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Posts Tagged ‘what’s growing’

My chard (also known as swiss chard and silverbeet) is growing great right now. I planted it last fall, and it did ok throughout the winter months, but it seems to really have taken off in the past months. I have known that I need some shade for my garden in the spring and summer months. That South Texas sun is just too darn hot for most things all day long. While I have a nice line of juniper trees on the east side of the garden I have nothing shading things from the West side and as the hours go by the plants really take a beating. I have tried to come up with some ideas (in my head!) to help shade things, but my limitations over the past few years I haven’t been able to physically get things done like that. This year I had some ideas that I thought would work and I have more stamina to get them done.

Chard stalks

Chard stalks

I’m getting off track here. This post started out about chard and the stems and I have gotten sidetracked with my new shade system….. so I will break this up into two posts and post about the shade that I created in my next post here.

I think my chard is really benefiting from the shade and when I arrived back home after being gone for 3 weeks I was amazed at how tall and full the chard plants where. It is really almost impossible to grow most greens here in the spring and summer months. For two years I did keep a few chard plants going. It wasn’t pretty throughout the summer months, nor were they huge producers, but it was interesting to see them stay alive and keep growing.  I am excited at the prospect of these fall planted chard plants along with the new shade to see what happens throughout the rest of the summer. We are already hot, and it will just get more hot and I hope the plants will do better.

chopping chard stalks

chopping chard stalks

So, I am happily picking chard and adding into most of our meals in one way or another. Last night as I was chopping the chard and I wondered if others out there also ate the stalks/stems.

Adding chopped chard stalks to pasta water

Adding chopped chard stalks to pasta water

I grew up eating the stalks. Mom or Gram would chop them separately and get them sauteing or steaming for a few minutes. The stalks can be a bit bitter and that bitterness will disappear if you give them extra time to cook. they also need additional cooking time because they are a lot thicker and firmer than the leaf and need that extra time to soften up more.

When I am going to add the chard to pasta, I just throw the chopped stalks in along with the pasta for the last 3 minutes of its cooking time. Once the pasta is drained I add the chopped leaves and let the heat of the pasta soften and cook the delicate chard leaves (the smaller you chop them up, the easier it is to incorporate them into the hot pasta.)

Do you eat the chard stalks? How do you incorporate them into your meals?

Sincerely, Emily

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This past Sunday a few of us shared some photos of things that are growing in our gardens. In my garden a few things are winding down and a few other things are hanging on.

Spineless okra. I am saving the larger one for seeds.

Spineless okra. I am saving the larger one for seeds.

It too hot for things like tomatoes to flower in my garden, so I have cut a few of them back to give them a rest and re-sprout in hopes of a fall harvest from them.  The pepper plants flower here and there and if I can keep them watered they will really take off in a few months and I will have lots of great peppers to eat and preserve.

I had pickling cucumbers planted at my neighbors, but they had a hard time this year so they have been pulled up. His Armenian cucumbers are still happy, and growing and producing a lot.

I planted purple tomatillos for the first time this year. They are growing and are putting on flowers. I am just seeing the little tomatillos starting to develop. That is very exciting.

purple tomatillo flowering

purple tomatillo flowering

I planted a spineless okra this year. It seems to be growing slow and is very short compared to the Star of David I have grown in the past. It is starting to slowly produce and as it flowers I am enjoying the blooms. The fire ants have been enjoying the booms too! grrr. I have hopes of pickling the okra, but for now there isn’t enough so we are adding it to stir fry’s or slicing and collecting it in the freezer for later.

Monday and Tuesday we had some beautiful rain come down. My rain barrels are overflowing and the plants and trees are just smiling out there right now.

I am very excited to watch the tomatillos grow.

Did you plant something new in your garden this season?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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