The Yellow Farmhouse Garden

September 28, 2012

Watermelon Harvest

Filed under: Storage and Preservation — bob @ 9:52 am

One of the best investments I made this year wasn’t in stocks or bonds. It was buying a $1.89 pack of watermelon seeds from the hardware store.

I forgot to order watermelon seeds in my regular online seed order so, I bought them locally. They had only one pack of one variety left so I bought it. I mentioned these melons in previous posts.

This week I needed to harvest all of the watermelon since they were all ripe and ready to go.

That one pack yielded 32 full-sized watermelons! What do you do with 32 huge watermelons? After friends and family got their melons, there were still plenty left.

One thing I always wanted to try was dehydrating watermelons. That’s exactly what I did.  About 2 – 1/2 watermelons — minus their rinds —  fit into my food dehydrator. It took almost 20 hours to dry them down so they were no longer moist and sticky. I filled up four quart food storage bags with that batch.

These watermelon slices started out about 1/2" thick. After drying, they were about the thickness of a nacho chip.

The dehydration process concentrated the sweetness so much that they taste like some kind of exotic candy.

My dried watermelon will be a real treat this winter when the snow is flying. I still plan juice a few melons and try out watermelon wine with some others.


September 21, 2012

Early Frost in Southeastern Michigan

Filed under: Weather — bob @ 11:37 am

Every morning I get outside early, usually just before sunrise. One of the things I like to do is try to guess the air temperature. Unless I’m sick, I’m usually accurate within a few degrees.

Early Wednesday morning when I stepped into the morning air, I thought to myself: “It’s either cold out here or I’m coming down with something”.  Sure enough the thermometer on the porch read only 35 degrees.

I immediately  hurried out to check the garden. The plants in the upper elevation were fine however, the plants in the low spot were frosted. When I say “elevation” it really is not a hill I’m talking about. It’s just a gentle slope with a  couple of feet difference from one end of the garden to the other.

These leaves were white from frost early Wednesday morning.

Apparently, the air was very still Tuesday night. That allowed to cold air to flow down the slope and settle into the lower part of the garden freezing the plants.

My watermelon vines, green beans and three types of squash were killed by the frost. Up the slope, the sweet potatoes and tomatoes got nipped but are still alive.

Squash plant showing frost damage.

Unfortunately, the closest frost advisory that night was for the area near Saginaw, over 125 miles north from me as the crow flies.

From time to time, things like this  happen when gardening — it never pays to let down your guard.

September 7, 2012


Filed under: Storage and Preservation,Vegetables — bob @ 2:22 pm

My big job in the garden this week is picking and canning tomatoes.

The tomato crop is a little light this year because of the drought and hot temperatures this summer.

I’ve noticed in my garden that most of the tomatoes seem to have ripened all at once. This is a good thing for canning.

Last week about a quarter of the crop ripened and I was able to can a batch of tomatoes — about seven quarts. This week there is at least four times that many.

Since tomatoes are among the easiest garden crop to can so, they are a good choice to start out with if you never canned anything before.

The best way to store tomatoes is to can them.

People ask me why I can vegetables instead of freezing them since freezing is so much easier. I have my reasons. First, I don’t have enough room in the freezer to hold everything I want to store. Another reason involves security. If the power goes out for a few days in a row, I can lose my entire harvest. That has happened to me more than once through the years. You don’t need electricity to keep canned vegetables.

Last but not least, I get a feeling of security looking at shelf rows of canned vegetables down in our Michigan basement.


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