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Showing posts with label heirloom vegetables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label heirloom vegetables. Show all posts

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Welcome to Fall

One of the things I have always enjoyed about making a new home feel like "ours" is opening boxes and finding the place where seasonal decorations will fit.  Now that Ben and Kristen's collection of autumn stuff joins with ours, we have even more than usual. This wreath is hung on our front courtyard gate and I smile every time I see it.  I hope it speaks welcome to our new neighborhood and makes our neighbors smile too. Even though we continue to have summertime temperatures here in South Texas, there is a difference in the light filtering through the still green trees. The morning mist seems heavier on the low spots as I look out over the lake behind our house. Houses are further apart, but most yards are beginning to sport some fall color, a pumpkin or two, and wreaths of their own. We are ready for fall - for autumn colors, smells of cinnamon and allspice, autumnal tables offering squashes like butternut and acorn, hot soups, and spicy chili. It is the season of fall gardens, county fairs, football games, pumpkin spice lattes, gingerbread, and apple cider.  Welcome to this season.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!

One of the great advantages of living on the South Texas Gulf Coast is that we have two growing seasons!  It is true that Spring gardens often get burned with summer heat that comes on fast, but Fall gardens can be so rewarding.  I planted new tomato plants about a month ago in containers that were shaded part of the day.  Now that cooler temperatures have arrived, they are setting fruit.  Squash and cucumbers went in a few weeks ago as well.  This weekend, I will plant some Kale, collards, bok choy, and lettuces.  If we have a typical mild winter, they will still be thriving until next Spring.  One year we had an unusual snow day early in December and I have photos of the greens frosted with snow which only seemed to give them second wind!  I love planting seeds.  When my granddaughters are here, they like to plant their own rows.  Our garden may be small, but it adds so much pleasure and of course, good nutritious food for our table.  I will add a plug for Baker Creek Heirloom seeeds, my favorite seed catalog.  www.rareseeds.com

Friday, September 7, 2012

To Market, To Market

We grow a few vegetables and have pomengranate, Meyer Lemon, Fig, and Satsuma trees, with starter Avocado and Olive trees. The past two years, we have purchased a CSA share which means we have local organic produce and eggs during their delivery seasons.  But today, I am thankful for the abundance of Farmers Markets that are new to our area.  At the site of the old Imperial Sugar plant in Sugar Land, every Saturday local gardeners, bakers, chefs, and craftsmen are there with fresh vegetables like sweet Japanese eggplant, colorful peppers, squash, okra, tomatoes, peaches, fresh bread and pastries, Texas Wagyu beef, freshly made pastas, olive oils, and a variety of condiments.  It is satisfying to support local efforts, and the results are tasty when I bring our bounty home to cook.  I have another reason to be happy - tomorrow morning is supposed to be in the 60's, so I don't even have to brave the blistering Texas heat to shop. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Squash Baby

Sometimes a vegetable hides under its foliage until it is beyond edible.  Jordann found this yellow squash  and obviously loves it, warts and all!  Seeing her cradle it reminds me of a zucchini I displayed in the same fashion a few years ago.  I come from a long line of farmers. When I was Jordann's age, we often used surplus cucumbers and squash from the garden to make a menagerie of animals with toothpick legs and button eyes.  I still create with these fresh treats, but now it is in the kitchen. Today's produce prices at the supermarket are making me expand my list of vegetables to grow in the coming season.  Tomatoes are in and finally beginning to grow as temperatures come down from triple digits.  Soon we will plant collards, swiss chard, and bok choy which winter well here. When possible I find heirloom seeds and plants to use.  I am thankful for my garden, and I delight in seeing my children and grandchildren becoming gardeners, too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Good Eats

I am not just borrowing from Alton Brown's Food Network TV show title...the kale, onions, broccoli, squash, turnips, and broccoli arrived on my kitchen counter this week after I picked up my CSA (community sustainable agriculture) share from Home Sweet Farms in Brenham, Texas.  Along with tomatoes and herbs from my current garden production, we indeed have good eats.  So far I have made a roasted beet and swiss chard salad,  roasted the turnips and cooked a medley of squash and onions. Tonight we will have Zuppa Toscano using the kale and more onions along with spicy Italian sausage and  potatoes. This recipe is modeled after Olive Garden's tasty soup by that name.

                                         ZUPPA TOSCANA



1 lb ground Italian sausage (we like hot and spicy, but you may use mild)

1½ tsp crushed red peppers

1 large diced white onion

4 tbsp bacon pieces

2 tsp minced garlic
10 cups water

5 cubes of chicken bouillon

1 cup heavy cream

1 lb sliced small red potatoes

several leaves of kale...more if you like


Brown Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in soup pot, drain and refrigerate. In the same pan, sautee bacon, onions and garlic for approxiamtly 15 mins. or until the onions are soft. Mix the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic, bringing to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender. Add cream and heat through. Stir in the sausage and kale to heat.

Buon Appetito!
                      

Monday, April 18, 2011

Palette of Tomatoes

A favorite gardening project, growing tomatoes has taken wings the last couple of years.  Not only are we growing more tomatoes, but most of them are heirloom varieties.  I am intrigued with being part of  sharing history and story.  Heirloom vegetables are grown from seeds passed down by many generations in a family and shared.  Last year, our family voted one heirloom our all time favorite.  It is one of the very first known "black", or deep dusky rose colored tomatoes, and is called Cherokee Purple. It was named in 1990 by. Craig LeHoullier  , who received seeds of an unnamed cultivar in the mail from J. D. Green of Tennessee. Mr. Green indicated that the "purple" tomato  was given by the Cherokee Indians to his neighbor "100 years ago".

We love the color and taste of this tomato, and enjoy thinking about others who have liked it enough for over 100 years to share it with others and save the seeds.  We have at least 2 dozen tomato plants.  Some of the other heirlooms are named Black Plum, Brown Berry, and Purple Russian.  Did I hear you say you thought tomatoes were red?

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Is Your Name?

It is a cool cloudy day following our rains yesterday, so I planted the pepper plants Joe and I bought a few days ago. 19 of them!! Green and yellow Bells, Gypsies, Anchos, Habaneros, Cayennes, Mucho Nachos (giant jalapenos)  and Chili Pequins (tiny, but 8 times hotter than a jalapeno)...all levels of the Scoville scale.  We already have tomatoes setting fruit.  I like planting heirloom varieties.  This year we put in Paul Robesons, Tliacolula Pinks, Black Cherries, Money Makers, Cherokee Purples and Juliettes.  The only hybrid plant I put in is a Better Bush.  It may give me a more predictable harvest but I love the different shapes and colors of the heirlooms.  Truth be told,  I love the names, too.  Whether it is a rose or a vegetable, the name calls me first.