Tag Archive for Garden

Hot and sweet

It's easy to grow lots of peppers even in Vermont. Jalapeños are in the upper left corner.

It’s easy to grow lots of peppers even in Vermont. Jalapeños are in the upper left corner. November 3, 2014

While I was putting a finish on the first pint of maple syrup of the season today, I also processed the peppers from last season. On a visit to New Orleans in November my friend Shannon introduced me to the idea of making Louisiana hot sauce. I had never considered doing this, but I had just harvested several gallons of Jalepeño peppers, so when I returned to Vermont I stemmed and seeded all the bright red ones, chopped them up and covered them with brine. The jar quickly started to produce bubbles of CO2, so I added a bubbler to let the gas escape but keep air and bacteria out. You can see it working in the video below.

Today I pureed it in the blender and added several tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Instead of just bottling it, I boiled it first. I guess that destroyed all the probiotic benefits the fermentation might have added, but I thought it might keep longer. I should have bottled some without boiling to see how it did.

Pleurotus

The fallen aspen tree spanning my pond. Dinner was the second cluster from the left.

The fallen aspen tree spanning my pond. Dinner was the second cluster from the left.

Just sauteed in butter on freshly baked bread.

Just sauteed in butter on freshly baked bread.

A year ago on my birthday Galen gave me the 2006 update to Orson Miller’s mushroom field guide, with no knowledge that I had the old one or a dozen other mushroom books. This year he gave me Eugenia Bone’s 2011 Mycophilia, with no knowledge that it is a wonderfully smart and funny book about mushrooms and the people who make and use knowledge about mushrooms. I am reading it now, so when I noticed the profusion of oyster mushrooms sprouting from the aspen log across the pond, I was primed to act.

The common oyster mushroom is Pleurotus ostreatus, but there is apparently an almost indistinguishable species around here that likes aspens and cottonwoods, so this might be Pleurotus populinus. That made it more exciting to have it for dinner since I really didn’t know what species it was. It was also exciting because it was an excellent dinner.

Graft

Black Prince, a variety of Russian Krim tomato that I tried for the first time this year.

Black Prince, a variety of Russian Krim tomato that I tried for the first time this year. September 14.

I first heard about grafting tomato plants two years ago, but hot house tomato growers have been doing it for a while, and in other countries grafting has been an important way to increase vegetable production for decades. It was so important in Japan that a robotic grafting machine was developed in 1993. By grafting desirable tomato varieties onto selected rootstocks, generally increased vigor and also specific resistance to root-borne diseases is gained. My tomatoes have failed in two of of the last four years, so I decided to try grafting last year.

Design, Build, Turn

I think it is time to upgrade the technology I have used for 14 years to monitor the temperature of my compost pile. The graph below is live, as long as I keep going out and reading the temperature and…