Friday, June 08, 2012

Back in Business

After a period of respite, our yard is once again home to a vegetable garden.
Tracy and I constructed and stained these boxes for a square foot garden (SFG) during a recent backyard redo. Our neighbors probably wondered what we were doing using power tools at 10PM.
I used a pattern from the internet that recommended the materials and construction techniques. The lag bolts will facilitate easy removal and replacement of any board in case of early degredation.
After the beds were located, leveled, and partially filled with sand and topsoil, I added some organic manure and compost. The strings segment the bed into equal square foot sections. The corner squares will be somewhat impacted by the 4x4 but I will compensate by adjusting the planting guide.

It may be close to the heat of the summer and likely most everything will burn up before we harvest, but when you buy plants like these that are already bearing peppers your chances improve greatly!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Dried Figs

There's more to life than pickles! A few years ago I asked for (and received) a food dehydrator for a gift. I have been ridiculed and verbally chastized for my attempts at making jerkey and drying everything from "soup to nuts".

At last I have found a successful candidate for drying - the lowly fig!

Behold - the power of figs!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Pickled Figs

Who ever heard of such a thing!

I really liked the name and how it rolled off the tongue - Pickled Figs.
Not Fickle Pigs - Pickled Figs. There may even be a poem there ....

I have one fig tree - variety: Alma
It produces a lot of light green figs late in the season. These seem to ripen very fast in the Texas heat and will sour in a heartbeat if not picked immediately.

My neighbor has an Alma and he also has this one - variety: Celeste.
It produces the sweetest figs that are rosy red. They ripen earlier than the Almas and this year is a bumper crop.

After making a batch of fig preserves my gracious neighbors gave us a jar and also the go-ahead to come over and pick all I wanted instead of just taking the ones that grew on my side of the fence. I think there was some concern for my safety as it is not too safe hanging by one toe off the stringer of a cedar fence trying to reach into someone elses back yard!

I tried a recipe which calles for vinegar, sugar, cloves and allspice. It made some tasty fruit. I like them over ice cream or just as-is.

I guess I'll have to add "Experienced Fig Pickler" to my resume.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Bread & Butter Pickles

The cukes are hanging on (so to speak) in the hot weather. Here is the latest batch of pickles - B&B!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Pickled Banana Peppers

I got into the game today.

I've been watching the garden wither and bake in the Texas summer heat.

Temps above 95 F are taking a toll on most everything. The banana peppers stopped bearing but those on the plants were ripening to a glorious display of yellow, orange and red. I decided to slice and pickle some of these. They will go good on a sandwich.

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Pink-eyed Purple Hull Peas

You can tell from the name that these baby's are colorful.

I was not a fan of black-eyed peas until I worked offshore with a Cajun. He cooked up a "mess" of peas with a lot of smoked pork hock, onion, and cajun spice. Ever since then I appreciate their unique flavor and texture. Another favorite I quickly learned to love is known affectionately as Redneck Caviar. It is a marianated mixture of cooked peas (canned are OK), Italian salad dressing, chopped onion, celery & peppers. It is best enjoyed with Fritos. Yum!

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cantaloupe or Musk Melon?

I'm not too happy about the melons this year.
The plants looked good and they started to produce early but the fruit did not get very big and they aren't very sweet. I must have picked up a variety for cooler climates because this one can't take the heat either. The melons are elongated and smaller than the ones I had two years ago.

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I shouldn't sound so disappointed ... after all I am eating melons out of the garden!

Canned Tomatoes

My mother used to can tomatoes.
She called them "stewed tomatoes" - I called them "good".

After filling up the freezer with salsa, Tracy decided to can some whole tomatoes.

These will be good to remind us of the summertime taste of a fresh tomato!

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One of my co-workers gave me this spoon after returning from a trip abroad. It is the perfect tool for tomato canning. Thanks Donna!

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