Monday, November 24, 2008

Growing Cilantro Indoors in the Winter

Before the first frost of the season, I had some herbs growing in pots on my deck. I harvested all of them, except my cilantro, which was just beginning to grow. So I replanted those two cilantro plants into a new pot with new dirt, inside my house. It's slowly growing. I had to tie it up the other day because the little branched were just laying in the dirt, like the leaves were too heavy. So we'll see how it grows. I also planted cilantro seeds in another pot at the time. Still haven't seen hide nor hair of any shoots coming out of the ground! Time will tell. Time is all we have now!

Monday, November 17, 2008

3 lasagnas

I've decided to make life a lot easier on myself and make 3 different lasagnas for my daughter's graduation party.

  • Original lasagna made with homemade canned spaghetti sauce
  • Mexican lasagna made with homemade canned tomato/pepper/onion blend sauce
  • Grilled chicken alfredo lasagna
My daughter will come up with something vegan for herself and whomever wants to try vegan cooking.

I already bought beer and wine. My mom is making desserts. My mother-in-law, the salad. My daughter and I are bringing various snacks. We should be all set to celebrate her BSBA college degree!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Party Planning with Food from my Garden

I'm going to make a a hot little snack for the graduation party. I mix plain sausage and lots of my jalapenos up and fry them together until the sausage is nicely browned. Then I mix some pumpkin and coconut milk together to make a thick sauce and add it to my sausage. I'll add that mixture into pastry dough cups made using my little muffin pans - then bake for about 15-20 minutes. I can cool those down and pop them into a freezer bag - and reheat in a microwave or oven at the party!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Planning a party with things grown from garden

I definitely will be making some of my dragon bites, as well as some of my stuffed poblanos. I'm thinking of maybe half of them I will baste in pumpkin butter before cooking. That hint of sweetness and a bit of fall flavor really brought out a wonderful taste.

Pumpkin Butter

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently.
  2. Transfer to sterile containers and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Planning a graduation party

My daughter is graduating tomorrow. She just earned her BSBA! Well now I'm planning a graduation party quickly, so that I can fit it in before the holidays! My mom and mother-in-law live in a senior community where they own their own homes. There is a Lake House there that everyone uses for parties -and guess what -it was available for only one day - the Sunday before Thanksgiving! Both of the moms are so excited and they want to help. Stay tuned for what we're going to cook! For starters, I had already made and froze a double batch of Albondigas (Mexican meatballs), which I used my mom's zucchini from her garden and my fresh herbs.


  • 12oz lean ground pork
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh, minced)

Roll into 24 meatballs. Brown in a little oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add a 15oz can enchilada sauce. Cover, simmer 5 minutes or until meatballs are cooked.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cooking with vegetables from the garden

I had cut some Holy Mole peppers in half and stuffed them with a mixture of cream cheese, chives from my garden, and cojack What a wonderful fall treat!
cheese. Then wrapped two long strips of bacon, which I had basting in a pumpkin butter, all around the pepper. Grilled it slow and low heat. The Holy Mole turned out to be very mild, and the flavor of the pumpkin butter cooked on the bacon was heavenly!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pumpkin Trifle

I made a pumpkin trifle that came out of the Better Homes & Gardens magazine. We had a family gathering yesterday at my mother-in-law's house - and everyone just loved the trifle! Basically, it had instant vanilla pudding on the bottom, a layer of whipped cream, layer of chopped up pumpkin bread, layer of pumpkin butter, then a dollop of whipped cream. You could pour caramel sauce on top, or add some chopped nuts to garnish. It was delicious! Buy the magazine - more great recipes for fall!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Using herbs from my garden

I have so many herbs from my garden to use! Last night, I made a beer can chicken on the grill. I used my rosemary, thyme, marjoram and tarragon (chopped of course) with some seasalt from Hawaii on the inside and outside of the chicken. Then, I used the pumpkin seasonal beer. Cooked for 1-1/2 hours with indirect heat. It turned out marvelous! I also made baked potatoes wrapped in foil and placed those on the grill. Before wrapping, I pour a bit of olive oil on the scrubbed potato (skin still on). Then I seasoned it with rosemary, thyme and the same Hawaiian seasalt. And for my vegetable, I placed corn in a little pot for the grill, and added chopped red pepper and some poblano peppers from my garden. Just wonderful!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Autumn recipe for crockpot

I had gotten some nice pork chops from Sam's Club this past weekend. They were 1-1/2 inches thick! Nine came in the package, so I repackaged and froze them in packages of three, as there are only 3 of us left at home! Anyway, I found a recipe on a slowcooker YahooGroups site, and revised it to my little family.

Acorn Squash and Pork Chops

3 pork chops, 1-1/2 inch thick
1 medium-size acorn squash
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon grated orange peel (I used the Caribbean Calypso seasoning from The Spice House)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped green onion

Slice acorn squash in half, remove seeds and slice each half into 6
slices, approximately 1/2-inch thick. Place
3 pork chops on bottom
of 5-quart slow cooker. Arrange the squash around and on top of pork
chops. Combine all other ingredients pour over squash mixture. Cover
and cook on low 5-6 hours or until pork and squash are tender.

Serves 3

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Silly Hungary Coopers Hawk

I have a Coopers Hawk that comes by here all the time, searching for food. I think he's given up on trying to go after the squirrels, because they fight him back. So now he sits on my fence by the bird feeders and looks longingly back at my deck where the squirrel scamper for some corn and seed that I throw our for them. It's real cool to watch him as he turns his whole head around, just trying to find something he can have, which is birds. You can tell the hawk is by when those birds scatter so fast!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Using herbs from my garden

Today is my son's birthday! I think I'll make grilled chicken rubbed with a few of my fresh herbs (marjoram and tarragon) that I harvested on Sunday. I have some potatoes too. I'll just scrub some up, drizzle olive oil all over them, rub another herb mixture (rosemary and thyme) on them with seasalt, wrap them individually in foil and cook them on the grill also. I'm sure that he'll enjoy that!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It did snow yesterday

Well, we did the right thing picking all the peppers off of the plants and harvesting all of my herbs on Sunday. It did snow yesterday. I actually kept my poblano and jalapeno plants in the ground. I wanted to see what the cold weather did to them. When I looked outside yesterday, the leaves of the poblano were wilting tremendously.

The Coopers Hawk came by yesterday, looking for something to snack on. He was sitting on my fence, out by my birdfeeders, looking back at my deck, seeing if he can get something eating out of my squirrel feeder. The field was full of geese, why doesn't he go after them? He goes after ducks. Geese aren't that much bigger. Well, maybe they are, but it would be nice to clear them out of the field.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Harvested all my peppers

With the threat of snow last night, we picked all the peppers we could. I also harvested all of my herbs - oregano, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, sage, tarragon and marjoram. We cleaned up the backyard, got it ready for winter. Then around mid-afternoon, it started to drizzle - got cold and then we got hit with nice-sized hail.

Dinner was spaghetti with homemade garlic-basil-shallots tomato sauce and my homemade pesto meatballs (pesto mixed into the meatballs). It was wonderful!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time to clean out garden here

Though it seems warmer than it's been in over a week, we are expecting snow tonight. So it is time to clear out my garden for this year. I will miss my peppers!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cold Holy Mole Picture part 2

This is a more close up picture of the holy mole pepper plant that I had put up yesterday. Still looks good - nothing wilty - but still not chocolate brown!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Holy Mole Peppers in the Cold pictures part 1

A burst of sunshine was very welcome! My Holy Moles still haven't turned a chocolate brown. I hope I don't have to pick them early because of the cold!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Poblanos in the cold part 3

Sometimes it still looks like spring, with new little peppers on the branches. But I really don't think these will get full grown - maybe not even half grown! Too cold outside!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poblanos in the Cold picture part 2

There are so many peppers on this branch! But that's not the total cause for the branch to be hanging down like that. It does have to do with the cold, which did hit in the 30's.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Peppers are still looking good

Another cool day - my peppers are still looking very good. Don't know if the dose of Miracle Gro is the cause, but I count my blessings that the weather is holding long enough (hopefully) for me to harvest all my peppers. That may be a tall order - but one can hope!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My peppers in the cold

Well, it's not really cold - cold, but I'm trying to eek out the last of my peppers before it gets super cold! The blossoms have all turned brown, so I know they won't be producing any more - I expect that. But my plants have tons of little peppers that need to finish growing! They are near my house and I think it provides them some protection from the frost - at least so far. We threw on some more Miracle Gro to try to help keep them going just a bit longer. I have many poblanos, cubanelles and holy moles that are waiting to finish up. My jalapenos have some small peppers left, we'll see what happens to those too!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stuffing Peppers

I spent the day cutting, seeding and stuffing jalapenos and poblano peppers. I was able to stuff 24 jalapenos and 16 poblanos - then wrapped them in bacon - and froze them. I believe I may have enough appetizers to last until New Years Eve. I remember bringing my dragon bites to my mom's Christmas Eve party, and everyone asking what they were. They were gone in a flash! My husband and I even eat the poblanos as a main dish for dinner. Just wonderful stuff!

Maybe getting too cold for my peppers

The poblano plant closest to the house is still looking good. The other one doesn't look like a happy camper. I wouldn't either -it is a little brisk outside this morning! My pepper plants days are numbered.

But in the meantime, tonight, I will make homemade pizza and use plenty of peppers on top. Delicious!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gloomy kind of day

It's a gloomy kind of day. I little cool outside - grey - rainy. Actually a perfect day for the neighborhood Cooper's Hawk to come by. He loves the cold rain! I'm mad at him at the moment - he chased one of my blue jays out of my yard - so I don't know if the blue jay survived or not!

It's actually a perfect day to make my son's favorite soup -chicken noodle. The boy could live on my homemade chicken noodle soup, with homemade bread. I'll be making it with some carrots that my mom had given me from her garden, as well as some of my fresh thyme that I grow on my deck.

Time to go make my bread!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cool Weather and Peppers

I found my poblanos like cool weather. They actually wilt in hot weather and also like to be watered frequently. I always thought that peppers liked full, hot sun - actually not so much. They like semi shade too. The things I learned about peppers this year! My jalapenos, cubanelles and holy moles are the same way - growing so well! Gotta love those peppers!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Poblanos and coming weather

My husband has grown quite attached to the two poblano plants that we have. They are still growing so well - our best producers this year! He wants to dig them up and bring them in this winter. I don't think so. But I believe he will be absolutely crushed when they do die out. Maybe I'll plant a seed and give him a seedling for Christmas.

I chopped many jalapenos this weekend. I diced quite a few, and then just halved the big ones, getting them ready to be made into Dragon Bites! Very tedious work, but worth it in the end!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hornworm on my jalapeno plant

Yesterday, I was picking a bunch of poblanos and jalapenos. I picked 7 good-looking poblanos and started picking the jalapenos. I noticed a very healthy jalapeno had a fresh chewed hole near the top of the pepper. I thought, how odd - something is trying to eat my jalapenos. I look further down the jalapeno plant and find a small hornworm. He wasn't the bright green I've seen before - kind of looked sickly green, khaki-like. He must have tried eating the jalapeno and didn't like it! Well, out to the field he was pitched! Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jalapeno stuffed grilled steak

Last night, my husband wanted to go out for Mexican food. But I had planned a movie at home, so while he was coming home from work - I got to work. Last week there was a sale on some cheap boneless steak - a buy one get one free deal. So I had two 1/2 inch steaks that were pretty much the same size. This is what I did:

2 boneless 1/2 inch steaks - tenderized with one of those tenderizer hammers -to 1/4 inch thick. (Before I tenderized I sprinkled the steak with seasonings - ancho powder, caribbean calypso seasoning and vulcan fire salt - which I buy from The Spice House)
3/4 cup minced jalapenos (no seeds) from my garden
4 large shallots, minced - from my garden
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1 cup shredded mexican cheese of your choice (I had a blend)

Mix the jalapenos, shallots, garlic and cheese together, set aside.
Take one tenderized steak - lay it flat. Add the jalapeno mixture on top of steak. Spread it around to about an inch from the sides. Place the other steak on top. I used two bamboo skewers to seal up 2 sides of this steak package.
Carefully placed this steak on a heated grill and cooked each side for 20 minutes.

Afterwords, I realized that I totally forgot that I should have put fresh cilantro in the jalapeno mix too. But my husband and I enjoyed this steak, sipping margaritas and watching our movie!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cilantro Sage Rosemary and Thyme

Cilantro Sage Rosemary and Thyme - is that how the song goes? No? I know, it's parsley, but I didn't grow parsley. I grew cilantro, which looks a lot like parsley. I throw cilantro in everything! Doesn't my sage look nice? I'll have to make pumpkin and sage balls for my vegan daughter this weekend. Sausage & sage meatballs for the rest of us. Goes well with a pumpkin sauce over pasta. Happy harvesting!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Poblano picture and it's getting cold outside

Well - I went outside this morning to check out my garden - and it was cold outside! No frost on the ground, but you could see your breath! I know my garden days this year are going down pretty quickly. Now I'm starting to think, what can I grow inside? I have a spare room on the south side of my house. I have plenty of seeds for next year planting. So I wonder if I can experiment? Then I remember that peppers need the ants and bees to cross-pollinate. Maybe I will just stick with some herbs this winter.... maybe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Watched the Presidential Debate last night

While I thought the debate last night was fairly boring... I served my bacon wrapped stuffed poblanos and some wonderful guacamole that I made with some of my poblanos and homemade salsa - that was exciting.

Speaking of poblanos... I didn't have to water them yesterday, or even today, as it's raining at a steady clip. I love my peppers! They are looking good!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Holy Mole - the peppers are loving this weather - recipes

How's this holy mole pepper? Isn't this pepper looking lovely? I can't wait to try making mole sauce. Here is a page full of links for mole sauce:

This week is supposed to be all in the 70's -great weather for us and peppers!

An observation I have made is that the holy mole plant grows very much like a poblano. The peppers hang just like poblanos too. No wonder recipes also call for poblanos in mole sauce!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blue Jay and Squirrel

The squirrels are getting real nasty! I threw out some peanuts for the squirrels and I heard a blue jay coming. They have a very distinctive, loud noise they make. I call it noise because it is loud! You can hear a blue jay coming from quite a distance away!. Anyway, blue jays are notoriously nasty birds. They dive bomb other birds, and anything else that gets in their way - like squirrels and even cats! Well, when the blue jay came to my deck, a squirrel jumped on him (actually, can't tell if it was a he or she, but we'll go with he for this story). Mr. Blue Jay flew off to my Norwegian Maple tree in the corner of my yard. I wasn't really paying attention then, when all of a sudden, I saw the blue jay from the tree take off really fast. Birds usually leave that fast because a hawk is nearby. I scanned the area, but found nothing. I got out my trusty binoculars and looked in among the branches of the tree, as I have one hawk who likes to sit and stalk in there. What did I see? Not a hawk. I saw the squirrel that had jumped on the blue jay on my deck. He had gone out there to get the blue jay off of his property and away from the nuts! He was finally satisfied that the blue jay was not coming back, so he shimmied back down the tree and came back to my deck! I tell you, this year is going to get cold!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

First Frost

Well, I went out this morning to fill my bird and squirrel feeders, I saw FROST in the field behind my house. It didn't quite reach my house, but my tomatoes are now definitely dead. Even my German Queens that had many green tomatoes hanging. I thought I had a week or two left before frost hit, but no such luck. I am watching my peppers though. So far they don't seem to be affected. You never know though, they may start wilting during the day. Hope not! Supposedly we are going to get 70 degree weather next week!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Peppers continue to grow

It's just absolutely amazing that the weather can dip down into the 40's at night and be around 60 all day, and yet my peppers are still growing! I'm still waiting for my Holy Mole peppers to turn chocolate brown. They are dark green and about 9 inches long! We have picked many, many jalapenos. Granted, even the Mucho Nacho peppers aren't so mucho anymore. They are growing about the size of regular jalapenos - but they are still producing! And of course, my favorite, the poblanos. They continue to bloom and grow. They are just wonderful peppers, lovely taste, just so nice! But I know their time will come to an abrupt end, when it really does get too cold and that will be a sad day!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Changes in environment

I noticed last year that the environment is changing. Last year was the first year that my roses didn't grow from the old wood. I have many rose bushes - regular, miniature and fairy. If they came up at all, they sprouted from the roots. I wasn't the only one with that issue. My mom's area had the same thing. And they also lost rose of sharon's too. I was lucky last year. I didn't lose any rose of sharon's. But this past spring, I did lose one of mine. I have a whole row along one side of my back yard, and the middle bush died. Well, I just planted two small bushes that my mom had grown from seed (from mine) last year. She grew many for her friends to replace what they had lost and she just gifted me with two of my own. I hope they do well!

This is also the first year that we've been attacked by the Japanese beetle. We've been here for 23 years, and never have we had that problem. Just this year. Supposedly brought about by all the rain we did have this year. They kept coming back and coming back. Luckily we would catch them before they did much damage, but we had to apply "Sevin" about 4 different times in two months. I never want to see them again!

I've never seen a tomato hornworm in my life - until this year. Yes, this is the first year I've gotten back into growing tomatoes again. But even my friend who grows them every year, got them too. And he's never seen them before either.

So yes, I think the environment has been changing. Everything is in a flux. We just have to wait and see what's in store for our gardens next year!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fall has really begun

The nip is in the air. The squirrels are fighting for food. The birds are on the feeders in droves. The Cooper's hawks have been by here too many times lately, trying to catch the birds, squirrels, mice, or rabbits. You know when hawks are desperate for food when they go after squirrels and rabbits. The squirrels around here give them the smack down, but rabbits don't. They are sitting ducks. What I'm saying is that there has been such a flurry of activity - almost like a hint of desperation. It seems to me that this winter might be as bitter cold as what they are predicting, and the animals know it. I really hope things don't turn out that way!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's dark outside

Getting darker and darker everyday. It's almost 6am. I don't like to go out when it's that dark, as we get skunks and raccoons. The other night it was coyotes. So I'm a little chicken of checking my garden in the dark. While I wait for the sun to come out, I'm doing to think of what to make for dinner tonight. I've canned and frozen so much food! I know! I will grab some of the chili that I made with my canned V8 juice and chopped tomatoes and a lot of my chopped jalapenos. I froze about 3 large plastic containers of that chili. Now to think of what to make with it... macaroni? rice? or just eat up with tortilla chips? We'll see.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just watching my peppers grow

My poblano peppers have so many peppers growing on them, with many more blossoms. It is now a race against time. The weather. The temperatures are going to drop to the 60's starting tomorrow. I would hate to lose my beautiful peppers if it got too cold. But all I can do is watch, water and wait...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Peppers and more peppers

I picked 13 poblano peppers and 23 jalapenos yesterday. Now I need to find out what to do with them! I could make more dragonbites and stuffed peppers, but I already have quite a few bags of them in my freezer. I would like to do something different with them.

I have used a recipe that was listed on

Chiles with Beer and Cheese

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced white onion
  • Salt
  • 1 pound poblano or Anaheim chiles (about 6 medium chiles)--charred, peeled,with stems, seeds and veins removed and flesh cut into narrow strips
  • 1 cup strong beer
  • 6 ounces medium-sharp Cheddar or domestic Muenster cheese, cut into thin slices

    1. Heat the oil in a deep, nonreactive, medium skillet or shallow flameproof casserole. Add the onion, season with salt and cook over moderate heat until translucent.
    2. Add the chile strips, cover the pan and cook until just tender but not soft, about 4 minutes. Add the beer, increase the heat to high and boil, uncovered, until it is absorbed by the chiles, about 7 minutes.
    3. Spread the slices of cheese over the chiles and heat until melted. Serve immediately
    I used a pumpkin beer. Adding some sausage on the side made it a meal. I actually used the brown sugar breakfast sausage which went really well. Maybe I'll make some sage sausage this time. Here's to experimenting!

    Friday, September 26, 2008

    German Queen tomatoes opinion

    When I first planted my two German Queen tomato plants, I had doubts about them. The tomatoes are supposed to be big -they aren't a uniform shape. But they have surprised me. They turned out to be my best producers. They are very big, but very meaty. While my other tomato plants have already died, the German Queens have made a comeback, I think nothing short of frost will take them out. They are flowering again, they look fairly healthy, and I have many BIG tomatoes hanging on the branches. Just when I gave up hope on any of my tomato plants this year, the German Queens came through. I would definitely plant them next year!

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Planting shallots for the spring

    Now is the time to plant shallots to come up in the springtime. Make sure you add 6-8 inches of mulch to help protect against the winter weather that will be coming. I have quite a few shallot bulbs this fall to plant and see if I do as well in my fall planting as I did with my spring planting. Shallots are so nice - they make just about anything you cook with them, taste gourmet.

    At this moment in time, I'm actually waiting to go outside to check on my garden. Gone are the days of summer when I could get up at 5am and it was light outside. It's almost 6am and I'm still waiting for a hint of light! We put Miracle grow around my peppers yesterday morning. Then we had a good-sized thunderstorm come through. Miracle Grow and a little water perks up those peppers so nicely!

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Poblano blossom pictures

    My poblanos are going crazy! Peppers hanging and more blossoms than ever before. My jalapenos are doing well too, just not as much as my wonderful poblanos!

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    German Queen Tomatoes still hanging on

    Who would have thought that since all of my tomatoes were just about dead, that my German Queens are making a comeback? What is that all about? I pulled off a tomato hornworm last week from the German Queen. Half of each plant has died off, I believe from so much rain that they just about drowned, like my other tomatoes. But now I see healthy growth. I see more blossoms! I see tomatoes growing! I know it's bound to be a cruel trick. One day soon it will frost over, and then they'll be gone. Crazy weather we are having. And crazy tomatoes!

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Holy Mole - What a Pepper

    I've got 5 Holy Mole peppers growing on my one single plant. They are about 7 inches long so far! They are still a nice green. I'm waiting for them to turn a chocolate brown before I pick them. They look so perfect! There are many buds on this plant too. This one is really going gangbusters! It really is exciting to see peppers grow!

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Harvested Herbs

    Sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, marjoram, and tarragon. I love the smell of fresh growing herbs. Just touching them gives off such a nice strong scent! The only herb I didn't cut is my cilantro, which is taking it's dear sweet time growing. I love to cook with the fresh herbs -everything tastes so lovely. I think you can tell that the smell of fresh cut herbs puts me in a happy mood.

    I make a pumpkin-sage pasta sauce that is to die for. I also add plain sausage that I've browned with minced jalapenos and shallots. Pour that over bowtie pasta for a wonderful spicy fall dinner. I've even made pumpkin-sage home-made pasta too. I've made it as fettuccine, but this year, I might make it as a stuffed ravioli. Just thinking about it is making me hungry!

    I put rosemary and thyme in just about everything. What a great picker-upper! My son's favorite is chicken noodle soup. He really likes the extra zing of the strong herbs!

    Marjoram and tarragon, I'm at a little loss at what more to use them with. This is the first year I grew and used them.They are fantastic with chicken. So far, I've only used them as a rub on the chicken before we grill. I know that I'll have to explore more!

    Today, as I wait for more of my peppers to grow, I find I need to pull all of my shallots out of the ground. The tall green tops are all gone, so I think it's time, even though I think it's a little early for them.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    Margaritas and Dragon Bites

    Well I didn't get to take a picture of my holy mole peppers yesterday like I said I would. My husband and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. We had gone out to lunch, came back and finished up some work - then we made some margaritas and grilled up some dragon bites - made with my home grown jalapenos! They were grilled to perfection and tasted so wonderful! The margaritas were perfect too. And yes, so was the husband! Have a happy day!

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Miracle Grow is a Miracle Especially for Peppers

    After the heartache of my tomatoes dying off from being under water, my peppers were doing ok, but really doing nothing. We applied some Miracle Grow to the soil, and the next day - they look so lovely! They perked up, and I swear overnight there tons of budding flowers on them again. My poblanos, jalapenos, cubanelles and my holy mole peppers are doing so well! I'll get some better pictures of my holy mole sometime today.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Another Tomato Hornworm

    I was looking at my dying tomato plants last night and found another one of those huge tomato hornworms again. Man, they are just icky looking. Check my archives for pictures of the worm and also the eggs. I clipped off the branch with ol' Mr worm on it, and had my son put him out in the field behind my house. I thought the time for those things was passed - boy was I mistaken!

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    So much Basil - Make Basil Garlic Sauce

    I had so much basil I grew this year in my garden! You can see it here to the left of my jalapeno plants. What to do with all that basil, besides pesto: Basil-Garlic Tomato Sauce. I love canning, and so I took out my Ball Blue Book and found this recipe.

    • 20 pounds tomatoes
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 8 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil
    • Bottled lemon juice
    Prepare Ball® or Kerr® jars and closures according to instructions found in Canning Basics in the book.

    Wash tomatoes; drain. Remove core and quarter tomatoes; set aside.

    Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until transparent.

    Add tomatoes. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Put tomato mixture through a food mill or strainer to remove seeds and peel. Combine tomato puree and basil in a large saucepot. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced by one-half, stirring to prevent sticking.

    Add 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice to each pint jar. Carefully ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rim and threads of jar with a clean damp cloth. Place lid on jar with sealing compound next to glass. Screw band down evenly and firmly just until a point of resistance is met-fingertip tight.

    Process 35 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
    Yield: about 7 pints.

    This sauce is just fabulous!

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Tomatoes and rain

    All this rain is so good for our lawns and trees. But we've had the most rainfall here in the Chicago area, ever. One thing that this rain does do, and that it really kind of makes the tomatoes explode. Well, at least crack a lot. I had to pull off many tomatoes before they were as ripe as I like, because they had all split! It's just like blowing up a balloon with too much air - pop!

    Saturday, September 13, 2008


    It poured last night! Look at the field behind my backyard - full of water - and ducks and geese! This area rarely fills, and the water almost made it to the street - wow! Also took a picture of my rain drenched garden - still looking good!

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Last of my German Queen Tomatoes

    Soon all of my tomatoes will be gone. My monster tomato is finally turning color. This picture doesn't really show it, but that tomato is actually twice the size of all the other tomatoes. It's like you can hold it in two hands - it really is huge!

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    I love peppers just not the real hot kind

    Poblanos - my favorite. Just a hint of smoky flavor, not hot. I put these peppers in everything - from guacamole to soups, stews, stuffings - umm - yeah.

    Jalapenos - my second favorite. They can be a bit spicy, especially if you use the seeds and membranes inside. My favorite snack is the dragon bites. I make these ahead of time and freeze. I believe that I'll be making some of these while we watch the presidential debates that are coming up.

    Cubanelles - supposed to be a sweet pepper, but does have a hint of heat to it. I've thrown these in spaghetti sauce - they are wonderful!

    For the first time - I grew Holy Moles. They are still growing - longer and longer. They look really neat - long and thin. I'm supposed to pick them when they look kind of chocolate colored - not the green they are now. Can't wait to try them.

    Those are the only peppers I'm growing this year. Next year, I'm thinking of just making a huge pepper patch, and putting my tomatoes elsewhere. I was just so disappointed in my tomatoes this year. I like to grow things, not have to fight off worms and bugs!

    Nothing new to report in my garden - just waiting for my peppers and tomatoes to grow and ripen a bit more!

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    Poblano picture and stuffed acorn squash recipe

    Woke up this morning with all the windows in my house open. The guys in the family like that cold air. Too much coolness for me - I had to get a sweater on!

    Went out to check my plants - major brisk outside! I know my tomatoes will be ready soon. But I have many, many peppers that are still small and need to grow! Hope the weather stays a little bit warm.

    I think tonight I'm going to stuff the acorn squash my mom gave me awhile back. Maybe stuff it with a little chopped up maple sausage, onions, rosemary, thyme and breadcrumbs. I'll hollow out the squash, add my ingredients to fill up the cavity, pour a little olive oil in there, and place the lid back on the squash. I'll rub olive oil on the outside of the squash, then wrap it in aluminum foil. I'll bake that in a 375 degree oven for at least an hour. It's done when I can pierce the outside shell with a fork easily. Wonderful!

    Monday, September 8, 2008

    Health Kick Tomatoes Last of the Season

    This is it - the last of the tomatoes of the season. I have some thoughts on the Health Kick tomatoes I thought I would share. They are a pretty hard tomato - I mean very, very firm. Even with a lot of watering, these tomatoes didn't have much juice either. Would I plant Health Kick tomatoes again? Probably not. The extra lycopene you get, you can cook other tomatoes on low for a longer period of time and get more concentration of lycopene out of them. Add a little olive oil and the body absorbs the lycopene better too. Anyway, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    Putting food by...

    Looked at the garden this morning - and the tomatoes that I have on the plants are going to be the last of the season. Very disappointing yield! But my peppers - wow! I stuffed 14 poblano peppers with a cream cheese, cilantro, green onion, shallot and cojack cheese mixture. Then I wrapped some honey maple bacon around it and put them in the freezer. I have another 12 poblanos to go, for now. I have 4 cubanelles which I'll have to think about what to do with - something different. I have way too many jalapenos to count. I am going to make dragon bites out of them - but just the thought of having to halve and seed them has put me off a little. It's going to be a huge undertaking!

    Yesterday, I had gotten some of those big cans of crushed tomatoes from Sam's Club. Three cans to be exact - so a total of about 18-19lbs of crushed tomatoes. Each can only cost $2.30 for just over 6lbs. So cheap! Then I food processed a large bag of carrots, a bag of celery and three large onions. I added a tablespoon each of horseradish and worcestershire, and salt. Then I added 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 2 2 tablespoons of hot sauce. I put everything together in a 16 quart stock pot, and let that cook on low for a few hours to make sure that the vegetable were nice and soft. After that, I put everything through a food mill. I kept the leftover pulp for use in some recipes for my vegan daughter. The juice, I heated again until it was simmering. I added three tablespoons of lemon juice to the bottom of each quart jar and filled up to 3/4" headspace. I processed in a hot water bath for 50 minutes. It made a total of 9 quarts. There was a lot of pulp left over so I froze that in 6 individual containers for later use. I was able to use and save eveything!

    Friday, September 5, 2008

    Looking good

    After all that rain, everything is looking good! I'll be cutting peppers today and making more tomato sauce. Maybe make more dragon bites - yum! That's all for today folks!

    Thursday, September 4, 2008

    Cherry Tomato Spaghetti Sauce

    As I look outside at the rain that's coming down, with the cardinal who comes every morning with his noisy announcements, I have time to reflect on a few thoughts. I smell the cherry tomatoes cooking in my crockpot, which I started last night on low. My mom said all the victory garden tomatoes are almost all gone already. My tomatoes didn't take off this year. Maybe I'll put them in a different place next year, in the back of my yard, against the fence. Maybe I'll have just my pepper plants that seem to do so well in my garden right behind my house.

    My mom had given me a big bag full of cherry tomatoes on Labor Day. I had made spaghetti sauce with them recently in the first batch my mom gave me (not as many as this time). I threw them in with the regular tomatoes to make sauce, which was a mistake, as the seeds are so tiny that they go through my food mill. My daughter's boyfriend can't have seeds (which doesn't bother us - but they really hurt him). Since mom gave me a huge amount this time, I can make a spaghetti sauce that is only from the cherry tomatoes. Cooking the tomatoes longer and on low, is supposed to make the lycopene more concentrated. Lycopene is a good cancer-fighting thing. So I'm trying this new sauce in my crockpot and we'll see how it goes. But at the moment, it's raining and I don't know when I'll be able to go outside and cut a bunch of basil and oregano to drop in there. I know I'll have to bite the bullet and get out there soon!

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    Peppers on Steroids

    My poblano plants have grown and grown! The branches are so long that they would be over five feet if they were straight up. But as they are long and heavy, they are going vertical. I didn't want any branches to break, so I had my husband devise something that the longest branch could lay on. Afterwords, we looked at the plant, and there are at least two more places towards the back that could use the same support. My husband exclaimed that these peppers must be on steroids! They're tall and strong and going like gang-busters!

    My Cubanelle plant is doing very well. I only have one plant, but it now has quite a few peppers on it. My Holy Mole pepper plant, sitting right next to my Cubanelle, has grown pretty darned tall - though not as tall as the poblanos. They have many peppers on it too. We love our peppers!

    I'm ready to go out and look at my plants this morning. It keeps getting later and later for the sun to come up. Fall is coming!

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    Tomato Hornworms Again -picture of eggs

    Yesterday, I said I saw a pretty moth, white with black speckles. It was only 1-1/2 to 2 inches long. The moth had been attached to the underside of a tomato leaf. Well - it looks like it was the same moth that makes the hornworm. The picture on the left is what that moth had been laying when I caught it this morning. I guess the moth isn't quite so pretty now!

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    Worms on my tomatoes again

    After spending all this time getting my tomato plants back to looking good, I find the tell-tale signs of infestation again. Yesterday afternoon, I saw the white worms / bugs all over the German Queen tomato plant leaves. I sprayed with Safer again. This morning when I checked on them, I even saw one little green worm standing up doing a dance. I hope it was in it's death throws from the Safer. If not, I think I've had it with the tomatoes this year. It's just like the Japanese beetles we kept fighting for a month on our roses - they just keep coming back! It's strange, so far they are only affecting my two German Queens and not my Health Kicks (where they attacked first last time). I also saw a very pretty white moth under a leaf one of my Health Kick tomatoes. It was only and inch and a half to two inches long. White with blacks dots interspersed - pretty, but didn't belong there.

    On another note, we saw a Hairy Woodpecker on my thistle feeder - the one that's all mesh. They are native to our area, but I rarely get them in my yard. Don't ask me why they call the Hairy Woodpecker "hairy", because they aren't - hairy. But I only get a woodpecker once or twice a year - always fun to watch!

    Sunday, August 31, 2008

    Poblano recipe

    Another 6 poblanos were picked yesterday, and many, many jalapenos! We're going to a BBQ today and tomorrow. I'm going to be bringing chicken skewers for the grill today and steak skewers tomorrow and decided to make a poblano cream sauce to marinade the meat in. I took 4 of my medium-sized poblanos (just picked), and roasted them. After the outside was blackened, the peppers had to cool down a bit. I then peeled off the blacked skin. Next, the peppers had to be seeded and then put in a blender. I added one can of coconut milk, a few dashes of seasalt, as well as about 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper (I used a mixture of red and green peppercorns - good flavor). I just blended that all together and the marinade was all ready to go. Marinade the meat for at least 4 hours - I prefer overnight. Today, I'll skewer the chicken and add fruit on a sugar cane stick. Tomorrow, I'll add my steak on some wooden skewers with some red onion and more peppers. Should be good eating! As a side note - you can bring the poblano cream sauce to a slow simmer and cook it down a little to thicken - which makes a great sauce for pasta or rice!

    Friday, August 29, 2008

    Spaghetti Sauce

    My 76 year old mom, who has a victory garden in her senior community, surprised me with a visit yesterday afternoon. She helps other people with tending their gardens when they either are too lazy, or too ill to do it. She'll pick and wash the vegetables and bring them over to the owners. Well, mom came bringing a big cooler full of tomatoes, 3 green peppers, one onion and one banana pepper. The owners were a little sick of all the tomatoes, so they gave them to my mom, who is also a little sick of all the tomatoes. She didn't want to see them go to waste, so she took a road trip to bring them to me. She knew that I would can them - she only cans jelly. So after our long chat over a soda, she left and I got to work. I washed and chopped everything she gave me. I even had an onion of my own, as well as my fresh basil and oregano - and then I threw in some garlic too. I cooked that sauce for hours on low. I cooled it down a bit before I put the whole pot in the refrigerator - I got too tired to finish it last night. So this morning, I will put all that sauce through my food mill to get out seeds and skin. Then I'll cook it down until it gets real thick - perfect for canning. I already have my lemon juice to put in the bottom of my jars before I put the sauce in and start processing in a hot water bath. She doesn't expect it, but mom will be getting a small jar or two of spaghetti sauce that she can put away!

    Thursday, August 28, 2008


    Who would have thought, that the herb which was supposed to be the easiest to grow, turned out to be so hard to cultivate. I originally didn't do my homework at the beginning of the summer. I just bought two grown plants from the nursery and stuck them in the ground. They took off like lightening! I thought you could just take cuttings off and it will grow back, like any other herb like basil, chives, etc... It wasn't the case. The whole plant goes to seed, and you have to replant every few weeks. I bought some seeds but they didn't really come up until 6 weeks later. It's only supposed to take 7-14 days. I don't even know if it was the old seeds or some of the seed I took from the plant I had originally planted. But 4 little cilantro's sprouted. I placed them into my garden. Overnight, one cilantro disappeared, another was chewed down, but you could still see some of it. After all that, all 3 surviving plants are starting to grow! Cilantro, one of my favorite herbs!

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Pictures of German Queen and Health Kick after worm scare

    After the tomato worm scare, I pulled off all of the dead branches, there were many - too many, from my plants. They still looked terrible, and a Miracle Gro application didn't make them look any better. My husband then added new soil around my tomatoes, and I think they look good (compared to what they used to look like). Maybe I'll get something out of my tomatoes this year. I'm crossing my fingers!

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Protecting my poblano

    My poblano plants have grown so tall, well over the support of the cages we have in place for support of those heavy branches. One branch is so heavy, it leans against the metal of the cage, and it is continually being rubbed. I saw the branch getting worn through, and I was getting concerned that it just might break soon, especially if we get any substantial winds. So my husband went out and attached some heavy dark grey foam he had with some cable ties to the top of the cage where the branch was in danger of breaking. It looks real good for protecting the branch. Now the one thing that concerns me this morning, is I saw around 6 pepper flowers had fallen off. Not good. My husband had put fresh new soil around these plants last night. I hope that wasn't a mistake. I can't imagine that it was. Again, we shall see.

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    Dirt for the tomatoes

    We added more dirt to our dying tomatoes. And I don't know if it's just me, seeing the fresh black dirt laying around the tomatoes. But the tomato plants look better. With my luck, it's just my eyes and the thought that they should look good. But really, the plants look like they have perked up.

    After picking 9 poblanos the other day, those plants have really perked up too (not that they could get much perkier). One branch even growing to almost 4 feet! The two poblano plants have at least another 10 small to medium sized peppers on them, with many more buds for future peppers. These are my husband and my favorite plants this year.

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    Of Peppers and Pesto

    Well my peppers picture was definitely not my best picture, but you get the point. I picked 9 poblanos! These are all about 4-5 inches long. They could have gotten bigger, but I have so many other peppers growing on my two poblano plants, that I thought it's time. Might as well get some off and see if it helps the others grow faster. Don't want to overtax my plants! My husband broke off a small branch that had little peppers growing, as well as some pepper buds. We could have had 9 more from these in the future. He felt so bad because it happened when he was weeding there. These peppers I'm going to stuff with a cheese and herb mixture and wrap in bacon, and freeze.
    I'm sure I'll be looking for other recipes soon!

    And of course, my pesto. I made a double batch from this site: and it filled my new 500ml Ball jar totally full! I can't freeze this one (as I did the last batch), as I put in the Parmesan cheese this time. The cheese doesn't freeze well. But I certainly used some last night for dinner. Pesto on my bow tie pasta - wonderful! But, I'll be using this jar all week, as it only stays fresh for about a week. I'll marinate chicken - put it in rice - anything!

    Saturday, August 23, 2008

    Why are the peppers doing so well

    Poblanos, jalapenos, cubanelles and holy mole are everywhere. They are standing tall and bearing tons of fruit. I'm gathering all sorts of recipes to share soon.

    My tomatoes are on their way out, I think. With a hope and a prayer, they might hang on, but I'm doubtful! How is it that the peppers are doing so well, and the tomatoes aren't?

    On another note, my basil has really taken off too, as well as my thyme and oregano. My rosemary, for the first time is another failure. I don't get this year. Something has to be with the weather. I've never killed rosemary before. Now I need to find another plant!

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Tomatoes aren't doing well

    I pulled off 4 almost ripe tomatoes last night. They are so close, but decided to let them finish up inside my house. My plants are looking kind of sickly. They really look like they are dying off. The only tomato plant that looks ok is one of my German Queens, and it's starting to turn. I thought my friend from Iowa was nuts, but I guess not. I heard from another friend in a nearby suburb who says that her tomato plants only reached about 8 inches tall! But her neighbors have nice plants. I think it's odd that my tomato plants are not doing well, while ALL of my pepper plants are doing great. I mean I have poblanos, jalapenos, cubanelles and even that holy mole, and they are doing very well. Just not the year for tomatoes?

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    zucchini recipes

    Well, hubby came home with 2 huge zucchini's that he received from someone at work. I love free vegetables! But what to do with them....

    The first, and largest zucchini, I sliced into 10 slices, all about an inch thick. I had decided to make zucchini burgers for my vegan daughter. I blanched those slices in salted, boiling water for a few minutes, then put them in a freezer bag, one layer only- and they are now in the freezer. I have 2 bags of thick zucchini slices for when my daughter comes over for dinner. I'll just take two slices out and we can grill them up for her.

    The second zucchini was almost as big as the first. I sliced it lengthwise down the middle, scooped out the seeds. Applied olive oil on the outside skin. I filled the hollow area with whatever I had on hand, which was some leftover mexican rice, chopped, grilled chicken, kidney beans, and some cojack cheese. I placed the zucchini on the grill using non-direct heat, and grilled them until the zucchini got soft enough. It took awhile, at least 30 minutes, because the zucchinis were so big. Afterwords, we added some salsa on top because we needed a little bit more flavor and spice. It was delicious!

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    Poblanos are getting big

    My poblano peppers are getting so big! I have many more coming in. My husband and I love to eat stuffed poblanos. I think we'll be eating plenty this fall. I stuff them and freeze them. I pull them out whenever we have a taste for them, which is quite frequent! My stuffing recipe changes every time I make it. I use whatever I have on hand!

    Now, my tomatoes are starting to look bad. They are getting yellow and looking like they are going to die. Kind of what my Iowa friend said is happening to his tomatoes. I have one real good plant, which is a German Queen. I thought I had two tomatoes growing on one branch. Upon closer inspection, it is one HUGE tomato. One of those monster type. Gotta love it!

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Trying to save my tomatoes from tomato hornworms

    I've been fighting the tomato hornworm. I had bought a spray bottle of Safer 3-in-1 garden spray and applied it last night. I have to say, my tomato plants were covered with those white things - looks like bugs, but probably the baby worms. I sprayed them all - top and bottom. My leaves were starting to turn brown from where they were laying. I hope I caught everything in time. Though, this morning, there are still some of those white things on them, but not as many as before. And if I'm not mistaken, they look like they've gotten a little bigger overnight. Hope it's just my imagination.

    My pepper plants don't show an infestation, even though the leaves look bug bitten. They are supposed to go after pepper plants too. I will get very angry if something happens to my peppers. If, worse comes to worse, my tomato plants belly up, I can at least use the huge cans of tomato sauce from Sam's Club to make all my different tomato and spaghetti sauces. Can't beat a 128oz can for $2.80., and it's a name brand too. I just want to be able to do it on my own, with no extra salt added.
    My friend from Iowa said that his tomatoes have been dying. I mentioned the whole problem with the tomato hornworm. He said he doesn't get bugs or worms. Yeah, sure. We've never had this much rain before. The whole environment has changed, making things different - not what we are used to. He was going to go check and see if his tomato plants have those little white bugs/worms that don't really move (yet, at least). I'll bet he does. He said he'll use Sevin on them, if he's infested!

    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    Tomato Horn Worm

    I noticed the other day that one of my health kick tomato plants had been stripped bare - it actually looked like someone broke off branches or ate the branches or something. Well, this morning, I found the culprit. A tomato horn worm! They are really huge caterpillars. Never saw one in my life until this one. This one was about 2-1/2 to 3 inches long. They can get to 4 inches. It was very hard to spot, because it's the same color as the tomato plant. I just noticed what I thought was a curled up leaf and looked harder. The first picture is the worm upside down where you see it's legs clinging to the stem. The other picture is kind of blurry, but it was my husband holding the branch he cut off with the worm on it. He then placed it out into the field behind our house. I have a feeling this won't be the last of this creature I see.

    I understand that some people like to see these worm go into a cocoon and watch them emerge as a huge five-spotted hawkmoth. I didn't want to wait around to see it though. I'll have to find some safe product to spray on my plants, because I don't think this will be the last I see of the tomato horn worm!

    Searched the Internet on a safe product to use on my vegetables / fruits. Located something by Safer brand called 3-in-1 Garden Spray - and it was at my local Lowes store. We'll see how this saga turns out!

    Saturday, August 16, 2008

    Cilantro picture new from seed

    One lone cilantro plant came up from the seed that I put in the pot on my deck. I had placed a total of five in a circle in the dirt. But only one plant came up. And it took about 6 weeks to do it. Is it just me? Is my seed slow, or is that how long it usually takes to germinate. I thought the package said it takes 7-14 days to germinate.
    Well, at least something came up!

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    Garden Musings

    As I wait for my tomatoes and peppers to ripen, I have to think what to do next. I finally have two cilantro seeds that did come up. They are in a pot on my deck. They are still tiny, so I'll wait and see how big they get before putting them into the ground. I thought it was supposed to be really easy to grow cilantro, and you need to reseed every two weeks. It's taken well over a month to get even this cilantro. Well, I did save some of the seed that my old cilantro plant gave off, and we'll see next year how that turns out. Hopefully better than those seed packets. I did have extra seeds for jalapenos that I threw in a trough on my deck. They did come up nicely, and they are starting to flower. I should get them into the garden this weekend. For some reason, half of my large rosemary plant died - right up the middle. My thyme, oregano, chives, sage, marjoram, tarragon, and basil are doing well. The rosemary plant half dying, is a mystery. The rest of it still looks good though. Hopefully it can be saved. Speaking of seeds, I have been saving some of my pepper seeds from the peppers that I've picked. Hopefully they will come up next year too, without having to buy any. Anyway, just watching my garden grow...

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    Love my peppers

    I might as well love my peppers - poblanos, that is. My friend who grew up on an Iowa farm, who has a huge garden of his own, came on by after work. He had to tell me that he has so many ripe tomatoes they are falling off, noticing that mine are still green. But he did say that he has never seen peppers grow as tall as mine before. So now I feel really good about the peppers in my garden!
    He better drop off some tomatoes in the morning, I'm growing old waiting for mine to ripen!

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Poblanos - bragging rights

    Poblanos are my favorite pepper. Not too hot, nice size, and a hint of a smoky flavor. I've never grown them before. This year I thought I would try them, so I planted two. They turned out to be the tallest things in my garden, and so far the plants that have produced the most.

    I have to say, these poblano plants look like little trees. But they have peppers all over them. Eleven nice sized peppers on one, and nine on the other. They have so many itty bitty peppers growing, that I can't include them in my count - yet!

    These are the plants that demand LOTS of water every day, or they wilt. These are the plants that love Miracle Gro once a week too. So I do what my poblanos want, so I can get the most out of them.

    I LOVE poblanos!


    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Health Kick Tomatoes looking good

    When I first put in the Health Kick tomato plants, they looked like they weren't going to do well. I put 7 plants into the ground, and they were all kind of spindly. For the longest time, they didn't grow. They didn't die either. But very frustrating to see something just not growing. After we started the Miracle Gro treatments, my Health Kick tomatoes started to grow. Some are still not bushy, but some are. And they all have lots of tomatoes on them. I can't say if it was the Miracle Gro, or if it was just their time to grow, but these tomato plants look like they are going to produce well, finally!

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Picked lots of jalapenos

    I picked quite a few jalapenos on Saturday. Looks like things are starting to happen! There was one cubanelle that I picked too. There are many, many more that are growing. Today, I think I'm just going to ramble...

    I think this is such an exciting time! For people who have bigger gardens than mine - I'm jealous! I'm already planning next year's garden. But first, we will have to re-till the dirt. Maybe even add more dirt to the mix. When we water, the water gathers on the far west side of my garden, so, it's obviously uneven.

    My mom gave me green beans and beets. I don't know if I should add some of those to my garden next year or not. I've learned some lessons already - about growing cilantro, shallots, peppers and tomatoes. Is it too early to think about next year? I don't think so!

    Saturday, August 9, 2008

    Tomato Patch

    I took this picture early in the morning - it didn't seems like it was still dark, but my flash went off - so it must have been!

    I've got 2 German Queen tomato plants that are doing very well. The sad thing is yesterday, while weeding, I broke off a nice healthy branch with 6 flowers on it. I was so mad at my self! Already plucked one ripe tomato and used it sandwiches for the husband all week.

    I've got 3 "Bush" tomatoes. They should have been kept in a pot on my deck. They really are container tomato plants. They are short, and not much to them. They do have some tomatoes on them. That pink spot in my tomato patch is the one bush tomato that's just about ready to be picked.

    Then I have the 7 Health Kick tomato plants. They were spindly when first started. Looked like they weren't going to make it. Well, they are not bushy, by any means, but they have grown tall, and have plenty of tomatoes on them. My little roma type! This is the tomato that has 50% more lycopene than other tomatoes.
    More tomorrow on that!

    Friday, August 8, 2008

    Proud of my Poblanos

    I may only have two poblano plants, but they are going to be big producers! They look really nice early in the morning with the cool weather.

    They really like to get watered a LOT. I don't know about anyone else's plants, but mine do. They also act like they need Miracle Gro every week too. If I don't, they really look wilty - like they don't get enough nutrients or something. I think next year, I will grow more than two plants. They really are a fun plant to watch grow.

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Poblano, Cubanelle and Jalapeno Peppers

    After a third dose of Miracle Gro, and some wonderful overnight temperatures, my poblano plants have perked right up! It looks like we need to add that Miracle Gro every week. The poblanos especially like it, it seems. The cubanelle plant is doing very well. The leaves are finally turning a little darker green. It looks perky too. It has one big pepper near the bottom of the plant again. There are others just starting to grow at the top and in the middle of the plant, where I can let them grow as long as they can go! And my jalapenos - there are many. I have regular and mucho nacho. Maybe I'll pick some jalapenos this weekend and make my grilled chicken and jalapeno cheese ravioli and share my recipe here. My son and his friends just love it!


    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    Lots and Lots of Basil with recipe link

    I have so much basil! And it all looks great!

    First, I'm going to make Pesto! Here is a great link for a pesto recipe: and I'm going to freeze it for future use.

    Then, I'm going to make basil and garlic pasta sauce, can it actually. Right now, my tomatoes aren't ready, but I do have plenty of cans of plain tomato sauce to use. I'll cut this basil down, and it will be right back up in time for my home grown tomatoes! Basil is so easy to grow, and I just love the taste!

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    Poblanos need support

    After the storms yesterday, my poblanos looked like they had been blown very hard with the wind. Everything was leaning to one side. The plant looked battered!

    This morning, I go out and check on them, and they really are leaning over. I think it needs more top support because it is so heavy with all the peppers on it. This plant would be at least 4 feet tall, it has grown that big! So now, I need to get my hubby to devise a support for the upper half of the poblanos. Who would have thought these get so tall!

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    Hot day and more Japanese beetles

    Today is supposed to be a fairly hot day. Luckily, the predictions have dropped from 97 degrees down to 90. I did water my plants yesterday, late, so they shouldn't suffer too much. My poblanos are the one that wilt at the drop of a dime! Maybe it's because they do have the most peppers on them. I have to baby them, as I see over thirty little peppers growing on each plant! I do tend to lose some when strong winds come in - and we are expecting some strong storms today. I wish I didn't lose any peppers, but the free watering is great on the budget!

    The Japanese beetles have shown up again - not as badly as before - dusted again with Sevin. Of course, if it rains, we'll have to apply again. Then we'll have to get some grub-x (or whatever you call it) and apply to the lawn. It seems that grubs are the early stages of the Japanese beetle. And supposedly grubs come out in the fall? It's enough to make your head spin to find out when you have to do what!


    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Sweet 100 picture

    Nice cool morning today - 62 degrees! And tomorrow is supposed to be in the 90's?!! I should go out and weed today. But I am such a wuss! I'm afraid of that big old spider. I know it's still got to be there, underneath growing things. I think I'll wait for my husband to come home from his father / son camping trip and let them weed. Yes, that's the ticket. Men aren't afraid of spiders, are they?

    My Sweet 100 plant is doing well. Actually all of my tomato plants look like they are doing well. The bush tomatoes are extremely short though. Maybe that's why they should be put in pots?

    I may have had a miracle occur. I may have gotten 1 seedling out of those cilantro seeds that I complained about last week. Can't tell if it's cilantro that has spouted up or just a weed. I would say weed, but it's in one spot where I believe I definitely put a seed. It's only 1/4 of an inch out of the ground. Time will tell. Though they say cilantro grows fast. We'll see.

    Saturday, August 2, 2008

    Coyote Watch

    We had a little excitement yesterday. A coyote decided to occupy the field behind out house for a few hours. He (or she) came around 3:30pm (crazy time because they are nocturnal creatures) to about 7:30pm. He walked, rolled and played around in the field. Then he fell asleep. Kind of cute, but you really wonder what makes them break the nocturnal habit.

    My husband picked his German Queen tomato. And I took a picture of my Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant. It's still not the height it's supposed to get to (could reach 4 feet, I believe), but it does have a good crop of tomatoes growing!
    I'll have to show you more pictures of my plants tomorrow. I'm dreading going to weed, as I saw that NASTY spider the other day. I can handle ants and daddy long leg spiders, but those big thick ones - no.