Try Something New: Dwarf Fred’s Tye Dye Tomato

fred's-tye-dyeMeet Fred’s Tye Dye. I don’t know who Fred is but I love his tomato. This is another tomato out of the Dwarf Tomato Project. It is the most beautiful color, hopefully you can see the stripes in this picture, it is from my garden. The taste was delicious. The growth habit very manageable as you can see below. This is a mid season producer and is one of the taller dwarfs although mine didn’t get any taller than 4 feet. It was one of the first ones to color up. As with any heirloom, size varies from baseball to softball size. One of the other things I like about the dwarfs is their stocky stems and their rugose, regular leaves, very crinkly and dark green.

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Over all, I was impressed with the tomatoes I grew out of the Dwarf Tomato Project with the exception of one.

Try Something New: Big Cheef Dwarf Tomato

big-cheef.jpgYes, these came from a dwarf tomato plant. Part of the Dwarf Tomato Project. It was very tasty and produced an ample supply of tomatoes for such a small plant. Staked, in a large pot, it was maybe 4 feet. Perfect for someone who wants to grow slicing tomatoes without taking up much room, such as a deck or apartment balcony. A very pretty dark pinkish fruit.

Information about the Dwarf Tomato Project. I’d put the link to their website but apparently the server has gone down.

This remarkable project was started in 2005 by Patrina Nuske-Small of Australia and Craig LeHoullier of Raleigh, North Carolina, and by February 2011 it had over 250 volunteers growing out various tomato crosses and segregation lines, selecting for new dwarf varieties with the best taste and unique color characteristics. This project is still continuing, and it will yield many more tomato varieties with heirloom taste and perfect for space-challenged home gardeners.

This is the very first all volunteer world-wide tomato breeding project in documented gardening history. None involved are botanists or horticulturists – just avid gardeners with a keen interest in learning about tomato genetics or discovering interesting new tomatoes.

All Tomato Dwarf Project varieties are associated with the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI)

The OSSI Pledge – “ You have the freedom to use these OSSI seeds in any way you choose. In return, you pledge not to restrict others’ use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents, or other means, and to include this pledge with any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives.” The seed packets that you share or sell should include this information.

Mucho Nacho Jalapeños and Emerald Fire Jalapeños -A Germinators Dream! (at least this year)

Every once in a while you meet a plant that you really like. This year, mine is the Mucho Nacho Jalapeño and the Emerald Fire Jalapeño, Peppers are notoriously hard to germinate, especially the superhots (Carolina Reapers, Ghost and Trinidad Scorpions) and the hot (Tabasco, Habanero, Serrano, Hungarian Yellow Wax etc.) to mildly hot (Jalapeños, Numex Big Jim, Anaheims, Poblanos etc.) Some of the hot peppers can take up to 4 weeks or more to germinate and then if you get 50% you think you are doing pretty good.

 

mucho-nacho-jalapeno2Mucho Nacho is a new one for me this year. It is supposed to be hotter, fatter, longer, more prolific, well, you get the picture, than a regular Jalapeño. It was the first one to germinate and it was very happy, vibrant and healthy. Lush. I can’t say enough about it.

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The Emerald Fire was a close second. Germination on both of these were close to 90 – 95% which is really good. Nice strong stems, beautiful true leaves, easy to handle when transplanting into 3.5” pots.

For those of you who germinate your own seeds in a greenhouse you can understand how happy I was to handle these guys. Some plants, especially flowers practically require magnifying glassed and tweezers!

jalapeno-green-pepperMucho Nacho Jalapeños – 68-70 Days

An impressive Jalapeño from Mexico, large, 4” fruits are fatter, thicker, heavier, hotter, and up to a full inch longer than regular Jalapeños. They start off green and mature to red. Vigorous and prolific, they set heavy loads about a week earlier than is typical of Jalapeños.

ad8bf754-f0b0-446d-992d-573a80710745_1000Emerald Fire Jalapeño – 90 Days

These hot peppers are good for salsa, pickling, grilling, and stuffing, Extra-large, thick-walled, crack-resistant peppers, plump and delicious. Emerald Fire is very prolific and there will be enough peppers to share with your friends and family!

Winner of a 2015 All-America Selection, Emerald Fire is compact enough for patio containers, but may need some support to hold up all the peppers! Easy to grow, standing up to heat, humidity, and refuses to crack. Long season but worth the wait!

Male And Female Peppers: Fact Or Fiction? – PepperScale

Great article from PepperScale.This is in response to a post I saw on Facebook this morning.

A plant world sex scandal… Do bell peppers have a gender? Some say they do. The idea has been around for a while but only recently has it caught traction. According to the theory, there are distinct male and female peppers and the gender indicates whether a bell pepper has more seeds or whether it […]

Source: Male And Female Peppers: Fact Or Fiction? – PepperScale

Finally, 6 of 6 Zucchini Recipes: Zucchini Nut Bread Cookies

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These cookies, cousins of zucchini bread, are perfect for packing up as picnic fare -even if the picnic table is right in your kitchen. The sweet cream-cheese filling can be sandwiched between two cookies if that is what you choose, kind of like a modified moon pie. I personally loved them with no filling. Very good. And I could tell myself I was getting my vegetables and therefore, it was healthier! Oh the delusions we entertain!

Prep Time 25 minutes • Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Coarse salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature  (for the cookies AND the filling)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup finely grated zucchini
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a bowl.

Beat 1 stick butter and the sugars until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Mix in zucchini, oats, and walnuts. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop (about 2 tablespoons), drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, about 17 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Filling: Beat together remaining 1/2 stick butter, the cream cheese, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread 1 heaping tablespoon filling onto the flat side of 1 cookie, and sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining filling and cookies.

Update on the Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert Squash in My Last Post

I tried the smallest Uncle David”s Dakota Dessert squash and it was really good, First I roasted it with nothing on it to get the flavor. The first bite was a little vegetal, the next, in the thicker part of the piece was dry and slightly sweet. I was a little concerned I wouldn’t get full flavor since it was the smallest and least developed off the bunch.

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Once I tasted it for unadulterated flavor, I threw some butter, brown sugar and spices; mace and allspice on top. You could also use apple pie spice or nutmeg. I put the dish back into the oven, at 350 degrees until it melted. Oh boy was it good!

Winter Squash Harvest 2016

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Check out all my squashes! This is what we harvested after our first frost.New England Pie pumpkins (although two of them got a little ahead of themselves and grew a bit bigger than they should have, but I am sure they will be as delectable and sweet for pies as their smaller brethren), Aunt Reba’s acron squash and Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert squash. Whew, what a name. For those of you who wonder where I got my seed, I found a new seed company called Fedco . Frdco Seeds Can’t wait to try these. I like my winter squash sweet and dry so here’s hoping they are as good as their descriptions.

pumpkins-and-squash-2016---4.jpgThe pie pumpkins were not all the way orange but are turning. They also took over the garden, even running up into a pile of pots we had on the side of the shop.

pumpkins-and-squash-2016---3.jpgUncle David’s Dakota was almost as exuberant. However, I am pleased to say that Aunt Reb’s, as advertised, was not about to take over the world. It stayed in a 3 to 4 foot area, behaving very politely to it’s neighbors. don’t we all wish our own neighbors were as well behaved!

So, you couldn’t feed the neighborhood with this harvest but there are only two of us now and it is enough. My husband would rather have a root canal without out anesthesia than eat winter squash so it’s all on me. Yummmmmmm/

5 of 6 Zucchini Recipes: Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies

Better late than never, right? I fell off of my horse 6 weeks ago and haven’t felt too good lately. Broke 5 ribs and sprained my ankle. Too make matters worse/better? I am having a total knee replacement in 2 1/2 weeks. To make a long story short, I haven’t been able to complete my zucchini recipes. So here goes. These are brilliant cookies. Yummmmm

Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon packed finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

1 medium zucchini, grated on small holes of a grater (about 1 cup)

med104831_0909_lemon_cornmeal_vertInstructions :

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until mixture is crumbly. Add zucchini and stir until a thick dough forms. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are light golden brown at edges, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks.

 

Get Ready to Pickle with Hints for Choosing Pickling Jars, Vinegars, and More – Real Food – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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As the pickling season approaches, it is very helpful to have everything you’ll need on hand. Here are some notes that will help you get started pickling, from choosing the right vinegars and where to find spices, to hints for using pickling equipment well.

Source: Get Ready to Pickle with Hints for Choosing Pickling Jars, Vinegars, and More – Real Food – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

4 of 6 Zucchini Recipes (this one looks too good to pass up)

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Zucchini Gratin

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 zucchini, sliced into half moons 1/4-inch thick

2 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded

1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup grated sharp white Cheddar

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Instructions :

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish.

In a large heavy bottomed saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add zucchini and tomatoes, about 7 minutes Add thyme, and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Add mixture to the buttered casserole dish.

In a medium size bowl, add brown sugar, eggs, and half-and-half. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the milk mixture over the zucchini and sprinkle with both of the cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of The Neelys