Radish Stew

A Central Texas Gardening Journal

Monday, August 31, 2009

Steeping and Plumping

I purchased 4 pounds of Jalapeño Peppers and 10 pounds of delicious Peaches and turned them into 10 pints of B&B Jalapeño Pickles and 7 1/2 pints of Peach Preserves. Steeping and Plumping are processes of making preserves.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fall Garden

About the middle of July, I started to plan my fall and winter gardens. I decided which plants I would like to have, and purchased seeds. I generally prefer purchasing seeds to plants. I consulted 4 very helpful sources; Texas A&M website (aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu), our County Extension agent Skip Richter, Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening by Garrett and Beck, and Gardening Guide for Austin and Vicinity produced by the Travis County Master Gardener Association. I studied the information and made a list of the vegetables with planting dates suggested by the sources. I then made a potential planting guide for me to follow. I then waited for the weather of daily high temperatures over 100 degrees to change. To this date, it has not changed. We have now logged over 65 days of 100 plus degree weather this year.

I have planted my fall garden, but scaled back the amount of each vegetables planted. I define the Fall Garden as the plants which will die when it freezes. If they are not in the ground by a certain time, then they will not have time to produce fruit before it freezes. Our average first freeze date is November 16. So, I started tomato and cucumber seeds in pots the middle of July and set them out August 1. By August 15, I had planted Green Beans, Yellow Wax Beans, and Butternut Squash. For each of these vegetables, I have only one row.

The Swiss Chard pictured was direct seeded the middle of July. Chard is such a hardy and delicious plant. I planted it in a row which gets more shade than some others. It has survived the heat as a seedling and will surely survive the winter.

By September 1, I plan to direct seed Kohlrabi. I will start in pots Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Parade Onions, and Chinese Cabbage.

By September 15, I plan to direct seed more Chard, plus Lettuce, Parsley, and Mustard,

By October 1, Radish, Beets, Collards, and Dill are scheduled.

On October 15, I plan to plant Garlic, Onion seeds, Carrots, and Turnips.

November 1, I should be planting Spinach, and finally Radishes.

Of course, this is all subject to change!

Hungarian Wax Pepper

Of the spring plants which I planted, the peppers are the only ones still standing. I purchased a packet of 5 types of peppers. Of those five types, the Hungarian Wax Pepper has produced the most through this long hot summer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Butterfly Garden

One of the bright spots of the summer is the butterfly garden. The pictures are of the Flame Acanthus, Rock Rose, Firebush, and Pomegranate. I have added a Butterfly bush this summer, and it is growing well. Esperanza adds a beautiful yellow color when it is blooming. We have seen few butterflies this year.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pesto Time

Gardening this summer has been challenging because of the drought and heat. The basil, however, is still growing. I made Pesto yesterday using the Joy of Cooking recipe. I pulled a plant about this size, which is about 2' tall, and made about 1/2 pint. Half went into the freezer for a later date.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Black Eye Peas

The first black eyes have been harvested. These legumes add nitrogen to the soil and are a joy to grow.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Our cactus named Scratchy has bloomed for the first time. The bloom was wide open early in the morning and closed by late afternoon.

This July has been the hottest month on record here. There were only 5 days in which the high temperature did not reach 100. The average high temperature was 102. Gardening does continue in such conditions. We received .8 inch rain on July 1, .2 on July 19, .2 on the 22nd, and .3 inch yesterday, July 31 for a total of 1 1/2 inches rain for the month. We are in extreme drought conditions in our area of Texas.

About half of the rows in the garden are ready for the fall planting, which will begin very soon. They have been turned, treated with organic fertilizer and greensand, and treated to an addition of compost.