Thursday, September 26, 2013

An Unusual Sepember Garden

This year we had an especially unusual September garden, but as you see above "the fruits of our labor" in prior years and early this spring sustained any neglect made in the month of September. It seems, Jerry tilled and picked while Deberah worked on her projects and I worked on mine. I replaced carpet with other flooring, replaced a deck on the back of my house and replaced lots of pipes, faucets, etc. as well as, a few light fixtures.

Lucky for us there were no big insect infestations and the rain made the difference in growing plants and our harvest. I like to think our garden took care of itself.

2013 was the first year we had watermelons grow bigger than baseballs. Maybe it was due to Mr. Basil the garden cat, keeping the critters out, or the honey bees doing their job, maybe both.

I watched hummingbirds, as well as, honey bees pollinating the okra blooms. One of the best seasons ever for our okra harvest even though we planted late.

The sweet potatoes (grown in a different section of the garden) is still going strong this month. We've dug lots up and had at least three meals that included baked sweet taters.

Also, besides the tomatillos, the peppers (sweet, bell, hot and hotter) are continuing to grow. Sorry no pictures on this blog.

Also, the fishing seems to be better than ever this month. My favorite cousin Cary Smith (seen above) caught this beauty, after a couple of visits this month. Congratulations!!

We have usually watered the garden from the two acre lake next to the garden (especially during Georgia's extreme drought in our area), however I don't think it's been necessary this whole year to water except two or three times this September.

Now that is very unusual!

Until Next Time..........

Happy Gardening 2014

Posted by Wilma Smith

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Congradulations Sis! -- Master Gardener

I wanted to congratulate my sister for being selected as a candidate for the Coweta County Master Gardener Program 2014. The selection process is not easy, you apply, then you may or may not get an interview. It is competitive but Deberah made it through every stage. She is well deserving and will become a great addition to the Master Gardening Program for our county.

I love the picture of her I found in my archives! She is truly the "Martha Stewart" of gardening and cooking in our family and I am very proud of her.

Deberah and Jerry are not only family, they are also true gardening friends. Over the years, together we've learned a lot about organic gardening throughout all the seasons, spring, summer, fall and winter.
I am looking forward to learning from Deberah's new experience as a Master Gardener. Bet we'll have a better garden next year!
Congratulations Deberah!! I love you!!! 
Until Next Time......
Happy Gardening 2013
Posted by Wilma Smith

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tomatillo -- "Little Mexican Tomato"

This year we planted a different "tomato" in our garden known as the tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) or known in Mexico as the "little green tomate." The tomatillo originated and was first cultivated in Mexico by the Aztecs in 800 B.C. Later it was imported to Europe and other parts of the world by the Spaniards. Today it is still a staple of Mexican crusine, commonly found growing as a annual field weed.

As you see above the fruit grows inside a paper husk and is the approximate size of a cherry tomato, however, although it is kin to the tomato, it is a night shade plant closer related to the Cape Gooseberry. The fruit matures as it fills the husk and may turn several colors in the process, such as, yellow, red or purple but it is best to harvest and prepare while green. The citrusy, sweet flavor adds a fresh, unusual flavor to any Mexican dish or recipe.

The tomatillo plant is drought resistant, needs full sun, well drained rich soil (raised beds work great) when growing. Like tomatoes plant deep and space approximately 3 feet apart, as the height can reach 3 to 4 feet. 
Other names used for this "little Mexican tomato" is husk tomato, jamberry, husk cherry and tomate verde. It gets 5 stars for weight loss and healthy eating, as it contains zero fat and only eleven calories per serving (34 grams). The tomatillo is also packed full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, as well as, lends lots of dietary fiber to any palate.
Regarding all these factors, we hope our experiment growing tomatillos will be successful and they will become a permanent addition every year to our organic garden.

Tomatillos are used in salsas, dips, sauces for meats, jams, preserves and hundreds of favorite Mexican dishes, just like the recipe below, Salsa Verde:


2 large fresh red or green Anaheim chili peppers
1/2 pound fresh tomatillos
1 1/2 cup low salt chicken broth
2 large chopped green onions
1 large Serranto chili pepper, stemmed and seeded
1 large clove garlic
1/4 cup firmly packed cilantro leaves
1/4 cup half & half, heavy cream, sour cream or whipping cream


Char Anaheim chilies on a grill or oven broiler until blackened. Enclose in a paper bag for 10 minutes. Rinse, dry and chop chilies. Wash tomatillos (no need to skin or seed). In a medium sauce pan add tomatillos, chicken broth, chopped green onion, Serranto chili and garlic. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to medium heat. Simmer for approximately 18 minutes or until mixture is reduced to about 1 2/3 cups. Cool then place in blender and puree adding remaining ingredients. Salsa can be made in advance, serving cold, or warm. Makes approximately 2 cups.

If you like this "little Mexican tomato" give it a try in your garden next year or just find a good market to buy them fresh. So....

Until Next Time.........

Happy Gardening 2013!

Posted by Wilma Smith