Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Planting Begins

Got a late start on seedlings this year, but happily finally got about twelve dozen peat pots going.

So far I've seeded mesclun greens, three types of tomatoes (Black Krim, Marzano and Yellow Pear), beets, turnips, ground cherries, spinach, snap peas, parsley, basil and cilantro. All my seeds were Non GMO (non genetically modified), organic and heirloom. Very happy about that!

Today I took it outside and planted one bed of Russian Blue potatoes using seed potatoes from last season's crop.

It may just look like a patch of dirt to some, but to me it looks like the fixins for summer BBQs.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Silver Maple Syrup

I've been off the blog grid for months. You know how it is, life conspires. Goals and plans get rearranged. I came to terms with the reality that my little - "one day I'll have a hobby farm" dream was still years away. So I moved yet again and have a much smaller garden now, but also, a new community garden plot. Community gardens are awesome in so many ways. The word, "community," is the operative word. 

My new home has three silver maples, which I decided to tap for syrup, just for fun. Silver maple syrup is lighter and more mellow than that from the robust sugar maple.

The syrup is light and delicious and SWEET, and gets gobbled up right from the pot before any can be used for pancakes. This sugaring off operation is so tiny it is being done (with great trepidation) in the kitchen with the exhaust fan running. You wouldn't want to reduce sap in great amounts inside your home because your walls and ceiling would be crusted over with sugar residue from the evaporation process. Hence the exterior sugar shack.

~~~ AMENDED~~~

After a comment from a reader I decided to amend this post to show how much sap it took to get a few tablespoons of syrup. This first pic is the amount of sap I get daily from just one of the trees.  A full pot. Here it is a full boil.

Here it is at the midpoint of boiling down. You can see the amber sugars starting to form on the side of the pot.

Almost done. It's thickening fast. Have to watch or it'll burn (like my first batch.) Heartbreaker.

And here's the final result of what's left from that full pot of sap.

Not much, but it's 100% pure goodness. This batch strangely tasted nothing like maple syrup. It was exactly like honey. Still delicious. And gone in seconds.