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RE: Preserving liqueur? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: skeip on 12.16.2009 at 01:43 pm in Harvest Forum

I have been making fresh fruit Liqueurs for years with absolutely no problems, and outstanding results. So long as you are using the vodka / brandy at full strength right out of the bottles to steep the fruit there is no problem. You don't even need to store it in the fridge to steep, in fact, that tends to slow down the extraction process. I do it right on the counter. Give the jar a good shake every day or so. Strain our your fruit, sweeten to taste and bottle as you wish, I use wine bottles and corks, but absolutely no heat processing is necessary. Storing the finished product in the fridge tends to mute the flavors, and they are brighter at room temperature. Just as canning has requirements about acidity, etc, so does cordial making. The trick with using fresh fruit is to keep the proof up to retard any spoilage during extraction.

Here are a few recipes you might like to try:


8 Cups (4 bags) Raw Cranberries
6 cups Sugar
1 Litre Amber Rum
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Place the Cranberries in batches in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the berries are coarsely chopped. Transfer the berries to a glass gallon jug with tight fitting lid.

Add the Sugar, Rum and Vanilla and stir until mixed. The sugar may not completely dissolve at this time. Tightly cap and store in a cool dark place.

For the next 6 weeks, gently shake the jar every day to mix the contents.

When matured, strain the cordial through a double layer of cheese cloth into decorative bottles. Seal with corks and let age. The liqueur will be mellower after a month of age, and is excellent even after one year.


2 Cups Fresh Blackberries, picked over and rinsed
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Vodka
1 Cup Brandy
1 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

Place Berries in a clean 1 gallon jar and add Sugar. Crush the berries with a wooden spoon and let stand for one hour. Add Vodka and Brandy, cap tightly and shake. Add Corn Syrup and Lemon Juice. Let stand in a cool dark place for 2 weeks.

Use a fine mesh strainer to strain our solids and discard them. Rack or filter into final containers. Cover and age one month more before serving.


1 1/2 Pounds Fresh Raspberries, picked over and washed
1 Cup Sugar
3 Cups White Zinfandel
1 1/2 Cups Vodka
2 Cups Water

Crush the Raspberries and Sugar together in a bowl, let stand for one hour. Transfer to a clean glass gallon jar and add the Wine, Vodka, and Water. Cover tightly and shake gently. Let stand in a cool dark place for 3 days, shaking daily.

Use a fine mesh strainer to strain out solids and discard. Rack or filter into bottles, seal with corks and age at least one more month before serving.


2 Cups 100-proof Vodka
Zest of Five Lemons
2 Cups Water
1 Cups Sugar

Combine Vodka and Lemon Zest in a 1-quart covered glass Jar, let stand at room temperature for 3 days.

Make a simple syrup by heating the Water and Sugar over medium heat, stir until Sugar dissolves.

Stir the syrup into the jar containing the Vodka. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discard the Lemon Zest. Pour into clean jars, cap tightly and store in the freezer. Serve well chilled in small glasses.

Have fun and enjoy the final product.



clipped on: 12.21.2009 at 09:43 pm    last updated on: 12.21.2009 at 09:43 pm

geeks with greenthumbs!

posted by: waternut on 11.21.2008 at 07:15 pm in Greenhouses & Garden Structures Forum

cheap way to automate a greenhouse. Yes, with a computer . . . because it sounds cool. I have my parts on order.
It's really marketed for the automotive croud, but it's prefect for a GH. Hookup the relays my irragation values, evap cooler, fan, etc. and I have found a UBS humidity sensor by Smarthome. Add the UBS webcam and I take the GH to the office and business trips. Never leave home without IT!!!


soon I can figure out posting pics of GH, I will. 8x16 leanto, outside the bedroom. It's 8 years old & couldn't live without it.


clipped on: 01.25.2009 at 07:41 pm    last updated on: 01.25.2009 at 07:41 pm

My EarthTainer design

posted by: rnewste on 03.05.2008 at 11:23 pm in Container Gardening Forum

A fellow member suggested I post this here:



clipped on: 01.22.2009 at 08:49 pm    last updated on: 01.22.2009 at 08:55 pm

Just Finished Installing the EarthBox AWS in My EarthTainer

posted by: rnewste on 04.20.2008 at 07:28 pm in Container Gardening Forum

I was able to adapt the EarthBox Company's Automated Watering System (AWS) to my much larger 31 gallon EarthTainer design via a simple modification of the filler tube. I replaced the stock 12" filler tube with a 1.5" I.D. ABS tube cut at 15.25"


I located the filler tube in the center of the short length of the 'Tainer, as I wanted maximum bench strength at the corners where the tomato cage legs are attached. With my 6" aeration bench height this tube length tops the water right at 5.25" and holds it there with high accuracy.


I just fired up the watering system now, and the trickle of water flowing into the 26 EarthTainers is music to my ears. No more manual watering, EVER.


Well worth the per plant cost of $6.25.



clipped on: 01.22.2009 at 08:52 pm    last updated on: 01.22.2009 at 08:53 pm

My EarthTainer Project - Mistakes Made / Lessons Learned

posted by: rnewste on 03.05.2008 at 09:40 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Just a quick update after finishing 12 of my planned 25 EarthTainers. As an overview, the EarthBox Company's product is simply too small for my needs to grow large Beefsteak tomatoes, so my quest to build something 150% larger out of off-the-shelf components from Home Depot.

I am quite happy with Rubbermaid's 31 gallon "Roughneck" container. Much stronger and excellent dimensions for my application than Walmart types. My goal is to employ an internal staking system for two tomato plants per container. I am also incorporating the "stock" Automated Watering System (AWS) from the EarthBox Company, and modifying the fill tube length to adapt to my deeper container.

Some of the recent design changes are a result of actual empirical test data. The key "mistake" I made in the original design was to cut out the wicking orifice exactly to match the 9"x9" water basket I purchased from Home Depot. As this was the only model they carried, I was stuck with using this product. The error I made was by simply cutting the opening to exactly fit the basket, I wound up with an overly large 76 sq. inches of wicking area into the potting soil.


In actual use, I am experiencing far too high moisture levels in the growing mix. The darn Miracle Grow with Moisture Control is simply TOO efficient at wicking the water from the reservoir!!.


So what I am experimenting with today is throttling back the capillary action by reducing the orifice opening with two trial size openings (45 sq. inches, and an even more constrained 26 sq. inches). My goal is to find the right opening to yield a "moist" result on the meter throughout the container.


Regarding the staking system, in order to give the outer leg better rigidity, I have moved the AWS fill tube to the center edge of the Aeration Bench, see below:


So for those who are also in their DYI Earthbox construction process, learn from my experiences to avoid making my mistakes.



clipped on: 01.22.2009 at 08:46 pm    last updated on: 01.22.2009 at 08:50 pm

My new blackberry trellises

posted by: tcstoehr on 11.02.2008 at 01:33 pm in Fruit & Orchards Forum

After tasting and reading about the various thornless and/or upright growing blackberries, I was very happy to give them a try. After building an inadequate structure from T-posts and electric fence wire, I finally took a look thru GardenWeb and found out how to do it better. I built two 24' trellises. I have yet to add the horizontal support wires. Here's #1:

Trellis 1 (813K)

I used 10' long 4-by-4's sunk 2 feet into the ground. I think using 10 footers like this is the way to go. I doubt that I will later regret that the trellis is too high. The three sections are 8' wide. I should have done two 12' sections but I decided to lengthen the trellis after having built two sections, so I just added a third. Instead of the recommended 'T' formation along the top, I just used a single 2-by-4. With only an 8-foot span, I think that's adequate. I'll also likely be using 12-gauge wire instead of the recommended 9-gauge. Again, the wire will be supported at 8-foot intervals which is considerably less stress than a 16-foot span for example. And 12-gauge wire is pretty darn stout stuff.
After building trellis #1 and learning a few things, I built trellis #2:

Trellis 2 (1043K)

This one has two 12-foot spans with a 'T' formation at the top to keep the posts from tipping towards each other from the strain of the (soon to come) wires. Instead of bolting them to the posts, I just supported them with brackets and sandwiched them between the posts. Seems reasonable. I will use 9-gauge wire on this trellis, although the thought of working with that stuff seems daunting.
The wires will pass thru holes drilled thru each post and anchored at each end-post with a wirevise. A wirevise anchors the wire, and allows it to slide thru the wirevise in one direction only. This allows you to tighten up any slack that may develop. They're very reasonably priced, assuming they work and last a long time. Here's a link that tells about them.


I think I'll run three wires on each trellis spaced two feet apart. Maybe only two wires spaced 3 feet apart where I'm using the 9-gauge wire.
I'm planning to put Triple Crown on trellis #2 and Kiowa on trellis #1. Yes, I know, Kiowa has major thorns but I'll live with them. I'm thinking 4 Triple Crown on one trellis and 6 Kiowa on the other, giving 6' and 4' for each plant respectively. Is this reasonable spacing? Should I spread them more? Can I spread them less?

I'll post my results with the Wirevises after installation. I think if they work well alot of folks here could make good use of them.


clipped on: 11.02.2008 at 08:39 pm    last updated on: 11.02.2008 at 08:39 pm

RE: willing to share secrets? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: grower54 on 12.25.2007 at 10:22 pm in Market Gardener Forum

Great to hear from you all my first post didn't go through the first day so I reposted. I thought I said in my original to drop an email using this forum.
Nonstop begonias.. Can be done from seed or plug. Seed is tough as there are 2 million per ounce. Plugs can be easily purchased through any good grower or broker.
I grow them in 4 inch pots from march 1 until they start to bloom in mid may. As long as they are spaced about 4 inches apart and grown on the dry side you can avoid most fungus. I also have a 16 inch box fan on the floor to keep the air moving a bit. (no overhead haf in this house). I fertelize once a month with 300ppm of a peters like soluable fert. 20 10 20 or anything close. These plants get a bad rap for being tough to grow, trust me they are not. Thats what makes them a big seller at the markets. Hardly anyone grows them anymore.
Again sorry about the email comment, I hate spam as much as the next person and wasn't trying to communicate directly with anyone. Thanks again Steve p.s. another big seller for me is 2 impaiten plugs(accent pastel mix) and 2 lobelia plugs (regatte mix, trailing) into a 10 inch hanging basket. I have yet to plant enough to keep me through the spring. 220 sold last year at 12.00 ea.


clipped on: 04.13.2008 at 08:13 pm    last updated on: 04.13.2008 at 08:13 pm

DIY alternative to AeroGarden..?

posted by: tolledot on 02.23.2007 at 04:36 am in Hydroponics Forum

Good morning everyone

I have seen posts about the Aerogarden and most concur that although it does what it claims, it is very expensive.

As I live in Europe (where it is still not available anyway) and have limited space, I want to make myself a similar set-up.

Can someone point me to some simple plans or give me some details of how to put something like this together?

Thanks for any advice


clipped on: 09.21.2007 at 11:42 pm    last updated on: 09.21.2007 at 11:43 pm

RE: Aeroponic pump help!! (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: willard3 on 04.26.2007 at 10:27 am in Hydroponics Forum

You should spend some time studying fluid mechanics and pump characteristics....the emitter requires 58' of head to work at all and that's a huge pressure drop for conventional pumps thet will be delivering the low volume required by your hydro set-up.

From your post, you will need a 3-5 gpm pump at 60' of head (25 psi) and I have never seen commercially available pumps that operate in this range.


clipped on: 09.21.2007 at 11:36 pm    last updated on: 09.21.2007 at 11:36 pm

RE: Help with building a new system (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: willard3 on 06.17.2007 at 09:28 am in Hydroponics Forum

I have pumped from 0.25 gpm/plant site to 1 gpm/plant site and notice very little difference to the plants. I think the small pump runs at 40w, 115v.

Even the small pump doesn't use the full 40w because I am Waaaay below maximum head. Maximum head (pressure) causes the most heat....another advantage of low pressure-drop emitters.

I'm always shocked at what commercial hydro purveyors will sell for a pump. I think it is a problem with the salesmen who have only ever seen 1/2 hp end-suction pumps their grandfather had in his basement. I also think green buyers have the same problem and believe bigger is better.....'taint......


clipped on: 09.21.2007 at 11:33 pm    last updated on: 09.21.2007 at 11:33 pm