Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How To Split Hostas

Did you know that there's a wealth of free plants right outside your own door? Many established plants can be divided and relocated to new locations within the yard; all at no cost or time spent driving to the garden center. And who wouldn't love that?

Dividing hostas is a great introduction to splitting plants for a variety of landscape designs. Spread your plants around to meet your needs, share a portion of the plant with a friend, or if you get several plants in your next purchased pot, you can divide the plants with this simple tutorial.


You can divide your hostas in either spring and fall. I personally like to do this task in the fall. Then the plant does not have a cut in half appearance for the next growth season as it might in the spring.

Here is how to split or divide hostas:

Dig up the plant you are planting to divide.
Shake any excess dirt from the roots.


Place the hosta on a firm surface or lay the plant down on the ground.
Using a straight spaded shovel, make your cut straight down the roots.


Now you are ready to plant your newly divided hostas. Make sure you place the plant at the same depth that they were prior to dividing. If you would like to add any compost to the soil, this is the time to do so. After you have planted your hosta, don't forget to water the new plant well. Watering also helps to remove air pockets and provides a much needed drink for your new plant.

Be aware that if you divide your hostas way back, you can set back the growth rate by a few years as you are disrupting the root system. So dividing should only be done every few years to keep your hostas healthy.

Happy Planting!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dill Relish

Nothing quite encompasses Americana like a hot dog on a sunny summer day. Dress up your next backyard BBQ with this homemade dill relish which uses homegrown cucumbers, freshly picked from the garden.


Dill Relish
10 cups cucumber, shredded
1 summer squash, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 small onion, shredded
1/2 cup pickling / canning salt

Brine:
4 cups of water
4 cups of vinegar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Hot water canner
Large sauce pan or soup pot
Ladle
Funnel
Jar Lifter
Jars, lids, rims

Shred cucumbers, squash, onion and carrot. Sprinkle shredded vegetables with pickling salt. Stir well. Cover and let sit for at least 4 hour or even overnight if you wish. You can simply leave the vegetables unrefrigerated.


Rinse vegetables with cold water and drain well.

Get your jars ready. Jars should be clean. You can run them through the dishwasher or wash in hot soapy water.

In a medium saucepan; bring water, vinegar and seasonings to a boil. This is the brine or the liquid for pickling. Add vegetable mixture to the brine and boil for 30 minutes.
Fill jars with hot vegetables, leaving 1/4 inch head space.

If you are new to Boiling-Water Bath Canning, I recommend reading my tutorial on this type of canning.

Wipe rims of jars clean with warm wash cloth. Place hot lids on jars and tighten with rims.

Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes. Remove jars with jar remover carefully. Place hot jars on level surface. I cover my counter top with a double layered kitchen towel and place jars on top. Using a hot pad or glove, check that the rims are tightened.

As the jars cool, you will hear a "ping" when the lid seals.  (My favorite part!) Make sure all of your jars have sealed. They are sealed if the button in the middle of the lid in depressed. If you have any jars that have not sealed, you can reprocess them or store the jar in the refrigerator for use.

Makes 9 pints.

Please check with your local extension office for any changes due to altitude for times or temperatures.

Above instructions are for elevation 1000 feet or below.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pickled Beets

Pickled beets... it is one of those foods that you love or hate. I thought I was a hater but to be honest I can't recall when I last ate a beet. I was very surprised to find that I really like them. Thanks to my friend, Jessie, we received a few beets in her CSA that she let us have when she was out of town. And the rest is history.

So, I gave the following recipe a go. I love the spice and zip of the vinegar. Plus they are a super food! They are packed full of vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamins A, B, and C. And also contain potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and iron. Delicious and healthy!


Pickled Beets
3 pounds beets
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 cups sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups water