Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Saucy

max red flower
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From commentor Max:

I finally got the right setting to get the red on this flower right. (Because it has this weird blue undertone.)

Jalapeno and Santa Fe peppers coming in:

max peppers coming in

max santa fe pepper

I have more tomato plants than I know what to do with:

max tomato plant

max tomato 2

And thanks to even more accidental growth, more basil than I know what to do with. (These starting coming up, all from one spot in one the pots the peppers overwintered in. So I pulled them out and separated. I think it’s from a Genovese basil seed pod that fell off in the basement at some point during the winter, but damn if I know for sure.) At least I can go back to making tomato sauce on a regular basis soon…

max basil bounty

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What’s going on in your gardens this week?

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27 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    Wow, nice!

  2. 2

    Mmm, Santa Fe peppers! That’s one of the many things I miss about leaving New Mexico: the food. No offense to my Cuban friends here in Miami, but your food sucks. Give me a plate of chile rellenos with green chile sauce, huevos rancheros with red or enchiladas done Christmas (both red and green) and I am a happy camper.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    My garden is just slogging along. The peas are starting to climb the trellis and the beans are a half inch long. The peppers and tomatoes have a few blooms but that’s it. I’m jealous.

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Very nice indeed!

    Mine is doing well, tho most of it is lagging a little bit. Lettuce is about done, spinach long gone (never did do well), so I am going to till that up and put in a “Heatwave blend” that is supposed to hack the heat. We’ll see. Onions have begun laying over so I’ll be digging them up soon. We’ll see about the potatoes. A buddy of mine in Franklin Co. got infested with Colorado Potato beetles and had to go nuclear on them. I finally found one yesterday… in the garlic. Tomatoes are on schedule and looking good. Eggplant…. Just about to give up on them. Flea beetles are destroying them. sigh….

    Herb garden is looking good too. The Genovese basil seems to be recovering from a bout of rust surprisingly enough but that coon with a taste for Thai took all the Siam basil. Dug up all my Chinese Pink garlic (early softneck, it had layed down) and was some disappointed. Mostly small heads, a few decent ones. The Duganski, Spanish Roja, and Northern White all look much better. I think come fall I’ll put in something else for my early garlic.

    And Max, last year I had 52 tomato plants. That was too many. This year, thru great effort and restraint, I am at 30. I hope they are enuf.

  5. 5
    satby says:

    Very nice! Now I wish I had planted basil, it usually comes up and bolts too quickly, but the weather has stayed comfortable and it would have done well.
    My tomatoes are flowering, the potatoes and sweet potatoes are going well, and I think I’ll harvest a few green onions today so I can use the box for my last few petunias waiting to be planted. My hanging baskets are filling in well, starting seeds was really worth it this year for that. And the hibiscus plants I thought lost to the polar vortices have started to come up, so the final tally of death and destruction turned out to only be 2 plants out of what initially looked like 6-8. Whew!

  6. 6
    Raven says:

    @Mustang Bobby: I’ve been doing the Versailles garlic chicken lately. Granted its from the LA eatery but it’s really god with the sour orange marinade.

  7. 7
    Raven says:

    @JPL: I drove al the way to Loganville to get butter beans for my bride yesterday! The stand had really nice stuff from South Georgia and I’m starting to question paying double for the “locally grown”!

  8. 8
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Two things I miss most about Mexico: The food and the people.

  9. 9
    WereBear says:

    Too exhausted to plant the pansies & mini roses I picked up… maybe later today.

    Good news is that the readers I ordered from Readers.com arrived, and I love them! The stuff around here is only what the few drugstores carry. They are all wrong; wrong strengths, wrong widths, the straight earpieces hurt my head.

    Finally a source of frustration ended.

  10. 10
    beth says:

    I went out yesterday morning and grabbed a bunch of basil to make pesto. Went back in the evening to pick some leaves for garnish and found that Japanese beetles had munched nearly all of it away! This is why I don’t garden (that and my black thumb).

  11. 11
    Elmo says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I have vacationed in Mexico once in my life, in Puerto Vallarta in 2008. I still dream about the food, and I will keep trying to reproduce that perfect mahi until the day I die. It was the most perfect, astonishing, amazing meal I have ever had.

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    The Sunday morning shows feature Graham (wanna be McCain), Cantor and Romney. By the way of the NY TImes, I found this gem.

    Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, will discuss Mr. Cantor’s election upset and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s political future on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    @beth: I don’t have a green thumb but I spent many an hour weeding and mulching. Recently I received a few compliments on the landscaping in front of the house, including from a landscaper. Now I know I am jinxed and it will all rot next week.

  13. 13
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @Elmo:

    I have vacationed in Mexico once in my life, in Puerto Vallarta in 2008. I still dream about the food, and I will keep trying to reproduce that perfect mahi until the day I die. It was the most perfect, astonishing, amazing meal I have ever had.

    I travel to Mexico regularly and the food is consistently the best I’ve found in my travels. I speculate that labor is the key. In any food business in the US labor is highest cost of doing business so food production is streamlined to reduce it. As much as possible they use commercial pre-prepped products. Mexico appears to have plentiful manpower, allowing restaurants to make things fresh daily that would be prepackaged elsewhere. Someone can prep ingredients and make soup instead of pouring it out of a big can.
    Whatever the reason, I eat like a king when I’m there and love it.

  14. 14
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Elmo: My most memorable meal was from a taco stand in Valles and eaten at an impromptu party at Cascades de Micos with some locals who were passing out peyote. My 2nd most memorable meal was in a little mountain village. 2 of us went into town to get stuff to make breakfast with back at camp and instead we were served the most delicious huevos rancheros with beans and tortillas on a tiny little table piled with canned goods by a little old woman who would not take no for an answer.

    I hope to some day take my wife there. It is just so beautiful.

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: A third most memorable meal (and then I will SU because I am getting hungry) Late at night on the PAN-AM somewhere south of Valles after getting turned away from 2 different hotels that were already filled with X-mas celebrants, our 2 groups were tired, dirty, and desperately hungry when we drove past a dimly lit hole in the wall restaurant in front of an abandoned hotel. I turned around and went back and all followed. The 14 of us went in and found ourselves to be all but alone with the exception of a 4 top and 2 guys at the bar. Not caring whether it would be good or not we all ordered and proceeded to drain a tequila bottle. A Mexican at the 4 top who had just returned from the US told us we were drinking the wrong tequila and bought us a bottle of the local stuff.

    Oh. My. Dog. Smooooooooother than silk.

    Then our food came and people were finding their food was so good they had to pass it around for others to try. I had the Filete Veracruz and I have never had any fish better anywhere. Then we got another bottle.

    Oh.My.Dog. It was even better.

    Than I decided to put in the earing my son had bought as a X-mas present for me in the market earlier that day. I asked a couple of the gals for help as the hole had grown closed over a yearlong hiatus w/o an earing. They were too afraid of hurting me and a buddy did the deed for me and I bled like a stuck pig (exaggeration of course) and we drank some more tequila.

    We ended up sleeping in the courtyard of the abandoned hotel and swimming in the now too cool hot springs that had been it’s demise.

    Good times.

  16. 16
    WaterGirl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: What a great story.

  17. 17
    Constance says:

    Gorgeous geranium–I have a pot that color from a friend’s mother’s geraniums. I call it cadmium red light but have no idea what it really is. No veggies this year, just a good sized herb garden, a couple of annual flower beds and lots of Greek oregano and nepeta in parking area and along the 100 feet of walkway from parking to house. Five enormous pots of annuals at the porch entry.

    I planted sunflowers along the road fence and noticed yesterday the quail are picking off the seedlings at three leaves. Robins and a bunch of birds whose names I know not are gorging on Nanking cherries and yellow currants. It’s fun to look out the window and see a shrub shaking and realize it’s full of birds eating the berries.

    The house is for sale so it’s all for show this year. Lots of bittersweet fun. Friends are helping with the weeds–plenty of those even with the drought.

  18. 18
    WaterGirl says:

    I am ridiculously excited about harvesting my first zucchini, which I will eat for dinner tonight.

    I am jealous of your peppers! I have been dreaming of hot peppers since I ran out of mine (from the freezer) in February.

    Gorgeous red flower!

    Edit: Oh, and I found my first (almost) ripe cherries on the tart cherry tree I planted in the fall. There aren’t a lot of them, but I’m so excited.

    I am the designated waterer when any of my friends are out of town, so I am off to do my friend-ly duty!

  19. 19
    Waratah says:

    My daughter gave me two hanging baskets of tomatoes that already had tomatoes on them. One is a Tom thumb and the other did not have a tag.
    The tomatoes are ripening and the tag less one has green stripes. I tried one and the center was green flesh. Not a bad taste better than the supermarket.
    I decided to plant herbs in pots only this year and buy from farmers market but could not resist buying a mild jalapeño . I wish now I had a few more as I love to slice them up seeds and all to add to omlets, scrambled eggs and frittatas breakfast burritos .

  20. 20
    keestadoll says:

    Max: Last year we had a ton of tomatoes as well and I wasn’t keen on canning. I did some research and found out you can freeze whole tomatoes. Pick, discard stem, wash, dry, into freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and voila. I made epic soup and tomato sauce later that year by simply letting them defrost, roasting them, then liquefying.

  21. 21
    gelfling545 says:

    Lovely pics. I do so love geraniums, in spite of the “experts” finding them boring or cliched or whatever. They will give you lovely color when pretty much everything else has given up. I like the “Dark Red” variety as it contrasts nicely with my turquoise front door.

    Once again I have planted more basil that I need but I expect that my daughter, who is closing on her new house next week so not planting this year, will need some. I’d have planted too much anyway, though, because I always do.

  22. 22
    satby says:

    @keestadoll: I canned a lot last year, but a non canning recipe I also used was to slow roast quartered tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil… whatever, until the liquids are reduced and carmelized. Then scrape it all into a freezer baggie or container, or puree before freezing if you’re really ambitious. Yummy homemade sauce with no hovering over the stove stirring.

  23. 23
    Jane2 says:

    @WaterGirl: I just harvested my first onion, and know how you feel!

  24. 24
    Yatsuno says:

    PESTO!!! Also you’re set up for lots of caprese salads all summer.

  25. 25
    max says:

    @keestadoll: Max: Last year we had a ton of tomatoes as well and I wasn’t keen on canning. I did some research and found out you can freeze whole tomatoes. Pick, discard stem, wash, dry, into freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and voila. I made epic soup and tomato sauce later that year by simply letting them defrost, roasting them, then liquefying.

    Two words: Pressure cooker. (I like the JCP version because it’s the one I have that one and it’s 99$.) Throw in a couple of pounds of tomatoes, minus defects and stem, add a scraped carrot, a cleaned red onion (in large chunks), garlic & basil (or whatever – maybe a hot pepper) and drivel in some water or wine. Cook it for 10-20 minutes depending on whether you added carrots, and run it through a sieve. Presto. Pureed tomato sauce, ready for reduction or additions. Works fine with store tomatoes if you let them sit out for a few days.

    If I had the freezer space I would be canning the hell out of that base sauce and just using that as a substitute for canned tomatoes or whatnot during the winter.

    @OzarkHillbilly: And Max, last year I had 52 tomato plants. That was too many. This year, thru great effort and restraint, I am at 30. I hope they are enuf.

    Between the soil (mostly rocks), the deer, and the trees, I am hard-pressed to just dig a hole and plant something without building some kind of bed. Unfortunately, beds require entirely new soil, so progress on that front has been very slow.

    max
    [‘Thanks guy!’]

  26. 26
    max says:

    @raven: Wow, nice!

    Thanks guy!

    @Mustang Bobby: Mmm, Santa Fe peppers! That’s one of the many things I miss about leaving New Mexico: the food. No offense to my Cuban friends here in Miami, but your food sucks. Give me a plate of chile rellenos with green chile sauce, huevos rancheros with red or enchiladas done Christmas (both red and green) and I am a happy camper.

    AMEN! I did find a taquiera with awesome pork tacos…and that’s it for the food around here.

    I’m got some seed for Joe E. Somebody New Mexico peppers (that’s the name on the package) – we’ll see if I can get them going.

    max
    [‘If I have to import a representation of the entire Southwest to VA, I will.’]

  27. 27
    Petorado says:

    There is no such thing as too much basil. Search for recipes about freezing pesto (you’ll skip the grated cheese and butter until you reconstitute the other frozen parts — freeze them into ice cube tray cubes to make it easier to measure out the appropriate batch size.)

    Ditto for there being no such thing as too many tomatoes. Get a food dehydrator and dry slices of ripe tomatoes. They be tasty reminders of summer’s glory in the middle of winter.

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