Eat Veggies, save the planet

Mosquitoes in Austin
June 30, 2007, 8:50 pm
Filed under: gardening

     I went to my garden in shorts today. What a mistake. The mosquitoes were voracious. I picked what was ripe quickly and hightailed it out of there as fast as I could.

     But mosquito bites go away( if they are not from a mosquito infected with West Nile Virus) quickly. Fire ant bites are another story. They hurt for a long time.

Eating cantaloupe
June 28, 2007, 11:52 pm
Filed under: recipes

     This isn’t exactly a recipe but more a comment on eating. We have an Israeli exchange student here for 3 weeks and he is impressed by my eating cantaloupe with a spoon. He says in Israeli they eat it with their hands or in cubes.

Back to the garden after 6+inches of rain in 2 days
June 28, 2007, 11:50 pm
Filed under: gardening

     Luckily for me my garden is mulched well with pine straw so I can walk around without getting muddy.

     I knew I had to go pick tomatoes, etc today even though it poured this morning and was drizzling. I picked over 15 pounds of tomatoes and am canning right now. I also had many cucumbers, peppers and eggplants to pick.

      3 or 4 of my tomato plants are starting to die back. I don’t know if it is the rain or the heat. I suspect the rain. Does anyone know if too much rain can kill your tomato plants?

Freezing green bean paté
June 26, 2007, 12:15 am
Filed under: canning and freezing, recipes

I have so many green beans I froze a batch of green bean paté .
 Yesterday we defrosted it for lunch and to my amazement it was excellent. Who would have thought?

What to do with tomato plants when it is raining
June 24, 2007, 5:04 pm
Filed under: gardening

     It has been raining hard for short amounts of time almost every day this week. Therefore, It has been difficult ito work in the garden.

     I have been out to work only one day this week. I weeded and lay down  my 2 bales of pine straw mulch. It was really wet pulling weeds and I brought home much mud on my shoes, but the necessary job is done.

     I just read an article in a local gardening paper on a scientific study on mulch. The conclusion was that the soil temperature under the mulch remains constant even though the ambient temperature outside is fluctuating over 20 degrees.

     But I have been out every other day to pick. Each time I am getting about 10 pounds of tomatoes( 3 big colanders full). green beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant , swiss chard and peppers. I make ratatouille every other day it seems. I will post the recipe soon and also the recipe for the baba ganoush I made on Friday night.

     I have canned tomatoes twice this week and made low sugar peach jam again. I didn’t experiment. I used 1 cup of sugar again. Yum.

no sugar, low sugar peach preserves
June 19, 2007, 5:05 pm
Filed under: canning and freezing, gardening, recipes

This is peach season in Central Texas. It was a difficult year for the local peach growers due to a late cold spell in early April and much rain. But I just bought a box  of peaches from a grower outside of Fredericksburg and made a recipe of no sugar jam with 5 cups of peaches cooked, 1 cup of the peach juice,1 package of lo sugar sure jel and 1/4 cup of lime juice. My 17 yr old loved it but I found it slightly tart.

So this morning I made the same recipe adding 1 cup of sugar after it was ready and boiling one more minute. It was tart AND sweet.

A regular recipe calls for 4 cups of sugar so i might try it next with 2 cups for the scientist in me, but I am not sure. One cup seems just right.

Tomatoes galore
June 15, 2007, 11:40 am
Filed under: gardening

When I went out to my garden after 48 hours I found the cucumber vines wilted. I watered them well and they revived. I need more mulch and another soaker hose. Does any one know where to buy pine straw mulch in Austin beside at The Natural Gardener in far south Austin? I have a soaker hose on the tomatoes and they are thriving. In fact I picked enough tomatoes to can, 2 plastic bags full. I watered the entire garden and even left the soaker hose on and then it rained. Great rain but I had to make a second trip to shut off the soaker hose 4.5 hrs later and guess what. There was an awesome rainbow right over the garden. It was worth the drive over!tomatoes on my counter today

Putting up tomatoes
June 13, 2007, 11:17 pm
Filed under: gardening

It probably wasn’t worth it, but I couldn’t resist. I put up my first 2 pints of tomatoes from the garden last night. I do like boiling the water , dropping in the tomatoes to loosen the skin, cutting them up, reheating them with fresh basil from the garden and putting them in jars with salt and garlic cloves.

35 mintues later I have my canned tomatoes for the winter.

finally austin is hot
June 11, 2007, 4:38 pm
Filed under: gardening

I went to the garden on Sunday and things were actually wilting. I need more mulch. I am using pine straw mulch which is expensive but works beautifully and is supposedly reusable. I watered my tomatoes with a soaker hose and the rest of the garden with a hose. I think I finally have enough tomatoes to can at least the first 2 pints of the season!

And enough green beans to freeze. I think I will make green bean pate and freeze the green beans that way.

June 10, 2007, 4:21 am
Filed under: gardening

I dug up the last of my potatoes on Friday. Altogether I got 25 pounds and that was from 2 dollars worth of potato starters. The bed was 10 feet long and 3 feet wide.

I will store then in a box in the bottom of my pantry as suggested by harold, a fellow gardener at the community gardens who is over 75 years old and has been growing potatoes forever.