Flowers, flowers, everywhere

A new wave of flowers and ornamentals got planted today. Some seedlings from the greenhouse, others direct-sown seed — zinias, cosmos, impatients, nasturtiums, edible flower mix, coleus. Many went in front of the house — around the spiral and above the walls and stairs. So green and lush everywhere! Judging from the blackberries and insects, we should be beyond any real cold snaps … early for it to be so warm!!

Also planted a large tray of sorrel starts. First time growing sorrel. I’ve only had sorrel as an ingredient in Jamaican bottled iced teas and sodas before. Sort of lemony and tart. Interestingly, wikipedia says that its sharp taste is due to oxalic acid, which it says is poisonous in large quantities and is the component in rhubarb leaves that makes them poisonous. The concentration in sorrel is much lower than rhubarb, which is why sorrel can be eaten in moderation. If wikipedia is to be believed, sorrel is safe in salads as well as cooked applications like soups (saying it is used similarly to spinach in cooking).

Our other floral project — a 5 gallon trial batch of dandelion wine, which we started three days ago, is bubbling away in one of our new glass carboys. A few weeks ago, friends and family picked bunches and bunches of dandelion blooms from around the property, and the blooms were frozen so we’d have time to gather supplies for the actual making. Dory did some scoping online and found most sites recommending just using the petals, i.e. removing all the green that holds the petals. I’m not sure how it would have measured out fresh, but the the frozen measure, after loosening the mass some, was 25 cups. That’s a lot of petals!!!

Carboy with Dandeliion Wine Must

Carboy with Dandeliion Wine Must

We went with the simple “old fashioned” recipe we found online for the most part. It was a recipe for a single gallon and our carboy holds five. So, I also looked at a more complex dandelion-rose wine recipe that was portioned for 5 gallons to get an idea of how to adjust the recipe up. Had to make a couple of other modifications along the way too, since we couldn’t find the white raisins that we bought. The notes from the same site with the two recipes said the raisins were in the recipe for their tannins, since floral wines are lacking in tannins and can thereby taste blah. The notes mentioned being able to use strong tea for tannins as well. So, I took a leap of guess and added both some strong tea and some white grape concentrate to make up for the missing raisins. It will be some time before we know how successful the experiment is.

The lower garden.

The veggie gardens are also perking right along. The lower garden is jam packed — beets, carrots, kale, broccoli, cabbage, arugula, lettuce, onions, oriental greens, chard, radishes, and on, and on …. We’re relishing the asparagus that’s rolling in from the upper gardens. Potatoes are mostly in, with a final potato spot still in the works for later this week. And, even with all that, there’s still a slew of seeds yet to plant … things that need the soil to be a bit warmer, like corn and beans. Tomatoes and peppers are happily getting bigger in the greenhouse … almost ready to go out to the hoop hut area. Flats of cucumbers and squash got started in flats today too. So exciting to have everything chugging along so well. I can’t wait until we start harvesting stuff that we’ll freeze or can. Looking forward to a myriad of tomato concoctions, a variety of pickles, blueberries galore …. The never-ending garden story!!

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