Today’s harvest basket 6/30/14


June 30, 2014

Sweet onions, cucumbers

Cukes and onions will be sliced and chilled in a bowl of herb vinegar and water.

Cukes and onions will be sliced and chilled in a bowl of herb vinegar and water.

Pulled a few more onions. They are really starting to size up and I don’t want to crowd them. These little onions (yellow, white, red) are great for thinly slicing and putting in the vinegar and cucumber bowl in the fridg.

The garden is creeping closer and closer to a vegetable explosion. Almost. Almost ready. Squash, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes almost ripe. ‘better wait another day or two before picking.

Snip roots, leaving ¼".

Snip roots, leaving ¼”.



The garlic is in the garage, curing. Most of it is braided now. It looks like the garlic will be done before we need the space for onions.

Most of the garlic is plump and beautiful, about 2″ in diameter.  I will pickle some and add some to vinegar. But please, please do not store raw garlic in olive oil. It can kill you.

If raw garlic is stored in oil at room temperature, botulism (clostridium botulinum) develops quickly. It can be deadly. Even if raw garlic in olive oil is in the fridge for an extended period, it can kill you. Just don’t do it. Ever.

When I have all the garlic I want, I use a lot more. Last night we had a pasta side with just EVOO, garlic, basil, parsley.




I pulled these carrots to see in they are coloring up and anywhere near picking time. No. They are not. There are several varieties. When I saw the reasonable seed prices at Nichols, I kinda went overboard.

This carrots to 2 -3 " apart for long straight carrots.

This carrots to 2 -3 ” apart for long straight carrots.

The best time to grow carrots is in the fall. So you have plenty of time to order seed and give it a try. Strangely, the carrots are not all that tempting for the gang of baby bunnies  that were born in my garden and never left.

They are crazy about Haricot verts. But that is another story.


Today’s Harvest Basket 6/29/14


June 29, 2014

cucumbers, squash, onions, tomato

Good thing we like cucumbers. We are picking them everyday.

Good thing we like cucumbers. We are picking them everyday. Five picked today.

The little 2″ diameter tomatoes are “stupice”. They produced the first tomatoes of the season, a month ahead of my usual tomatoes.

Yes, eventually we will have too many cucumbers. Soon I will make refrigerator pickles and keep a bowl of cucumbers and onion slices in herb vinegar all the time while we have them.

  • Organic Cucumber, Chinese Suyo Long
  • White Wonder heirloom Cucumber

There are two more kinds of cukes I am growing this year. One is the little Kerby-type, which got planted late. My all-time favorites, an English cucumber, which I am just wondering about and will go looking for tomorrow.

Eventually, I’ll can a few garlicy dill sandwich slices and peppery spears. Plus, if I could only make one pickle, it would be the famous bread and butter pickle.

Uncle Ebb got a few white cucumbers on a sales trip, he shared them with his mom, my grandmother.

She grew the white cukes and saved seed for some years. White wonder are very crisp. don’t let them get big because they get bitter and need to be peeled.

Nichols Garden Nursery offers seed for white wonder cucumbers and stupice tomatoes.

A packet of 25 White Wonder seed from Burpee is $3.95.  Nichols offers White Wonder cucumber seed about 45 Seeds for $1.85.

Stupice heirloom tomato will be your first tomato of the year.

Stupice heirloom tomato will be your first tomato of the year.

Stupice tomato

Bred in the former Czechoslovakia, stupice is lunchbox size.

Cold-tolerant tomatoes ripen red slightly oval. They get better and sweeter as the weather gets warmer.

Wildflower Wednesday 6/25/14


Little lilac asters, I think.



IMG_4631Though they look dainty, these small flowers survive in the shallow and poor soil of the glades in the Ozarks regions of Missouri and Arkansas where I took these photos.

Often they are hugging the rocky hillsides and ledges along the highway.

I like them, they are tough, appreciate dry conditions and show up in the fall after much of the color is gone from the trees. At a time when fewer and fewer blooms are around for pollinators, bees are always hovering.

IMG_4720I collected some seed and tossed it out in a gravely spot near the drive. Who knows if it will grow. It is the little weedy thing I wouldn’t notice until it blooms this fall.

Gail at clay and limestone, Wildflower Gardening In Middle Tennessee hosts Wildflower Wednesday.

To share your wildflowers, join in a Celebration of all Wildflowers on the Fourth Wednesday of Each Month.

I always learn a lot from Gail’s posts and she is kind enough to allow my humble submissions to join the party.



Today’s Harvest Basket 6/25/14


June 25, 2014


Harvesting and storing garlic

We might not eat this much garlic in a year, but when we have plenty of good fresh garlic, we eat more of it.


Harvested garlic needs to be cured to help it last longer.

Harvested garlic needs to be cured to help it last longer.

Back in the day when we bought it one head at a time, we used garlic less and it wasn’t as good.

When tomatoes and zucchini are exploding in the garden, we eat fresh tomatoes and zucchini almost every day, in one way or another.  Look at all the zucchini tips and recipes on my Pinterest: Courgette (zucchini) Everything Squash

If you want to try your hand at growing garlic read my Hub Pages:   How to grow and harvest garlic  Look for garlic now to get the best selection. Order it now and it will be mailed to you at planting time.

Don’t plant grocery store garlic. It may have been treated to discourage sprouting. Purchase bulbs from mail order or online suppliers, garden center, or locally at farmers market.

Gently lift garlic and move to the shade.

Gently lift garlic and move to the shade.

Harvest garlic in summer

Watch for the yellowing of the plant leaves. When about half of the leaves have turned yellow/brown, stop watering two days before harvesting. Do not pull garlic. Carefully lift garlic out of the soil.

Garlic can bruise if not handled carefully. Move to the shade as soon as possible. Spread out in an airy spot for drying.

If the weather is wet, dry garlic indoors or in a garage. I used the shaded, screened porch and the garage.

Dirt will dry quickly. Gently brush off  the dry dirt. It is important for garlic to cure or dry in a cool, shaded space.

The curing process takes between one and two weeks. Don’t rush, more time is better than less. Proper curing will extend the life of

Drying garlic needs good air circulation. Do not remove the leaves and roots while the garlic cures. The bulb draws energy from the leaves and roots until they are completely dry.

The bulbs are ready to store when the skins are papery and the tops and roots are dry. Remove any dirt and trim off any roots and tops. Look for any damaged or bruised bulbs and discard them.

Garlic bulbs may be stored individually with the tops removed, or the dried tops may be braided together to hang in the kitchen or pantry. Trim roots to within 1/4” of the base.

If braiding the garlic, do this while the leaves are pliable. If  you wait until the leaves are completely dry they will be too brittle to braid.

Snip roots, leaving ¼".

Snip roots, leaving ¼”.

When these little bulblets form, use them for a milder garlic taste.

When these little bulblets form, use them for a milder garlic taste.

I plant garlic in late October or  early November. Work plenty of compost into soil. Start with good soil and fertilizer isn’t needed.

Don’t worry about planted garlic cloves freezing. They are a ok. This garlic was harvested  late June. Last year it was harvested in mid July.

Today’s Harvest Basket 6/18/2014


June 18, 2014

Parsley, mint, onion, ity bitty carrot.

Fresh parsley  + mint make the best tabouleh.

Fresh parsley + mint make the best tabouleh.

I always grow more parsley than we can eat. It is because of the rule of three. Grow one for me, one for others, one for the wildlife. Tabouleh is made with ingredients from my garden plus bulgar, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a bit of olive oil.

When tomatoes are producing, stuffed tomatoes are a good lunch.

When tomatoes are producing heavily, stuffed tomatoes are a good lunch.

Tabouleh will have a lot of parsley and mint in tonight’s dish. Next week when we have TONS of cucumber, the recipe will be heavy on cucumbers. Finally, when the tomatoes are the star of the garden, there will be a lot more tomato in the recipe.

About that carrot, it was harvested because I was thinning the carrots to encourage  them to grow straight and tall. When we have enough for carrot cake, I’ll share my recipe. But, it looks like it could be awhile before we have fresh carrot cake.

Take a jar of cool water to the garden. Plung herbs and leafy greens in cool water to prevent wilting.


This mint is called chocolate mint. It tastes nothing like chocolate. The stem is chocolate colored.

It is one of my favorite  mints because it has a pure mint flavor. It is a very bright, clean taste.

I keep it from growing out of control by using it at least once a week, clipping a generous portion to put in sun tea.

I buy mint from Richters Herbs.

Richters has a huge selection of herbs and a stunning variety of mints.

GBBD 6/15/14


June Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

I love July. Everything is green and growing. The bugs and drought haven’t gotten to everything yet.

This is ‘Going Bananas’ Daylily is a Hemerocallis from Proven Winners crowded into a patch of Black Eyed Susan . Others see how beautiful they are. I see more work. These daylilies already need to be thinned out.


Going Bananas daylily and Black-eyed Susan “Chocolate Orange”

Black-eyed Susan “Chocolate Orange” is a dark chocolate color outlined by bright orange. Strong stems and showy long-lasting flowers are perfect for cutting.


‘Going Bananas’ Daylily Hemerocallis hybrid

It is a lovely shade of yellow. There are three different yellow daylilies blooming in the garden now.


Miss Mary Mary Is blooming single blooms now. Next it will be double blooms on the same plant.



Black-Eyed Stella an old favorite for good reason.

Black-Eyed Stella an old favorite for good reason.







Black-Eyed Stella

Introduced in 1994 at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s Botanical Garden. East of the city on U.S. Highway 50 in Kingsville, MO 64061

To introduce this flower to the public, they were giving away Black Eyed Stellas. We stood in line, a long, long line, for a long, long time to get that little dayllily.

Finally at the front of the line, I was handed a scrawny bare root plant. I figured it would die before I could get home and plant it.

It thrived and multiplied and multiplied. It wasn’t long before there was a 3-foot wide border along the back of the house. Plus, for 6 years, I potted up 25 clumps to sell for the garden club every spring.

20 award-winning daylilies have been selected for the coveted All-American title for their scientifically proven and superior performance nationwide by the All-American Daylily Selection Council (AADSC).

The neighborhood mailbox spot is a bit of a gathering place

The neighborhood mailbox spot is a bit of a gathering place.

“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. What’s blooming in your garden? Share with other garden bloggers on the 15th of each month. Leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

Patriotic Petunias, red, white and blue  flowers will only live as long as I remember to water them.

Patriotic Petunias, red, white and blue flowers will only live as long as I remember to water them.



Today’s Harvest Basket 6/14/14


June 14, 2014

Bucket of lettuce, green onions, hot pepper

Today's Harvest Basket 6:14:14

Picked the most of the garden lettuce today, and thinned more green onions.


Organic, French Red Leaf lettuce, “Redina”* Big beautiful rosettes of ruffled red leaves  Tasty, eye-catching and disease-resistant French lettuce is lasting a couple of weeks longer than most.

Heirloom leaf lettuce “Garden Ferns,”* Sweet flavored, long lance shaped leaves with juicy texture. Perfect shape to mix with other lettuces in mixed spring greens.

These tender leaf lettuces are best with the lightest of dressings. Choose fresh lemon juice or herb vinegar to combine with olive oil.

Dressing: 2 parts lemon juice (or herb vinegar) and 1 part olive oil.

Spring greens mixed with onions and radishes.

Spring greens mixed with onions and radishes.


Make it your own -

Acid – Choose fresh squeezed lemon juice, or white wine vinegar. Make this you secret recipe with a herb flavored vinegar, like chives or tarragon vinegar. Try rice wine vinegar.

Oil – Olive oil is the classic choice. Add a couple of drops of sesame. This oil must be stored in the refrigerator. Using bacon drippings will make a wilted lettuce or a hot bacon dressing.





Bring a bucket of cold water to the garden.

Bring a bucket of cold water to the garden.


Cool Idea: Bring a bucket of iced water to the garden when you pick lettuces. Warm days tend to wilt lettuce, spinach, chard.

As the weather heats up, lettuces will bolt, or go to seed.

Complete the circle: If your lettuce is an heirloom, let some of the lettuce go to seed. Collect a few seed and plant them next spring.



* “Redina” and  “Garden Ferns,” lettuces are exclusive to Renee’s Garden

Today’s Harvest Basket 6/12/14


June 12, 2014

Cabbage, lettuces, onions

We are still getting lots of rain and spring temperatures.

We are still getting lots of rain and spring temperatures. Photo by PBH

It is a joy to still have a variety of lettuces and beautiful salads from the garden. I just step out the kitchen door, and across the drive to my kitchen garden.

We call the vegetable garden the circle garden because it is the interior of a circle drive. The space was originally full of rocks and trash. With a lot of time and work, the garden had become very productive. You can find plenty of earthworms in each of the raised beds.

Bug proof cabbage

I planted four little cabbage plant stars in four different places in the garden this spring. My hope was to raise a head or two of cabbage before the worms and slugs moved in. Because I don’t spray, cabbages and broccoli are always a disappointment.

But this year, one of the cabbages just seemed to be bug proof. It amazed me so that I took a photo of the big uneaten cabbage leaves.

Big uneaten cabbage leaves.

Big uneaten cabbage leaves. photo PBH

The cabbage in Today’s Harvest Basket will become cole slaw. I make it with a vinegar dressing and not the one with mayonnaise.

Dressing: whisk together

  • 1/4 cup white wine herb vinegar
  • 2 pkts stevia (or 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each, celery seeds, ground black pepper

Shred veggies, toss in large bowl with dressing.

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head of cabbage, finely sliced.
  • 1 carrot, grated

If you have fresh cilantro or dill and parsley, chop and toss in a few fresh herbs

Make it your own by adding shredded rainbow carrots, bell pepper, red pepper flakes



“Garden Ferns” leaf lettuce is juicy and still producing. This tender lance shaped leaf lettuce is an excellent addition to any salad.

“Redina” organic, French Red Leaf lettuce.  Very large rosettes of frilled & ruffled deep red leaves.

I get these beautiful leaf lettuce seeds at Renee’s Garden.




Today’s Harvest Basket 6/4/14


June 4, 2014

Loaded with kale. It was just thinned. There's plenty more to come.

Picked more fresh kale and more to come. Photo Patsy Bell Hobson

Green onions, snow peas, kale, radish, spinach. I also took a small bucket of cold water to the garden along with the harvest basket. As I cut parsley, it went directly into the bucket along with Flashy Trout Back lettuce. The tender young leaf lettuce and the last of the garden peas seem to be the baby bunny rabbit’s favorites as well.

It won’t be long before it’s time to pull the onions and garlic. The recent rains has been a big help. Everything is growing fast.

The snow peas will be a stir fry with the last of the asparagus and shrimp.

Wilted Lettuce


Get out your biggest bowl.

Spring greens mixed with onions and radishes.

Spring greens mixed with onions and radishes.

Wilted Lettuce. When Grandma asked me what I wanted for supper, I said wilted lettuce.
“You and Rex,” she said. “I think he could eat a dish pan of wilted lettuce.”
Grandpa Rex and I loved wilted lettuce.

Not a spring lettuce garden goes by without several servings of wilted lettuce on the menu.

In restaurants the closest you will get to this dish is “Spinach salad with hot bacon dressing.”

To make Wilted Lettuce and the get the recipe go to:

How to make wilted lettuce

Have you tried Flashy Trout Back lettuce?

Mature lettuce has burgundy colored speckles.

Mature lettuce has burgundy colored speckles.

It is very popular now. If it is too late to plant lettuce, order seed for a fall crop.

‘Flashy Trout Back’ is a romaine lettuce, fully mature at 55 days. It is crisp, crunchy and spattered with dark wine colored splashes.

Young Flashy Trout Back leaves are lighter colored and especially  popular with thelocal baby rabbits.

Young Flashy Trout Back is especially popular with the local baby rabbits.

You can harvest baby greens, which are much lighter colors.




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