whole recipe or about 5 carbs for the whole coconut flour recipe alternative.
  2. Just for the record I like the alternate variation better. The alternate variation should also work with other flours too, almond, rice, or even wheat if you don't care about the low carb part.
Summerfield Herb Farm https://www.summerfieldherbfarm.com/