Saturday, August 30, 2008

Progress of the Planter Boxes

My planter boxes are coming along very nicely. I have found that the green beans like to have their soil moist. They don't do well if you let the soil dry out between watering. This is amplified by being in a container on a raised deck. They get more breeze and being in a single row are not getting the humidity they would if more clustered in a garden bed.

I have been watering them exclusively with rainwater since we have gotten a barrel installed on all four corners of the house. It takes about a half gallon of water per planter box. I have saved some plastic gallon jugs and find if I fill them up in the evening it helps to have the water ready to go for early morning watering before I head off to work. It may just be my imagination, but it seems the beans and greens have really taken off and grown much faster since I am using rain water.

The one box of greens that I planted has been pretty productive. We have already has three or four spinach and mixed green salads. I will plant more boxes in greens next year. I have been snipping leaves from the greens rather than harvesting complete plants. I need to do some research to see if it is really better to pluck the entire mature plant or snip off leaves and let the plant grow back. I decided to snip for now since it is late in the season and I am not sure how much longer the plants will continue to grow with shortening days and the temperatures starting to cool down.

One thing I am considering is making a row cover or cloche by taking some wire hangers, cutting them and then bending into arches. I would put these in the containers and drape either plastic or a light white cloth over the beds to extend the growing season. This would allow me to grow greens well into the fall from what I have been reading. Especially the varieties that like cooler weather, such as the lettuces. I will most likely use row covers in the Spring so I can began growing greens as early as possible.

I also think that I may grow greens early on the deck rail then put some herb seedlings in as the next crop. It would be nice to have the herbs close to the kitchen.

My raised bed has become a jungle! It's not too pretty and I can't officially call it a Square Foot garden, since I am not using a permanent grid. If you don't have a permanent grid over the top of the garden, you aren't Square Foot Gardening, According to Mel Bartholomew. I am sure that I over-planted, but this is a "growing" learning process. And one done in installments as the budget allows. I will add at least one more raised bed next year, but ideally I would like to have four beds next year.

I may experiment and set up the raised beds two boards high rather than four boards as I have done this year. It's all up to how the Basset Hounds handle themselves. I either have to have tall raised beds or a fence if they decide they want to dig in the garden. I have considered creating a digging garden just for the dogs.

Recipe of the Day

My husband, Brian found a green tomato that had dropped of the vine. I love friend green tomatoes, but since I am on the Weight Watchers program, wanted to find a way to enjoy the green tomato without the added calories of breading and frying. Here is the recipe that I created using the recipe tool on the Weight Watchers web site. I used the green tomato from our garden and a zucchini and onion that came in our CSA bag. The herbs were from my garden.

Green Tomato and Zucchini Saute

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 15 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Course: main meals

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion(s), diced
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 whole green tomato, sliced rounds
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced rounds
  • 1/4 cup low-fat chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary, whole leaves, pulled from stem
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, whole leaves pulled from stem
  • 1/2 cup canned tomatoes
  • Organic no-salt seasoning, to taste


Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and chili pepper and stir to coat with oil. Cook until onion is just transparent. Add the tomato and zucchini rounds. Then add 1/4 cup chicken broth. Cook until the zucchini is tender. Add the fresh herbs and stir to mix. Add the canned tomato chunks and sprinkle with organic no salt seasoning. Serve as a side dish.

We served in two servings. You could have a smaller side and serve as four. Since the veggies are low calorie, I would simply double the recipe though.

Buzz it up

No comments:

Food, Nutrition, Gardening Blogs