Category Archives: Agriculture

Greenhouse Tomato!

It worked!


We have our first greenhouse tomato. This particular plant came from the compost heap of summer. One of our green thumb neighbors suggested we cut a slip and stick it in water until it rooted. It did, we planted it, and it grew.

There are no natural pollinators in the greenhouse, so we get to play honeybee and touch the inside of each tomato flower with a small brush to gather pollen, go on to the next flower, and so on. It must have worked!

Tomatos are categorized as either ‘Determinate’ or ‘Indeterminate’. The first one to produce is a determinate variety, meaning it gets to about 4 feet tall, and then the entire crop seems to come at one time. Indeterminate varieties grow and produce throughout the growing season

Pickled Cantalope

I read an article a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal about pickling excess fruit. One of our wonderful neighbors grew an abundance of cantalope this year (he credits our bees for the great harvest) and shared several nice cantalope with us.

However, one can only eat so much cantalope at a time. So we tried this recipe for pickled cantalope.  Wow, was it ever … ummh … interesting. If you’ve never tasted elderflower liquer, go try a small bottle. It’s great by itself and mixes well with other drink bases.

Pickled Cantalope.
For the basil syrup:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1 cup warm water
For the pickles:
1 small ripe cantaloupe
6 ounces St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
6 ounces gin
6 ounces lemon juice, fresh squeezed
6 ounces basil infused simple syrup
1. Make basil syrup: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water, stirring to dissolve. Transfer to an airtight container. Add basil leaves to container and seal. Refrigerate 4 hours. Remove wilted basil. Return to refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Peel and halve cantaloupe, scoop out seeds and cut into wedges.
3. Make pickling liquid: Combine elderflower liqueur, gin, lemon juice and basil syrup.
4. Place melon wedges in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. Pour pickling liquid over fruit, filling container, or pressing as much air as possible out of bag. Refrigerate 24 hours before eating.

Elderberry Harvest

We picked elderberries yesterday. These things are very easy to pick, as they produce in large clusters of berries that one just cuts off with a nippers.

Then the fun begins. The berries are very small – about BB size – and they are scraped off the clusters with a fork. And while wearing rubber gloves, because everything they touch is immediately stained purple. We still have a few stems to pick out yet.


Now what? Three recipes to try – elderberry liqueur, elderberry jelly, and elderberry syrup.