Tag Archives: Garden

Today’s Harvest Basket 4/17/14

Today’s Harvest Basket, July 17, 2014

Zucchini, tomatoes, onions, carrots, bell peppers, cucumber

More food than we can eat. Starting to can, dehydrate, bake.

More food than we can eat. I am starting to can, dehydrate, bake. photo PBH

That GIANT CARROT, the one that is over a foot long, (top right) is a Scarlet Nantes. As I pulled these carrots, most were 6 or 8″ long with deep orange color and are sweet. I just have no idea why this one foot long carrot is so big, or the others are so normal.

Sweet and hot peppers are loaded up on the peppers plants out in the garden. Today, these blocky bell peppers would be perfect for stuffing.


All the other carrots grew as described in the catalog. Anyway, the seed came from Nichols Garden Nursery.  If you are interested in growing carrots, you still have time to order seed and plant a fall crop. Fall harvested carrots are even sweeter and they can take light frosts.

Scarlet Nantes is an heirloom. It is sweet and it stores well. The big news item here is that the seed is only $1.65. Amazing to find a reputable seed source under $2. I plan to grow these again this fall. What a bargain.

Nichols has a great variety of carrots, some that are under $2 a packet. There is also good carrot growing info on that website.

Cherry tomatoes

Under the “you get what you pay for” category, this variety of cherry tomatoes is in full production. The white cherry tomato was supposed to be Great White tomato. Oh, well. The seed was free and the little cherry has a good flavor.

The tangerine colored tomato is exactly what I expected from a F1 tomato. I grew it from seed. This Sun Gold tomato is as sweet as can be.

And the almost red cherry tomato is from a volunteer plant that came up where the Sun Gold cherries were last year. It was a curiosity. I wanted to see if it would come up like Sun Gold, but instead the tomato plant came up as a long-lost member of the family tree. It is not very sweet. I think it takes after the prolific side of the family, not the sweet side.

It’s no surprise

When I want to use up mammoth amounts of summer squash, I make Zucchini cake, zucchini pie, and salsa.

The zucchini pie was originally from an old Taste of Home Zucchini Pie  recipe.

As a herb gardener, I had to change-up the recipe a bit. My Zucchini Casserole recipe is on Hub pages. The Sweet and crunchy grape picnic salad is there too.



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.




Raised beds and high hopes


I have raised beds and high hopes for Southeast Missouri garden, zone 6A. We are still a couple of weeks away from the juicy giant tomato of my dreams.

“Do you want a tomato sandwich?” I yelled out the back door last summer.

“Tomato sandwich? You mean without the Bacon?” Jules replied.

This was an un paralleled act of generosity on my part. I was offering to share the first big red, ripe tomato of the summer.

Jules won’t come in for a lunch-time tomato sandwich.  He will come in for a Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

Let’s share our tomato favorites throughout the season. Leave a comment, please.

Indigo Rose Saladette tomato. photo PBH

I have a new raised bed that is 4 ft square and I plan to see just how much I can produce in this small space. My point is that we can have fresh home-grown produce in the space of an apartment balcony, or a suburban front porch.

I’m growing great tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket. Plus, there is room to tuck in a basil plant, some thyme or, some chives.

I am also growing a brand new tomato, Indigo Blue. It is a saladette tomato, meaning bigger than a cherry tomato but smaller than a Celebrity. Saladette is a GIANT Cherry or a really small beefsteak.

All my garden seed is from:

Renee’s Garden

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed

Nichols Seeds

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Garden Mailbox

When the neighborhood got new mailboxes, I scavenged a couple of the old ones.

How many times have you been working in the garden and realized you needed another tool?

Garden Mailbox

I have my new Corona tools in this garden mailbox.

I keep a set of tools in my garden mailbox. During garden season, I keep a pair of Corona pruners and a cobra head in the mailbox. I can accomplish most any garden project with these two tools.

In the spring, keep some blank plant labels or tags and a permanant marker. In the summer I keep a ball of twine to tie up unruly tomato vines. If it is rose pruning season keep your gloves and Corona clippers handy.

If I come inside for a cool drink,  or a short break, the tools stay in the mailbox. I don’t have to gather up all the tools and drag them in and out with every trip.

More good things to keep handy in the garden mailbox: twine. This broken tomato vine could have been staked up with the twine to keep it from breaking under the weight of the green tomatoes. This, by the way is the ONLY reason a gardeners eat fried green tomatoes before the first frost.

tomato vine

Tomato vine broken from the weight of too many tomtoes.


U CAN® Watering System

U Can is pretty, easy to carry and just the right size.

It’s hard to impress me when it comes to watering cans. I have my favorites in different sizes for different uses. After years of gardening, I have some definate preferences when it comes to watering cans.

I like the new 2 gallon U CAN. I like it’s ergonomic design and generous water capacity.

U CAN has a sprinkler head storage post. That’s sure handy for me because I tend to misplace the rose or sprinkler heads on watering cans. I’ll use the glove jam to keep my bandanna handy.

There is handy fertilizer storage and measuring spoon. That’s great for my hanging baskets and containers on the patio which get fertilizer every week.

Though not a deciding factor in buying a watering can, I like the dial fertilizer tracker and the built in measuring spoon.  It’s a little thing that makes this watering can a keeper.

I keep this watering can handy, it stays on my patio gardens near the containers.

I like that U CAN is made in the USA with recycled plastic.

The hand grips are comfortable and perfectly placed.

U CAN lists these advantages in the translucent plastic watering can:

  •  fertilizer storage chamber,
  • built-in measuring cup and spoon,
  • fertilizing reminder dial,
  • glove jam to store your gloves,
  • sprinkler head storage post.

The U CAN 2 gallon watering can is ergonomically designed with rubber hand grips and a textured handle for easy lifting, carrying and pouring. A perfect gift for gardeners, you can buy U CAN online or at these garden centers.

Garden Magazines

Missouri Gardener 2011 March/April

I have a story in this months March/April 2011 edition of Missouri Gardener. That makes me proud and happy.

I think what makes me love this magazine even more, is the fact that this is the second edition, the second month that this magazine has published. When magazines and news papers a disappearing daily, State By State is rolling out monthly magazines about gardening to an ever increasing number of  states.

Today I was in Springfield, where Barbara St Clair lives.

Barbara's Dahlia

I bought a copy of the magazine to take to her and say thank you for allowing me to share her garden with the public. Barnes and Noble bookstore in Springfield has copies of the Missouri Gardener.

She too is a Master Gardener and has donated many (hundreds of) hours to the new Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center in Springfield, Missouri’s Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park and the Xeriscape Garden.

She told me that because the article mentioned her and the Master Gardeners, The Botanical Center had decided to start carrying Missouri Gardener magazine. I was happy to hear that news. I hope theword gets out about Missouri Gardener.

If you have never been to the xeriscape garden sponsored by Springfield Master Gardeners or the Botanical Center.

Make time to see them this gardening season. Become a member or donate online.

I think the Botanical Gardens are a destination site, worthy of a day trip or weekend get away. When you go, tell me what you think.

You can subscribe to your state by state gardening magazine on line.

Gardeners solution to dry hands

Working in garden soil sucks the moisture out of my hands. Frequent hand washing only dries my hands even more. I tried Udder Ointment to soothe the dryness. I like Dr. Hess Udder Ointment in the 4 ounce tube. I keep a tube in my garden tool box.

Owner Polly Tribe also sent a sample of the Udder Stick, a Lip Balm with SPF 15. I was happy indeed to discover the flavored lip balm in Original Vanilla, Mango, Pomegranate and Vanilla Mint. I think it lasts longer than the usual over the counter brand of lip balm I used to buy. The Udder Stick is my new everyday spf 15 lip balm.

The Great Grand Daughter, Polly Tribe now owns Dr Hess Products. Read the story of udder ointment on their website. Originally developed in 1893 for treating chapped teats and udders of dairy cattle, farmers were soon remarking as to the healing effect it had on their own hands.

I use Udder Ointment on my hands and feet at night before bed. Magic happens overnight.

Go to the website to learn where you get your hands on Dr Hess Products.

Dr. Hess Products, LLC, 23 N Scenic Hills Circle, North Salt Lake, UT 84054, Fax – 801.295.7313

Dairy farmers discovered this ointment helped their dry hands.

What is Succession Planting?

Stretch your garden harvest by planting the same crop ten days later, and then again in ten more days.

lettuce and spinach will be suceeded by pepper plants

Another method is to replace one crop with another. For example, I’ll plant spinach in the early spring. As the weather gets warmer, I’ll plant green beans where the spinach was. I’ll plant half the row, and then, ten days later, I’ll finish planting the row with more green beans. Later, I’ll plant turnips in the row that grew green beans.

This method of gardening maximises your garden space. Even a tiny garden or big container can be used in this way.

Early peas will be replaced with green beans

Renee’s Garden has one of the most productive guides to using and reusing your garden space.

Renee’s Kitchen Garden Design Plans designed to maximize space.

Renee’s FAQs site gives you an organic gardeners short and sweet answer, not a science lecture. Her site is especially helpful on ferilizing and storing seed.

Zoning In

Find your plant hardiness zone. Use this guide to buy plants and learn when to sow seeds. I think the line between 6a and 6b runs right through my front yard. Depending on the investment – how much money I spend on the tree or plant –  I go back and forth, my answer could be different on any given day. I live in zone 6a. Or is it  6b?

US National Arboretum “Web Version” of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Gardeners in the Kitchen


I always order several lettuces and spring greens

A good place to start your garden seed order is by leafing through your favorite cookbooks. Renee Shepherd’s cookbooks showcase the best of garden fresh cuisine. Who better to write a cookbook than the person who grows a bountiful vegetable garden?

Renee’s Garden has two cookbooks, “Recipes From A Kitchen Garden” and “More Recipes From A Kitchen Garden.” My cookbooks are tabbed, with penciled notes in the margins and dog-eared. These two very affordable cookbooks ($12.95) have a few food splashes and the occasional sticky fingerprint.

Horseradish is the herb of the year 2011. I’ve ordered ”

Both Cookbooks will inspire you to grow more veggies from seed.

Tricolor Bush” beans and the skinny French “haricot vert,” that are bright green beans “Rolande. I am predicting that Chilled Green Beans with Creamy Horseradish Dressing and Green beans with Basil-Walnut Vinaigrette are going to be garden party and alfresco dining hits.

Best of all, these two dishes are make-ahead recipes that will develop flavor while chilling in the fridge. These two recipes are in the first cookbook, Recipes from a Kitchen Garden.

As an herb gardener, I love that Renee’s cookbooks incorporate edible flowers and fresh herbs in many of the recipes. With these cookbooks, you will enjoy fresh recipe ideas all season.

baby romaines

Book Review: Tomatoes Garlic Basil

PBHobson2 Patsy Bell Hobson is a garden writer and a travel writer. For her, it’s a great day when she can combine the two things she enjoys most: gardening and traveling. Visit her personal blog at and read her travel writings.

In my Zone 6 garden there are always three kinds of tomatoes: a paste tomato for sauces, a cherry tomato, because these small tomatoes are always the first to ripen (and later, when the big tomatoes are producing, these small ones will be dried), and a big, meaty tomato for eating fresh (and for bragging rights). I love tomatoes and when I saw Tomatoes Garlic Basil (St. Lynn’s Press, 2010), I judged the book by its cover. It is beautiful. Eventually, I was tempted to open the paperback tribute to the garden and kitchen’s favorite produce and I’m glad that I did. The book only gets better!

Tomatoes, garlic and basil are the holy trinity of the vegetable garden.

Doug Oster’s Tomatoes Garlic Basil is a love letter about our favorite home garden produce. If you are one of the millions of backyard gardeners who grow tomatoes, this book is for you. Tomatoes are the star of the show. And, just like most gardens, basil and garlic have strong supporting roles in the book that magnify the magic of home grown tomatoes.

The book will not overwhelm you with soil science and plant genetics. It will give you some good advice about soil preparation and plant selection. The pleasure of reading this book grows as Oster offers us many choices with these three simple garden staples.

Like most gardeners, Oster is generous in sharing his experience and recipes. If you are new to gardening, try the simple combination of these three plants. He also encourages people who do not have garden space and shares some planting options. Each chapter begins with a garden or food quote that ties into the chapter. In Chapter 2, I was inspired by “Summer Celebrations” and looked forward to incorporating some of his ideas as I create new traditions for my own family. And by the time you get to the great advice in Chapter 9, which is about soil preparation and weed control, Oster will feel like an old neighbor

Oster is still on the big adventure of trying some different tomato plants every year as well as growing his favorites. It’s a good idea and you will never run out of tomato varieties to try. After reading this book you will be able to speak about basil and garlic as well as tomatoes with any home gardener.

This book would make a great gift for either a new or experienced gardener, as well as for the recipients of your produce bounty. (I recommend you buy the print version to enjoy the artful photographs.) The only difficult part is deciding whether to put this book with my cookbooks or on the shelf with the gardening books. I decided to take the book into the kitchen and try the recipes with my own fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil.

I enjoyed the humorous and serious gardening stories and there are plenty of artsy photographs throughout the book. I will definitely put Doug’s recipes and gardening tips to use this summer.

Cherry tomatoes are heavy producers.

Book Details

Tomatoes Garlic Basil: The Simple Pleasures of Growing and Cooking Your Garden’s Most Versatile Veggies by Doug Oster
• Paperback: 272 pages.
• Publisher: St. Lynn’s Press; 1st edition, ISBN-10: 0981961517 and ISBN-13: 978-0981961514
• See Doug Oster’s Blog at http://www.dougoster.com/books/ to read “My favorite story from Tomatoes Garlic Basil.”

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