It may be mid winter, but it’s garden planning time here! — 5 Comments

  1. Katie from Ohio: Not sure if you’ll see this, but I hope so! If you have large holes in your bread, the trouble is being created while you are shaping the bread. I am assuming that you’re using standard loaf pans. Here’s what to do to avoid holes:

    1. Place your dough onto the counter.
    2. Stretch it out so that it forms a rough rectangle.
    3. With all of your fingertips, “dimple” the dough from top to bottom, creating a dough surface which looks like ski moguls.
    4. Fold the left side of the dough just past center. Fold the right side just past the edge of the left side.
    5. Fold the top down just a bit (you’re now folding perpendicular to the folds you just made!) and seal the crease with your thumbs while pushing back on the crease a bit. Pushing back will keep the crust smooth and will also push any remaining air bubbles to the surface.
    6. Fold it again, sealing with the thumbs and pushing back on the crease.
    7. Repeat until you reach the end. Then roll the log over onto the seam.

    If you have access to it (or if you can sneak into a bookstore to look at it), Rose Beranbaum’s book “The Bread Bible” has a very clear illustration of this process on pages 66-67.

    This will eliminate irritating holes in your loaves.

  2. I canned some ham a few weeks ago and it also turned dark red. Not pretty at all but I will try it before I make any judgments about it.

    I buy my seeds on clearance at the end of the year and some times I have them for a few years before I get them planted. Don’t have much trouble with them not growing. I am not sure I would have the patience to gather seeds along with going to fairs and working garden and feeding critters in the summer. My summers are about shot. I think I am going to hire some one to live in my house from june to october this year and care for critters and garden. I will work in the garden between almonds.

  3. Thank you for mentioning that hybrids could be bred to open-pollinated! That’s just what I needed to hear. My favorite pumpkin is a tiny pie pumpkin with hull-less seeds, and I’d only been able to find it as a hybrid. Was planning to experiment with it (and a few other plants), but now I know its possible! Thank you!

    Now I just need to find out if its a C. pepo or a C. something-else. None of the catalogs or seed packets will say. Maybe I’ll deliberately cross a few blossoms and find out for myself :p

  4. Jackie,

    I received a catalog from HPS seed company and they have bulk, for just a bit more than a regular pack of seeds. I haven’t tried them yet but will be placing an order soon. They don’t have a huge selection of heirloom seeds but there are some. I look forward to reading your blogs, Happy New Year!

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one poring over the seed catalogs! We put in our order for carrots, lettuce, green beans and beets a few weeks ago, and got out seeds on the last mail delivery day of 2009. It was a nice surprise! I’m looking forward to the garden again, and want ot start my squash and pumpkins in the house this year, as well as my tomatos. I found a roma that we really enjoy, both fresh and canned, so we’ll put in 20 or so of those. Can never have too much garden goodies!