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Archive for the ‘controlled burn’ Category

We just opened a jar of home-canned salsa that my husband has declared “powerful.”  Hey, I labeled it hotwhat did he expect?  You can grow salsa in your garden and can it this year, with just a little planning.  Here are the plants that you’ll need.

Tomatoes:  Pick a rich paste tomato, or stick with a general-purpose tomato and I’ll give you directions on how to drain it after you chop it (and maybe make Bloody Mary Mix!).

Chile peppers:  Both thick-walled jalapeno and thin-walled, larger Hatch or Anaheim peppers are traditional.  Jalapenos are hotter.  Hatch or Anaheim peppers are less hot.  We grow both.

Garlic:  Grow a little.

Onion:  You don’t need much!

Oregano:  Mexican oregano is that crucial secret-flavor herb in salsa.

Cilantro is the bright green, big-leafed herb with the distinctive flavor that I personally love in salsa, but you don’t want to put it in your salsa until you’re ready to serve.  Canning will kill the flavor.

Plant the garlic and onion sets now (or as soon as your ground thaws enough to plant).  Plant the oregano whenever you want.  If you buy a plant and protect oregano through the winter, it may never die.  Cilantro bolts in heat, so plant it early (as in now) and late (as in, for fall).  Tomatoes and peppers love heat, so plant them as soon as the nights stay in at least the mid50s F.

That’s it.  If you put these things in the ground some time in the next month or so, I’ll help you can salsa this summer.  Yes you can can!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Tweets and shorts excerpts are welcome, as long as you include the full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader.

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Fire in the GardenWhen autumn brings a nip to the air, we used to smell burning leaves all over our Southern neighborhood.  Times change, though, and with the twenty-first  century came a new drive to sequester carbon and reduce pollution.  That meant that leaves that homeowners once burned now got composted.  Still, sometimes a fire can do a garden good.  Before you burn, you should consider what you’re burning and whether you’re doing good for your garden and the environment.

First, burning anything can release pollution into the environment.  Second, burning material like leaves can increase the pH in your soil.  I consider those issues in light of what burning can accomplish.  With regard to environmental damage, every once in a while using fire to reduce garden pests DSCN2079 is actually a good idea.  It means you can keep pesticides out of your garden and the environment, so I consider a periodic burning a good thing–just not something you should choose lightly.  Second, my soil tends to be a little acidic to begin with; adding leaf ash to the garden lets me amend the soil without resorting to chemicals.  If you’re not sure if your garden would benefit from burning, check your soil pH.  If it’s on the acidic side, burning may help.

Now that you’ve decided to burn, let’s talk about how to do it safely.  I put a layer of dry leaves, collected from the yard, almost a foot deep in the area of the garden I wanted to burn.  I spread them out fairly evenly and then, on a day with virtually no wind, lit a match to the edge.  I made sure that the perimeter around the area I was burning was clear of dry material, and I kept a garden hose ready in case the flames should escape to another area of the garden.  Within a matter of minutes, the leaves had all burned, and I had a fresh, weedless area in which to plant anew.

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