Archive for the ‘Plants From Seed’ Category

Todays Harvest Basket 9/8/14


2014
09.11

Today’s Harvest Basket September 8, 2014

Mild Habanero Peppers, “Suave”

So many peppers.

Sun Gold cherry  tomato, Arkansas Traveler, Giant Martian and, paste tomatoes.

Paste tomatoes are ripe ripe every day. I'm freezing them whole to process later.

Some paste tomatoes are ripe every day. I’m freezing them whole to process later.

Top right corner is the Black Brandywine, much smaller than the other Brandywines. Below the black tomato is a regular Brandywine, weighing in at just over a pound. I picked it early and a little green to keep it from breaking the vine.

Those cute little green and yellow wrinkly peppers are a new mild Habanero pepper, “Suave”. They turned complexly yellow by the next day. They are said to be flavorful but bot as hot a true habanero pepper. It’s a new and exclusive variety from Renee’s Garden Seed. With the break in heat, the plant has perked up and is blooming non stop. The plant is loaded with peppers.

These are bright Goldfinch yellow when ripe. I’m letting the rest of these peppers ripen in the vine. Their beautiful color is reason enough to grow them.

Much of the heat has been removed from this pepper, but it still has heat. The Chili Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University has created this milder version of the habanero.

Mild Habanero pepper, “Suave” are 800 on the Scoville scale.

For comparison, a Sweet bell pepper is 0; Pimento is 100-500; Pepperoncini,100-500 and TABASCO® brand Sweet & Spicy Pepper Sauce is 100-600.

Ancho and Poblano register between 1,000–2,000. (This is the chili relleno pepper.)

Jalapeno and the Original TABASCO brand pepper sauce are 2,500 – 5,000.

Ghost peppers exceed one million Scoville units.

I am already thinking of what kind of tomatoes to plant next year.  Some tomatoes, I can use the seed leftover from this year. A number of my favorite tomatoes are on HubPages.

 

This is my last zucchini cake of the season. Here come the apples!

One recipe makes three cakes zucchini, carrot or apple

The orchards are loaded with apples.

The orchards are loaded with apples.

Make applesauce your first home canning project. Try a simple small batch canning recipe.

Apples as a first canning project

 

 

Todays Harvest Basket 9/6/28


2014
09.07

Today’s Harvest Basket September 6, 2014

Potatoes, peppers

 

Potatoes and peppers

Potatoes and peppers

Clearly, the potatoes are not grown to help us through the winter. This is my third year attempt at growing potatoes. For one pound of seed potatoes, the return was 7 1/2 pounds.

It’s my best yield so far. Uncle Ebb came to the rescue and  helped figure out what went wrong last year. I left the potatoes in the ground too long. The year before that produced only a hand full of potatoes.

So I am getting better. Who knows what yields I’ll get if I actually pay attention and regularly fertilize and water them?

Growing potatoes in a bag makes for an easy, back saving harvest.

Growing potatoes in a bag makes for an easy, back saving harvest.

I used this bag to grow potatoes. It was sitting on the ground and a few of the roots grew through the bag, down into the soil. The potato plants were drawing moisture from the ground.

If all the conditions are just right, I could expect to harvest 10 pounds of potatoes for every pound of seed potato planted. That is a guideline in row crops. Who knows what to expect using a grow bag fabric planter?

I like to grow varieties that are available to gardeners and not usually found in grocery stores. These, I think, are Yellow Finn potatoes. I’m hoping the yellow potatoes will  fool me into using less butter.

Potatoes are the fourth-largest food crop in the world. (After rice, wheat, and maize.) This is an old European gourmet variety. They are said to have a buttery, sweet, yellow flesh.

The grow bag allows for excellent drainage and aeration. Plants respond much like they do in raised beds. You can start plants earlier than you can sow directly in the ground.

These fabric bags also last a long time. I’ve used it for three years with a variety to crops and It shows no signs of wear and tear.  It will be in service next year.

Golden salsa, made with yellow tomatoes.

Golden salsa, made with yellow tomatoes.

Oh, by the way, those lovely peppers are a variety of jalapeno that are supposed to be milder than the original. Still, half of one is enough for my canned salsa. Since I started making our own salsa, we use a lot more of it.

Jeff says that is because I make such good salsa. But it’s probably because of the roasted garlic, peppers and tomatoes. It’s an extra step, but it makes for a richer and sweeter salsa.

 

 

 

 

Todays Harvest Basket 9/3/14


2014
09.07

Today’s Harvest Basket September 3, 2014

Tomatoes and Peppers galore! Bell, Jalapeño, Habanero, Felicity peppers

Hot and sweet peppers. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Hot and sweet peppers. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

 Chile, “Classic Jalapeño” Pepper, hot

Felicity, sweet pepper, no heat.

Red Bell Pepper, sweet

Arkansas Traveler, Martian Giant, Brandywine and assorted cherry tomatoes.

Brandywine tomato

One slice will cover the bread on a BLT.

One slice will cover the bread on a BLT.

Big old Brandywine was so heavy, it dropped off, stripping the vine’s exterior by several inches.

From an old line of Brandywines, known as the Sudduth’s strain.

Sudduth’s strain comes from tomato collector Ben Quisenberry in 1980. He got it from Dorris Sudduth Hill whose family grew it for over 100 years.

Big pink beefsteak-like fruits can grow up to 2 pounds on indeterminate vines.

This is the tomato by which all others are measured for taste. Brandywine is a consistent winner in tomato taste contests. The intense tomato flavor is the perfect balance of acid and sweet taste.

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/30/14


2014
08.31

Tomatoes, peppers

Today’s Harvest Basket August 30, 2014

Every tomato plant has ripe, sun warmed tomatoes.

Every tomato plant has ripe, sun warmed tomatoes. Photo PBH

Plus, four cups of cherry tomatoes. The neighbor’s tomato garden is about to run down for the season, not many more tomatoes will ripen. He has planted seed for a fall garden already.

In the upper left photo, may be the last of the Gold Medal tomatoes in my garden. Blight has cut the tomato season short. There is a Gold Medal tomato plant in a container on the deck. There may be as many as a half-dozen tomatoes on that plant. Blight is also overtaking the plant on the deck.

One pound and one ounce. Brandywine. Photo: PBH

One pound and one ounce. Brandywine. Photo: PBH

As the  “Italian Pompeii” plum tomatoes ripen, they go into a freezer bag. Sometime this winter, on a cold snowy day, I’ll pull those tomatoes out of the freezer and make some amazing sauces or chili. I learned this tip from Renee’s Garden.

To learn more about this beautiful, meaty plum tomato – Pompeii – Italian tomato from seed

or,  Grow a spaghetti sauce theme garden in a 4′ x 4′ raised bed

Capellini Pomodoro made with plum tomatoes.

Capellini Pomodoro made with plum tomatoes. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

 

Pomodoro is a simple tomato sauce made from plum tomatoes. A quick, light tomato sauce fresh made.

Literally, apple of gold, pomodoro is an indication the first tomatoes were yellow, not red.

It is time to plant lettuce and radishes.

 

 

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/29/14


2014
08.30

Green beans, eggplant, onions, tomato

Today’s Harvest Basket, August 29, 2014

About a pound and a quarter of fresh green beans

About a pound and a quarter of fresh green beans

Green beans

are a favorite vegetable to grow and freeze for later use.  It has been a good year for green beans. The bean plants are a collection of seeds, the end of a couple of different seed packets. These bush beans are about 5 1/2″ long and straight.

With a long rainy spring, the first planting of beans was later than usual. Planting too early is a waste of seed. Beans do not like cool, wet soil and will rot.

These straight, skinny beans are tender and need very little cooking.

These straight, skinny beans are tender and need very little cooking. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

We’ve been planting short rows of beans, every 2 or 3 weeks. That has made for plenty of fresh green beans all summer. There is enough to freeze a few packages now and then.

I like the idea of freezing a couple of packages of beans when there are fresh green beans. It sure beats, having to set aside a full day for canning a big batch.

Green beans almondine – A quick and easy way to prepare fresh green beans is green beans almondine. Simply steam beans, toast sliced or slivered almonds. Brown butter, toss beans in the butter and sprinkle with almonds.

2 quarts of cherry tomatoes. This is two days worth of picking.

The invasion of the cherry tomatoes. Photo:pbh

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/24/14


2014
08.24

Today’s Harvest Basket August 24, 2014

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, peppers, tomatoes

 

Basket duo

Basket duo

It is no surprise that tomato season is at its peak. Two of the tomatoes that are big producers, in my garden this year, are Arkansas Traveler and Martian Giant.

 

The Arkansas Traveler variety will produce, even in the hottest climates. The plants have produced pink 8 oz. fruits nonstop all summer. Once these plants start producing, it seems like I have picked tomatoes every day or every other day all summer long.

 

Martian Giant is a beefsteak-type slicer that produces a heavy crop of juicy, red, 12 ounce tomatoes. I bought these seed

Too many tomatoes?

Too many tomatoes?

because of the name. I was curious what Martian Giants looked and tasted like. They are a good, meaty tomatoes that you can’t tell from most midsize tomatoes. This is not a giant tomato. Nor is it from Mars. It is just plain good.

 

Cherry tomatoes

This is a basket of over 200 cherry tomatoes, just over four pounds. All of these are headed to the dehydrator. In a day or two, they will be sun-dried tomatoes. Dry and ready for storage in a quart size zip lock bag and stored in the freezer.

There were more cherry tomatoes but I ate them while getting them ready for the fruit dryer.

There were more cherry tomatoes, but I ate them while getting them ready for the fruit dryer.

Also, in the basket are some sweet peppers that look like a big jalapeno. But they aren’t hot. They are sweet in either the green or red stage.

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/11/14


2014
08.12

Today’s Harvest Basket August 11, 2014

Squash and tomatoes, plus a fruit jar full of herb cuttings. Mint and parsley will go into tabouleh.

Today's Harvest Basket 8: 11: 14

Mint in upper right, Italian flat leafed parsley in lower left.

Baby zucchini

The monster zucchini are now under control. I’m picking them at 7″ or so. Sliced lengthways and brushed with a hint of roasted garlic olive oil, these little tender squash and so, so good on the grill (or roasted in the oven)

In August, when the garden is in high production, I can easily be a vegetarian. That big yellow tomato weighs about a pound and a half.

Late blight has taken over most of the garden.

Late blight has taken over most of the tomatoes in the garden.

Yellow tomatoes

I hope to get one last flush of tomatoes before the plants succumb to late blight. Each of the tomatoes in this photo weigh well over a pound.

Heirloom tomatoes do not have the disease resistance that many hybrids do. But I challenge you to find a sweeter or prettier tomato than Gold Medal.

They are susceptible to late blight. I had the same problem a couple of years a go when I planted them.

But wait till I slice one open for you. Lovely meaty, yellow flesh with a splash of red radiating from the center.

Gold Medal Seedling

Gold Medal Seedling.

Generally speaking, it is not true that yellow tomatoes are less acid than red tomatoes. However, this big yellow tomato is less acid than most tomatoes.

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/4/14


2014
08.06

Today’s Harvest Basket

August 4, 2014

Leeks, peppers, Roma tomatoes, white cucumber.

IMG_1204

Just dived into the garden to grab leeks.

These are Lancelot Leeks. I just go out and pick the leeks as I need them. Leek starts were planted the same time as onion starts. Onions were harvested in July, but leeks can just stay in the ground. I like not having to store the leeks in the refrigerator taking up space for months.

The leeks I harvested today will be used in a herb vinegar.  Using a well seasoned herb vinegar will bring back a taste of the garden flavors at the peek of garden season.

Leeks bring a suttle onion flavor to any dish.

Leeks bring a subtle onion flavor to any dish.

 

Leeks

Lancelot Leeks. They get 12 – 16 inches tall with blue-green foliage. My leeks have not had any disease or pest problems. They are always tender. While they are small, they can be used as scallions.

Leeks are the earliest crops in my garden and they are the last to be harvested. Plant leek and onion starts in February or March. Starts are small transplants. Poke a pencil or chop stick in the ground, then drop the little leek plants in the hole. Leave the top just barely showing above  the ground. Gently firm the soil and water.

Leeks are related to onions, chives garlic and shallots. If onions are just too strong for you, leeks may be a good replacement in recipes. I’ll dig up the leeks this winter as we get into cold weather and soup season.

You can keep them in the garden, just heavily mulch after it gets cold. They are long keepers and can stay in your crisper for a month or two. If you don’t thin you will use them up by then, Just freeze them for later use.

Freezing leeks is easy.  Cut off the tough green leaves. Trim and save only an inch or two of the green part. Trim off the roots, wash, slice  lengthwise or chop and blanch for 1 minute in boiling water to set the color. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry leeks on cotton flour sack or paper towels.

When the leeks are dry, put them in plastic zip bags. Dried leeks will freeze in loose pieces.  They will be much easier to use when frozen.

Use leeks, still frozen. Add the leeks to soups, stews, roasting vegetables. The best known recipe is potato leek soup, which is wonderful using frozen leeks.

Beautiful Italian Tomatoes

"Italian Pompeii"

“Italian Pompeii”

These paste tomatoes are from Renee’s Garden.  I grow them almost every year. Pompeii grow well in my big containers. I’ve been growing these for years. This season was the first time I’ve ever had a problem. Early on, this plant got blossom end rot.

It rained so much this spring, I was thinking of building and ark. Once things got back to normal, no more BER. As you can see. they are beautiful. All of the tomatoes are over 4 ounces, some are over 5 ounces. They are meaty paste tomatoes that I freeze. This winter I’ll have time to slow cook them into a rich tomato sauce. There are more ideas like this on Renee’s Garden site.

Plum Tomato “Italian Pompeii”

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/3/14


2014
08.04

Today’s Harvest Basket August 3, 2014

squash, cherry tomatoes, peppers

spaghetti squash, peppers, cherry tomato

spaghetti squash, peppers, cherry tomato

The new torpedo shaped peppers look a lot like big ol’ jalapeno. The fun thing is the peppers look like they would be hot but they are not. The walls are thinner than a bell pepper but every bit as sweet.

They start out as shiny, clover green peppers. They gradually turn dark and finally turn red when fully ripe. There is not a hint of heat in the Felicity pepper.

Raspberries

Sweet red raspberries are coming on. They are so fragile, so easily crushed, that the raspberries never made it to the harvest basket. I hand carried the berries inside, gave them a quick rinse and put them in a ramekin in the refrigerator.

Chilled raspberries were served to the chief hole digger and raspberry bed builder tonight. And, OK. I admit it, I may have had one or two.

We planted 5 raspberry plants last year. This year, I am reaping the rewards. These delicate and sweet berries are the first, and it looks like more are coming.

first harvest raspberries

First few Heritage raspberries.

Todays Harvest Basket 8/1/2014


2014
08.02

August 1, 2014

Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers.

Todays Harvest Basket 8:1:2014II

Loads of cherry tomatoes will be used to make tabouleh.

 Cherry Tomato

Cherry tomatoes are the first to ripen, sometimes a month ahead of the big tomatoes. By the time plenty of beef steaks are producing, Cherry tomatoes can go right into the food dehydrater, becoming sun-dried tomatoes.

I planted a sun gold cherry tomato. A friend sent seed for the white cherry and, the red tomato is a volunteer.

The Sun Gold is sweet and prolific. It would have been all the little cherry tomatoes we could eat with plenty to dehydrate as sun-dried tomatoes. But, they are so good that a lot of them never make it to the kitchen. We eat some of them as we pick them.

Where the Sun Gold grew last year, a volunteer came up this spring. Curiosity is the only reason this little guy was allowed to grow. It may be just like one of sun gold’s parents, but who knows? The volunteer did not grow up to be a Sun Gold.

No surprise there. Sun Gold F1 means this is a tomato hybrid. Don’t save the seed, because there’s no guarantee the plant will produce true Sun Gold tomatoes.

That volunteer tomato is producing loads of 1″ red cherry tomatoes. They are not very sweet but there sure are lots of them.

The white one is a sweet, ivory colored cherry tomato. Not a heavy producer, but it is pretty in a pint of mixed color cherry tomatoes. My best guess is that this white cherry tomato is Snow White.

Traditionally tabouleh uses full-sized tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. I make it my own by using cherry tomatoes.

Zucchini bread is in the oven.

Zucchini bread is in the oven. Can you smell it?

That dark zucchini hiding under all the other produce, is Raven. Usually I pick them when they are 6 or 7 inches long. This one got away from me while I was away for the weekend.

These dark green, smooth-skinned summer squash are a Renee’s Exclusive. I will use this hefty zucchini grated into zucchini cake and chocolate zucchini bread.

There a dozens of suggestions for using zucchini on my Pinterest page
zucchini & eggplant

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