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May Harvest At The Raincatcher’s Garden

A wheelbarrow of leeks, onions, garlic. Bush beans are growing in raised bed behind the harvest and our mulch piles are in the upper right corner.

Blackberry Pickings; these will make delicious jelly or cobblers.

This is a view of our raised beds brimming with healthy veggie plants and bordered by grapevines. You can see Dorothy and Syann measuring tomatoes in Bed #1.

Ann Lamb

Why would you measure tomatoes plants and weigh harvest? 

Growing blackberries in Dallas

 

 

Raincatcher’s Plant Sale, April 26, 2018

Our annual plant sale will be held in conjunction with the April 26, 2018 meeting of the Dallas
County Master Gardener Association. Before the meeting: 10:00 – 11:30 After the meeting:
1:00 – 2:00

 

Come shop the great variety of plants we have to offer!! We have divided our perennials,
potted volunteers, started seeds, taken cuttings, dug bulbs..

We have herbs, succulents,
bulbs, houseplants, Louisiana iris, annuals, perennials, natives and adapted plants as well as
ornamental plant markers and other garden items.

 

Don’t forget our tomato and pepper plants, ready to go home with you!

 

Cash or Check preferred….Credit Cards accepted

11001 Midway Road, Dallas, Texas

Recipes From The Glorious Greens Lecture and Lunch

Our new edible garden, where it all began. More classes to be coming from this garden to you. Subscribe to Dallas Garden Buzz for more info.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Greens

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin oil, plus more for drizzling

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

4 cloves garlic, chopped

Sea salt

1 medium head cauliflower (about 3 pounds), florets and stems cut into 1-inch pieces (8 to 9 cups)

4 ½ cups filtered water

¼ cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish

5 large kale or collard leaves, or a combination, tough ends removed and leaves roughly chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat; cook onion, covered, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook for 3 minutes more.  Add cauliflower, and pour in filtered water until it reaches just below the top of the cauliflower

Bring to a boil over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons dill. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in greens, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons dill.  Puree soup in batches in a blender until very smooth, adding more water (about ½ cup) if it’s too thick. Return to pot and reheat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with dill, black pepper, a drizzle of oil, and pinch of sea salt.

Yield: Makes 8 cups

Evelyn and Susan, pesto making!

Spicy Mustard Green Pesto

Ingredients

3 cups fresh mustard greens, stem removed, washed and rough chopped

2 teaspoons fresh chopped garlic

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted 7-8 minutes at 350˚F

⅛ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper (white or black)

Directions

Blanch greens in lightly salted boiling hot water for 15 seconds. Drain thoroughly.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend thoroughly to combine. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Refrigerate at 40˚F if not used immediately.

Yield: Makes 2 cups

Dedicated to our greens, note the green nail polish!

The Ultimate Classic Collards

3 (1-lb.) packages fresh collard greens or use fresh from your garden

12 smoked bacon slices, chopped

2 medium-size yellow onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons honey

1 (12- to 16-ounce) smoked ham hock

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Remove and chop collard stems. Chop collard leaves. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes or until almost crisp.  Add onion, and sauté 8 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.

Stir in chick broth and next 2 ingredients; add ham hock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add collards in batches. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 2 hours or until desired tenderness.

Remove meat from ham hock; chop meat, and discard bone. Stir chopped meat into collards. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ready to plate! Thanks Evelyn, Patty, Abbe, Sarah, Ann, Linda, and other Master Gardeners!

Spring Quiche with Leeks and French Sorrel

For the Crust:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

3-5 tablespoons ice water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

For the Filling:

1 large egg white

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large leek (white and light green parts only), cleaned and sliced into ½-inch pieces (should yield about ½ cup)

3 large eggs

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup 2% milk

½ cup half and half

¼ cup part-skim ricotta

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped dill (fresh or dried)

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary (fresh or dried)

2 cups fresh French sorrel, washed and dried well

Make the Dough:

In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt a few times to combine. Add the cubes of butter and pulse continuously until the mixtures starts to look like tiny pebbles. With the food processor running, drizzle in the apple cider vinegar, followed by the ice water, stopping when the mixture just begins to come together. Working quickly, form the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Prepare the Crust:

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. On a large floured surface, roll the dough into an approximately 12-inch circle. Gently press into a 9-inch tart or pie pan, trimming any overhang. Line the dough with aluminum foil and dried beans (or pie weights) and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and take out the foil and beans. Brush the crust with the egg white and prick the bottom with a knife or a fork to allow air to release and prevent bubbling. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes

Make the Filling:

In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the leeks. Stir until they are coated in oil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Cook the leeks until golden brown and caramelized, about 20-25 minutes. Check their progress after 15 minutes to ensure you don’t burn them (depending on what kind of pan you’re using; the cook time can vary slightly).

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, Parmesan cheese, milk, half and half, ricotta, salt pepper, dill and rosemary.

When the leeks are done cooling, lay them out on top of the pre-baked crust. Place the pan on top of a cookie sheet for easy transport. Pour the filling on top of the leeks and place the quiche in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top of the quiche has puffed and is set in the middle and just slightly golden.

Allow the quiche to cool slightly, about 12 minutes. If you put the sorrel on while the quiche is piping hot, the delicate greens will brown. Sprinkle the sorrel on top, slice and serve. Quiche is best served room temperature the day it is made although it will keep just fine covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (the sorrel is just going to get a bit wilty).

Yield: One 9-inch Quiche (Serves 6 as an entrée or 8 smaller slices)

Glorious greens ready to eat. Plates garnished with mustard greens, of course! Both soups delish!

Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:

⅔ cup small pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained and set aside

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 ½ pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch rounds

3 large celery stalks, cut into ¼ inch slices

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 pound fresh Swiss chard, center vein removed, chopped

1 large turnip, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 (16-ounce) cans beef broth

2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans

1 (32-ounce) box good beef stock

1-inch piece of Parmesan cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add ground beef and cook, breaking it up, until it is no longer pink.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a large stock pot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onions, salt and pepper to taste and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 4 minutes.

Add carrots and celery to the pot.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add Swiss chard, turnip and potato to the pan.  Cook for 4 minutes or until the chard begins to wilt.

Add the crushed tomatoes and the 2 cans of beef broth to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until the chard breaks down.

Meanwhile, combine half of the drained cannellini beans with ½ cup of beef stock in a blender.  Blend until smooth.

Add the blended cannellini beans, remaining drained beans, remaining beef stock, the 1-inch piece of Parmesan, reserved ground beef, cooked pasta and the handful of Parmesan cheese to the pot.  Stir to mix and simmer for 25 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Vegetables should be fork tender.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Add fresh parsley and serve.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Linda Alexander

Our thanks to Jeff Raska for the garden education.

Save the date for our next education/lunch event-Peach Fever.

Date: Tuesday, June 26th, reservation information to follow

New Class Series on Vegetable Gardening to Begin at The Raincatcher’s Garden 2018

We are excited to announce the first in a series of four classes  to be taught at our garden during 2018. Our first class featuring mustard greens, swiss chard, broccoli, collard greens and other spring harvested crops will be taught using our new Edible Garden. Sign up for the lunch following the class.

 Garden Greens Class

What’s in our Spring Picnic Basket?

Everyone welcome, bring a friend!

 Planting, growing, harvesting and enjoying healthy, colorful green vegetables from your garden will  be the class topic.

Tuesday, April 17th, 10:00am at Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills

11001 Midway Road, Dallas, Texas

Led by, Jeff Raska, Dallas County Horticulture Program Assistant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

This class qualifies for one-hour education credit for Master Gardeners.

Join us for a reservation only garden lunch sampler following Jeff’s presentation.

Menu

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Greens

Spicy Mustard Greens Pesto on Baguette Slices

Minestrone Soup with Swiss Chard

Spring Quiche with Leeks and Sorrel

The Ultimate Classic Collard Greens

Chocolate Crème de Menthe Brownies

Your lunch reservation is a $15 check made payable to DCMGA

Mail to: Lisa Centala, 5525 Northmoor Dr. Dallas 75230

Reservations close on Saturday, April 14th

Class and Lunch open to the public.

2018 Summer Garden Plans

Raincatcher’s Garden Plots Spring 2018

Several weeks ago I was the fly on the wall listening to the greats of our garden map out future garden beds.

As you know from our last post, our 3  trial beds will have Celebrity tomatoes. One bed will be fertilized with chemical fertilizer, one with organic and one will receive compost.  Tomatoes will be weighed and plants measured to determine which method of fertilization is best.

Jim has started Black Krim and Purple Cherokee Tomatoes by seed.

We will also grow San Marzano tomatoes at Linda’s suggestion. These are the only tomatoes we will grow without a cage. Linda had great success letting her San Marzano sprawl across her garden bed rather than being contained in a cage. Linda says the thick cover of the plant kept the squirrels away. Really, Linda? I am going to give that a try.

Pepper plants will be in #3.  Poblano, Serranos, Hot Boss Big Man and Sweet Gypsy are on our list. Sue savored the Sweet Gypsy peppers.  And yes, Hot Big Boss Man is the name of a hybrid pepper, a cross between an ancho and  poblano.  More info here.

Cucumbers and Eggplant to be planted later in bed #5 and notice long beans will also have a home there.

Contender and Goldmine beans will be planted April 1st.

Okra will be planted  in 6 when the onions and garlic are pulled.

Blackeyed peas will grow on a trellis all summer says Dorothy.

We are out of room! What about pumpkins you say? Jim suggested planting them around the fig tree in the field.

If you need a vegetable planting guide, here are two we have relied on:

North Texas Planting Guide by TAMU

NHG Planting Guide

Be sure to tap our new Master Gardener website for a wealth of information.

Ann Lamb

Plot Plan by Dorothy Shockley

We Are Serious About Homegrown Tomatoes!

Every year at Raincatcher’s Garden we have had a bumper crop of tomatoes.  Not so last year. Not enough water and too much fertilizer caused the problem. Well, we are not going to duplicate that this year.

Jeff Raska, our horticulture program assistant, has put the “R” back in our Research, Education, and Demo title. We are embarking on tomato trials with the goal of higher and better tomato production. Jeff reminds us that his tomato plants at his home produce 40 pounds of tomatoes per plant. Ok, Jeff! Game on!

Fertilization Comparison Study 2018

Week 1-March 20, 2018

Celebrity Tomatoes

Protocol:

  • Prepare three raised beds and plant two tomato plants in each. Fertilize each bed with a different fertilizer (compost, organic, chemical) following label directions.
  • Each fertilizer is slow release and requires re-application every eight weeks.
  • Each Tuesday, measure the plant heights and weigh and record any tomatoes that are harvested.

    Syann dutifully measuring tomato plants last year. She has agreed to help with our 2018 study.

     

Bed #9- Compost

Week 1 – 1 Tbsp Epsom salts, 1 cup Miracle-Gro Compost (1-0-0)

Week 2 – Plant tomatoes

Week 8 – 1 cup  Miracle-Gro Compost (1-0-0)

Week 16 – 1 cup Miracle-Gro Compost (1-0-0)

Bed #1- Organic Fertilizer

Week 1 – 1 Tbsp Epsom salts, 1 Tbsp  Blood Meal (12-0-0), 2 Tbsp Dr Earth (4-6-3)

Week 2 – Plant tomatoes

Week 8 – 1 Tbsp Bone Meal (6-9-0), 2 Tbsp Dr Earth (4-6-3)

Week 16 – 1 Tbsp Bone Meal (6-9-0), 2 Tbsp Dr Earth (4-6-3)

Bed  #2- Chemical Fertilizer

Week 1 – 1 Tbsp Epsom salts, 1 Tbsp Vigoro, Tomato & Vegetable (12-10-5)

Week 2 – Plant tomatoes

Week 8 – 1 Tbsp Vigoro,Bold Flowers (15-30-15)

Week 16 – 1 Tbsp Vigoro, Bold Flowers (15-30-15)

 

Celebrity tomatoes characteristics: All-American Winner Selection, 7 oz, determinate, harvest 70 days. Tom Wilten calls Celebrity the preeminent mid-sized tomato.

 

Fertlization Comparison study write up by Jim Dempsey.

Picture by Starla Willis

Ann Lamb

Read up on tomatoes by using our search box. We have recipes, growing tips, and advice to produce tons of tomatoes.

 

 

Those @#$%&! Butterflies

Though curses aren’t usually the words usually associated with seeing beautiful butterflies soaring around your garden, if you are a home vegetable gardener or part of a community garden that donates produce to food pantries, there is one butterfly that you may dislike.

Large Cabbage White Butterfly on Cabbage

No, it is not the butterflies whose larval host plants are dill, parsley and fennel.  Many people who have butterfly gardens purposely grow extras of these plants as host plants for the butterfly larva. By following the rule “one for me, and one for the birds and butterflies.” you can have your share and the butterflies/caterpillars can have theirs.   However for vegetable gardeners, the sight of pretty white butterflies flitting around members of the brassica family (ex- kale, cabbage, mustard, turnips, etc) can mean only one thing:  an invasion of hungry larva caterpillars that will soon damage their crops.

Large Cabbage White Butterfly Larvae, note larvae color is green not pink as this photo shows

Cabbage white butterflies, also known by butterfly-lovers as “summer snowflakes,” are found in two sizes, the Small Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae) and the Large Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris brassicae.)  The small cabbage white butterfly, though still considered an agricultural pest, is not as voracious a feeder as the Large Cabbage White Butterfly and will be the focus of this article.

The Small Cabbage White Butterfly is found throughout Europe, Asia and North Africa.  It was accidentally introduced to Quebec around 1860 and spread rapidly throughout North America.  By 1898 it had spread to Hawaii and by 1929 to New Zealand.  Often, one of the first butterflies to appear in the spring, it lays eggs on the underside of a leaf.  The eggs are laid singly and are yellow making them difficult to spot.  The eggs hatch after about five to fourteen days and then the damage to members of the mustard family begins.  Using their powerful mandibles, the larva munch holes in the leaves.  Sometimes they will even eat into the heart of a cabbage, leaving a shell in its place.  The larva then pupate, to start the whole cycle again.

Cabbage Damage Due to White Butterfly Larvae

Thankfully there are safe biological and barrier controls for this pest butterfly.  In the mid 19th century the Australian government introduced parasitic wasps to control the damage produced by both species of butterflies.  However this approach is only suitable for large commercial growers.  There are other insects however that can help.  These include ladybird beetles, lacewings, and some species of insect-eating birds.  A physical control might include covering the plants with mosquito netting or other barriers.  Be sure to secure all the edges.

Perhaps the easiest organic method of control is to use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a naturally occurring bacteria that kills a caterpillar but leaves beneficial insects unharmed.  When the caterpillar eats a treated leaf, it will get an upset stomach, stop eating, and die within four days.  Just be sure not to apply it in wet weather as the spray will wash off.

By using Bt or other methods of control, you should be able to “have your cabbage and eat it too.”

Carolyn Bush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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