Garam Masala – Indian Spice Blend

Here is another spice blend that I find absolutely necessary if you plan to make curry. We bought this blend from the store on a whim, and I use it in all my curries now. It gave my curry such an authentic flavor from what I was used to with just straight curry powder. Continue reading “Garam Masala – Indian Spice Blend”

Green Tomato Curry – Paleo

Its getting to be winter here in California, and we are being left with an over abundance of green tomatoes. I posted recently about canning your left over green tomatoes. In addition to canning them we looked up some recipes for how people use green tomatoes, and then came up with this yummy dish. Continue reading “Green Tomato Curry – Paleo”

5 Spice Powder

I love stir fry.  At least I do now, since I discovered 5 spice powder. When we bought this, it transformed my homemade stir fry to a whole new level (remember I can’t cook, hence the big difference one seasoning could make *wink*). My stir fry actual tasted like real Chinese stir fry, not just veggies doused in soy sauce. Continue reading “5 Spice Powder”

Canning Green Tomatoes

Last weekend we harvested 15 gallons of veggies from the garden (again!) and another 5 gallons that went to the chickens. We also spent a few minutes cleaning up our mess. Continue reading “Canning Green Tomatoes”

Orchard – Apples

“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:

Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”

Kahlil Gibran

Why Apples?

Apples are my first pick of fruit trees for my orchard for several reasons.

Because I am practical, the first and foremost reason is that apples readily grow in cold climates and so will be the easiest to grow on our property.

Apples are very good for you overall. They contain soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamin C, and polyphenols (antioxidants). They have proven benefits in fighting heart disease, cholesterol, cancer, and help regulate blood sugar.

Also, apples lend themselves to a variety of purposes. They are great for cooking, canning, dehydrating and they store well. You can use them in desserts, as part of savory dishes for a hint of sweetness, the juice can be used as a natural sweetener, and apples are just plain tasty when eaten fresh.apple-tree-360083_640

My Plan

Once again, we will probably end up with 5 varieties of apple trees. Most varieties of apples require cross pollination for successful harvests. Also, some varieties such as Granny Smith, lend themselves to canning and pies more readily that a softer variety such as a Red Delicious.

If you go to the Stark Bros page, there are literally 105 varieties of apples to choose from!

Varieties I plan to have:

  1. 2 Fuji
  2. 1 Honeycrisp (Michael’s favorite)
  3. 1 Granny Smith
  4. 1 Red Rome Beauty (to pollinate the Honeycrisp)

Most apples require cross pollination. To ensure successful pollinations, they need to be planted no more than 50 feet apart. Michael and I talked about planting our trees in a circle rather than in rows since our orchard will be small. It would be a 10 foot circle with each tree 10 foot from the other around the center – no tree is more than 10 feet from the tree next to it. This formation of trees not only allows for greater cross pollination, but also allows for harvesting within the center of the circle. Less overall movement = reduced strain on our old bodies. LOL!

Soil needs are important to consider. While I do intend to amend our soil somewhat, it is already well drained. It is mostly sandy, so I plan to amend with coco-peat to put back some carbon/organic matter into the soil, as well as some of the abundant pine needles which will add acidity.

Apple trees are not water hogs, they only need water about once a week. Using a modified drip system similar to what I did for my garden, I am confident I can rig up an auto drip system that will deep root water my orchards.  So far, according to Stark Bros., apples and almonds have similar water requirements.

Apples produce fruit within 2-5 years. Looking forward to some crunchy sweetness. YUMMY!

Do you have experience growing apple trees?

 

Drip Irrigation System

Earlier this summer, my plants were sad. Michael began driving over the road and my daughter and I could hardly keep up with the intense heat drying out our garden beds. Continue reading “Drip Irrigation System”

Bartering

I have always wanted to try bartering. I am not sure I have enough guile or ability to keep a straight face if I really want/need something. I would probably get taken to the cleaners, so to speak. But, I am also a bit stingy, as my husband would attest, so I am not likely to give up much more than I planned on to make a deal. Hopefully those two characteristics can balance each other out. Continue reading “Bartering”