Celeste in the Garden

About this Blog

Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens. Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer. Her new book, "Celeste's Garden Delights," is now available!

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October 28, 2015

In some places, gladiolas can be left in the ground all winter. In colder climates, though, they would freeze and die. Gladiolus can be saved, though, placed in the root cellar and replanted in the spring. Here’s how. First, gently dig the entire gladiolus plant and place on newspapers in a shady spot that won’t get frosted. A porch is ideal. Let them sit there for a week or two until the stems easily pull away from the corms.  Next, separate the new corms from the old ones. Often, a... more

October 8, 2015

For many years, I have used very dry sand to store my beets and carrots in buckets in the root cellar. However, last year I had a problem getting the sand dry. I used to wait for a particularly dry stretch in August then take some buckets, a shovel and a hard hat to a sand depot nearby. I would drive in and scoop the sand off the top of the many mountains where it was bone dry. Last year there was a new system. The gravel owner had built a box outside of his fence. He had a backhoe put... more

September 30, 2015

Digging potatoes has got to be one of the most pleasurable aspects of gardening. It’s buried treasure! Will there be lots of them or just a few? Either way, there are some critical steps to preparing them for winter storage in the root cellar. Take a pitchfork and dig in quite a bit away from the plant. Lift the soil to loosen it. Then, with gloved hands, gently reach around feeling for the potatoes. They tend to grow close to the now-dead vines. They also form above where the original potato... more

September 12, 2015

Our ancestors knew how to preserve food—they had root cellars, storing large amounts of produce in the cool underground. This allowed them to partake of fresh vegetables through all those cold winter months and on into the spring. What is a Root Cellar? What is a root cellar? It can be created in several different ways, but it mostly is a space dug into the ambient temperature of the Earth (55 degrees) and utilized to store beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes and other root crops through the ... more

August 15, 2015

With canned tomatoes, enjoy that garden-fresh tomato taste in sauces, soups and stews all year long! Here’s how I can tomatoes: First, when it comes to canning tomatoes for the rest of the year, I like to let my tomatoes get super-ripe on the vine. Farmers really don’t have this luxury as the fruit becomes too easy to bruise at this stage. However, they will continue to ripen in the box or on the counter so it’s best to purchase your canning tomatoes a few days in advance of the processing. I... more

August 9, 2015

Ah, those things we call weeds. Many are not only edible but far more nutritious than the crops that we plant. Purslane is one of those. It has seven times the beta-carotene of carrots and six times more vitamin E than spinach along with fourteen times more Omega 3 fatty acids. Originally from India, immigrants brought it with them to our shores where it has escaped into gardens and backyards everywhere. Purslane is eaten today in soups and salads in the Mediterranean area; in Mexico, it's a... more

July 21, 2015

Blueberries are easy to freeze. Anyone can do it! Whether you grow blueberries, pick them, or find them at the market, try freezing these super-nutritious fruits for year-round enjoyment.  We have bushes that we planted over 30 years ago and they are now about eight feet tall and ten feet wide. If you do wish to grow blueberries, all you have to do is keep them weeded—which is fairly easy as they shade their own soil (meaning not many weeds grow there anyway). Our goal was to have so many... more

June 2, 2015

Whether you live in the South and are well into the vegetable gardening season or you live in northern regions and are finally starting to plant, I hope these planting tips will provide some timeless advice. If you get frost in your area, tomatoes, peppers, basil, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, paprika and summer and winter squash are all very sensitive to frost (for a free complete list to download, go to my website at: www.celestelongacre.com). In my northern climate, I started planting the... more

May 19, 2015

I love homemade whey, that cloudy liquid that remains after milk has been curdled or strained. Whey contains probiotics which are “good” bacteria that is good for your health, especially your digestive system.  I add whey to all of my fermented foods such as fruit and beet kvass, sauerkraut, ginger ale, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles and kimchee. Our ancestors always fermented their condiments; this gives them not only probiotics but digestive enzymes as well. After two years of drinking beet... more

April 19, 2015

It’s incredibly easy to make crème fraiche.  Crème fraiche is a cultured milk product that tastes quite a bit like sour cream but has more health benefits. It is actually a fermented milk item that provides us with many beneficial bacteria and lactic acid. This is delivered right to the digestive tract. These friendly bacteria help to keep pathogens at bay as well as aid in the fullest digestion possible of the foods that we eat. The vitamin B as well as vitamin C content of the milk is also... more


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