I like to try to learn new skills or add to the arsenal of skills I already have. Case in point, canning. I can put up food for us without a hitch. So I decided to try Violet Jelly this year. A friend was raving about it and linked to a recipe online. My yard is full of violets right now, so I thought,”Why not?”
So the girl and I spent about an hour collecting blossoms. Then we brought them in, did a quick rinse and placed them in a jar.
Poured boiling water over them and…
Voila! Beautiful blue shade. Isn’t it gorgeous? I let it sit for 24 hours then strained the liquid. I followed the recipe exactly. Canned it and then had this:
It looks great. However…this is the fail part. It never jelled. It remained syrup. I waited 36 hours hoping it was just a slow batch. Nope. So I thought,”Well, I can just use it as a syrup.” Gave it the old taste test. Blech! It tasted like rotten fruit. I don’t know what went wrong. It was just gross. So I had to dump it out. I was all set to try dandelion jelly too. Now I’m a little skittish.
My vegetable garden is just a tiny little thing. Only 10 feet by 12 feet. That’s just 120 square feet of space. We have had rain nearly every day for two straight weeks. It was just a muddy mess. So I wasn’t able to get out and work the plot at all. It has finally dried up so yesterday and the day before I was out there weeding. It really was a shameful sight. I was so embarrassed I didn’t take any before photos.
After discussing things with the extension agent we’ve come to the conclusion that the slugs came from my mulch. It was shredded hardwood mulch from a local mulch plant. They make huge piles of it before it is bagged and sold to stores. So with that in mind I decided to use straw for mulch this time. I spent about 6 hours spread over two days weeding. It took that long, honestly I’m ashamed.
It looks so much better now. The bare dirt you can see there between the beans and onions is where I tore out the spinach. It had bolted, I was very disappointed in it. The leaves were barely big enough to eat when it bolted. Not growing that variety again. So I sowed some basil seed there yesterday. Hopefully it will all germinate and I’ll have enough basil for canning pesto.
We are picking peas and green beans now. I was very excited to find little baby tomatoes on the plants too!
The squash plants have big beautiful blossoms on them too. I can’t wait to try this variety. It’s called Georgia Candy Roaster. It’s supposed to be like a butternut squash.
This is a slug I found in the yard on his way to my garden. It is the biggest slug I’ve ever seen in my life! I was about 5 inches long as it was gliding. It was bigger around than the thickness of my thumb. That’s a quarter in the picture to try to give an idea of scale.
I do. At first I wasn’t sure what was eating all of my flowers. In one bed every singe pansy I planted has been eaten. I finally found out it was slugs a couple days ago. This is slug damage on a marigold.
The best time to find the slugs is at night or just before sunrise. I have decided to fight them with egg shells and beer.
Crush egg shells and sprinkle them around the plants. The sharp edges will cut the slugs, so they avoid the area.
Place a bowl full of beer near the plants you want to protect as well. Make sure it is deep. If it is shallow the slugs can climb back out. As long as it is deep they will get down into the beer and drown.