A reminder about Garden Planning. . .

Hello All!

Now that the assignment of garden plots is over, and everyone has their garden cards, it really feels like Spring is in the air.  I drove by the Gardens the other day and I saw that they have been both plowed and disced, and they look really good! Soon the Community Gardens will be a beehive as friends and neighbors meet while getting their garden plots ready for another great season.

In my last post, I did promise to give some more canning recipes that do not involve the pickling of vegetables, and I will post those.  But first, I want to go over the issue of garden planning.

Last February, I posted information regarding the importance of planning the layout of your garden. Since the garden assignments have been made for the season, the need to plan your garden is more important than ever.   Do you want to start out the season on bad terms with your neighbor?  It is easy to make an enemy.  By failing to plan out your garden space, could run out of space for planting. At worst, you might end up being the one who blocks someone from access to their space by putting part of your garden in public walkways or driveways OR putting your plants and seeds in another person’s garden.  Unbelievable, yet true!  This is why planning is all important.

Planning, planning and more planning!  Very important to Planting!!

Have you ever gotten your plants and seeds together and started enthusiastically planting them only to find that you’ve run out of space?  Believe me, it has happened to all of us.  However, the answer is NOT to:

–  Plant your leftover seeds and plants in the walkway, blocking your neighbor’s access to their garden;

—  Take  over the driveway/walkway space adjacent to Elmerton Avenue by simply (ahem!) moving the blue topped stakes to accommodate the “growing” size of your garden, or

–  Planting your leftover seeds and plants in the neighboring gardener’s space. Yes, this actually happens, believe it or not.

People, PLEASE!!!

It is AGAINST THE RULES OF THE DAUPHIN COUNTY COMMUNITY GARDENS TO:

–MOVE THE BLUE-TOPPED STAKES TO PLANT ANYTHING AT ALL IN THE WALKWAYS OR PATHS THAT YOUR NEIGHBORS MUST USE TO GET TO THEIR GARDENS,

–USE THE ‘LARGER’ WALKWAY NEIGHBORING ELMERTON AVENUE AS PART OF YOUR GARDEN SPACE ; OR

–PLANT ANYTHING WHATSOEVER IN YOUR NEIGHBOR’S SPACE .

to quote directly from the garden rules:

“If you mistakenly or intentionally plant in another gardener’s plot you will lose those seeds and plants. . .”

The same thing can be said of planting in the Elmerton Avenue park service driveway/walkway (that section of the garden immediately next to Elmerton Avenue) or of planting in the pathways and walkways.  No one is allowed to park on Elmerton, and so if you “landlock” your neighbors by blocking the pathways and walkways, your neighbors have the right to tear your plantings out because parking a car on Elmerton to access a garden plot is NOT ALLOWED.  When I was landlocked one year, this is what I did.  I took a hoe and destroyed the offending plantings.  Of course, the offending neighbor yelled at me, but I pointed to the garden rules and told him that I was not going to endanger myself by parking on Elmerton just so he could have the walkway as part of his garden.

Just last year, we had a problem with certain users of the Children’s Gardens who blocked other gardeners’ access to their plots and access to the pump by using the garden path as part of their plots.  I am not ashamed to say that I took my hoe and cleared the path for my neighbors.

If you notice that anyone has moved the blue path-marker stakes, or has “Landlocked” your garden by placing plants inappropriately , please call the Parks and Recreation Department at 599-5188 ext. 2117 to complain.  Then use your hoe to remove the offending plants.

The blue-topped stakes are there for a reason; namely to provide access to ALL gardeners.  Those set the size of each space at 30′ x 30′ (or 10’ x 10’ for a Children’s Plot) to make it fair for everyone.  You don’t have a right to use the space in the walkways or driveways as part of your garden. You don’t have a right to do that even if you have two spaces on either side of a pathway. The paths are for walking or so that people can get water and equipment up to their gardens without parking where they don’t belong.  No one has the right to force people to park on Elmerton Avenue so that they can reach their garden!!

A friend reminded me the other day of yet another problem that is associated with poor planning—using the walkways and pathways as equipment or water barrel storage areas.  Yes, some people feel that they need every inch of garden space for their planting (because they fail to plan out their garden) and so the hoes, rakes, trellises, garden stakes and water storage barrels, etc. are placed IN THE WALKWAY.  My friend complained to me that one of his neighbors had stored a bamboo fence or trellis along with a huge pile of stakes in the walkway leading to his garden, landlocking him.  I told him that he could move the pile of garden equipment gently over into its owner’s garden.  That stuff has no business in a walkway.

But what is the initial cause of this sort of problem?  POOR PLANNING!

In order to have a successful garden, you need to plan!  You need to know WHAT you are going to plant; but, more importantly, you need to know WHERE you are going to plant it.  Since the basic garden plot is 30 feet by 30 feet square, it pays, then, to consider what type of plants you will have, how many, and how much space each plant will need.

There is an easy way to plan out your garden space.  Go to

http://www.growveg.com/Default.aspx

and try out the free trial garden planner.  After you try it out, I think you’ll be hooked! This excellent helper device knows exactly how much space each type of vegetable plant needs and will tell you how many will fit in a given amount of space.  It also helps you to have a much more productive garden because you can actually plan the size of your garden paths to avoid wasting space.

For example, here is a link where you can view one of my garden plans.  What’s cool about this is that you can see the types of veggies I am planting and view information about them as well.

http://www.growveg.com/garden-plan.aspx?p=219442

 

And now, some more canning recipes that don’t involve pickling the veggies. . .

REMEMBER, these recipes REQUIRE the use of a Pressure Canner.  I am in NO WAY suggesting that a Boiling Water Bath Canner can be used at all for processing these, and I take no responsibility whatsoever if anyone attempts to substitute the proper use of a Pressure Canner in preparing any of these recipes. The recipe information for canned beets includes some links to places where you can buy a pressure canner.    Processing times shown below are for Harrisburg, which is about 1000 feet above sea level.  If you are in an area with a different altitude, you need to refer to the manual that comes with the pressure canner for the correct processing time.

Canned Beets (Not Pickled)

Many people enjoy buttered beets as a side dish.  Here’s a very good recipe. . .

http://pickyourown.org/pdfs/beets_canning.pdf

One good thing about this recipe is that you can turn these beets into pickled beets by simply draining the water out of them and adding a Bread and Butter Sweet Pickle brine.  Or you can turn them into Harvard Beets (another side dish) quite easily.

Whole Kernel Corn (Cold Pack)

3 to 6 Pounds of Corn on the Cob per quart

Salt (Optional)

Boiling Water

Husk the corn; remove the silks and wash thoroughly.  Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cob, but do not scrape the cob.  Pack the corn loosely into clean hot jars, leaving 1 inch of head space.  Add ½ teaspoon salt to each pint or 1 teaspoon salt to each quart if you wish.  Cover the corn with boiling hot water, filling to 1 inch head space.  Use a spatula to remove the air bubbles and apply the caps, but do not over tighten.  Process pints 55 minutes and quarts 1 hour and 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in a Pressure Canner (refer to canner manual).

Peas (Cold Pack)

Who can resist delicious, buttered sweet green peas?  How about some nice Crowder Peas or Cowpeas for soups and stews?  Hopping John  (BlackEyed Peas) on New Years Day?  Here’s how to enjoy nice Peas when the snow flies next winter! This recipe is suitable for any type of shelled peas.

3 to 6 pounds of unshelled peas per quart

salt

Boiling Water

Wash, drain and shell freshly harvested peas.  Wash again and drain. Pack the peas loosely into clean hot jars, leaving 1 inch of head space.  Add ½ teaspoon salt to each pint and 1 teaspoon salt to each quart if you wish.  Cover peas with boiling water, up to the 1 inch headspace.  Use a spatula to remove air bubbles, apply caps, but do not over tighten.  Process pints and quarts 40 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.  (Refer to Pressure Canner Manual for processing information).

Green Beans (Hot Pack)

Here’s a shortcut to that Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole or Green Bean and Ham Dish!

1-1/2 to 2-1/2 pounds of green beans per quart

Salt

Boiling Water

Wash the green beans thoroughly, rinse and wash again. Drain. Trim ends, remove strings and cut or break into pieces.  Place beans in a large pot and cover with Boiling Water.  Boil 5 minutes, drain.  Pack the hot beans into clean hot jars, leaving 1 inch of head space.  Add ½ teaspoon salt to each pint or 1 teaspoon salt to each quart if you wish.  Cover beans with boiling water up to the 1 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles with a spatula and apply caps, but do not overtighten.  Process pints 20 minuts and quarts 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure (refer to manual for Pressure Canner for further information.)

Well, I can’t wait to get into the Garden!  I have Potatoes, Onions, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts Collards and Kale that are ready to go!

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