Today’s Harvest Basket

Early garden harvests

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Green beans, baby carrots, garlic scapes. lettuce, radishes and radish flowers.

Garlic scapes are used in pesto and pickled.

Garlic scapes are green stems and unopened flower buds of hard-neck garlic varieties.

Scapes have a mild garlic flavor and a slight sweetness, which makes them a prized addition in the kitchen. You can find them in the early summer at farmers’ markets. If you grow your own garlic, trim the scapes off before their flowers open.

This forces the plant to focus on bulb.

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Today’s Harvest basket

First basket 6/1

Today’s Harvest Basket

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Sugar snap peas, pak choi, turnips, lettuce, radish, green onions. Salads and stir-frys are the blue plate specials at our house this week.

Don’t like turnips?

The little white turnips in the corner of the basket may change your mind about turnips. These Japanese Baby Turnips, “Mikado” are from Renee’s Garden  I grow them in the spring and in the fall.

These white, mild turnips grow as big as walnuts. They are good raw or cooked with the greens.

 

The Renee’s Garden Cookbook review

Cooking from the garden

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A gardeners guide from seed to table.

Most cookbooks will send you straight to the kitchen to make something good to eat. Not this one. With ”The Renee’s Garden Cookbook,” your first trip will be to the garden, and then to the kitchen.,

The recipes are quick and simple enough for everyday cooking. Your garden fresh vegetables and herbs will elevate any dish to gourmet fare. This book is perfect for those who shop at the farmers market.

Vegetables fresh from the garden

Sun warmed vegetables fresh from the garden.

300 kitchen tested recipes are easy-to-make and showcase whatever vegetables and herbs are at the peak of the season. For example, the section on Chard has tips on planting and growing, plus recipes.

Renee’s Garden Cookbook has the answer on what to do with those just-picked tomatoes or chard or, cucumbers.

When I read The Renee’s Garden Cookbook, I ordered more garden seed. The tips on growing cucumbers are interspersed with the recipes for fresh cucumbers and pickles. So, I’m thinking, “it’s not too late to plant more cucumber seed.”

Vegetables grown from Renee's Garden Seed.

Chard, eggplant and green beans.

When Renee brings in fresh vegetables from her trial gardens, she and co-author Fran Raboff get to cooking and creating new recipes. The two launch into a cooking and eating orgy. A fortunate few good friends and advisors join Fran and Renee for the recipe trials.

As a result, the recipes make the most of each harvest. Gardeners will enjoy this trip from Renee’s Garden Seed Catalog to The Renee’s Garden Cookbook. Renee offers a great combo package: The Renee’s Garden Cookbook & Easy to Grow Seed Collection at a discount.

This is a gardeners cookbook and a cook’s gardening book. Get ready to take off your garden gloves and put on your chef’s hat because, gardeners do make the best cooks.

A sampling of Renee’s Recipes include one of the most popular recipes: Lavender Shortbread. Seed packet artist, Mimi Osbone illustrates the book with her familiar watercolors of vegetables and herbs.

Nasturtium, "Cup of Sun"I hope this book will inspire you to include a few herbs and flowers in the vegetable garden. Not only are they tasty recipe additions, but will also improve vegetable pollination. Growing herbs and flowers will attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to your gardens.

 

“Living Large in Our Little House”

Living Large in Our Little House: Thriving in 480 Square Feet with Six Dogs, a Husband, and One Remote--Plus More Stories of How You Can TooLiving Large in Our Little House: Thriving in 480 Square Feet with Six Dogs, a Husband, and One Remote–Plus More Stories of How You Can Too by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book is a conversation with an expert about the practicalities and realities of small house living. Sure, it’s packed with information about local laws and regulations, legal considerations, and important contacts.

“Living Large in Our Little House” quickly dispatches the trivial. The legal or official definition of “tiny house” is not as important as how many square feet works for you. Kerri moves on to what you can afford, how much space you require to live comfortably and can you, your spouse, the kids and pets all actually live in a tiny house?

The size and location of your little house will be critical to making a dream come true for you. Kerri illustrates the realities of small space dwelling with several examples of folks who chose the same path. Learn from the people who build, design or live in tiny houses.

Living Large Tips studded throughout the book are lists of things to consider before you make the move to the tiny house life. These tips are good ideas to launch you into your own lists of what to keep and what to let go, what you will need versus what you want.

The book includes smart advice about ways to “test drive” the small house life before you make the investment. Do the research, locate the resources, have a plan. Be clear about your reasons for tiny house living.

This book will affirm your choice to live large in a tiny house or confirm that little house living is not for you. Read about real people living large in little houses. There are some very important questions you need to consider before buying or building a tiny house.

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell’s “Living Large in Our Little House: Thriving in 480 Square Feet with Six Dogs, a Husband and One Remote..and More Stories of How You Can, Too.” book is essential reading if a tiny house may be in your future.

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Wordless Wednesday

Weed or wildflower?

Weed or wildflower?

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday April 13, 2016

reblooming Darwin tulips

Spring blossoms promise summer fruits

Fruit plants produce some of the prettiest flowers

Peaches, blueberries and strawberries are blooming and beautiful this year. The raspberries and blackberries are not blooming yet.

The tree is covered with pale pink blooms.

The tree is covered with pale pink blooms.

You don’t need acres of land to enjoy home-grown fruit. My peach orchard is one dwarf tree. The blueberry patch is four containers on the steps of the deck. The strawberry field is a 4′ square raised bed.

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These soft pink flowers or the promise of peaches to come. Stark Saturn Peach is also known as a donut peach.

The donut peach is a white fleshed freestone, just 2¼-2¾” in diameter. Sweet fruit and heavy producer the years we survive long, harsh winters and late frosts. Even without a peach crop, this beautiful peach blossom floral display every spring is reason enough to own this tree.

I got my peach tree from Stark Brothers. The tree is about 8′ tall. Because it is a self-pollinating tree, Stark® Saturn Peach is a great choice for small space gardens.

Ozarks Beauty Strawberry plants are loaded with white flowers

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Imagine the berries.

Imagine the berries.

Scarlet red Ozarks Beauty is ever-bearing with a heavy, first wave of fruit. It should continue with a light production of berries through frost. After that early flush of fruit, strawberry production in my garden becomes occasional. Usually the wildlife score these occasional berry before I discover them.

I started with 25 plants in a 4′ x 4′ raised bed with one 3′ x 3′ tier. Plants were sparse. In this third year, the beds are lush and full of plants covered with blooms. It can take 2-3 years to really produce a good crop. So, this is the year! Maybe, in addition to strawberry shortcake, there will be enough for a small batch of strawberry freezer jam.

Get strawberry plants from Stark Bro’s, Gurney’s, or Jung Seed.

Blooming Blueberries

blueberry blooms

These beautiful white blooms promise to produce berries with that old-fashioned wild blueberry flavor.

 

Blueberries blooming in containers on the deck.

Blueberries blooming in containers on the deck.

Four containers of dwarf  Tophat Blueberry plants are growing on the steps of the deck. In the second year on the deck, we had a mild winter and the blue berry bushes are all blooming this spring. If I don’t cover them, I’m sure the berries will be bird food.

I’m looking forward to picking a few full size ripe berries while sitting on the deck. The plants will get no more than 2′ tall. I the fall, I’ll prune my spindly plants to encourage them to get bushy.

These plants are from Gurney’s . You can usually get the dwarf bushes, from Jung or Stark Bro’s.

 

Tastes like Summer

Picking a perfectly ripe, sun-warmed peach from the tree, gathering a hand full of the juicy raspberries, or popping a whole, sweet strawberry in your mouth is the essence of summer.

Home grown fruit is the best fruit you ever tasted. If you are fortunate to have extra fruit, make a jar of two of homemade jam. That  jar of summer jam will need little or no sugar.

Home grown fruit is grown for flavor. It’s fragile, and meant to be eaten soon after harvest. Fresh fruit is the most nutritious and tender produce you can eat.

Stark Bro’s has been around since 1816. I’ve bought several fruit trees from Stark over the years. It’s a reliable company that stands behind their products. The confidence-building growing guides will get you started with home-grown fruit.

During the Stark Brothers 200th Anniversary,  you can get some very good fruit trees and berries for under $20.

 

A gardeners final day of winter.

A slow cooked pork stew on a snowy day tastes even better loaded with foods from last summer’s garden. One tasty stew addition to the stew pot is sweet potatoes. Loaded with root vegetables potatoes and sweet potatoes, plus garlic, onions and carrots. Mild and sweet yellow sweet potatoes and homegrown garlic are from the garden.

White and sweet potatoes make this rich pork stew an even hardier winter fare.

White and sweet potatoes make this rich pork stew an even hardier winter fare.

 

 

From the summer farmers market: locally grown shiitake mushrooms – dried in the dehydrator and stored in plastic ziplock bags.

Home made tomato soup, several versions of stew and chili are wintertime mainstays here at the Hobson Estate.

Home grown tomatoes, garlic and peppers enhance the flavors of pork chili.

Home grown tomatoes, garlic and peppers enhance the flavors of pork chili. photo PBH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we wrap up winter, it’s inventory time for the deep freezer and pantry. We ran out of salsa around the first of the year. So, I need to grow more tomatoes (plus, onions, garlic, peppers, herbs)

We need more salsa, crushed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, sun dried tomatoes, even more tomato soup.

We need more salsa, crushed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, sun dried tomatoes, even more tomato soup.

Today, I think, “I can never have too many tomatoes.” In August, that will be a different story.

Paste tomatoes, Arkansas traveler, Giant Martian, Gold Medal

Paste tomatoes, Arkansas traveler, Giant Martian, Gold Medal

August:

“What was I thinking!?”

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2015

GBBD 11/2015

Velvety red Zinnia

Velvety red Zinnia

One more bloom before the winter.

Encore azaleas. I know. In November.

Encore azaleas. I know. In November.

 

So amazing. It’s been a late, long garden season. I have many flowers this year that would have normally succumbed to frost by mid November. Not that I am complaining.

 

 

 

 

A few more last blooms of the season:

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Dozens of the little butterflies visit daily. I worry that they should be gone by now…

Anyway, The are three or four kinds of marigolds still blooming nonstop. Who has the heart to pull up such hardy colorful blooms? I want tell you what kind they are, I collect seed year after year. Be happy to share, if you want some seed.

And then maybe just one more…

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Campfire™ Fireburst Bidens hybrid

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A trial plant, Campfire™ Fireburst Bidens hybrid from Proven Winners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I planted this hot little annual in a hanging basket this year, not the best choice. Next spring, I’ll grow this new Bidens in a mixed container of orange and yellow flowers.

Last Rose…

I posted one of theroses acouple of weeks ago and said "last rose of the year" but then the precious, fragrant rose quickly followed.

I posted one of these roses a couple of weeks ago and said “last rose of the year” but then this precious, fragrant rose quickly followed.

David Austin’s Crown Princess Margareta ® is often the first bloomer and the last bloom among the full size roses. So, again, “Last rose of the season”

Vegetables Too

I love that I am still eating garden tomatoes and basil in mid November.

The last big one.

The last big one. It’s not pretty, but it was tasty tonight. Yellow Brandywine.

This basket full of chard will become my version of spinach lasagne. The seed was from Renee's Garden.

This basket full of chard will become my version of lasagne. The seed was from Renee’s Garden.

The beautiful plant is container chard, “Pot of Gold” from Renee’s Garden There are no flowers, but the colorful stalks make this plant pretty enough to be in the front porch bed.

It’s a non stop producer, never bitter, always beautiful. I won’t pull it up until a hard freeze kills the plants. Use chard just as you would spinach.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day with this post. For more Bloom Day posts from gardens around the world, visit May Dreams Gardens

Akk! First Frost

The killer hard freeze

"Italian Genovese" "Queenette" Thai basil, "Italian Cameo" L-R

“Italian Genovese” “Queenette” Thai basil, “Italian Cameo” L-R

First frost in fall is as nerve-racking as the last frost date of spring. It’s no surprise to a gardener that the first frost is impending. But dang, one more warm week and I would have had a dozen more one-pound golden-yellow tomatoes.

Gathering herbs before frost. I’ll pick all tomatoes with any hint of color, decent size peppers, and eggplant.

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A week or two more for fresh herbs and vegetables. Plus, I’ll make some casseroles to freeze. (Like the Court of Two Sisters eggplant casserole, Chunky vegetable soup, Ratatouille)

Then, this fall/winter, some home canned and frozen food we’ve accumulated all summer, will serve as comfort food on the coldest days.

Several fresh cut basil brought indoors before the frost. herbs in jars

Several fresh-cut basil brought indoors before the frost. herbs in jars

Bring in basil cuttings, even if is a possibility it might reach.

Learn more about Hardy Fall Vegetables  – Big beautiful leeks, leafy chard, sweet baby carrots are still in the garden.

"Pot of Gold" chard

“Pot of Gold” chard from reneesgarden.com

Where to find these recipes:

Court of 2 Sisters eggpla

  • Court of Two Sisters eggplant casserole – Next time eggplant starts piling up in the garden, make this recipe and freeze it. (Easy to double.)
  • Chunky vegetable soup
  • Ratatouille – Julia’s recipe!
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