Radish Stew

A Central Texas Gardening Journal

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cedar Wax Wings

We have had two days of cloudy and rainy weather producing 2" in the rain gauge! Yesterday when I went out to the garden I was thrilled to hear some birds quietly communicating. I looked into the tallest trees, and found that they were filled with Cedar Wax Wings. I was able to take some pictures before they spotted me and found another perch.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Violets and Silver Rib Chard

This cluster of violets in the butterfly garden has a great bunch of flowers! I gave them a bit of fertilizer last week. The weather has been warm in the afternoons, about 70 degrees, and sunny.

I have planted all of the rest of the onion bulbs. The last bunch, Yellow Granex, went into the last row in the garden, next to the compost piles. I transplanted the 4 Silver Stem Swiss chard into this row. I planted the Rainbow Swiss chard late in the summer and was very disappointed with these chards compared to the Silver Stem ones I was used to. I planted some 2 year old seeds in the fall, which germinated at a ratio of about 50%. I then transplanted these seedlings into the lettuce bed where they grew well. they made it through the really cold weather, so now they have their own row. I predict many meals from these 4 plants. The seeds are "Heirloom Chard Italian Silver Rib" from Renee's Garden packed for 2007. I have high hopes!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What's Cooking

After the really cold weather, we received 2.3" of rain. The temperatures have risen to a high of 75 yesterday. As always, I have been attempting to eat something from the garden every day.

On the 12th, we had Baked Pasta with fresh tomato puree and ricotta cheese.
On the 14th, I cooked a soup with leeks from the garden and potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery.

On the 18th, we had fresh salad with lettuce, carrots and radishes from the garden.
The next night, we prepared fried rice with Thai Chili Sauce, onion, broccoli, carrot, water chestnuts, and kohlrabi from the garden.

For the 20th and 21st, I went to the pantry. I prepared Potato salad with Sweet Pickle Relish and Cheese spread with Tomatillo Relish. Both were great!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Today I bought three bunches of onion sets. I planted two bunches last year and really enjoyed the fresh onions, so I increased the onion crop. I planted some of the Yellow Granex around the freshly transplanted Romaine lettuce plants as shown in the picture to the right. My plan is to harvest this type green as they are maturing. This row will then be put into service in the summer garden.

The other two types, Southern Belle Red and Yellow 1015, I will leave to maturity because they are better varieties to store. I planted some of each of these two varieties in rows which are prepared and waiting for spring planting. I used this method last year. It worked well to grow young tomato plants in the center of the row and onions around the outside. By the time the tomato plants were producing, the onions were all harvested and dried.

I have a row of onions which were planted in October from seed. This row has shallots growing in the center. I read that in order to produce really large onions, one needs to start them from seed. I am curious to compare the production of the onion sets compared to the seeds.

This is a good place to mention that the Garlic Chives have really suffered from the cold this winter. I have two 4' x 4' beds of garlic chives. I plan to move them this season.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What's Cooking this Week

On January 5, I made Fresh Tomato and Radish Stew.
On January 6, we made a Beef Sandwich Spread with Bread and Butter Cucumber Pickles. This dish was made specifically for finger sandwiches for a Tea Party.
January 7, we made Pico de Gallo with fresh cilantro. I thought the cilantro would freeze and this would be our last fresh cilantro dish in a while, but I was wrong.
On January 8, we enjoyed Bloody Marys with fresh tomato puree.
Om the 9th, fresh Swiss Chard went into the microwave for a quick and delicious treat.
On the 11th, I made Roast Winter Vegetables with carrots, kohlrabi, radishes from the garden and some sweet potatoes to go with. This is the first time, I have prepared vegetables like this. It was not quick, but it was delicious.

Record Cold Temperatures

We have been experiencing three days of record cold temperatures with a low in the teens and 24 hours under freezing. I took some "before" pictures thinking that the whole garden would be a frozen loss. Amazingly, the damage was minimal. The radishes and turnips were lost, as well as most of the dill. Even the tiny lettuce transplants have survived!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Focus on the Food

As the new year begins, I am beginning a new focus. I am going to record the many ways the vegetables from the garden are utilized. I will attempt to eat something from the garden each day. Even if it just a radish added to the stew!

For January 1, I really wanted to make Texas Caviar with the black-eye peas from the garden. I took them out of the freezer and decided that something was just not right, so they went into the compost. We did eat Texas Caviar, however, with other black-eyes.

On January 2 I made "Jo's Queso" with some Cilantro which is growing beautifully right now. Her motto is, "Cilantro in every bite!"

On January 3, I made "Butternut Squash Lasagna" with squash harvested before the first freeze. This dish was inspired by Renee Studebaker who writes for the Austin American Statesman newspaper. I changed the recipe some, but was very happy with the dish. I will certainly make this again!

On January 4, I enjoyed a salad made with fresh picked radishes, carrots, and lettuce. I still have fresh tomatoes, too!