Radish Stew

A Central Texas Gardening Journal

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 27 harvest

Squash, cucumbers, onions, and the first green beans. these are the onions from the peppers row by the patio.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moon and Stars

The Moon and Stars Watermelon variety is so named because the fruits have yellow spots of varying sizes. The leaves have the spots too! Who knew!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

That's Life

Cucumbers are coming on strong! We'll be eating green beans soon! The tomatoes are not setting and the ones that set earlier are rotting on the vine. Those tricky onions got me. Yellow squash plants are fading. Volunteer Basils are showing up. Okra begins its quest for great heights. Cantaloupe vines are all blooming. 
That's life in the garden.

Monday, May 24, 2010


My husband and I enjoy cooking books and gardening books. On a recent excursion to the Half Price books I found a treasure; Herbs for the Kitchen by Irma Goodrich Mazza. Written in 1937, this book is a gem of suggestions for growing and cooking with herbs. I had an opportunity to sit for hours and read portions of this book before I brought it home. Back at the casa, my husband perused my new book with approval. He happened to be reading The Art of Eating by MFK Fisher which was first published in 1937. That day, he was reading the section on oysters. MFK Fisher gave an interesting recipe for Tartar Sauce and credited the origin of the recipe; Herbs for the Kitchen by Irma Goodrich Mazza.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I am happy to report that we received another 1.7" of rain this week. I'm not thrilled about the hail that came with it. I have had some time to enjoy the zinnias, even though I did not stop to smell them.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Garden Update

We received 2 1/2" rain this Friday and Saturday so I have time to write. I am listing what is in the garden today. I numbered and measured the rows, moving clockwise and starting with the row closest to the garden gate.

1. (6' x 2 is a double row)    Three Celebrity Hybrid Tomatoes from Park Seed surrounded by Southern Belle Red onions.
2. 7'       This row is empty because I just pulled all the spinach yesterday. I have some pepper seedlings to        go in there when the ground dries out enough to turn and treat the row and plant.
3. 8'       Garlic
4. 9'        Green Beans (This is the famous under productive row)
5. 11'      Cucumbers with onions moved from row #4
6. 11'      Windy Wood Green Okra from Seeds of Change (Just getting their first leaves)
On the fence: Mexican mint marigold and Mustang Grapes
7. 12'      Seven Celebrity Hybrid Tomatoes (from Park Seed) surrounded by Yellow 1015 onions
8. 4' x 2  Old chives bed. There is no monster; it just has those blooming leeks right now.
9. 11'      Three Early Jalapeño peppers surrounded by Southern Belle Red onions.
10. 8'      Yellow Squash pictured above; Horn of Plenty from Park Seed
11. 10'     Green Beans
12. 4' x 2 Cantaloupe, Hales Best Melon from Park Seed
13. 11'     Green Beans (Burpee Tenderhook bush Beans) and more Hales Best
14. 13'     3 Roma Tomatoes Viva Italia Hybrid from Park Seed, 6 Black Beauty Eggplant from Park Seed pictured above
15. 13'     Shallots surrounded by onions planted from seed
16. 13' x 2  Louisiana Green Velvet Okra from Seeds of Change (just planted 2 days ago)
17. 10 x 2  Seven Roma tomatoes
18. 8'       Cucumbers 
19. 7'       Three Swiss Chard, ItalianSilver Rib from Renee's Garden, surrounded by yellow onions
20. 7'       Five jalapeños (Early Jalapeño from Park Seed) surrounded by Yellow Granex onions
21. 9'       Tomatillo Verde and Small Sugar Pumpkin both from Seeds of Change
22. 10'     Romas
23. 11'     Yellow Squash  (Horn of Plenty Hybrid from Park Seed)
24. 4' x 2 Watermelon Moon and Stars from Botanical Interests
25. 9'       New Garlic Chives Bed
In pots: Mint, Sage, Oregano, Thyme, Burnet
In the ground: Rosemary
Volunteers: Cilantro which is now coriander, Basil is just coming up

This adds up to 267 linear foot of garden space!

Friday, May 14, 2010


Several days ago, when I went to the garden, I noticed an odd odor. It seemed to me to  be musty, like old flowers that are past their prime. I looked around and then went on with my work. The day was very windy. The fragrance could be coming from anywhere. It was two days later when the wind stopped that I was able to find the source of the musty flowers, the grapes! This grapevine grows on the garden fence. It is a native Mustang Grape and was quite well established before I came to care for this patch of earth. The whole yard was covered with ligustrums, chinaberry trees, poison ivy, and other unmentionables. As I cleared these away, I found several grapevines, with this by far the largest. It happens to be on the property line, so when the fence went up, so did the grapevine. Last year I built up the ground at the base of the vine so I can water it. This year, it is blooming like crazy. I have a much different impression of this delightful wine scented fragrance.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


The cauliflower has been the star of the winter garden. I have just harvested all the rest of the 30 or so heads which were produced. My favorite recipe for the cauliflower is Macaroli & Cheese with Cauliflower and a bread crumb- parsley topping. I froze portions of this dish in plastic containers. I also cooked some of the last batch in vegetable stock and froze it in plastic bags to be added to soups later. Great fun!

Monday, May 10, 2010


The plants of the onion family are the only annuals in the garden which have survived the winter. Pictured below is the row of garlic. I planted two bulbs of garlic, producing about 16 plants. I dug up one last week to test the progress of the bulbing. the garlic was delicious, but had not matured. I plan to leave them about another month. 

The tall flowering plants are leeks, which are not really annuals since I left them in the garden from last year. I dug them up and placed them on top of the ground and left them. The flowers are about 5 foot above the ground. I plan to harvest seeds from them to plant in the fall. These leeks are growing out of the chives bed which was mostly transfered to another location. I will move the rest of the chives when I move these crazy leeks.

I planted bulb onions from seed last year to find out if they will grow larger than the onions planted from dried starts. In the first picture below are the onions planted from seed. they have been in the ground since October. The germination rate wasn't great, but they don't mind being transplanted. They are in one row surrounding the shallots. The leaves are much larger than the other onions. No bulb is visible above ground, and I haven't dug any up to peek. The white onions in the other picture are typical of all the onions planted from starts in January. The bulb is visible above the ground in all three types; red, white, and yellow. The red onions have matured more quickly, blooming already. I have been harvesting these to cook with the yellow squash.

The shallots pictured below were planted many months ago. They are delicious as green onions. I plan to let the tops turn brown, so they can be dried.

In order to conserve space in the garden, I plant the onions around the perimeter of the row. I leave the center to welcome the and protect the young tomatoes and cucumbers.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I mean to write about the everyday workings of the garden, but I can not do so. It is just too beautiful to describe. When I first started gardening, I was thrilled to have a radish to add to the stew. Now, I can go into the garden and choose fresh vegetables for each meal. Today I ate cauliflower, yellow crookneck squash, and the first cucumber of the season.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Monster in the Chives Bed

So, I decided to investigate - with a shovel. There was a monster in the chives bed, and it was ME. I didn't find any other signs of foul deeds. I found that the chives were very overcrowded, and so I made a wonderful new spot for them.

This morning, I found the last little pepper plant in the next row in very bad shape. There is a monster out there still. I will just have to keep looking for it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Monster in the Chives Bed

The Garlic Chives bed pictured above became the object of suspicion recently. The row next to this has been under performing for several seasons. When I plant something, it is immediately eaten or destroyed. So I studied the Chives bed and decided that there must be a monster inside and coming out to eat the innocent plants in the next row.