WINTER SEEMS TO BE BLOWING IN TONIGHT – FEBRURARY 12, 2012

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Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 12-02-2012

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WINTER FINALLY ARRIVES!

Except for a two night spell in December where the temperature fell close to 32 degrees we have been enjoying a winter with fall weather.  In fact, the last week has been like Spring with the full bloom of the red maple in the forest and sightings of azaleas starting to show color as well as the blooms opening on the blueberry bushes.   Tonight I am listening to a steady 20 knot wind howl across the salt marsh bringing with it a low of 25 degrees which will feel like 14 degrees at six am.  This may last only a couple days and then again I have witnessed snow in March so anything is possible.  As it is, I am planning on placing the tomato seedlings in the garden at the end of March.  They are now at the 2 inch first leaf stage under the house.  I will transplant them to individual cell packs once they get their first true leaves.   I have 12 egg plant seedlings that I have carried through from last Fall.  They are a foot tall and I am hoping that I can get a head start with them this Spring.

TOMATO SEEDLINGS

TOMATO SEEDLINGS

 

GARDEN STATUS

I have planted the strawberry plants in their new raised beds as well as marked the wire supports for the grape and fig hedges so as to warn our young visitors that the wires are there.  We are harvesting the sugar peas and if we keep them from making seed, we will extend their production into Spring so I encourage everyone to pick daily.   Broccoli seems to have no intention of slowing down.  Our continued harvest of the florets before they open has extended this crop through most of the winter.  They remain tender and abundant.  I pulled a good handful of turnips and greens last week and mixed them in with the mustard and a few collard leaves which made a great cooked vegetable.   Most of the spring mix greens (mostly arugula)  have been picked and we should plan to plant another bed for a Spring crop.  The garlic in the center bed are ready to take when needed.  They are deep and will require a spade to remove.  I have planted 4 new table grape vines and another 24 asparagus roots to thicken our plantings.

SUGAR PEA BLOOMS

SUGAR PEA BLOOMS

SUGAR PEAS

SUGAR PEAS

STRAWBERRY PLANTS

NEW STRAWBERRY PLANTING

GRAPE AND FIG SUPPORTS

WARNING TAPE AT GRAPE AND FIG WIRES

 

TANGERINE MARMALADE

My favorite citrus is the tangerine.  We have several trees of the sweet variety but we have an additional group of trees that have volunteered from the root stocks.  These fruit start out sour but sweeten as the season progresses.  We start to pick and eat these in the garden once the larger sweeter fruit are gone but there are so many of them that I had to find another use for them so they don’t end up on the ground later in the Spring.  Enter marmalade.  And what fantastic marmalade it is.

 

SMALL TANGERINE TREE

SMALL TANGERINE TREE WITH FRUIT

 

TANGERINES

PICKED TANGERINES

 

After harvesting a bucket of fruit, I peeled and sliced the plugs into halves to remove the many seeds.  The plugs were cooked down and the juice removed with a small amount of pulp.  I then cut one cup of skin into small pieces to add back to the juice and pulp.  This 2 liters of liquid was heated to a rolling boil with 7 cups of sugar and a 6 ounce packet of pectin.  The instructions said to boil for 1 minute and place marmalade into prepared jars.  I had to boil for almost an hour before the liquid started to jell so don’t get discouraged if you try this and it seems to never get to the marmalade stage.  It will.  I placed the marmalade into 12 half pint jars and had just enough left to lather two pieces of toast as a treat.  This marmalade is not bitter like a lot of others are.  It has a tang but  is milder and still has a sweet tangerine flavor.  This can be made with store bought tangerines or any other citrus.

TANGERINES PEELED

PEELED TANGERINES

TANGERINES CHOPPED

CHOPPED TANGERINES (WITH SEEDS)

TANGERINE PEEL

DICED PEEL

TANGERINE MARMALADE

TANGERINE MARMALADE

 

I am including a print of the east half of the garden.  This is the area that is not being used as a vegetable garden but is the original “English Garden” design.

 

 

Comments (3)

One of those marmalade jars has my name on it! I also love the print you included at the end. I think Katie would love that in her room – so mark that as one for her. Reading this made me miss you – I wish we were there – I would have helped with all the preparations for the cold. Hope you didn’t lose any plants. Love you.

Blueberry blossoms opening already!?! Wow, our blueberries are just starting to show buds, but it looks like it might be a good year. :)

Our tomato seedlings are just about the same size as yours. Besides the usual Sungolds and Early Girls, this year we’re trying a new variety–Green Zebra. Hope they taste as good as they look.

Our Northern California garden is just starting to show signs of spring. The Crocus, Snowdrops and first Daffodils are blooming now. What a welcome sight! It’s been a fairly mellow winter this season, but spring is always anticipated. Especially the return of the longer days. During the short, dark days of winter, I miss the long summer evenings in the garden the most.

Beautiful! Now we need to come for some weeding and I need to make tangerine marmalade!See you soon, thank you so much!

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