Every year, as I sit in my garden tending to the plants, singing with the mockingbirds, I am reminded that I merely plant and water. It is truly God who gives the increase. These growing vegetables that I started from seed are now bearing fruit because they have been properly nourished, succored, weeded, and protected from predators. I have done my best to be God’s husbandman. This is fruit bearing time up north and I’m sure all of your tended gardens are just brimming with the fruit that’s beginning to mature.
I think about how remarkable it is when my cherry tomato plants are just covered with tiny little tomatoes, getting ready for that first blush of orange. I love watching the tiny little cucumbers, eggplants, squash, and tomatoes begin to grow bigger and bigger. My yard long beans sseem to burst forth overnight. It’s all because that’s how God set it in order when He put life in the seed. It’s all rarin’ to go, ready to bless us with food and beauty.
Don’t forget to thank Him for your garden, for the privilege it is to tend His crops. Be blessed and thankful.
The corn is knee high up north now , my summer bounty is sweet potatoes.
Berries are in season, and my garden is full of them, as are the grocery stores. I can’t resist their luscious color and texture, but often I find myself wondering what to do with them besides just putting them on cereal or mixing with yogurt. Here’s a good simple recipe. It takes about 10 minutes to put it together, requires no mixer, and the results are light and full of fruit. You can put the batter in greased muffin tins or in a greased 9×14 pan. Either way the results are wonderful. These muffins disappeared in about an hour. My hubby loved them.
Here’s the recipe. Preheat oven to 375
- 2 c. flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
You’ll need about 1/2 cup of brown sugar for topping.
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1/2 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
Beat wet ingredients together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Mix dry ingredients with a whisk to combine. Add wet to dry, stir well. If mixture is too thick, thin with a little more milk. add 2 cups berries, any kind. Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all work well with this recipe. Pour into muffin tins or baking dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before turning muffins out onto a plate. Let cool. Enjoy.
Ever since I lived in New Orleans, I have loved real New Orleans style red beans. When I first moved there, I was a waitress at Lenfants Restaurant, where their lunch special was a big plate with red beans on one side, rice on the other side, and a big hunk of grilled smoked sausage in the middle. Like eveything there, it was served with a crusty Po-Boy roll. Their red beans are so easy, and have such a distinctive taste. Here’s my take on how they do it:
1 lb. red beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 lb. bacon, cut into smell pieces
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 7 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 5 bay leaves
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp Zatarain’s Crab Boil if available
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Sea salt to taste, at least 2 tsp.
- 1 package smoked sausage, kielbasa, or andouille sausage
Render the bacon in a little olive oil, along with 1/2 of the sausage cut into a 1/2″ dice. Add onions and other veggies and saute until veggies are beginning to soften. Add the garlic. Cook for 2 minutes then add the beans, bay leaves, thyme, and pepper flakes and cover with water.
Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer and cook, severed for 2 hours. Uncover, add the rest of the sausage cut into slices, and stirring frequently, cook for another hour until it thickens. Add salt to taste. Serve over steaming white rice and top with Tabasco sauce.
This is Linda Campbell Melton’s post from Facebook. Looks good to me!
Tomatoes are blushing on the vine, string beans are blossoming, and I’d love to see YOUR garden photos.. Send them to me at email@example.com and the top photos will be posted here. Go ahead and brag about your garden! We’d all love to hear about it and see some pix.
Root vegetables are fun and easy to grow. I always love the surprise of finding out how big the veggies are when I finally get to pull them. Carrots, radishes, beets, turnips, sweet poratoes, regular potatoes are all fun and easy to tend.
Radishes can be sown very close together. I generally divide a square foot into 36 squares and drop a seed into each square Cover with finely crumbled soil and water well. In about a month they’re ready to pull.
Carrots can be sown just as closely, but take 3 months to maturity. I find that seed tape is the way to go with carrots, and I make my own. See my previous blog on making your own seed tape. (Search in the upper left hand search box.)
Beets, turnips, rugabagas all do well in raised beds. Think about how big the mature fruit will be and plant the seeds far enough apart to accommodate them. These root vegies all require daily watering. Onions require regular weeding and watering. It takes way too long to grow onions from seeds, so I buy onion sets. They’re little baby onion bulbs and easily grow into mature onions in a few months. The growing “spring” onions are delicious as well.
Raised beds are the best! Happy gardening!
I just love the smell of tomato plants and green tomatoes. These are getting ready to be eaten. How do your tomatoes look? Send me some pics and I’ll post them.
I’ve written before that the real reason to grow a veggie garden is for the tomatoes. Other produce you can get at the grocery or market, but warm from the sun fresh beefsteak tomatoes are a garden reward, like fresh 10 minute old sweet corn. My mouth is watering for some, but like you, I have to wait!
- 1 small bottle Cattleman’s Carolina style tangy BBQ sauce
- 1 c. catsup
- 1/2 c. cider vinegar
- 1/4 c. worcestershire sauce
- 4 oz. block Guava paste, cubed
- 6 oz. Passion Fruit puree
- 2 Tbsp dry mustard
- 4 Tbsp Maggi chicken bouillon powder
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried gigner
- 1/4 c. pineapple vinegar
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 rsp. black pepper
Combine guava paste in blender with passion fruit, catsup, and barbecue sauce. Blend on high until pureed. Remove to a bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients. Store in fridge.
Granola Nut Bars
2 cups natural peanut butter
1-1/2 sticks butter
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup powdered milk
3 cups organic rolled oats
1/2 cup raw organic unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup each:
raw hulled sunflower seeds
raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw cashew pieces
1 cup cranberry raisins or regular raisins
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup wheat germ
Melt together peanut butter, butter, honey and agave. Add salt and dried milk. mix well with a whisk to eliminate lumps of milk powder.
Combine remaining ingredients in the large bowl of a heavy duty mixer like a Kitchen Aid or Vulcan with the spill guard on. Mix on low speed and then pour in the peanut butter mixture. Mix well. Taste. If you want a sweeter mix, now’s the time to squirt more agave nectar or honey in. Mix and taste.
Dump out on a large greased 1/2 sheet pan and press into the corners. Cut while warm into bars, using a bench knife if you have one.
Once cool, separate into bars, put in individual sandwich baggies and refrigerate.
Spring has definitely sprung, and if you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to get those vegetable plants in your beds if you live in the northern part of the country. As you’ve seen on this blog, raised beds are the way to go, and organic gardening is far preferable to using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, as you want to be assured that yor fruit and veggies are the very best. It’s not hard to build raised beds; filling them is a little more tricky. I have found that it’s difficult to find organic compost at the garden stores, and according to Mel Bartholomew, the guru of square foot gardening, the best mix (and I agree) is equal parts organic compost, coarse vermiculite, and peat moss. Composting your own scraps is easy but it takes time. Just keep all animal fat out of it. I recommend one of the drum type units that you can turn to mix the compost. The finished brown gold crumbles down into a bin, ready to use. It’s not too late for tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs of all kinds, beans, eggplants, squash and carrots. Get planting!