Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hi, everyone.

Last Saturday we had a wonderful time harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, etc. Having the children here made our day. They were actually very helpful and they obviously enjoyed themselves. Jason photographed the whole affair and some of the bounty. And, we planted spinach, radishes, lettuce, mustard spinach (we'll see what that is) and beets. We still have more room in the small garden, so if you want to try something else, go ahead.

Hot weather inhibits bloom formation, which soon thereafter results in fewer fruit. That's why we haven't had lots of cucumbers and bush beans. With the rain and the return of 80 degree weather, the blooms are back.

BTW, we got 4" of rain in less than 24 hours. It's amazing that it did not wash away all the newly planted seeds.

It's clearly tomato season now. Mickey is constantly in one of the steps to make tomato sauce. If you would like to learn to do this, she would be glad to show you. I think "the girls" are planning an event on Wednesday or Thursday.


Here's this week's status:
New! yellow summer squash** try the plant in the small garden
Cucumbers ** I think they will be back
Bush beans **
Tomatoes *****
Beets **** 2nd planting is nice.
Hot banana peppers ***** These are marked with a red string on the cages
Other peppers **** Green, red and purple bell peppers, pablano, relleno, pimento, jalapeño, & mild banana.
Chard **** (2nd planting, very good greens.)
Onions * (all harvested and drying)
Radishes just replanted
zucchini ** try the plant in the small garden
scaloppini squash *** harvest when about 3 or 4 inches across
tomatillos **** we've enjoyed some verde salsa! they sweeten as they ripen. I like them raw.
potatoes *** About 2/3 have been harvested. They are really nice.

We are holding some things in the house or garage. So if ask if you would like something that you do not see.


This year Mickey and I have been thinking about our food culture. I know we are way over the top with what we are doing this year, but in a historical sense its not unusual at all. We are odd only by today's standards - by today's US standards. In any other time or place this would not be so unusual. The main difference is that others have gardened out of necessity; we can do it for leisure.

It's also clear that having a garden is of no use unless you know what to do with the produce. And, there seems to be a gulf between those that know and do not know. I'm not so gifted. Thankfully, Mickey is. But I bet that anyone can learn the basics. Then, once you master the first steps, who knows, you may find you have more of the knack that you thought.

I don't eat out much, but I have a couple of times this past week. The salad I got both times was so representative of problems with our food culture. Between green and pure white, the lettuce was far to the wrong end of the spectrum. Too bad, because the nutritional content is associated with deep colors of green - or orange (carrots), blue (blueberries) or red (beets). White is just water. If iceberg lettuce is inexpensive, what we are accustomed to, and can be slathered with dressing, it's what we may settle for if we don't think about our choices.

I've also been watching the prices of vegetables in the supermarkets. They are out of reach of many. Why is this?


Regards,

Kim

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yesterday was clean-up day. Stan and I removed much of the old to make room for the new. We cleared much of the small garden and put the debris in the compost pile.

We'll start fall plantings as soon as the weather breaks. If anyone wishes to start some seedlings for transplanting, let me know.

We have plenty of certain vegetables like peppers, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, potatoes. The potatoes are really fun to dig and they are beautiful. They need to be dug before they rot.

The battle with the hornet turned out to be the entire war. No sightings this weekend.

Come by.


Kim

Friday, August 10, 2007

ZIPLOC OMELET





With all the fresh veggies in our gardens at this time of the year, this would make a hit for a breakfast or brunch get together. It is easy and fun to prepare and you can experiment with numerous kinds of fresh vegetable.
Pat Pratte
Missouri


ZIPLOC OMELET

This is really great when you have to work.....

This works great !!! Good for when all your family is together.
The best part is that no one has to wait for their special omelet !!!

Have guests write their name on a quart-size Ziploc freezer bag with
permanent marker.

Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large) into the bag (not more than 2)
shake to combine them. Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses,
ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns, salsa, etc. Each guest adds
prepared ingredients of choice to their bag and shake. Make sure to get
the air out of the bag and zip it up.

Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You
can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of
boiling water.

Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be prepared for
everyone to be amazed.


Nice to serve with fresh fruit and coffee cake; everyone gets involved
in the process and a great conversation piece.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A few days ago I witnessed violence in our garden. One very large flying insect carrying another very large insect landed beneath one of the pepper plants. In almost no time it pulled its prey into a nickel sized hole in the ground and vanished. The incident happened so fast and unexpectedly that I was somewhat unsure of what I really saw and I could not identify either insect.

The next day I saw the hornet. It was as fearsome as an insect gets. Some of the larger bees are scary looking, but they ignore you and don't pose any threat. This hornet perceived that I was on its territory and was not happy about it.

Now I had a problem. I wanted to protect those that wandered in that part of the garden, but I did not want to spray its nest. So, I built a trap. And it worked. And I learned that hornets drown very quickly.

Unfortunately, later I saw a second one, which I also trapped. But it escaped before I could enjoy its demise. So, beware when you are in the middle of the peppers. You will know one's around by its noise and the shadow its casts as it passes overhead.

BTW, I mounted the first victim. Even when its dead, the hornet is unnerving.

After the 1.75" rainfall we noticed a much larger hole near the site of the first hornet nest. I am hoping it is from a mole hole and not a larger hornet.

This week the squash vine borers took a large toll. These flying insects lay eggs at the base of the vine. The larva hatch and bore into the plant where they feed on and damage the main stem, which ultimately rots the plant at its base. The Red Kuri, acorn and zucchini all suffered. The bug doesn't bother other similar vining plants like the pumpkins and scaloppini squash.

The squash borer arrives every year in my garden. This year we are trying a backup plan. We planted additional zucchini and crook-necked squash in the small garden several weeks after the 1st planting. The idea is that the insects lay the eggs early in the year before the second planting is up. So, the 2nd planting may not be infected. We'll see.


It has not been all mayhem this week.

We cleared off areas in the small garden that had 1st plantings of beets and chard, onions, and radishes. Rebecca planted more Chinese cabbage, and when the weather breaks we'll start more fall plantings.


OK, where are all the 'slicing' tomatoes - the regular, round, fat, juicy tomatoes for everyday use? We planted at least 8 plants labeled "Rutgers", which is a good field tomato. Something's wrong. Most of our tomatoes are Roma, which are good for sauces and drying. I do not know what happened. In spite of this, we're not in bad shape. We still have lots of Early Girl's that are a good replacement for the Rutgers.


Here's this week's status:
Cucumbers *** (2nd planting is producing a darker, more traditional looking cucumber. The Chinese cucumbers are best at about 1 foot long.)
Bush beans ** (First planting is fading, 2nd planting of one row is starting. Pick at about 1/8 inch in diameter.)
Tomatoes **** yes, for cherry, Roma, a few yellow, Early Girl (slicing)
Beets **** 2nd planting is nice. Some are the 'Cylindria' variety. Unlike the 'Detroit Red', they stick up out of the soil. We enjoyed these tonight.
Dill done
Hot banana peppers ***** (yes, yes, these are marked with a red string on the cages. There are some cute round red ones, too.)
Other peppers ****
Bell, Pablano (Ancho when dried), relleno (for stuffing), pimento (wait until red?), jalapeño (a little early, I think), & mild banana.
Chard ***** (2nd planting, very good greens.)
Onions ** (all harvested and drying)
Carrots done
Radishes none
zucchini ** try the plant in the small garden
scalopinni squash ***** (harvest when about 3 or 4 inches across, the large ones make fine weapons)
acorn squash * (wiped out. we have a few in storage if you want some.)
tomatillos **** we've enjoyed some verde salsa! they sweeten as they ripen. I like them raw.
potatoes ***** Harvest as needed! They are really nice.

Here is an updated map of the (green, red and purple bell) peppers. The plants at the bottom of the list are closer to the house.
gr. bell gr. bell pablano
gr. bell gr. bell pablano
p. bell ? bell pablano
p. bell jalapeño pablano
p. bell jalapeño pablano
red bell jalapeño pablano
red bell jalapeño pablano
red bell relleno pimiento
sw banana relleno pimiento
sw banana relleno pimiento
sw banana relleno pimiento
sw banana relleno pimiento
Hot red cherry relleno pimiento
hot banana relleno pimiento
hot banana relleno pimiento


Warm regards,


Kim

Friday, August 3, 2007

CHILI RELLENOS EN CROUTE WITH TOMATO CILANTRO SAUCE

Hello! Terra and I wanted to share a recipe for the Relleno and Poblano peppers from the garden. It was great, at least we thought. We couldn’t find “whole wheat filo pastry” therefore; we used the typical filo from the freezer section. We used both relleno and poblano, the poblano are a medium heat pepper, and the relleno are mild. My tastes are very much toward the hot side. We thought together the peppers made a great combination. I roasted a few jalapenos on the grill to kick it up a bit. We did not even come close to using that much butter!!!! Ugh! We melted only one stick and that was plenty. Go lightly when you paint the filo pastry with the butter. Working with filo can be a challenge if you haven’t before. If you haven’t, one would want the thaw it out and use one piece at a time keep the rest covered up with a moist towel. This stuff dries out within seconds and becomes a “crumbly mess”. Those who have worked with it know what I’m talking about. When you cook the recipe, the butter in addition to the cheese may create fair amount of residual oil. I think I coated the filo on the heavy side. Possibly, the quality of the cheese added to this. Next time we would change up the sauce. This recipe made it taste very Italian. I guess that’s what they were trying to do hence the goat cheese. I would add some Mexican spices such and cumin or chili powder. I would also add salsa verde, made from the tomatillos in our garden, to finish off the dish. Hope this helps with some ideas on what to do with all the peppers we have at the garden. Enjoy! I’m about to stuff some jalapenos with cheese, wrapping them in bacon (slightly precooked) and place them on the grill.

Stan



CHILI RELLENOS EN CROUTE WITH TOMATO CILANTRO SAUCE

Printed from COOKS.COM

4 poblano chili peppers
1 box whole wheat filo pastry
8 oz. goat cheese
12 oz. Jack cheese
2 sticks melted butter

SAUCE:

16 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 lg. Spanish onion, diced
4 bunches cilantro
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt to taste

Roast peppers and remove skin and seed. Fill each pepper with 1/4 of the cheese mixture, set aside. Remove filo from box and lay out flat on work surface. With melted butter and pastry brush, take one sheet of the filo at a time, paint with the butter. Fold in half, place chili in corner and roll up brushing all unbuttered surfaces with butter. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

SAUCE: Saute onion in olive oil until clear, then add tomatoes and cook another 5-10 minutes until liquid evaporated. Add salt and chopped cilantro. To serve, place sauce on plate and add chili rellenos. Serve with rice.
My thoughts keep returning to how fast the garden continues to change. Since my previous update Caleb and Maria have come, gone, come and gone and their baby keeps growing. Caleb got a promotion, I think. Alaina registred for fall classes at IUPUI, a new school for her. Her best friend decided on a career. Two of my co-workers left our small office (one you should know). I was offered two new jobs and took on one new responsibility. Jason and Chrissy are preparing to move. Isabelle is getting ready for 1st grade. The parallels are pretty obvious.

Thanks to Penny's straw, we've been spared much drudgery. But, there are several tasks for those of us that manage to get ambitious in the near term. First, the rebellious tomatoes need to be supported somehow. Your technique is as good as mine. Some need to the tied to the stakes that are already there. Some of the cages need to be anchored. And, the tomatoes should be fed, which is an easy job. We can also prune them to manage their size.

Next, we need to start digging potatoes. Doing this late in the evenings wouldn't be too bad. I still suggest digging what you intend to use for the next couple weeks only.

For watering, the sprinkler has been running in the back garden for about 4 hours now. Watering plants late in the evening promotes fungal diseases and is discouraged, but when else can you put down sufficient water before it evaporates? I'm watering the least sensitive plants tonight and will get to the others tomorrow.

Rebecca, I hope your seedlings are growing. Maybe we should wait for a break in the hot weather before we plant them, though.

And, we need mid-week harvesters.

We had a garden visitor, too. By the looks of the carnage, this mole wandered through our garden looking for something it misplaced. It doesn't do too much damage to the vegetables, but I hope there are no kids around if I manage to corner it.

Here's this week's status:

Cucumbers *** (2nd planting is just starting to produce. The Chinese cucumbers are best at about 1 foot long.)

Bush beans *** (First planting is fading, 2nd planting of one row is starting. Pick at about 1/8 inch in diameter.)

Tomatoes *** yes, for cherry, Roma, a few yellow, some Early Girl (slicing)

Turnips done

Beets **** 2nd planting is ready. Some are the 'Cylindria' variety. Unlike the 'Detroit Red', they stick up out of the soil.

Dill ** waning quickly

Peas - one!

Lettuce - we are readying ourselves for fall planting

Hot banana peppers *** (yes, yes, these are marked with a red string on the cages. There are some cute round red ones, too.)

Other peppers ****

Bell, Pablano (Ancho when dried), relleno (for stuffing), pimento (wait until red?), jalapeño (a little early, I think), & mild banana.

Chard ***** (2nd planting, very good greens.)

Onions **** (all harvested and drying)

Carrots nearly done

Eggplant (Japanese) - RIP!

Radishes **** we found a patch!

zucchini *****

scaloppini squash ***** (harvest when about 3 or 4 inches across, the large ones make fine weapons)

acorn squash **** (we've baked this and it's easy and great, serve with butter & nutmeg.)

tomatillos ** we've enjoyed some verde salsa!

potatoes ***** We picked all four kinds last week. They are beautiful together. There are purple, Yukon Gold, red and fingerlings.



Here is a map of the peppers. The plants at the bottom of the list are closer to the house.

bell bell pablano

bell bell pablano

p. bell bell pablano

p. bell jalapeño pablano

bell jalapeño pablano

bell jalapeño pablano

bell jalapeño pablano

bell relleno pimiento

sw banana relleno pimiento

sw banana relleno pimiento

sw banana relleno pimiento

sw banana relleno pimiento

Hot red cherry relleno pimiento

hot banana relleno pimiento

hot banana relleno pimiento



Mickey is warming to the idea of providing cooking sessions to learn how to use some of our bounty. If you are interested or want to have fun, let her know.


Don't change too much,

Kim


PS - When you drop by, you may want to take a look at my repair handiwork and a Noblesville landmark, the most cursed door in Indiana.