"And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it". Genesis 2:15

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November update Vegetables

Garden Mid November. Since this picture we have had a slight frost which only cut the pumpkins back a little and didn't hurt anything else.

First time for growing cabbage. It looks like they are starting to form heads. We plan to try and make sour kraut with these. Unlike some people we really love cabbage. We will eat it just steamed with a little yogurt and salt added. I did have some worms but a little Safer Caterpillar Killer (which is organic) killed them all.

First time I have grown mustard. I think tonight I will try to make some fried mustard greens with bacon!

Bell Peppers
I have just picked a bunch of bell peppers. Now I have to decide if I want to freeze them or figure out something to cook them in. I usually just eat bell peppers in salads, but these wont last that long. I could make a peck of pickled peppers I guess.

Green Tomatoes
Some of the tomatoes are starting to ripen. I have to figure out what to do with them all. I love to just eat these raw sprinkled with a little salt.

Tomatoes are very tricky in the fall, because if you let them get the slightest bit frozen they will rot and not ripen. You have to really keep an eye on the weather and bring them all in green if freezing is forecasted. They will ripen on their own sitting on the counter. I almost always have to bring them in green, which is really aggravating, because after the first frost we can have weeks of great frost free weather - too bad you can't put them back on the vine!

 I've got lots of broccoli in the fall garden. Its so fun to pick your own.

Baby Pumpkin. The pumpkins were hit by a slight frost we had a while back, but they didn't die completely. I have quite a few baby pumpkins still on the vine, but I am not sure how they will do now. So far we have harvested 4 10-15 lb pumpkins and I hope we get a few more.

Garlic coming up.
This is my first time to plant garlic. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I made sure I planted a sweet, non-bitter cucumber for the fall garden (Cucumber Sweet Slice hybrid from Park Seeds) as the bitter kind attracts cucumber beetles (and nobody likes bitter anyway!) I planted them under a row cover to keep off the beetles that were already out there until they were big and ready to flower, then I uncovered them to allow pollination. This strategy worked great and I hardly have any beetles in the fall garden, or any bad bugs compared to the late spring garden. I will use this strategy in the spring with all the vegetables in the melon family, because cucumber beetles killed every single one of my cantaloupe plants this year. These cucumbers taste really good too.

Garter Snake- I don't grow these, (though it seems like it.)
I run into one of these frequently in my garden. I thought they would be eating insects, but I looked it up and they eat what other snakes eat - rodents, lizards, snails, frogs, birds, spiders, worms and fish. These guys are pretty small, that's a soaker hose it is next too, so what could they be eating in my garden? I hope it is snails and not frogs! I love all my frogs!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Early to Middle November Update - Flowers First

Blackeyed Susan vine climbing on the rose instead of the trellis. Lantana.

I'm a little late with November pictures but here they are finally. I am breaking this into two posts because I have a lot of pictures; one for flowers and one for vegetables.

My aim with flower gardening has always been to have something blooming every month of the year possible. Toward that aim I did a lot of research on what blooms when here in North Texas, and when to plant each flower to get the best bloom in its season. Maybe I will write a post about that later, even though it is pretty specific to this area, a lot of it can be extrapolated to different areas.

I have been pretty successful in getting something blooming at all times even if it is a lone flower in the landscape for that week/month, but I would really like to improve in the overall fullness of my garden. I love pictures of gardens that are chock full of greenery. For that I need more bushes and evergreen plants, which I can't really afford right now (I do most everything from seed for affordability) but I have plans for that later.

Anyway as I dislike winter as a gardener I have focused a lot on fall blooming plants in order to lift my spirits as a see the dreaded bleakness of winter approaching. Besides mums, there are asters, fall blooming crocus, fall blooming lilies, re-blooming roses and irises, wildflowers and herbs. I let herbs that I have been keeping from flowering set seeds now if they are the self-seeding kind.

I am particularly proud of these asters. For some reason they are very hard to get started here. They are available for planting at a particularly hot and dry time of the year. I have killed about four of these, but this one took off with daily watering for about a month after I planted it. It is four years old and very large. This picture is a little late. Earlier it was covered in so many blooms you couldn't see the foliage.

Three different mums. I dont like the typical "fall" colors, muddy brown/yellow/oranges. I go for more clear yellows, purples, and reds.

This is a wildflower I think is called a straw flower. This flower blooms all year round, even in winter! It is not fully open here. It has a brown center and does not look like a dandelion when it is open. Very pretty and welcome in winter time.

Crab spider and re-blooming pink Knockout rose.

Red Knockout rose and morning glory.

Red knockout roses and bluebird house. Vegetable garden is behind the fence.

My first ever Florence Fennel bulb!

German Chamomile flowers.

Pretty blue borage flowers. See the Bee looking at us!

A somewhat blurry picture of a bee on basil flowers. The basil and the borage have been full of bees every day. Its really hard to get a picture of these fast moving guys! I am hoping that the basil and borage will self seed this year so I dont have to replant next year.

Thats it for flowers and herbs. Next post will be about vegetables.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Quiche

I am still on a quest for pumpkin recipes to use our fresh garden pumpkin in. I combined several recipes to make a pumpkin quiche. Since we are gluten free we made ours crustless, but you can make yours in a crust if you like.

Pumpkin Quiche

One Onion, chopped
3 cups fresh cooked pumpkin (or one can) drained well
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
6 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for one minute. Pour into a greased quiche dish and bake at 375 for 35 to 45 minutes until set and golden.

It was very good.