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Salsa

Salsa

It was the summer of bumper crops in the Nutmeg Disrupted gardens. By gardens,  I mean flower beds and numerous containers. The “garden garden” was covered with grass a few years back because of time constraints with work and travel.

I miss my garden. The original garden I first started with turned into a 4000 square foot growing oasis. I had huge tubs set around the perimeter to collect rain and to help make the task of watering not quite such labor intensive work. And it was easier on the well  Each row was mulched with layers of newspaper which I then covered with a thick layer of freshly cut grass, which was topped up weekly. I was cutting 7 acres so there was always a fresh supply.

Then in the fall the garden would be put to bed for the winter with a thick layer of leaves. The complete farm was surrounded by trees, by time you raked and loaded the 20th truckload you stop counting!

Then in the sping a farmer from over by Radway would come with his magic tractor sized tiller and for $30 turn it all into 2 feet deep of  pure black gold!

Gosh I miss that garden!

But downsizing does not mean you can not have success. With a bit of creativity and good gardening practices you can have a fantastic harvest from limited space.

I start my seeds under lights in the winter. Being in northern Alberta I like to get a bit of a jump on the growing season. Espically for things like peppers, tomatos and celery. My growing season is relatively short and you never know if those super hot temperatures will be acheived so the more mature the plants are the better success for a bountiful harvest is possible.

Tomato plants from the Nutmeg DIsrupted gardens, Grande Prairie Alberta      Tomatos from the Nutmeg DIsrupted gardens, Grande Prairie Alberta

This year I grew tomatos in containers and in the 2 flower beds out back. It was an extremely early Spring followed by a record breaking summer. And my garden showed it. Off of 8 tomato plants I harvested well over 100 pounds of tomatos.

The salsa recipe is a combination of a few recipes.  Having never made salsa before I am extremely impressed with how it turn out. The depth of flavor is just fantastic. Tangy and smokey with a nice freshness to it. I did a few different takes on the recipe making one mild and one with a nice kick of heat.

A bumper crop of tomatos from the Nutmeg Disrupted gardens

 

fresh tomatos for salsa

Salsa

24 cloves of garlic – minced

20 large tomatos – diced

2 large red onions – chopped

1/2 teaspoon of dried corriander

1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of chili powder

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of cumin

2 teaspoons of salt

2 teaspoons of pepper

4 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons of dried parsely

1/4 teaspoon of celery salt

1 cup of vinegar

*additions for hot salsa

*3 habanero pepper

*5 red thai chili peppers

*1 serrano pepper

Processed hot peppers for salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted

If you have a food processor do use it to chop the hot peppers. Beware of the pepper fumes when removing the lid if the processor. If you are chopping by hand wear gloves if you can. If not be aware of the hot pepper oils on your skin. Wash immediately after prep. Hot pepper oils can burn.

 

Straining tomatos for salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted      Tomato water, making salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted

Place the chopped tomatos into a colander over a bowl. Allow to drain for 15 minutes to remove some of the tomato water. You would be suprised at how much water you collect.

Fresh garlic for salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted      Fresh ingredients for salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted

In a large pot combine all the ingredients and stir well to mix completely.

Slow simmer for up to 2 hours on medium heat stirring occasionally. Cook until desired flavor and consistancy is acheived.

Canning fresh salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted      Processing salsa in a hot water bath on Nutmeg Disrupted

Ladle the salsa into hot jars. Clean the rims of the jars with a clean cloth. Add rings and tighten until just finger tight. Place all the filled jars into a hot water bath and process for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Fresh made salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A blank slate.

A blank slate.

My first garden was larger then most.  It was an extreme reaction to a nightmare situation.

Deep in the dark lonely hole of grief, I was desperate to find something good in the world. Something to busy my mind. My hands. To have purpose.

My youngest son had died at the end of October. I was heart broken. Lost. Angry.  Estranged from my family. My husband, at the time worked 10 hours away. I was alone with 2 young kids on 160 acres in the middle of nowhere, barely hanging on.

It was a long cold winter, which only compounds ones darkness and despair. On one of the rare trips out I picked up a copy of Organic Gardening. Something on the cover grabbed my attention.  I took it home and devoured it from cover to cover. Seemingly it was the distraction I needed.

I bought some seeds and potting soil. I used an old set of floresent lights and 2 plastic milk crates to hold them up off the floor. I planted 2 full trays and began the wait for sprouts to appear.

My garden was 4000 square feet that summer.

It became my therapist.

My passion.

Where I could work myself into a state of exhaustion for days on end. Where I could be alone. And think. Or not.

It truly is what got me though the darkest days of my life. When you don’t have any support from family or friends you lose the strength to face life. Funny, how no matter how close the friends, the death of a child changes everything. In those days when you need someone the most their fear keeps them away. Sad isn’t it.

And then one day you find joy in the littlest thing, you take that spark of hope and you run with it. It is amazing where you can find strength.

I have since moved off that little piece of paradise. The yard was on the edge of a forest, with trees so big you could not wrap your arms around them. Where the sunlight would stream through the trees in perfect silence. The floor an combination of moss and wild flowers. Something out of a book. Almost magical.

My yard now, is the size of my entire garden back then.

A downsize like nothing I could imagine.

The yard was in such bad shape it took 2 years of work to get it where I could even consider planting a garden. A blank slate.  A complete tear out of everything was in order. From shrubs, and sick trees to a 50 foot poplar that someone so thoughtfully planted less then 4 feet from the house. Seriously. It took a full year just to dig out the roots from that monster.

 

With a lot of hard work and determination the day finally arrived where the fun work could begin.

The pictures below show  my first plan of action in the backyard. The goals here were clean lines and eventual elimination of needing the weed eater in the future.

For just over $200 I got 10 tonnes of nice clean gravel.  I used a double thickness of landscape fabric. Plastic brick guides and a bag full of 4 inch spikes.

It made for the perfect edging around my garden as well as the north side of the garage and was a great start to redesigning my backyard.

 

 

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