Monday, June 2, 2008

Gardening Monday

Here we go again, kids. It is time for gardening Monday. A chance for me to show you my garden, and give recipes on how to use your garden vegetables. Here is a mini collage of just a few things in my plots right now.(I am going Green here...HAH!)

The Anaheim is starting to get big! It was just a baby bud a few days ago and now it is trying to catch up to his friend, the Poblano. The Poblano has doubled in size this week. Charles is REALLY looking forward to those. We actually have about 4 or 5 more started on the same plant.(Poblanos) This Anaheim has a few friends hanging out on his plant as well.

TIP: Want spicier peppers?? Dont water them. Let the plant get almost to the point of death and then water water water to bring it back to life. The less water a pepper has, the hotter it will be. Want a milder pepper? Water a lot. Last year I grew jalapenos, garden salsa peppers and sweet banana peppers. Well we were in the middle of a drought and I didnt water them at all. I picked some to make a chopped pepper topping for tacos. Generally jalapenos and garden salsa peppers are spicy, but not exceptionally so. And sweet banana peppers should NOT be spicy at all. Maybe a little kick, but certainly not 5 alarm. Well Charles and I sprinkled out taco's liberally with this chopped pepper mixture. Next thing I know my mough is on FIRE I cant breathe, I am sweating and crying. Charles is coughing and his eyes are watering and he is sweating. Our mouths were burning for the rest of the night they were so hot These were, without a doubt, the HOTTEST peppers I have ever eaten in my life, and let me tell you I have eaten some HOT peppers. These were honestly hotter than serrano peppers, almost to the point of being scotch bonnets or habaneros. So it goes to show that any pepper, whether it be a mild pepper like sweet banana, or a medium pepper like a jalapeno, has the potential within it to play with the big boys.

The Romas have gotten a few more clusters, last week I posted the first romas on this plant, this week I am posting the second cluster. Romas are GREAT for Bruschetta. I take a baguette and slice into thin slices. Toast lightly in the broiler. Then, rub the bread with a peeled garlic clove. Top with a slice of fresh mozzerella cheese and a slice of tomato. Top with Fresh Basil. (Or you can bake it and the tomato bakes into the cheese and has ths amazing flavor. Both my Roma plants are going to be bountiful this year and I cant wait!

The grape tomatoes are taking off. I have several clusters on ech plant exactly like the one pictured. Those are my favorite of the small sweet tomatoes. They have a sweeter flavour than the sweet 100 cherry tomatoes and are great in salads, especially pasta salad. We make the rotini pasta(the tri color) and then after it is cooked and cooled, we toss it with zesty italian dressing. We toss in grape tomatoes(sliced in half), cheddar jack cheese chunks and ham chunks. Top with parmesan. The Grape tomatoes have such a great sweetness, they are the ones my kids go to for a snack straight from the garden.

This is our first zucchini. It goes great in stews, stir fry, and breads. Zucchini are great. Dont let them get too big though, then they get seedy and lose a lot of flavor. They are best when about 8 to 10 inches long, still on the thinner side. Harvest with a knife. Do not twist zucchini off of stem.

Bush Beans: My Blue Lake Bush beans have really grown up this past week. I have flowers and even have beans on most of the plants. They are still babies(as you can kind of see in the pictures) but will soon be big enough to harvest. The great thing about beans is they grow so fast and they are so plentiful. I should have enough beans for the entire summer. A great recipe for beans: In a pan over medium-hi heat, combine olive oil and some butter(this gives butter a higher smoke point so it wont burn) add chopped shallots and 2-3 tsp chopped garlic(2-3 cloves). Let the shallots and garlic kind of cook down and get tender and make that oil all yum-0. Reduce heat to medium, Then add your beans, tossing every few minutes to each bean gets coated. Let cook through until crisp tender.You want to harvest your beans when they are about 5 inches long, they are most tender and flavorful then. If they get too big the pods inside get tough and chewy.

Pole beans are still growing and starting to send out their feelers to start climbing my trellises.

Next week on Gardening Monday I will take pictures of my redneck compost system!

Hope you have enjoyed Gardening monday. Have a great week and May you have a bountiful harvest!

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