This was one of our last spring gardens to go in – two small starter beds. While it suffered in the crazy heat and dry spell that was to come it has started to produce this fall. Sorry to take so long getting the photos up! From the photos you can see the area gets dappled sunlight part of the day which is a bonus in the Texas summer.
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A Native Garden: Using cedar logs for a raised bed garden
This fall we installed a unique garden made with native cedar logs. The winter vegetable garden design was done by Amy Crowell and the installation took two days. It turned out to be a beautiful garden structure and we look forward to see the beds filled out with the winter veggies. Congratulation Genny!
We also featured Genny’s compost pile in the slideshow because it a a great design example. The first images show the area before our fall rains and then you see the native weeds in the next images. During the build you will notice we use newspaper as our weed block. We have seen the store bought weed block in many yards and neither weeds nor veggies pay attention to the barrier. The one thing that does suffer from the separation of new landscaping and existing soils are the earthworms. Newspaper is biodegradable, and free and helps kill off the initial weeds but eventually decomposes to allow earthworms into your garden. The mulch and a gardeners diligent weeding will eventually rid that area of weeds. We will rephotograph this garden after a few weeks to see the progress.
Winter in Texas is very mild and the gardening challenges are minimal. If you are thinking of starting a garden, winter is the time…very few bugs, cool days with good sun, and more chances of rain. However, be aware that dry air and wind can desiccate plants as well as the hot sun so pay attention to your watering schedule. Check out our winter advice blog post.
Posted 4 years ago at 11:45 AM. Add a comment
Insects are a blessing and curse for food gardens. Over the past weeks I have pulled hundreds of worms off plants and picked up the scraps of dead plants left after they have moved through a garden. It is an upsetting experience but it is also part of a healthy ecosystem. These worms are actually moth larva and due to the good weather, all plants and animals are doing great. Of course insects reproduce en mass so we are seeing a lot of these chewing worms lately. We expect the worms will go away after a good freeze or cold snap. Meanwhile, try our organic solutions.
1. Organic liquid sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), Thuricide
2. Handpicking from damaged leaves (see photos)
3. Wasps (leave a few nests around to encourage wasps to enter your garden and harvest worms for food-see photos)
Posted 4 years, 1 month ago at 4:12 PM. Add a comment
Many of our clients have gotten a second chance crop thanks to the wonderful weather this fall. We have been enjoying lots of wonderful harvests of basil, peppers and tomatoes plus some summer squash but winter is tiptoeing toward our gardens. We are often asked, “What do we do with so much basil?” There are many ways to use your basil besides pesto but this also reminded me of some great recipes that we have been enjoying lately. I have even added in our famous squash relish for those of you who have squash.
Here is what is going on in the Bohemian kitchen:
Green Tomato Relish
12 large green Tomatoes (cored) or 20 small to med size
4 – green bell peppers, seeded
4 – medium yellow onions (I used one very large one)
1 – red bell pepper, seeded
1 – tablespoon + 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed
1 – tablespoon celery seed
2 – cups cider vinegar
2 – cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Chop the tomatoes and peppers very finely. Either by hand or in small batches in a food processor. I diced up all my veggies only because I like a chunkier relish. Put the chopped vegetables in a large pot (heavy bottom non reactive pot) add the mustard seed, celery seed, vinegar, kosher salt and sugar. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook stirring often and skimming as needed. ( I did not have to skim off anything) Simmer until the relish/chow chow cooks down and thickens into a relish, about 2 hours. Turn into hot sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath.
Squash Relish (This is one of our most requested items)
10 cups squash (summer types are best but young butternuts work well too)
4 large onions
1 large green pepper
4-5 jalapeno peppers
Chop up above ingredients in food processor (diced). Spread on 13 in by 9 in baking pan (with sides) and sprinkle with 3 Tablespoons of salt. Let the diced veggies set over night. Rinse in 2 cold water rinses. Place in a large pot and add 4 and 1/2 cups of sugar, 2 and 1/2 cups vinegar, 2 Tablespoons turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1 and 1/2 teaspoon celery seed. Cook for 20 minutes. Pour into 1 pint canning jars and seal. Process in water bath 10 minutes.
Pesto and Wheat Bread for Bread Machine
Makes a 1 pound loaf. Add ingredients to machine according to manufacturer’s directions.
3/4 cup lus 2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cooking oil (I use sunflower)
1 and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup bread flour
1 cup snipped fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons oat bran (optional)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds (add up to 1/2 cup if more is desired)
Fixing and Freezing Pesto (make your favorite pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays – pop them out of the tray and use them through out the next few months)
Candied Jalapenos recipe at recipezaar (favorite hot and sweet Christmas gift)
Other Recipes We Have Enjoyed