Follow me into my organic garden and country kitchen through photo illustrations and text, as I share tips and how-to information focused on growing and preparing delicious and nutritious food, all from our 120 acre family farm in central North Carolina.
The summer home garden is winding down and the fall garden is growing well. In the past week, from our home garden, I have gathered corn, green beans, lima beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. The October beans will be ready to pick soon followed by pumpkins, collards, cabbage and broccoli. The collards are sweeter after they have had some frost. I have picked a few worms off the fall plants and the greenhouse tomato plants. If the numbers increase I will spray the plants with Bacillus Thurningiensis (Bt., brand name Dipel). The last plantings of tomatoes and corn had a lot of disease and pest problems that are a normal part of late summer, but still produced enough to be worth while. Over all the garden produced beautifully this year except for the eggplant which finally succumbed to the flea beetles.
Now it is time to do the ground work for a successful garden next year. Clean up the garden, plant the cover crops, add the fall leaves and lime if needed (this can be determined by a soil test, see your local extension office).
The greenhouse tomato plants that where planted in August are beginning to bloom and should produce ripe tomatoes from November through January. In the photo on the right the tomatoes are being hand pollinated. In the outdoor garden tomatoes are pollinated by wind, bees and insects. To insure better pollination in the greenhouse we hand pollinate or release bumble bees in the greenhouse. The humid days and damp nights of August and September create an ideal environment for powdery mildew to grow on greenhouse tomato plants, however this year it has not yet become a problem.
I have also placed a few cucumber plants in the greenhouse which should provide us with cukes into December, thought I would make more Bread and Butter Pickles. Though not everyone wants to grow a large crop of greenhouse tomatoes, a small greenhouse makes a great addition to the home garden. It increases the length of the harvest and enables you to grow your own vegetable plants.
Daymon Morgan's Kentucky Butcher dent corn is a new variety for me this year. I purchased the seed from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. It grew more than twice as high as my other corn varieties and produced large multicolored ears as seen in the photos above. It makes a great cornmeal and delicious corn tortillas. I have enjoyed watching Alton Brown on Food Network and was inspired by him to make my own corn tortillas. I followed his recipe and it worked very well.
1 lb. ground beef 1 Tablespoon chili powder
1medium onion 1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic 2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 Sweet Banana Peppers 2 cups cooked black beans (drained)
4 Aji Dulce Peppers
Brown ground beef. Add chopped onion, garlic, and peppers, chili powder and salt. Simmer until onions are transparent. Add tomatoes and simmer 20 minutes or until watery juice has evaporated. Add black beans and warm thoroughly. Place on corn tortillas and top with grated cheese if desired.
The photo on the left above shows Aji Dulce peppers from my home garden. Another new variety for me. This seed also came from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. This is a sweet, spicy pepper with just a hint of heat. It is thin walled, drys very well and can be used for paprika.
Judy's Bookshelf: recommended reading For additional information on gardening, cooking, baking, health, nutrition and more you will find great selections on my bookshelf. I invite you to browse, read, learn, and enjoy!
John Ikerd articles and books Thought provoking articles and books addressing the sustainability of our food supply, the real cost of food, the importance of home cooking and more, by John E. Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri .
Local Harvest Find locally grown produce, anywhere in the country.
ATTRA National sustainable agriculture information service.
Eatwild The #1 site for grass-fed food and facts with a state-by-state listing of farmers who sell grass-fed meat, eggs and dairy products.