Gardening 2020

pearl99

In memory of Pearl, my labrador. RIP Pearl.
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I didn't find a post about gardening this year so here it is! What are you planting? Has the virus changed your gardening plans?
I was going to just slightly enlarge my garden this year, easing back into it after not gardening for several years. However I am going at it full tilt now. I have almost tripled the size it was last year. Given the shortages, manmade or otherwise, I plan on growing as much as I can for my family. I have 2 rows of potatoes, cabbage, mustard and collard greens, peas and onions in the ground now. After the middle of May I can plant my tomatoes (2 kinds) peppers (5 kinds) beans, black eyes peas, green beans, squash, cucumbers and more. I need to buy another freezer, dehydrator and pressure canner before I start processing all of it. Some of the things I want to plant, I didn't get a chance to buy the seed before the craziness started so I either have to forgo those veggies or go to the nursery for plants...something that I am not comfortable doing right now. Our state still has over 60000 confirmed cases of covid -19. Our stay at home order is in place until May 18.
Just discovered this thread! How fun! No change in gardening plans with Covid.
I have planted tomatoes (cherry and better boy and one other I can't remember), bush green beans, and zucchini.
I've concentrated this summer on flowers for pollinators more than vegetables. Got a few quarts of green beans frozen and the cherry tomatoes are ripening now, so delicious for a daily snack. Nothing beats home grown tomatoes!
I made zucchini casserole for starters on that.
As a bonus, the other day I had a monarch butterfly on my milkweed. Poor picture, but here she is. I had found a few eggs on the milkweed, but they are gone now :(. Last summer I raised and released one monarch from caterpillar to butterfly.

Monarch7-21-20-1.jpg
 

Winchester

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My small bounty of grape tomatoes is now in the dehydrator and should be ready around 6:00 or so tonight. I don't use the dehydrator often, but in the years when we have a garden, once I start it up, it seems it will run for weeks! Tomatoes, peppers, onions. I buy grapes on sale and then dry them for raisins for baking and for munching.

This is my Nesco dehydrator; I've had it for years now. It came with three trays and then I bought two more trays. It works beautifully. My Foodi Grill has a dehydrator, too; I suppose I should try that function out, but I really like the Nesco. It's one of those little appliances that, even though I don't use it all the time, I'm glad it's here (well, in the basement).
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The tomatoes. I guess you could say that these are my version of sun-dried tomatoes. It works and I use these in place of sun-dried tomatoes in recipes. I also like to just chew on them. They're good! At some point, I'll dry tomatoes for tomato powder.
NescoTomatoes.jpg
 

WillowMarie

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The tomatoes. I guess you could say that these are my version of sun-dried tomatoes. It works and I use these in place of sun-dried tomatoes in recipes. I also like to just chew on them. They're good! At some point, I'll dry tomatoes for tomato powder.

What a neat tip! Beat they are scrumptious on salads like that. I may have to try this. I bought a dehydrator when playing around with food for my hermit crabs, but never used it for human consumption.
 
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posiepurrs

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My new stove has a dehydrator function on it, but it ties up the over for so long I hate to use it. I have tried drying some summer squash in it, just to see how it works. I have added the dehydrator to my wish list.
 

MoochNNoodles

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Maybe I should consider getting a dehydrator for tomatoes. I always end up tossing ones that go bad before we can eat them but canning tomatoes has never appealed to me. But dehydrated we might get use from.
 

catapault

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I make semi-dehydrated tomatoes. Cut plum tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Cut enough to fill two jelly roll pans, cut side up. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a little balsamic vinegar, and finish with a few drops of olive oil. Place in very slow oven, 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Wedge oven door open with the handle of a wooden spoon. About 90 minutes in, switch pans so lower one is now upper and vice versa. Check in another hour.

Tomatoes will shrink noticeably but these are not dried dehydrated tomatoes. I pack in small plastic containers and freeze. It is amazing how many tomato halves will fill, once semi-dehydrated. Flavor is excellent. Wonderful for minestrone, cacciatore, and similar dishes. Tomato skin just comes right off when thawed.
 

pearl99

In memory of Pearl, my labrador. RIP Pearl.
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I have a dehydrator and have not used it for about a year. This is all inspiring to get it going this summer/fall.
I had not thought of dehydrating grapes, good idea!
I have thrown tomatoes that I couldn't get eaten in the freezer. No blancing or peeling or anything, just in a freezer bag after cutting them up some. Then can add them to sauces. They are juicy, but I can just simmer the tomatoes some first after thawing to cut the liquid-ness.
 

NY cat man

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We also used to have a dehydrator, but Michele hadn't used it in some time, so she gave it away, so she uses the oven to serve as one for making croutons, for example.
 

MoochNNoodles

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I thought one of my sunflowers was a peeping tom in the middle of the night the other day. :flail: My shade doesn't quite cover the width of the kitchen window. So when I walked into the kitchen at 3am and the outside light was shining on it... 😨
 

Winchester

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When I cook fresh tomatoes down for sauce, I take the skins off. Then I put the skins into the dehydrator. When they're really dry, I grind them, either in my food processor or in the coffee grinder (that I use strictly for grinding herbs and seeds and such). I put the tomato powder into a pint canning jar and store it in my pantry. I use the powder in soups, stews, and even in breads.

We were in Chicago several years ago, and my GF took me to the Spice House. I found tomato powder there, bought some and really liked having it. So when I ran out, I figured there must be a way to make it myself. And lo and behold, there is! Penzey does not carry tomato powder.
 

MoochNNoodles

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Here are my sunflowers as of last night.
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You can see the one I had hobbling along after storm damage finally bit the dust. I’m getting more blooms though. That tall one in front of the window has about 4 buds that I can see from inside. I’ve decided to name that one Tom...as in Peeping Tom. 😏 The one big one that is blooming was almost as tall as Tom; but bent in last weeks storm.

The bees are loving the sunflowers! There were so many out there Sunday morning. I’m glad I put them in!
 

NY cat man

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Tomatoes getting bigger!

View attachment 344834


And some blooming Lilies in the yard I had absolutely nothing to do with. :cool2: :biggrin:
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Nice tomatoes and day lilies. I just picked about a dozen tomatoes, and in a few days our neighbors will be getting gifties of them, as there are too many for the two of us. Of course, if I just planted 1 of them, something would be sure to go wrong. Also, our day lilies are just about done, although I did get some pictures of them.
 
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