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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Last Harvest


Three or four days of 27 degree nights have killed all of the summer vegetable  in the garden.  I was really hoping the eggplants would hold on for one more week until my mom got here for Thanksgiving, but they died the first night.  I pulled them off - maybe we can still eat them.  There are a bunch of green tomatoes left on the plants.  I left them there.  I also have three small pumpkins which I don't know what to do with (one was just showing a tinge of orange) and a couple of freebie potato plants.  I don't know whether to pull the potatoes or not...

My asparagus plants are still going strong.  The freebie cilantro is a carpet in the ground.  My three or four lettuce plants and one cauliflower are still doing well, as are the four or five broccoli plants.  One of the broccoli has a nice head of broccoli on it.  I really am hoping it holds on until my mom gets here on Sunday, but it is starting to look like it will open and bloom any day now.  One other broccoli plant has a teeny tiny head appearing.  The rest show nothing.  Some of them were eaten up pretty badly by caterpillars.  But strangely enough, the one showing the teeny tiny head was the one most eaten up. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Garden update

My garden is struggling along.  I'd hoped for better results, but I have been disappointed

Tomatoes:  After having babied my tomatoes through the hot summer, I expected them to take off in the fall.  They have done okay, but they have not set any fruit.  All in all, the tomatoes this year have been a huge disappointment.  Of the four non-cherry varieties that I planted, I think I have pulled only one tomato off in total :o(

Eggplant:  I planted the eggplant too close to the tomatoes, and it was shaded all summer.  With some of the top foliage dying on the tomatoes, the eggplant finally started flowering, and I have one eggplants starting to ripen!

Jalapenos:  The jalapenos have been doing great!  But, what to do with them?  I have pulled over a dozen off of the two plants.   Finally, I discovered the job of jalapeno poppers.  Now, when I get five to ten ripe, I stuff them with cream cheese, wrap them in bacon and yum!!!  The one success from my fall garden. :o)

Pumpkins:  The pumpkins were doing great.  I even had three growing on the vine.  But they have all contracted some nasty fungus, and I have a feeling they are all going to die.  They look pretty sad.

Cucumbers:  Dave planted a bunch of pickling cucumber seeds... maybe a little late in the season.  But we've been watering and watching.  We pulled the first cucumber off the vine this weekend, and there are a bunch of tiny ones just waiting to grow... It is now a race against the clock, whether they will be ready before the first frost.

Cilantro:  Once again, this freebie plant is springing up everywhere.  Pretty cool actually, and the one thing that seems to grow in my garden easily!

Lettuce and Spinach:  The spinach I planted a month or so ago is doing well.  It hasn't gotten very big, so I have only taken a little off of it.  Last week, I also planted some more lettuce beside it.

Broccoli:  My broccoli was eaten up by caterpillars.  I realized what was going on after the bugs had made it through half of my plants.  I started hand picking them off, and that seems to have stopped the pillage, but the damage has already been done.  I have one broccoli plant that has a teeny tiny broccoli head coming up.  Nothings from the others.  I am hoping that they will recover from being eaten and still produce...

Freebie potatoes:  I have two or three freebie potato plants growing.  They seem to be doing well, but again, it will be a race against the frost to see if they actually produce anything.

That is about all.  I have this big full garden, but it really isn't producing much :o(  but at least I am learning a little bit every year :o)

Figs

The Celeste, planted in the back yard
This summer, a friend gave Martha a bag of figs.  Not knowing what to do with them, she gave a pile to us.  I am always up for trying somethings new.  But also not knowing what to do with them, I googled for a recipe, and found one for fig bars.  

I made a batch, and they were so good, that I used the rest of the figs making a second batch.  In the meantime, the kids realized they also loved eating the figs plain as well.

This whole experience made Dave and I consider growing a fig tree.

Natural Gardener recently sent around an email saying now is the best time in Central Texas to plant trees, so we thought we'd give it a try.

Natural Gardener had three varieties: Celeste, Alma and LSU Purple.  Not being a big fan of LSU, we immediately turned toward the other two :o)  But we couldn't decide.  The bag of figs we had over the summer actually included twp different types of figs.  We found that we liked the small green ones better than the big purple ones... I think.  Or maybe I am getting it backwards!

Anyway, the description on Alma sounded like it has tastier fruit, but was susceptible to hard freezes.  Celeste was more cold tolerant.  Dave convinced me to purchase both.

The Alma, planted on the south side
Tomorrow is forecasting 80% chance of rain, so we planted both varieties today.

We put the Celeste in the back yard. and tucked the Alma on the south side of the house where it will get the morning sun, but be protected against cold winds. 

Alma: Medium sized fruit; High quality, rich, sweet flesh with a light tan color and few seeds; "unattractive" green to brown skin; Moderately closed eye is sealed with honey like resin that resists souring and resist the dried fruit beetle; Moderately vigorous, very productive and early; Fruit eaten fresh or processed.  Needs protection from hard freezes.

Celeste:  Small to Medium sized fruit; Mid to late June; Firm juicy rich, sweet, while flesh, sharing to rose in the center; Purple-brown skin; tightly closed eye resists souring and the dried fruit beetle; Large vigorous tree; very productive; Excellent for fresh eating and preserves.  The most cold hard of all Texas varieties.


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