Posted by: Jersey Organic | March 25, 2019

Coming Soon!

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Posted by: Jersey Organic | August 26, 2015

Got a bumper crop of Jalapenos? No problem, make Candied Jalapenos.

Seriously, you cannot go wrong with these candied jalapeños. I have created and tested the recipe below and would like to share with all my WordPress friends.

This year, I yielded a ton (not literally) of jalapenos! Some were brutally hot and some just mild – so it was perfect just to throw them all together and make a delicious condiment.

Have your mason jars ready..
Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs fresh Jalapeno Peppers
  • 2 cups  apple cider vinegar
  • 5-6 cups sugar (obviously, I prefer organic)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
    *I did not have turmeric this time, so I left it out and substituted with ginger.

Steps:

  • Slice up your jalapenos to start. Be sure to wear gloves, open windows or have proper ventilation, and perhaps a mask
 things can get kind of spicy. 😉
  • I used my mandolin to slice up all my peppers nice and thin, but feel free to make them as thick or thin as you’d like!
  • In a saucepan, mix all ingredients except the jalapenos and turn heat to low
  • Simmer the mixture until the sugar dissolves.
  • Drop in jalapenos, stir, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove jalapenos with a slotted spoon and place in a separate bowl.
  • Turn heat up on the syrup and boil rapidly for 5 minutes, to thicken.
  • Scoop the jalapenos into mason jars, try not to leave many air gaps.
  • When the syrup is done boiling, pour carefully over the jalapenos and voila.

Processing:

  • You can let these cool and place them in the fridge for immediate eating.
  • Or you can process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Easy! These candied jalapenos are SO good! You can add or remove the sugar, depending on how sweet you’d like them. Same goes for the seeds, to control the spice. I have enjoyed these in grilled cheese, as a condiment on burgers, hot dogs, chicken, in sandwiches, and so much more! Even cheese and crackers.. you cannot go wrong!

This will be a staple in my kitchen going forward, for sure. Please let me know how you like them if you make them!!

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Posted by: Jersey Organic | July 14, 2014

Plantasia- The Gardens in July

Beautiful dwarf sunflower about to burst!

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What a Summer it’s been.. the grass is growing, the tomatoes are forming, and the peppers are plump for the pickin’! Not too much is ready for harvest as of now, but everything is growing, and growing, and growing. We are in the heat of summer now here in 6B..or is it zone 7 now? I guess we will find out come Fall, when I may or may not be harvesting tomatoes throughout September! 😛 In this 90 degree weather, the cool season crops have ceased and thus I have harvested the last of the peas, radishes, and lettuces.

This weeks harvest:

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I am still planting of course! Succession plantings of string beans have been going in the ground every week. I absolutely LOVE homegrown string beans, you just can’t beat them. In fact, thats about the only veggie that I am currently harvesting. Thanks to my ever-evolving excel file below I know it’s also about to be prime time for Blackberries and Plums! You can see below, in regard to the conditional formatting, (ahem, excel geeks..) that Strawberries and Cherry season already passed, and we are in the midst of Blueberry season.

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I have almost finished this spreadsheet and am going to post it when complete. Its really been a big help if I keep the file open on the computer and check it daily. In a nutshell, its alerting me when something needs to be planted, harvested, canned, etc.

Back to Blueberries..

Blueberry season here in New Jersey is a very, very big deal. Shortly down the road is Hammonton, NJ, AKA “The Blueberry Capital of the World”. This has recently gained some attention thanks to HBO’s series Boardwalk Empire in which the characters are shown driving through Hammonton, NJ, unfortunately it wasn’t to pick blueberries…

This lovely town really does live up to the name, everywhere you look as far as the eye can see, are blueberry fields. When I am lucky enough to have a few hours on a Saturday available I get to canning Blueberry Jam!

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Canning Jam isn’t difficult. You just need some tools to get the job done and a little bit of patience. Blueberry Jam is relatively easier than most. Lets say you have 2lbs of blueberries to make it simple. Rinse them, pull off any stems, and get them in a pot. I don’t like the jam too sweet, so I add 1 cup Organic sugar to 2 lbs berries. Squeeze fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon in as well, and set your pot to medium heat. With a potato masher, carefully mash away. Don’t overdo it as theres no need, the berries will cook down over time. About 15 minutes in take an Organic Granny Smith Apple and peel off the skin. Grate it with a cheese grater right into the pot. The Granny Smith Apples are replacing the Pectin which many people use as a thickener. I prefer the organic method


Let it cook down for 30 min to an  hour, stirring occasionally. This mixture will thicken up nicely, then you can can! Pour mix into sterilized mason jars, leaving a Œ” headspace. Lightly screw on lid and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Easy as blueberry pie.

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On another note, something interesting is happening with my Pepper plants. I grew a flat of Jalapeños and a flat of Bell Peppers and for whatever reason, only jalapeños are forming on ALL the plants!!! I grew them in separate beds, however they are right next to each other. I will have to do some research to see if they can cross pollinate. The result has been sweet jalapeños… the only way I can tell them apart is because the hot peppers are pointy and the sweet jalapeños have rounded bottoms. Crazy right?! I don’t want to end up with a bumper crop of sweet jalapeños so I  think in a few weeks I am going to make some Jalapeño Jelly. Basically going to follow the same recipe above (the Blueberry Jam) but I will run it through a civ so its a clear jelly. I plan on using all the sweet jalapeños with a few hot ones, just for the spicy factor.

Jalapeños- sweet and spicy

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What else..what else… Let’s go on a tour, shall we?

Heres the string bean bed, with the jalapeños in the bed right behind.IMG_2645

corn…IMG_2561IMG_2582

Tomatoes are coming..

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String Beans!

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Zucchini growing in the middle of my path!

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Eggplant getting bigger each day..

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The cucumber plants are still growing up and producing cucumbers.

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Thats about it right now. It is nice to not have to worry about weeding and planting so much, especially since its so hot. I can relax, enjoy the harvests, and get cooking. Until fall that is, then its back to chores!

To end, I will share these special tiger lilies that are almost 6 feet tall!!

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Posted by: Jersey Organic | May 20, 2014

Out of the grow room and into the garden!

AND FIRST HARVEST! Wow, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks… but I’ve managed to get everything out of the grow room and into the garden. At this point, all the plants are either in the ground or hardening off. I am happy to be turning the light off because I don’t have to worry about it, but I do miss being down there…

Anyway, it was a truly productive weekend full of chores and fun in the garden. After mowing, edging, mulching!, and housework we were finally able to get some things accomplished. I laid cardboard in-between all the raised beds and covered them with straw. I like to have a bail or two around because it makes for great mulch in and out of the beds. I use it around the strawberries as well, so the fruit doesn’t touch the  soil.

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Bibb Lettuce on left, first succession of String Beans on right, and second round in middle

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Strawberry Bed with tiny corn and a cuke plant

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This season I set the cucumber transplants out early and its paying off. They are thriving and I hope to have a high yield. There are 6 straight eights and 6 pickling plants so I hope to have enough cukes to each fresh and to pickle for later. The two zucchini plants are doing well in their pots, safe from vine borers which have killed previous seasons crops. I have covered the larger plant with a row cover made for pots and the other is inside the new greenhouse. I’d like to see which plant makes out better.. I have never grown plants inside a green house.

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Cukes – Straight Eights

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Zucchini in pot with row cover to keep Borers out

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Yummy Lettuce growing next to cukes

So far I’ve only been able to harvest lettuce. Don’t get me wrong, its fantastic but the treat of the day was my first radish. Easy to grow as it can be grown anywhere theres a few inches of space and can be harvested in as little as 3 or 4 weeks. It tasted amazing raw, peppery and fresh. I knew it was ready when the radish showed itself above the soil, around half an inch.

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Beets, Broccoli Rabe, Carrots, in shade!

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Sweet Corn in a pot with drip irrigation and lettuce in the center; tomato cage support to wrap later

 

I think I am off to a good start this year. With next weekend being Memorial Day I’d say I’m ahead of schedule. I have a three day weekend for Memorial Day and I plan on getting even more done. All the peppers will go into the ground first thing Saturday and then I can do a final drip irrigation inspection. Once all the plants are in the ground I only have to turn a valve on to water. Other than pruning and some weeding theres nothing to do but wait!  I may end up mulching the backyard while hubby barbecues:)

I leave you with this, my favorite spring flower…

 

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Posted by: Jersey Organic | February 15, 2014

Plan, planning, planned

Hi 2014, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted.. Busy at work, busy with life- but growing season is about to begin, so I’m back!
Things are different now that I work full time and it seems like every weekend is filled anymore. I can’t promise daily or weekly posts, but in order to properly garden, IMO, you need to note how the season went. What went wrong? What seeds produced bigger yields? Why did my jalapeños grow sweet? I want to get back in the swing of posting on this blog, and it’s starting now, as growing season starts next Saturday.

Looking at past posts, I always start posting in May. That is certainly too late. Although it’s snowing, something fierce, I’ve already begin planning. (My favorite thing to do!)

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Let’s start at the beginning. Plan your germination site.

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Under the basement steps is the perfect spot for me. It’s dark but there is light if needed and have two heat mats, which is adequate enough for the amount of seeds I plant. Nearby is water and the grow room.
Remember, not everyone needs a setup like this. If you’re just staring out and are planning on two tomato plants, a few pepper plants, a cuke or two and some herbs than you don’t need a grow room! Save all the money and grab 5$ organictransplants in spring from a reputable garden center. If your from South Jersey, http://www.magnoliagardenvillage.com always carries certified organic plants, but not many places do.

Back to germination…
Now that you have a dark, warm area to start your seeds it’s time to put a game plan together.
The big question is what do you want to grow? Below is a spreadsheet off all the plants I now grow. Looking at this I know that tomatoes need to be started next Saturday!
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Today I went out to the local hydroponic store and purchased bags of starter soil. This is light and airy but filled with essential nutrients that will last until I transplant into 4 inch pots.
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If you are unsure of what to plant and need detailed information I suggest purchasing The Vegetable Gardeners Bible. This has been the only book I’ve needed in all the years I’ve been gardening. You should also visit http://www.seedsofchange.com if Organic Seeds are not available locally. Coincidentally, Bjs Wholesale sells Seeds Of Change Microwavable rice, thats amazing… quality stuff.
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So do your research and pick your favorites. Buy your organic seeds and come back next week and we’ll get them in the dirt.
Then we can talk about The Grow Room and light setup.

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Posted by: Jersey Organic | May 18, 2011

2011 A new garden.

Okay so I summed up last years rocky start. 2011 would be a new year. After HEAVY reading and researching I bought a grow light and dedicated a spot in my basement for a new ‘grow room’. I decided I need to have constant and controlled light if I want to start my plants off right. Grow room- check.

I planted over 100 seeds this year!
-20 jalapeno
-20 bell peppers
-6 festival bell peppers
-7 Sweet Nardello peppers
-10 Pepperoncini
-10 Sweet 100 Cherry tomatoes
-10 San Marzano tomatoes
-7  Baxters bush Cherry Tomato
-6 Matina slicing tomatoes
-7 Pickling Cucumbers
-7 Straight 8s cucumbers
-2 Zuchinnis
– and all the herbs youcould imagine

They were all planted on heat mats between the last week in February and April.
In addition, I also planted some things outdoors in early spring.
-60 Pea seeds
-15 square feet worth of carrots
-My first succession of string beans AND corn(2 varieties Golden bantam and luscious hybrid)
-20 yukon gold potato tubers
-20 spanish onions
-bibb, romaine, spinach, and mesclun mix lettuce
In addition I have a strawberry patch and 4 blueberry bushes.
I also took out the composter and starting throwing my compost right into the garden creating a brand new 5×3 carrot garden fresh with a row cover. Also decided it’d be best to grow cukes up my fence and open that bed to string beans.
     

By the first week in May my basement was a jungle, for real. I hardened off and transplanted my tomatoes outside. Not enough room in the garden forced me to make a separate tomato garden. Backyard is crazy now, people slow down and stare as they drive by. Wonder what the neighbors think.

Anyway transplanting cleaning out my  grow room leaving  about 40 pepper plants and some cukes as well as those baxter bush cherries that didn’t make it out yet. Ahh.
Within the next 2 weeks I plan on hardening off my peppers and getting them out! My herb garden is in full force and now its just a waiting game.

During my free time I decided I would learn how to can. I assume I am going to have an excess abundance of crops. I’m sure I’ll be giving tons away, and the township told me I can sell produce in my driveway, I know I’ll need to preserve somehow. Thanks to Walmart I now have all the materials needed for canning. Right off the bat we successfully canned 4 pints of pickles, 2 pints jalapeno, 2 pints corn salsa, and 7 half pints of strawberry jam. MMM.. so good. Canning- Check.
   

Now I am just patiently awaiting a phone call from the township. Apparently we are starting a community garden and I want in!

Posted by: Jersey Organic | May 16, 2011

First Blog Post

It’s a rainy week here in New Jersey. Which means there isn’t much I have to do outside today.. there are definitely things that need to get done but I’ve been working out in the rain all weekend. My garden, even though its mid May seems to be off to a great start; almost thriving.
This is my second year with a kitchen garden and I finally decided to was time to blog. Thanks to my friends and family pushing me as well as all the awesome clients at my work I’m taking advantage of this rainy day and getting started.
Read More…

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