Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tasty Tomatoes and recipes

Out of all the vegetables we can grow, for most of us tomatoes rank high of the top five favorites.  It is peak tomato picking now in South Florida.  With temperatures reaching the mid to high 80's and the heat index in the 90's the tomato plants are showing signs of fatigue.  Mid day wilting requires watering both morning and evening to my potted plants.  As the plants mature, their leaves are turning yellow and brown at an alarming rate.  I pick bowls of both cherry and plum tomatoes every other day.  Their red ripe color contrasts with the leaves.  There are fewer and fewer green ones left on the plants.


I grow my tomatoes in large containers in full sun.  I never spay my veggies with any pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, nematicides or any other harmful chemicals.  I do use commercial fertilizers, a gentle one you add to water.  I buy composted manure and add it to my own compost and I mulch the pots.  I buy eucalyptus mulch which keeps pests at bay.  I always grow heirloom everglades tomatoes from seed.  I also supplement with various varieties I purchase at garden centers.  Here are some quick videos on how to grow tomatoes.



Quick and easy tomato recipes

Veggie omelette 
I love to saute onions, garlic and cherry tomatoes cut in half in a pan, and then sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper, some oregano.  Add beaten eggs and either scramble or make an omelette.  You will have a feast of a meal.



Summer pasta sauce
Make a summer sauce for pasta by cutting up plum and cherry tomatoes and add to a bowl.  Add fresh garlic, a few teaspoons of olive oil, a dash of salt, pepper and a hand full of chopping fresh basil leaves.  Let marinate on the counter a few hours.  Later boil pasta of your choice and serve with your sauce.  Delicious.



Israeli Middle Eastern Salad
Chop up cherry tomatoes into fine cubes.  Chop up green peppers in fine cubes. Chop up cucumber in fine cubes.  Add all together and add a dash of salt and pepper.  Marinate  with vinegar.  Serve cold.  Delicious dish traditionally eaten for breakfast in Israel.  You may serve as a condiment for a sandwich or as a side dish instead of cole slaw.


Enjoy your veggies right out of the garden as well.  Nothing tastes as fresh or delicious.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring forward with new plants for your garden

Spring in South Florida is just around the corner and it is prime planting time for shrubs, trees, groundcovers and perennials.  Why is this the case?  Planting in the fall and winter is our dry season.  If you get ambitious during the weekend with a major landscape overhaul and then have a super busy work week and forget to give a deep hand water to your plants, you may be in trouble.  A few days of super hot and or windy weather could dry out the root ball of the plants and they may die.  Sprinklers never provide a deep enough soaking to newly planted material.   Ever try to revive a severely wilted plant?  It is hit or miss, especially for young plants that are not established in your garden.  A great resource for plants to utilize for your area is Monrovia Nursery.  Just plug in your zip code and the best plants for your area will pop up plus when you scroll down it will list the closest nurseries to buy the plants!  <img src="http://ooh.li/1c8a4ef" />

That is why spring and summer are best for major plantings.  We get daily afternoon showers that cool us off as well as our gardens.  The showers compliment our hose waterings of newly planted gardens.  Try to choose plants that will provide food for wildlife.  Certain flowers attract butterflies, some plants produce berries for birds, and dense shrubs provide protection and shade for critters.  Pick waterwise plants for an easy to maintain garden.

I enjoy beautiful easy Lantana for a burst of year round color.  Lantana thrives in the brutal hot summer Florida heat, and are great for our bees and butterflies.   I love the color combination of milkweed and Lantana, so will plant these together in my butterfly garden.

Another favorite are the Kalanchoes.  Their deep vibrant colorful flowers last for weeks and if you nurture them they will come back next year.  My Kale is nearing the end of the season, and as I remove the lower leaves for cooking, the plant is looking leggy.  Planting the Kalanchoes underneath provides vibrant color to my potted vegetable garden.  http://ooh.li/1c8a4ef



Thank you Monrovia for providing the plants for this story!  I remember first learning about Monrovia during college horticulture classes.  Their use of cutting edge scientific research, newest technology, and top quality growing conditions exemplifies why their plants grow so well in your garden.  Many garden centers such as Living Color, Perfect Choice and Lowes carry Monrovia Plants.

Thank you for stopping by my garden blog.  You are welcome to subscribe and follow me on the other social sites as well.  Click on the highlighted links for a shortcut to these sites. 
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