Monday, October 13, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

New on the Bookshelf

My obsession with home canning books has surfaced again. I recently brought home the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I once, in my foolish youth -- about five years ago -- I thought a friend was crazy when she told me she enjoyed simply reading cookbooks. Now, I read canning books for fun! And this is a fantastic one. If you have room for only one canning book on your shelves, I think this might be the one.

I've only made it through about the first quarter of the book, and I've already learned two bits that made the purchase worthwhile, not even considering all the fabulous recipes. First, glass measuring cups of more than one cup tend to be less accurate than single-cup measures. Second, you can make a temporary rack to turn a stock pot into a canner by tying together several canning rings into a circle. Cool, huh?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Ozarks Gardening Calendar

Average first frost for Fayetteville, Arkansas, is October 17.

Cottage Garden:
Cut back perennials to 3 to 4 inches.
Plant early spring bulbs & lilies.

Wood lot:

Plant evergreens.
When leaves fall: plant deciduous trees & shrubs. Take hardwood cuttings.

October 1
Begin purchasing straw for spring mulching.
Kitchen Garden:
Plant garlic, cabbage, cauliflower, & English peas.
Pinch off ends, lateral shoots, & side shoots of cucumber vines.
Cold Frame:
Continue planting lettuce all month.
Cottage Garden:
Prune hydrangeas lightly & fertilize with 13/13/13.
Begin checking Fuji apples for ripeness.

October 15
Kitchen Garden:
Plant lettuce and gradually cover with leaves.
Dig sweet potatoes.
Harvest tomatoes and peppers when nighttime temperature dips below 55F.
Water fall-planted crops.
Cut the September-planted spinach down to 1" and leave uncovered until ready to harvest in March.

After first cold snap
Kitchen garden:
Plant spinach, Alaskan peas, black seeded Simpson lettuce, & lettuce. Dress with compost. After the ground freezes, cover with a thick layer of straw. When the weather moderates, pull off the straw and replace it later in the day.
Harvest winter squash.

Before first hard freeze
Harvest apples.

October 18
Cottage Garden:
Fertilize peonies with bone meal.
Begin planting tulips and other spring bulbs.
Pull annuals when plants stop blooming or are killed by frost.

October 30
Kitchen garden:
Cover the garden beds with a thick layer of leaves or straw, then cover with 6ml plastic.