HOW TO :: Dandelion Jelly + Pectin

I just received this email from a past student (I taught preserving at Bastyr University last fall) and thought it was a great learning opportunity for anyone interested in home preserving, particulary jams and jellies in this case.

dandelion crackerRachel writes:

Remember how I said you changed my life by introducing me to the fact that I don’t need to buy pectin? Weeell, I have this recipe for Dandelion Jelly that asks for no sugar needed pectin (yet later calls for sugar in the recipe) here. My question is, can I make my own pectin in lieu of the no sugar needed? Does it really serve any sort of purpose in this recipe?

This Dandelion Jelly recipe is made from Continue reading

Defining Garden Terms – Loam

Loam refers to the texture of soil and further, an even mix of sand, silt and clay. A soil with a nice loam will retain moisture and nutrients whilst also draining properly. Soils with heavy clay, for instance like the one pictured here, tend to be a heavier loam that hold on to water. If a soil is predominantly sandy, water will drain too quickly, as the particles are larger. A soil with a perfect loam can be achieved over several years with the addition of compost and the consistent working and tilling of the soil. You should also work to steer clear of a compacted loam by refraining from walking on any garden beds.

Garden Don’t

When you purchase starts from the nursery, there are often more than one plant in each cell. Before planting, seperate all individual plants by gently loosening the soil around the starts, and ripping the roots apart if need be. (A little man handling will NOT hurt the plants!) From there, plant individual plants with proper spacing. Lettuces/Bok Choy/Spinach need about 8″ between, Broccoli/Chard/Kale/Cabbage/Tomatoes – any of the bigger plants need 16-18″. Here is a pic of how NOT to plant – the plants are too close and both are unable to come to full maturity.