Q & A – Homebrews
Q. What a great garden. I have been reading your posts and going over your site for the past year and you have given me much encouragement here in Nova Scotia, Canada to make raised beds and grow my own garden and plant some raspberries and strawberries. I see you made homemade grape wine with your own grapes. Is there anyway that you can post directions on how to do this? You people are my inspiration.
A. Thanks for the positive comments. Glad to be of inspiration, I see you are growing your own which is wonderful. Homemade wine is actually not that hard to make.
http://www.easy-wine.net/how-to-make-homemade-wine-step-by-step.htm Q. Would you please share your elderberry wine recipe?A. You can find different variations online here’s one:http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/reques30.asp
Q & A – Soil Health
Q. Why no horse manure?
A. Back in the 1990’s when we started out we would visit a local horse stable and bring home barrels and garbage cans full of manure which help us build up the hardpan lifeless soil. In 2003-2004 we had a few loads of horse manure/bedding delivered from a local source but as we developed the urban homestead to be more productive, we eventually ran out of space to store it while it cured/cooled time. Also since the horse manure and bedding was fresh & hot it did attract quite a few flies. In addition, in a conversation a few years back with another gardener who wondered aloud if horses given antibiotic laden feed and shots — would the manure be good to use. Good question. We rather rely on more organic sources and our very own animals.
Q. Would appreciate a more in depth explanation of steps you take to maintain soil fertility; what else besides rock dust? Or do you use only compost and rock dust?
A. This year, we are weaning ourselves off organic NPK fertilizers. We use a no till method of planting, mulch heavily and build up the soil from our animal enclosure which is rich in manure and compost. Back in the 1990’s we brought in loads of tree mulch and over time built up our soil – so much so that we are now nearly a foot higher than our neighbors! We are going up in the world so to speaking, taking care of the soil beneath our feet. Just like a person takes care their health so it is here on the urban homestead taking care of our soil health. Healthy soil = healthy plants and that’s the key to keeping pest and disease away.
Q & A – Jammin’
Q. I am curious about your jam recipes. Do you use sugar or honey? And do you buy commercial pectin? I have been trying different combinations of sugar and honey, pectin, no pectin. Can one make homemade pectin, I wonder?
A. I would prefer using honey, but because of the cost (and until our honey crop comes in!) instead make low-sugar jam with raw organic sugar. A few of the jam recipes I use don’t require pectin. You can, however, make your own pectin.
http://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/The_Forager/pectin.htm (making your own pectin)
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can7_jam_jelly.html (recipes without pectin)
:: Appreciation :: to field hands, LE & GM $10.00 donation.