What's happening today 2020


Methley plum jam is delicious. Was intending to can only 1 or 2 batches this year. Liked it so much I ended up canning 6 batches. Getting the pits out was tedious though. Boiling method. Helps to have really ripe plums.



As a huge stone fruit lov(er and someone who works hard to get nice plums like those, I just wanted to say I’m really impressed- you’ve really done something there. To do it Organically is even more amazing. I use every arrow in my quiver and still have a hard time keeping PC and OFM off my plums. You deserve to be really proud of those! Also, it doesn’t look like you did much if any thinning but still got good sized plums. That is amazing too!

@tennessean Plum is one of the few jams/jellies I’ve never made. Is there a recipe you can share? I make pretty much all my jams and jellies the same way…I boil the fruit in water, then whether its Jam or Jelly I may strain the seeds and remaining fruit flesh away. Then I add sugar and boil again (with or without seeds and fruit skin, etc) until the bubbles get small and I know its thick enough to set but not so thick to crystallize later. I then pour into jars and they self seal when they cool and that’s it. So all mine only have water, fruit, and sugar. How about yours? How to do you make it? Any other ingredients? Do you use store-bought pectin? Thanks.


Good job of pruning to keep the ends of the loaded limbs off the ground!


You must be as bad at shooting a bow as I am! :laughing:

Well, I use Ball Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin and thus use recipes off of:

My preference is to not to add water or any outside fruit juice like they list in their recipes but they work regardless. Do not trust the upside down method of sealing jars and use the waterbath canning method as described in the recipes. The only thing that I might add is that sometimes I use the frozen saucer method of determining set. If I do not like it I add more pectin and boil again until I like it.

Also, I put up 14 quarts using a recipe off of Google that a lady posted using vinegar, sugar and water for canning a mixture of pears and peaches that I had used before. All I did was substitute the pears and peaches with plums!

There is a discussion of canning in the Muscadines 2020 thread with some stories of my adventures (and misadventures - :grinning:) in canning. A couple of pictures too.


My wife and I have been gorging on raspberries. Out of all the varieties we have, honey queen seems to be the best. It is consistently sweet and delicious!


Thank you! I actually ruined my table with craft projects and have been forbidden to get a nice new one until the kids are older, so I have a collection of table cloths going. :joy:

Dragons egg cukes are really good, very mild and worth growing. Thin skin, too. Really a favorite of the kids around here! I thought maybe they would be gimmicky, look cool but taste uninspiring but it was wrong. They’re great all around.

Cool hummingbird moth, I see one every couple years or so here it seems like. They’re interesting that’s for sure!


Your tree looks great! The net that I bought is heavy and weighs down all the branches. Any idea where yours is from?


My goal is to get a turkey with a bow and I got close this spring, but like they say, close only counts with hand grenades and horseshoes, so I need to work on my skills! ha.

As for jam and jelly, I really enjoyed that link! Its also interesting that we do things fairly differently! I make a ton of jams and jellies so its always fun seeing how others do things.
I’ve always just poured the hot jam or jelly into jars and put the lids on and when it cools it has always sealed and stayed good for years- and of course its easy to tell by the lid if they sealed or not but 99% of the time they do. I’ve never done the hot water bath with jam/jelly because I’ve had good luck with the self sealing and there doesn’t seem to be any danger of botulism type things the way there can be with other canning items. Don’t misunderstand me- in no way am I suggesting my way is better-just interesting that they are different.

The pectin thing is also very interesting to me. I’ve never completely understood the need for it even though I know most people use it just as you do. All my jams and jellies set really good-especially jellies. Some things like peach preserves stay a little bit runny but I like them that way instead of solid like a jelly. So maybe its partly personal preference. Also of course, all fruit has pectin so I know its doing its thing even in my method, I just haven’t added any store-bought pectin. Also, I’m sure the fact that I use sugar gives me a big advantage in getting a firm product- if I wasn’s using sugar I do think I’d probably need extra pectin.

I do understand your reservation with adding water. I do add water at first when boiling my fruit to help extract the juice our of the pulp/flesh and into the water, but I pretty much boil all the water I add away when reducing it from the infused water and sugar to the final, thickened jam/jelly.

I do sometimes use the frozen saucer/cold spoon method. But after years of doing this I am usually able to tell by looking at the boiling jam/jelly- thickness, size of bubbles, etc and get it right…but NOT ALWAYS!!! ha. I must admit that occasionally I end up with a few jars of fruit syrup instead of jelly (which I actually use on pancakes and is still pretty good). That comes when I don’t cook long enough/reduce enough. Once in a while I cook too long- I often don’t know that mistake until I open a jar a few months later and find it has crystallized. I can still add water and recook it but that’s not fun.

Anyway, its very interesting talking about our different techniques-maybe others will chime in. Sounds like I missed this discussion before though, so I’ll go look at the muscadine thread you mentioned.


I’m curious about the type and size of the pot that you and others use to cook jelly/jam. I use an old 5 quart pot that probably was from the 1950’s. Some might say that it is too small but I’ve always found it to be ideal. A picture of it is in the other thread.

Also, concerning sugar. In the recipes for what they call their “Classic Pectin” they list up to 8 and 1/3 cups of sugar for a 10 half pint batch of jam. That is a mountain of sugar! With the “Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin” the most that I used this year for jam is 2 and 1/2 cups sugar. Last year for cooking concord grape jelly I even used as little as 1/2 cup for a batch of 8 half pints! How much sugar are you using for a full batch using no pectin?


Corn showing up


I use a classic Maslin Jam pot. They come in different sizes. They are great.


Had not heard of those before. They are great. I may be in for an upgrade. Thanks!


I’m glad we are learning each others techniques. As for pot size, mine is the same as yours- 5 quarts! Like you, I find that to be an ideal size. I sometimes make really small batches, like 3-4 half pint jars, so I like having a fairly small pot. And I never make really big batches requiring larger pots. Part of that is because I occasional end up forgetting mine on the stove and burning the batch- it doesn’t hurt so bad when its a small batch but if I screwed up a 3 quart pot full I’d be sick.

As for sugar, my recipe is a lot sweeter than yours (probably close to what you called a “Mountain of sugar” ha), which again may be why I get by with no pectin.

Here is specifically my recipe: I give it in cups so you can make as much or little as you want. It works fine with just 1 cup of fruit or several cups! I do it as follows for each cup of fruit (fruit is cut into pieces if it isn’t berries). : 1 cup fruit, 3/4 to 1 cup water depending on fruit, and between 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on if its a sweet (peaches get 1/4th) or sour (blackberries get 1/2 cup) fruit, and 1 tsp lemon juice (usually, but with very acidic fruits I may not add this).Water amount is not so important because I boil most of it away and/or I may add more during the cooking if its getting thick too soon.

I guess that sounds like a lot of sugar to you but its in line with many on-line recipes I’ve seen and I am an admitted sweet tooth person.

It may take me as much as 20 or even 25 minutes of cooking to get mine where I want it. With pectin I suspect yours is ready much quicker. I have to let mine cook long enough to get all the goodness out of the fruit and to thicken everything up and let much of the water cook off.

BY THE WAY…this year I’ve been doing something I really like. I’ve been using TINY jars. THey are 4 oz, which is probably about a half of a half pint. But I make jam or jelly with almost every single fruit I grow, and then I’m going to give gift baskets that have probably 12 types of jam or jelly in these tiny jars. Who wouldn’t like to get 12 different kinds of jams and jellies in these very small jars so you don’t get burned out on jelly before you get to try most of the little samplers.


Oh my, except for our size of pots, we could not be more opposites in our jelly/jam canning. :grinning:

When did 4 pint jars become a really small batch? That’s 8 half pints! According to the Ball recipes that is a full batch for jelly. Set may not occur with larger batch sizes. Wow, just different.

Huh? How could you not screw up a 3 gallon pot full? That’s 48 half pints! That has to be a typo - got to be 3 quarts! Well, one thing is for certain - you would be getting your jelly/jam canning for the year over in a hurry! :grin:

Giving away sampler jars of jelly is nice. Have to commend you for that!


thats a great idea! when my fruit production hits its peak, ill have too much for myself anyway. i also plan to sell some at the farmers market. good for you Kev. everyone loves jam. I’ve shared some jars of b. currant jam with my family and friends. they can’t believe how good it is!


I bought the net from Amazon. It is the Bird-X brand. It is very thin and has several holes in it already. When the birds start getting through the holes I use binder clips to pinch the holes closed.

Binder clips…what can’t they do!


I can’t believe you ‘said’ this! They are my faves, too!
Potato chip bags. Potting soil bags. Bird netting. You name it ! I clip them to the bottom of my shirt, sometimes, when I’m working . . . just so they are handy! (I really like the jumbos for closing gardening bags!)
Now . . . if only they were rust proof!


Yes. Thanks!
The tomato worm turns into the more conventional moth-like one.
Some of the info in articles is contradictory. Confusing. The worms look very similar - but markings are different. The moths look very different. The ‘moth’ I saw really looks like a flying lobster!

And to confuse things even further!
From article by Candace Berkeley / Carolina Ag

" Meet the tobacco hornworm ( Manduca sexta ), a member of the Lepidoptera order that emerges as a moth in adulthood. Most common throughout the southern and Gulf Coast states, this caterpillar is easily recognizable due to its distinct green hue, vertical lines trailing down each side, and its “horn” located on the posterior of its abdomen. They are easily confused with tomato hornworms, which look identical, except that they have V-shaped lines on their sides."


I will have to look more closely the next time I spot a fat green worm munching on my tomato plants! I probably have the tobacco worm - and not the tomato worm!

According to the Old Farmers Almanac -

There are a few species of hornworms that inhabit North American gardens, including tomato hornworms ( Manduca quinquemaculata ) and tobacco hornworms ( Manduca sexta ). Both species feed on common garden plants like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Here’s how to tell which caterpillar is which:

  • Tobacco hornworms have parallel white stripes; tomato hornworms have white V–shaped markings.
  • Tobacco hornworms have black spots lining each of their stripes; tomato hornworms do not.
  • Tobacco hornworms have a red “horn” on their tail end; tomato hornworms have a black horn.

Neither of these guys become the ‘flying lobster’ in my garden.


@Johnnysapples Thanks. I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it. Scott’s low impact spray schedule has been great for 4 years now, allowing me to grow organic peaches, plums, and pears. I did have some PC damage, which I thinned out the best I could. The ones I missed obviously ripened before the undamaged ones and fell to the ground. I paid my kids a nickle per plum to pick them up and threw them out.

@tennessean That is an amazing amount of plum jam! How many trees did it take to produce that much jam?

@thecityman Hey Kevin, thanks for the compliments. I did thin the tree, I swear. I picked a bunch off when they were pea sized, then again at nickle size, then the ones that had damage. I had written in my notebook not to thin too much because in the past I had got away with it. Good job past Jim for keeping records.


Menards sells 26’x26’ for a little over 10 bucks…i think that is the cheapest you can get…it is pretty thin but works just fine.