Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Treats

red spider lilies--first time (in 21 years) appearance, I think
My first time growing beans, "Contender" variety
I'm so grateful for Austin's recent much cooler temperatures. Being able to sleep with the bedroom window slightly open and still needing a blanket is fabulous! But, still I must remind myself to water the oregano and plumbago we relocated last weekend because they're now in full sun. And I continue to give all my seeds and seedlings a decent spritz once or twice a day: so far it's paid off.
Yep, I've diligently watered these "Early Wonder" beet seedlings, but I really need to thin them now.
Seeded these carrots in August but had to water them 2-3 times a day for quite awhile. They look okay so far.
Have also been diligent about watering these leaf lettuce seedlings.
Cauliflower in front of "Royal Burgundy" green beans. 

Seeded this kale in August, and it's really grown fast! Need to eat some.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

late garden bloggers' bloom day

white gaura

I don't really have a good excuse for being a day late for the bloom day party, but I do have lots of blooms to show, thanks to the recent heavy rains from tropical storm Hermine last week. Make sure to check out other garden bloggers' blooms at Carol's May Dreams Gardens. Thanks for hosting, Carol!

leadwort plumbago
my huge plumbago
appeared out of nowhere, Scarlet spiderling (Boerhaavia coccinea) Thanks to MSS for the I.D.
indigo spires salvia finally makes an appearance
first-ever green bean (Contender) flowers
exploding trailing lantana with some white verbena in the back
society garlic
sparkly white ruellia
I cheated and took this photo of my waning oxblood lilies two days ago.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

make room for lettuce: saving basil

I'm not even sure how many basil transplants I planted last spring--at least 11. Convinced tomatoes would be a pain, I was determined to successfully grow lots of basil. However, now I needed raised-bed room for lettuce and chard seeds, so yesterday I harvested the basil from nine plants, yanked those plants out, and added them to a compost pile.

former basil bed before weeding/prepping for lettuce seeds
former basil bed after (today): lettuces, kale, and chard
I washed all the basil and began freezing it three different ways. Last year, we rolled the leaves and stuffed them into ice cube trays, added water, froze them, then saved the basil ice cubes in freezer bags so we could reclaim our ice cube trays.

We also tried stuffing whole leaves in a freezer bag and filling the bag with water (squeezing out the air bubbles) before freezing. Both methods worked okay for winter cooking but sometimes contributed too much water, especially to sauces.

This time around, we did both previous methods but also tried freezing little chiffonades in the ice cube trays. I'm not sure if cutting the basil before freezing will make it bitter in the end, but I'm willing to experiment.

The whole-leaf freezing seems to have worked, too.

Once again, husband Kurt did the hardest work today by turning the compost piles and mixing his "brown gold" into the old beds to revive them for their new seeds.