What’s up in the garden!

I’ve been busy in the garden. Which is why I haven’t written lately. Hard to write when so many things need to get done. Here’s the latest update.

WEATHER: How about this crazy weather? Hot, cold, hot. Go figure! That’s how it is this time of year. It actually hailed 6 inches last Saturday between Harry’s Roadhouse restaurant and Seton Village Drive on Old Las Vegas Highway-a very small section of land. Drove through it right after it happened-would not have want to been in that one. Luckily we didn’t get much hail at the farm-thank you universe! Just missed us. One friend of mine was not so lucky and all her veggies got wiped out. Now it is getting warm again.

HARVESTING: Still harvesting lettuces and spinach. In fact I picked almost all the spinach as it will bolt soon with the warmer weather and the lettuce will also bolt soon, so much of that is picked too. The old kale is done now. The new kale ready to go in. The rhubarb is fantastic with many stalks ready to pick. I feel a strawberry-rhubarb gallette coming soon!

PLANTING: The main garden is about half weeded-Ugh! But the beds are all cleaned up and ready for all the tomatoes that will be planted next Wednesday. Now I just have to finish weeding the pathways.

DRIP SYSTEMS: The drip systems are now up and running. I hate it when they act up. Sometimes it takes 2-3 days to get everything going and not leaking. Feels great when it’s done. I can’t believe it went as smoothly as it did this year.

GIANT PUMPKINS: My first giant pumpkin was planted today at my friend, Deborah’s house. Hope it does well out there! Still have 3 more to plant next week here in my garden plus I have some giant long gourds and 2 giant zucchini (marrows) to put in. I’ve had trouble the last 3 years with getting any of my giant pumpkins successfully grown. Hopefully one of the pumpkins will do well this year. I have a plan!

DEER!: We had some deer come and eat all the Orach (which is ok) and half of one of my grape plants (which is NOT ok). Ate the leaves and the flowers of what woulda been future grapes. I covered the rest up with row cover. Hopefully they will not explore and find the plants. There is not much in the main garden to eat so hopefully they will move on. Luckily they did not eat the garlic plants!

MORE PLANTING: The peppers and eggplants starts will be planted the first week of June and the seeds of other warm season crops will go in next week too.

Busy time of year! Phew!

 

Tomato tapenade

 

tomato tapenade all tomatoes

Being the Tomato Lady I have lots of tomatoes. One of the things I’ve done with my tomatoes, especially my older ones is making tomato tapenade. It’s easy to do and is so yummy you’ll want to make more with any tomatoes you can get your hands on at this time of year. The picture above I have mixed up all kinds of tomatoes.

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F

tapenade beginning

2. Take a cookie sheet and cover it with a big sheet of foil to protect your cookie sheet. Don’t try to piece two pieces together, it won’t work. The tomato juices will leak between the two pieces and what a mess it makes. I first tried it with parchment paper underneath and it was worse so don’t try that either. I learned the hard way and ruined a cookie sheet. Then I spread some olive oil on the sheet so the tomatoes don’t stick and cut my tomatoes in half and put them on the cookie sheet.

3. Put salt and pepper on the tomatoes and crush up some garlic (lots) and put that on top of the tomatoes.

red tomato tapenade

4. Put fresh thyme on top of the tomatoes.

sauteed onions

5. Then (this is optional but so good) Slice an onion or two and saute it in olive oil until soft and carmelized as above. Then spread the onions on top of all of it. Now I have made this both with and without the onions and it is definitely better with the onions but is really good without it too if you want to save more time.

yellow tapenade with garlic and thyme

6. Drizzle some good quality balsamic vinegar and then a little olive oil over it as well.

7. Cook and check often till soft and slightly caramelized. I start with half an hour and then keep checking every 15 minutes till done. Should take between 1-2 hrs if your tomatoes are bigger or juicy. There will be some black on the edges and that’s OK but watch closely as it gets closer to done as it can overcook quickly and the whole thing could burn black. A little black good, a lot of black bad. I scrap off the tomatoes (skin and all) off the foil and viola its done! I don’t puree it as I like it chunky and the skins are soft enough that you don’t even notice them.

8. I make some crostini out of some french bread toasting the slices till slightly crisp on the outside.

9. Then I spread some chevre goat cheese on the crostini and put a spoonful of the tomato tapenade on top. Sometimes I put a Kalamata olive on top, sometimes not. Divine!

Two cookie sheets makes about 2 cups of the tapenade. Refrigerate for immediate use or freeze or preserve it using a canning method for longer storage.

 

 

MIA (missing in action)

JC at Farmer's MarketI can’t believe I haven’t written in a month on this blog. Not that I haven’ thought about it often. In fact I write ideas and shoot pics all the time, all summer and throughout the year. But summer is particularly hard to write more because there is always so much to do in the garden and then there’s harvest time. This year was particularly busy for me what with the garden tour, farmers market and now harvest time. I am busy as a bee as they say. It would be good if I did write more as I always am learning something in my garden and from my garden and from all my gardening friends-you! So now that the garden is slowing down, I can slow down and share those thoughts and ideas. Not that I’m not busy anymore–I’m always busy, that’s the nature of this busy bee! So stay tuned as I’m about to flood your brains with more information then you’ll ever want to know…

 

Produce for sale from the Tomato Lady-Friday August 21

Jannine's bean tee pee

Hi folks.  I know many of you locals follow my blog. I have 125 tomato plants and 3o heirloom varieties this year.  For some unknown reason my tomatoes are taking their time turning red (or orange or striped or black or purple). This is weird as I would have thought that they would all be kicking ass by now and I would be at the Farmers Market. The weather has been nice and warm, the rain wonderful and the tomatoes look great-just still green. Ah mother nature! Whata ya going do? I’ve learned years ago to just surrender to her. So…

Since I don’t have enough tomatoes ready (I need boxes and boxes of them) for the Farmer’s Market this Saturday, I do have some heirloom tomatoes to sell plus I have LOTS of other heirloom veggies—Shishito peppers, wonderful varieties of french and Italian green beans—Rattlesnake beans, Italian Romano beans, Trionfo Violetto beans, Royal Burgundy beans and some french filets, tasty sweet cucumbers and fantastic huge ruby red chard that melts in your mouth when steamed and drizzled with a fine balsamic vinaigrette.

I will be selling them from 2 -4 pm this Friday August 21 at our studio:

Liquid Light Glass
926 Baca Street #3
Santa Fe, NM
Call me if you have questions. 660-4986

I will be starting at the Santa Fe Farmer’s market Saturday August 29th from 7 am-1 pm. But don’t be late as I will sell out probably by 11 am. You can find me inside the building-just look for my ‘TOMATO LADY’ SIGN above my booth.

So come catch up with me and get some fantastic veggies for yourself this Friday without the parking hassles! Hope to see you here at the studio!

2014 garden-then and now

long shot of garden

My tomatoes love the sun and warmth!

tomatoes ready for market

Tomatoes ready for the Santa Fe Farmer’s market

Last week was warm and sunny-just what tomatoes need to ripen. Temperatures in the mid 80s. It’s a little cooler this week but still nice. Suddenly I have all kinds of tomatoes ripening-yea!

tomato lady at Santa Fe Farmer's Market

Up till last week I’ve barely had enough ripe ones to go to the Farmer’s Market much less make tomato sauce but now I have plenty to sell-just get there early as I sell out pretty early even with all these tomatoes. Here’s my booth at the Farmer’s Market. It is located inside the big building. Just look up for a big sign that says, ‘Tomato Lady’ to find me.

I noticed the number of ripe tomatoes have been growing here at my little farm and now they are exploding! Yea! I’m hoping for an Indian summer-that means the rest of September will be nice and warm which should keep them coming.

Tomato Disease-more info on Early Blight

Early BlightSomeone replied to my last post on Early Blight, “Will this contaminate the soil (for next year)?” Great question. Here is more info on this subject.

If you have a garden, it’s pretty much in the soil. One key is to provide a barrier between the soil and your plant, hence I add straw as a mulch around them to act as a barrier and use fungicides to catch it early or before it starts.

Some years are better as they are drier but when you have a wet summer, it can be a problem. I’m not sure if you took out the soil if that would help because who can remove all the soil? Unless you put them in pots-maybe that would work.

You should consider crop rotation, not growing in the same spot for 2 years and then coming back to it 3 years later. Crop rotation is used to control diseases that can become established in the soil over time. Changing your tomato crops to a new bed or area tends to decrease the population level of the pathogens.  That is why I have 3 sections in my garden so I can rotate the tomatoes to a new section each year. If you have raised beds, you could rotate the tomatoes to a new bed each year coming back to the original bed 3 years later to get the same effect.

I don’t look at Early Blight as a major killer of tomato plants if we do close monitoring and take action. By using fungicides early on and crop rotation every year, we can usually control it.

Also good clean-up in the fall after the garden is done is important. Do not compost the dead plants but bag them and put in the garbage.

You can read the first post about Early Blight here.