# How does your Garden grow?

Staff Emeritus
Evo said:
I will be planting the usual bell peppers, zuchinni and tomatoes for ratatoulle. Summer squash, maybe cucumbers.

I hope I can keep the birds away from the peaches long enough to get some this year. Maybe I'll do some cauliflower, I need to put those in now though.
OK - ratatoulle - well the zuchinni and tomato reminded me of another recipe.

Caponata (also mispelled as Caponato or Capanato)

3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion chopped
4 medium eggplants, chopped into bite-sized pieces
½ cup sliced green olives
2 Tablespoons chopped or sliced garlic
4 Tablespoons tomato paste
Capers to suit
Seasoning to suit
I lifted this from a FOX TV station, but I can't make myself post the link. :shy: :uhh:

In a large pan on medium heat, sauté onions and celery until tender. Add eggplant cubes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add capers and green olives just before eggplant is done. Stir in tomato paste and garlic until everything is covered. Serves four.

Another recipe -

CAPANATO (Sicilian Eggplant)

1/4 c. olive oil
2 med. eggplants, unpeeled, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 med. onions, finely chopped
1 lg. garlic clove, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste
2 c. stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
10 black olives, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar

Heat olive oil and saute eggplants (use more oil if necessary). When eggplant is cooked and tender, transfer it to a dish and set aside.
In 2 tablespoons olive oil saute onions, garlic and celery until onions are soft. Return eggplant to pot and add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Capanato should be thick but not dry. Add a little water if mixture is too dry and cook a little longer if it is too wet. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Serves 6-8.
http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1918,152191-225198,00.html

One of the ladies in the office where I work makes this and it's really good. :tongue2: <- that's for the caponata, not the lady, although she is attractive.

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Staff Emeritus
Caponata - a Sicilian specialty, which varies slightly from one part of the island to another, but it always contains eggplant, onion, celery, tomato and capers. It is traditionally served at room temperature.

4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 onion, sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley (to garnish)
12 black olives, pitted
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 eggplant, diced
5 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt - a pinch or less, or to taste

2 tbsp capers (mandatory in Sicily, but optional outside)

1. Heat 32 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onion and celery and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the remaining oil with the eggplant and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar and sugar. Cover the surface with a circle of waxed paper and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the olives and capers ans season with salt. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish and let cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.

4. While waiting for the caponata to cool, enjoy a nice glass of wine, while sitting on the porch or veranda and watch the beach or sunset or some other nice scenery.

It is recommended to prepare caponata ahead of time (several hours) and let sit so that the strong flavors blend.

An option for non-vegetarians is to add 4 anchovies. This recipe serves 4, or one of me.

Evo
Mentor
turbo-1 said:
Evo, are ice weasels nice friendly guys like ferrets?
Yeah, you could pass for an ice weasel. I like ice weasels.

turbo
Gold Member
We just had a BBQ dinner. I came up with a new marinade last night for the chicken. I sauteed chopped onions, crushed garlic, and grated fresh ginger in peanut oil with a couple of tbs of butter for flavor, some salt and lots of black pepper. When that was browned, I shut off the gas, poured in a few ounces of dry wine, juice of a lemon, and a few oz. of honey. The chicken (skinned and cut up) marinaded for about 24 hours in that mix, and I painted the basket of chicken parts throughout the cooking. It came out really good, but (anal, as always!) I will tweak that marinade for months. My wife chipped in with a BBQ sauce for the chopped vegetables that we processed tonight, with lemon, pepper, honey, etc. It was in the mid-60's so we ate out on the deck, but it was a "dry run" with "fresh" vegetables bought from a store 5-7K miles from where the food was grown. I cannot wait for our garden to come in.

Evo
Mentor
turbo-1 said:
I'll plant it along the tree line and mow it down if it tries to take over the lawn. I really hope it thrives like you say.
It sends out underground runners.

I wouldn't mind having bushels of it drying in my cellar.
Just wait.

turbo
Gold Member
Evo said:
Yeah, you could pass for an ice weasel. I like ice weasels.
Thank you for the free pass into weasle-dom. Turbo might have been an ice weasel. I can tell you that he was not a soap and water weasel. He would jump into the tub with my wife every morning during her shower, but when we gave him a personal bath every month or so (with no-tears shampoo in the kitchen sink) he was unhappy, although obedient. He was a sweetie, but he did not want to have his pelt saturated.

These little guys can manipulate their environments, and are WAY smarter than animals that are much larger. Weasels, minks, martins, ferrets, and fishers (don't leave out the skunks!) are very personable little fellows and can leave cats and dogs in the dust when it come to social engineering. We had a skunk that would come to the back yard with a cat, a coon, and/or a possum, and benefited from each relationship as they fed on the food that we had left out for the birds. The skunks were invariably friendly and were never threatening. When I observed astronomically on a hill on a rented farm in the late '70's, skunks would come around quite often in the evening, and the babies would often come up right to my pant-legs, trying to see who I was - they are so cute, I still want a skunk for a pet, after having tons of ferrets over the course of a couple of decades.

Evo
Mentor
turbo-1 said:
We just had a BBQ dinner. I came up with a new marinade last night for the chicken. I sauteed chopped onions, crushed garlic, and grated fresh ginger in peanut oil with a couple of tbs of butter for flavor, some salt and lots of black pepper. When that was browned, I shut off the gas, poured in a few ounces of dry wine, juice of a lemon, and a few oz. of honey. The chicken (skinned and cut up) marinaded for about 24 hours in that mix, and I painted the basket of chicken parts throughout the cooking. It came out really good, but (anal, as always!) I will tweak that marinade for months. My wife chipped in with a BBQ sauce for the chopped vegetables that we processed tonight, with lemon, pepper, honey, etc. It was in the mid-60's so we ate out on the deck, but it was a "dry run" with "fresh" vegetables bought from a store 5-7K miles from where the food was grown. I cannot wait for our garden to come in.
When did you say I could move up there?

turbo
Gold Member
Evo said:
It sends out underground runners.

Just wait.
How deep do the runners go? If I have to corral peppermint, I will take precautions. I wish I did not have to take such precautions to prevent the growth of tomatos, hot peppers, green beans, etc!!!

turbo
Gold Member
Evo said:
When did you say I could move up there?
I think I said you could stay here when you can split at least 1 cord a day of firewood, but due to the overwhelming response, you may have to committ to splitting AND stacking at least 1 cord a day.

Evo
Mentor
turbo-1 said:
I think I said you could stay here when you can split at least 1 cord a day of firewood, but due to the overwhelming response, you may have to committ to splitting AND stacking at least 1 cord a day.
Do I get a weasel?

Evo
Mentor
turbo-1 said:
How deep do the runners go? If I have to corral peppermint, I will take precautions.
You do have to take precautions, I will look up some references later.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
turbo-1 said:
How deep do the runners go? If I have to corral peppermint, I will take precautions. I wish I did not have to take such precautions to prevent the growth of tomatos, hot peppers, green beans, etc!!!
Of course, how bad could it be if peppermint took over your lawn? Wouldn't it be lovely to have everything smelling fresh and minty when you walked across the yard? Friends of mine had a bench out in the middle of a plot of thyme which was wonderful...you'd get the fresh thyme smell as you walked to the bench, and were just surrounded by it. Absolutely heavenly. Of course, in their case, it was an island in the center of a circular driveway, so it couldn't escape very far.

turbo
Gold Member
Evo, you can have a weasel if you can catch one! (pop)

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turbo
Gold Member
Moonbear said:
Of course, how bad could it be if peppermint took over your lawn? Wouldn't it be lovely to have everything smelling fresh and minty when you walked across the yard? Friends of mine had a bench out in the middle of a plot of thyme which was wonderful...you'd get the fresh thyme smell as you walked to the bench, and were just surrounded by it. Absolutely heavenly. Of course, in their case, it was an island in the center of a circular driveway, so it couldn't escape very far.
Wow! how many aromatic perennials could I get to "fight it out" over on the side lawn? I could jump in there and roll around like like a cat in a patch of catnip! :rofl:

I took the top 18 inches of a plastic garbage can and sunk it into the ground to plant mint in. It works really well.

turbo
Gold Member
OK, I'm no spring chicken, but I didn't expect to be this sore tonight. I had to satisfy my urge to work in the garden, so I bought, loaded, unloaded, and spread by hand 400# of composted cow manure, 100# of organic fertilizer and a few small bags of sulfur. The jerk clerks at the store didn't offer to help me load my truck, nor did they come outside to make sure I only loaded the 10 bags of manure that I paid for. What is this world coming to?

When my tiller engine is rebuilt (OK, I just have to know what a really nice cast-iron Horse with a really nice cast-iron Tecumseh engine can do!) I am going to town. Actually I am staying at home and I have no intention of going to town (avoiding the ~1500 folks who live here). I intend to add 4-5 big bales of compressed peat moss to bring up the organic content of the soil. The previous owner of this place never took care of the garden spot. He simply planted plants started at local greenhouses, and flogged them along with Miracle-Gro...that is not gardening.

My dad started his tomatoes well after we did last year, and while we got a fair yield from the many spindly plants we had, he was swamped with tomatoes from half as many plants and the plants were so big it was tough to pull them out at year's end after we harvested the last of the green tomatoes. Of course, he has a buddy that he plays poker with every week with a nice big tractor and a dump truck who will gladly bring in a load of old rotted manure and till it - no charge. The soil in his garden is fluffy and black. It's easy to weed and it holds water wonderfully. It will take a few years, but this garden spot will get that way eventually.

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turbo
Gold Member
My wife and I have been making up a list of the seeds, seedlings, etc that we want to buy for this growing season. We are concentrating on vegetables that give a very high yield for the area required to grow them. What do you grow in your own gardens that give you a lot of usable/preservable food for the investment in space? I'm going to offer my dad to till/weed his garden space to get extra growing space in his rich-soil plot - he's 80 and is scaling back his garden to tomatos, cucumbers, squash, etc and I want to grow much more. If you've got really nice organic-rich soil available at 45 degrees N, what would you grow?

Staff Emeritus
Yesterday, I relocated my second rhubarb plant and divided it into three new plants.

This is for ZapperZ - I just added my 7th blueberry bush - a highbush, Elliot which produces fruit late season. I bought at a local nursery but it comes from Virginia Berry farm. www.virginiaberryfarm.com

There are four new blackberry canes, but I hope for a couple more. Propagation is finally working.

We are still getting very cool night - frost two nights ago, and near freezing air the last two nights.

BobG
Homework Helper
Astronuc said:
I don't know how many PFer's garden, but I have done gardening ever since I could walk. My father and my maternal grandfather both gardened. I helped my dad in the garden, mostly planting, watering and weeding (and harvesting) at first. When I was old enough to handle a shovel, I would help cultivate.

The first four years of childhood, we lived in rural areas, so gardening was quite natural. My father was a minister with a low salary, so the garden provided fresh fruit and vegetables for low cost.

Anyway, I have always enjoyed gardening, which for me is a spiritual experience. I use organic methods without herbicides or pesticides, in favor of natural insects and manual methods.

As of now, the perennials - Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries and Rhubard have come back to life. I was pleased to find that my meager efforts at propagating the blackberries seem to be finall working. I have done it incorrectly for 2 years, so I am hopeful now that they will finally take off. The raspberries need no help in this regard.

I am preparing one plot for a vegetable garden - my wifes tomato plants and lettuce. I will add some hot pepper plants.

I am preparing another plot for an herb garden for my wife.

Then I will be preparing a terraced area on the back hill - I am thinking tomatos, squash, zucchini, and whatever hits my fancy.
Just out of curiosity, how much does it cost you to grow a tomato?

Or, is that a bad question to ask? The $64 Tomato (How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden) (I have to be honest. I've never calculated how much I spend making home-made ice cream in a hand cranked bucket, either. It's an experience, not an economic exercise. Nor does it bother me that I spent$160 for a Chemical Engineering slide rule when a $105 TI-86 could do the job nearly as well.) Staff Emeritus Science Advisor BobG said: Just out of curiosity, how much does it cost you to grow a tomato? Or, is that a bad question to ask? The$64 Tomato (How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden)

(I have to be honest. I've never calculated how much I spend making home-made ice cream in a hand cranked bucket, either. It's an experience, not an economic exercise. Nor does it bother me that I spent $160 for a Chemical Engineering slide rule when a$105 TI-86 could do the job nearly as well.)
Right now, I buy a plant for less probably $0.50-0.60/plant, add a few cents of fertilizer, and get several$'s of tomatos per plant. We have been using our own compost for years and that is where the cost savings come originate.

Same with the berries.

In fact, now all our plants produce several dollars worth of produce for $1-2 dollars worth of investment. turbo Gold Member BobG said: Just out of curiosity, how much does it cost you to grow a tomato? A couple of bucks buys a lot of seeds. Start the seeds in peat pots with potting soil (OK, you're out a couple more bucks, now), and when the risk of frost is low, transplant your seedlings to the garden. I paid about$100 for 400# of composted cow manure and 100# of organic fertilizer to beef up the soil in my 1500 ft2 garden, and the tomato plants will take up probably 5% of that, so we're still not quite up to a \$10 investment for all the tomato plants. We will probably transplant the best 20 or so plants and give the remainder to friends. Assuming that each plant yields 50 tomatoes, the harvest would be 1000 tomatoes with a cash outlay of a penny each. Of course, you have to weed the garden, water the plants, tie up the vines as they bear fruit, etc, but that's gardening. Fresh vine-ripened tomatoes are nothing like the stuff you find in the produce section. Even if they can get the tomatoes from farm to store very quickly, they generally concentrate on varieties that have a long shelf-life, resist bruising, etc, NOT the varieties that taste the best or produce the best flesh for making sauces.

Staff Emeritus
Even if they can get the tomatoes from farm to store very quickly, they generally concentrate on varieties that have a long shelf-life, resist bruising, etc, NOT the varieties that taste the best or produce the best flesh for making sauces.
No kidding! I can't believe what they sell in local stores.

May tomatoes are way better than any I can buy in the supermarkets.

Also, there are a few community garden coops in our area, and under the supervision of a master gardener, they produce some really good fruit and vegetables! The gardens are always booked out, i.e. more people want to participate than can.

As for tomatoes, the best year I had was about 15 years ago. Four plants produced about about 8 grocery sacks worth of tomatoes, and I used very little fertilizer. I was able to pick several dollars worth of tomatoes each day, and we gave away bags of tomatoes.

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turbo
Gold Member
Astronuc said:
No kidding! I can't believe what they sell in local stores.
I think the absolute worst ones are a variety called "high-pack" - the square-sided tomatoes with cardboard flesh and watery juice. Those are the tasteless tomatoes that you find in plastic trays wrapped in cellophane. Even the pricey vine-ripened "cluster" tomatoes in the stores are crap compared to what our garden produces. We will still have a danger of frost until about the last week of May, but I am tempted to put in a couple of rows of peas, just in case we dodge that bullet. They tolerate cold pretty well, absent a hard frost.

Integral
Staff Emeritus