May I respond to all the nice people who commented on my home food canning tip? If you want to get started, buy a copy of the newest edition of the Ball Blue Book. You can find it at hardware stores and your local Cooperative Extension office. Just look them up in the phone book if the hardware store doesn't have a copy. I think mine cost $7.95, which made me flinch but has paid me back a hundred times over and more! Read every single word in that book! It doesn't have a single extra word -- honest! You need it all to figure out processing times.
Regarding the gardening, good gardens are not made in the first season. Just keep building up your soil every year. Keep the soil evenly moist. Make sure sun-loving plants get sun. We found a copy of the old Organic Gardening and Farming encyclopedia many years ago, and it has been a big help to us. Reader's Digest, Better Homes and Gardens and others have also published wonderful guides.
Couldn't agree more with your reflections-- I've canned for more years than I want to remember-- I was born just before WW II and my parents learned to ration foods as did the entire country. We gardened and canned just because if we wanted canned tomatoes-- they couldn't buy them-- the metal for the cans was rationed as part of the war effort.
We also used the Ball Blue Book-- and like you I obtained a old organic gardening encyclopedia-- from the annual Library sale. I have never grown a large garden in my time-- but we did grow popcorn (so good compared to packaged popcorn!) and I put in a genetic dwarf apple tree-- I sold that house and really, really miss that apple tree! I miss the amended soil with all that compost!!
I checked with a master gardner recently- and learned the paper shreds I make trying to keep personal information from the trash-- is excellent mulch-- and I'll cover the shreds with cypress shreds--
Good luck with your growing and canning-- I salute you.....
My parents and grandparents canned, so I grew up doing it. I started my own garden shortly after we married and have been canning our food ever since. A few years ago, several people were surprised that I still did something so old-fashioned.
Thanks to the economic downfall, many more are taking up the old-fashioned practice and it is getting much more popular again. Even during years when my garden doesn't do well, I can reconstituted dry beans, soy milk, jams, homemade soups, stock, free fruits that I've been given, and other things that save us so much time and money. It's a wonderful hobby to have.
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