Vegetables for the Table-Tomato Lady 2017 favorites

Here are my favorite vegetables going into the 2017 growing season. I may not have room for all these in the gardening but these are my favorites as of right now

VEGETABLES FOR THE TABLE-TOMATO LADY’S FAVORITES

HEIRLOOM TOMATOES

SAUCE TOMATOES
Goldman’s Italian American-85D
San Marzano

DRYING TOMATOES
Principe Borghese
Any cherry tomato

CHERRY TOMATOES
Sungold*
Green Grape
Black Cherry
Pink Bumblebee
Purple Bumblebee
Artisan Blush Tiger

EARLY TOMATOES-52-65 days
Matina
Stupice
Sungold (cherry)*
Glacier
Siberian
Fireworks

MID-SEASON-65-78 days
Bella Rosa*-very firm even when ripe
Marmande
Pink Berkeley Tie Dye
Black and Brown Boar
Paul Robeson
Costoluto Genevese
Juane Flamme

LATE-SEASON-80 days +
Porkchop
Big Zac*
Pantano Romanesco
Purple Cherokee-purple tomato
Paul Robeson-dark tomato
Indigo Apple or Indigo Rose
Lucky Cross

*denotes hybrid tomato

BEANS
Rattlesnake-pole
Emerite-french filet-pole
Romano-Italian pole or bush
Tarbais-dry pole bean for French cassoulet

BEETS
Cylindra
Touchstone Gold
Detroit Red
Chiogga-beautiful red with white stripes inside

CARROTS
Cosmic Purple
Atomic Red
Scarlet Nantes-orange sweet
Chantenay Red-orange very sweet

CHARD
Ruby Red-gorgeous red/good flavor
Argentata-white stem-favorite in Italy-very cold hardy

CUCUMBERS
EATING
Poona Kheera-best tasting ever
Lemon cucumber-never bitter

PICKLING
Boothsby Blonde-Bread and Butter pickles
Parisian-Cornichon pickles
Russian Pickling-Dill pickles
Mini Whites-sweet pickles

EGGPLANT
Rosa Bianca-big eggplant for Eggplant Parmesan
Fairytale-small, sauté or BBQ

PEPPER
Jimmy Nardello-red thin skin pepper for sautéing-SWEET
Shishito-Japanese small green pepper-saute-serve for tapas-NOT HOT
Poblano-use for chile relleno/MILDLY HOT

SQUASH
Winter Squash
Sweet Meat
Butternut-will not attract squash bugs
Galeux D’ Eyesines

Summer Squash
Costata Romanesco-zucchini-Favorite of Deborah Madison also
Bennings Green Tint-patty pan

 

Mexican Sour Gherkins

MEX SOUR GHERKIN PLANT

This year I tried growing a few new things in the garden. One of them was Mexican Sour Gherkins. What is so cute about them is they look like miniature watermelons. They are about the size of a large olive and taste like a tart cucumber. They are native to Central and South America and are in the Curcubit family like a cucumber but are not cucumbers but are a cousin being in a different genus-Melothria scabra. They call them Sandita (little watermelon) in Spanish. They are also known as Mouse Melons and other names. They’ve been domesticated for eons. They were very hardy being drought tolerant and both disease and pest resistant.

MEX SOUR GHERKINS_BOWL

I grew them as novelty items to try out in martinis in place of olives. They are a vining plant and took forever to grow but once they took off, they were very prolific as pictured above.  I harvested them about a month ago and a friend, Mernie, came over and we pickled them using two different recipes. One as a simple salt/vinegar brine with some garlic and red pepper and the other way had all kinds of other ingredients for the martinis.

MEX SOUR GHERKINS_CANNED

Well yesterday we opened up one of each jar after letting them soak up all the ingredients for a month. I liked the simple brined ones the best and imagined them in martinis (we just ate them, no martinis yet) or served with a cheese plate. I thought they were both a bit too crunchy so I am taking some of my jars and use the water bath method to hopefully soften them up a bit (we used the refrigerator method on all of them) and see how that is. I do think they will be quite the conversation piece when we serve them with martinis (are you listening Jerry and Laura?)! The rest of you can eat them with cheese!

Fall harvest season is full blast right now!

Harvest season is full blast right now. Started out with our Home Grown New Mexico ‘Jam On’ class where we made a Strawberry-balsamic jam and a terrific Blueberry jam.

Himrod grapes-yum!

Then the grapes ripened-ate lots and dried some into raisins for later.

bread n butter pickles

The cucumbers ripened so fast I was making lots of pickles. First I made bread and butter pickles, then cornichon pickles and then dill pickles-crock, refrigerator and canned. Must have about 30 jars+ and now the 5 gallon crock is full where I am fermenting some with salt brine. After I was bored with pickles,  I made some sweet pickle relish which I haven’t tasted yet. Will probably make more of that with the giant cucumbers I miss when looking for little ones. So far I’ve made pickles with Jody, Nick and Elodie.

peach jam and raisins

Then I bought 20 lbs of peaches from the Farmer’s Market and Mernie and I made 3 different peach jams.

9tomato sauce-finished in bags

Now the tomatoes are coming in and I’m starting to make the raw tomato sauce that I freeze in gallon plastic freezer bags. Later in November after I recover from harvesting, I will take them out of the freezer and make different pasta sauces like puttenesca, marinara, penne alla vodka and good ole spaghetti sauce.

 

Potatoes dug out just in the nick of time!

Potatoes dug out just in the nick of time!

Soon I will harvest potatoes too.

2013-part of the fall honey harvest

and we will harvest honey from the bee hive.

Of course then there is all I take to the Farmer’s Market that I harvest every week-tomatoes, eggplants, shishito peppers, beans, tomatillos and sometimes rhubarb, kale and chard when I have the room on the tables. Phew! Busy time of year!

The best part of it all is I haven’t bought any vegetables in the store since early July and I’ll have a full pantry for winter when harvest season is done.

Row cover everywhere!

row cover in early summer

My main vegetable garden is basically divided into three sections-Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3-each section being around a 1000 square feet. So as I look at what I call ‘Section 3’, all I see is row cover everywhere! Looks like I laid out my laundry all over the ground but this is temporary. Row cover is used for extending the seasons and for protecting crops.

When I plant new transplants such as eggplants and peppers, I find our winds horrible on them, whipping them around and drying them out-totally stressing the poor little things so I put these mini hoops over them and put row cover on that protecting them from the ferocious winds we’ve had. When I plant seeds, I also cover them with row cover to protect them from the birds and other animals eating the seedlings as the germinate. Birds love bean sprouts, corn sprouts and cucumber sprouts but when I cover them, the birds don’t know what’s going on underneath when they germinate. So the garden looks like hell for a couple of weeks but will save me time and frustration of replanting more seeds later. This year after I planted the corn, bean and cucumber seeds, I put straw around them to help keep the soil moist and since I waited to plant later, an added bonus is the soil is pre-warmed  and the straw will help hold in the moisture when I water.

Cucumbers, corn and potatoes are in!

peppers and eggplants in

Why do I feel so far behind?!

Yesterday I finished putting in my seeds for cucumbers, potatoes (really late there)  and a new corn called ‘glass gem’ yesterday. Then I remind myself it just hailed last week and snowed the week before so perhaps I’m more on schedule than I think this year. All the crops will get row cover over them to protect them from birds eating the seedlings. Out of sight, out of mind.

Today I put in 8 pepper and 8 eggplant transplants and have 8 more of each to plant tomorrow plus squash seeds and Tarabais bean seeds to plant by the weekend.

Sounds easy but after I lightly turn the soil in the bed, add amendments in each hole, put the plant in, make a well around each plant to hold the water around the plant, connect a drip line and wrap it around each plant, put straw around each well and make cages to protect them and lastly put row cover over the cages which I secured using rocks so they won’t blow off. Phew—it all takes time. I get tired just thinking about it!

I am still germinating the gourds under the lights in the house which as soon as they come up and grow their first true leaves I will put out. Oh yea and the beets and carrots have to still go in. Sigh—so much to do! And did I mention I put in my one purple tomatillo plant? Blah. Blah. Blah.

Pickle class a success!

pickle class

Duskin with picklesPickle making class went well today. We processed 15 lbs of cucumbers into about 15 pint jars. Pictured above are some of the finished pickles. Duskin, who co-taught the class with me brought his giant pressure cooker. We didn’t use it as a pressure cooker this time but instead filled the big pot with water to sterilize the jars and to use for processing the pickles using the water bath method. I brought my camp stove to make the brine and syrup. It was a beautiful day for making pickles outside instead of over a hot stove. After a short talk on the how to process food safely, everybody got involved—Duskin sterilized the jars, while the students cut up the cucumbers and garlic, mixed up the brine and syrup, added all the ingredients and cucumbers into the hot sterilized jars as they came out of the pot, poured the brine and syrup, wiped the lips of the jars and put the lids/caps on them. Then we put them back into the hot water and brought the water back to boiling and adjusted the processing time for our high altitude. While we were waiting for them to finish processing, Duskin showed them around Milagro Community Garden. When the pickles were done, we pulled them out of the hot water and let them cool enough and then the students took home a jar of each type of pickle. Good job folks!

Here is the one handout that wasn’t available today that I told the students would be available tonight:

Preparing and Canning Fermented and Pickled Foods

Here are the handouts that were given out in class:

General Canning Information

Duskin’s Favorite Pickle Recipes

Lastly, here is the Lemon Dill Refrigerator Pickle recipe that Randy asked for:

Fresh-Packed Refrigerator Lemon Dill Pickles

Food Preservation Class TODAY-canning pickles

799px-Pickle

Do you have too many cucumbers? Do you want to learn how to make pickles? It is much easier than you think! Today from 12 noon – 3 pm I will be teaching a preservation class on pickling for Home Grown New Mexico.

pickle_cornichonThose who show up will learn how to make two types of pickles-bread and butter pickles and dill pickles. We will review canning safety at high altitudes and then make the pickles using the water bath method. This is a hands-on class.

Pickle Making Class- 12 noon-3pm

Milagro Community Garden – located in parking lot behind:

2481 Legacy Ct, Santa Fe, NM