August Garden Update

We have had a string of days with temperatures over 100 degrees and with the heat index around 110 degrees F. We’ve had very little rain but have a slight chance for showers tomorrow. The last rain was about ten days ago and even though it was a nice shower it didn’t last very long. The ground is cracking in places where it is not covered -parts of the garden and where flowers previously were blooming. This is not unusual for August in Texas.

Cracked ground.

What is unusual is the quantity of lima beans and purple hull peas we are still getting. Yellow cherry tomatoes are continuing to come in also. Our yellow squash and cucumbers have just died off, which may be due to the fact that we went to Alabama several weeks ago and instead of being watered the usual four times they would have been, they only got watered twice.

Normally, we still have okra and peppers which are better in the fall because they have more time to actually ripen and turn colors. Everyday we are getting more than a meal of okra so we have plenty to freeze for use in the winter and spring.

This morning we checked our watermelons. They are getting close to being ready to pick, but we think they need a few more days to a week. We are going by the tendril nearest to where the stem meets the vine. Some are about a quarter inch from being completely brown. When it is completely brown, we will pick one to check it to see if it is ripe enough to eat, and hopefully not overripe.

The most anticipated vergetable for us this year is our butternut squash. It’s only been about six years since we first tasted this winter variety of squash. But once we did, we knew that we wanted to grow them. Not only do they taste good, but they last a long time in storage – and even longer in the freezer. Butternuts are very versatile, but using them for soup is my favorite way to eat them. In the future, I will post a recipe.

This year has been a good one for our garden. Even though a few vegetables did not do well, most of them have lasted longer than they usually do.

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Blanching Vegetables

Although we didn’t grow the corn shown in the picture, we do blanch and freeze many of our vegetables, especially green beans. The first step in blanching your vegetables is to pick and clean them. Then you want to separate them by size. Bring water to a boil and drop the cleaned vegetables in for about three minutes. Times may vary depending on what you are blanching. Then immediately scoop them out and dunk them in ice cold water for the same amount of time. After removing them, dry them off as best as you can and pack them into containers for freezing. One thing that we used to forget was to label the items with the name of the product and the date. Labeling helps to rotate the food we eat and always use the oldest first to prevent waste.