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  • Plants to grow in your backyard

    I've only been using our container vegetable garden for about 2 years.   I'm always wondering and researching what plants to grow next.  Last year, most plants were starter plants either from the market or from our local Lowe's store.  Some came from seed packets.  This year, I decided to grow everything from seed.  Piper helped me pick out our seed packets back in December.  We picked the following plants to grow: broccoli, asparagus, black seeded Simpson green lettuce, rainbow swiss chards, eggplants and cauliflower.

    Plants to grow Photo taken January 14, 2013

     

    So far, I'd say the seeds have done wonderfully.  I say this because I just started with the same soil that was used last year.  Yes, I should have added more potting soil and I will definitively do that when I start my next bed.  I'm what you might call a "hands off" gardener.  I am not good at watering the container garden every day.  It's too much pressure, and honestly I don't have the time.  Even my daughters had to chime in when I planted new seeds and didn't water them right away.  I figured, it was a watering day, so the sprinklers would water them soon enough.  I also do not add fertilizers or pesticides to my container bed.  If it's going to grow, it will grow.  That's my motto.

     

    Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce Plants to grow Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

    I've had great success with the Black Seeded Simpson Green Lettuce.  The Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce is very tender with a beautiful green color and has a nice taste.  It's an early lettuce, so it will take about 45 days or less to grow from seed.  Since planting it back in December, I've harvested it twice.  Both times, I filled up 1 1/2 one-gallon ziploc bags.

     

    Rainbow Swiss Chard plants to grow Rainbow Swiss Chard

    Another great plant to grow in your backyard garden container is the Rainbow Swiss Chard.  I grew these from starter plants last year and was so successful, I decided to grow them from seed this year.  Not only does Swiss chard taste amazing, the beautiful mixture of fuscia, gold, orange and red looks wonderful in any garden.  The leaves will mature into bunches in about 50 to 60 days.  I harvested mine a few weeks back when we had a cold front coming in and I was able to  fill up 1 one-gallon ziploc bag.

     

    The broccoli plants are looking really good.  They have grown about a foot and a half and have the most beautiful grayish blue green color.  Broccoli takes 50 to 60 days to mature, so mine should be coming up soon.  The cauliflower plants are also doing pretty good, but they have only grown about a foot.  Cauliflower matures in 50 to 70 days, so I have a bit of time to go.  As for the eggplant seeds we planted, those have not come up.  I believe they didn't survive.

     

    Plants to grow Asparagus Fuzzy "cat tail" like Asparagus growing.

    The most interesting seed packet out of this bunch is the asparagus.  We decided to grow it mostly out of curiosity.  These cute little "fuzzy trees" started coming up and I couldn't figure out if it was asparagus or just some weed.  After searching through Google, I think I have some asparagus seedlings growing!  Let's keep our fingers crossed and maybe in two years, I'll actually be able to harvest it.

     

    Here are some good sources to help you decide what plants to grow:

    How Long Until Harvest

    Fall for Broccoli

    Renee's Garden

     

     

  • Are you looking for sweet onions?

    I bet you thought we only grew strawberries.  Here at Parkesdale Market, not only can you find the sweetest strawberries around, we also have the sweetest onions!  These amazingly sweet onions, often called "Strawberry Onions", grow right in our strawberry fields.  They are a Savannah hybrid sweet onion.  We pick them daily straight from our fields in Dover, Florida.

    Strawberry Onion Strawberry Onion

    Some customers tell me they eat them like an apple, but I just can't get myself to try that.  My favorite way to enjoy these sweet onions is by seasoning them with salt, pepper and olive oil and grilling them for a few minutes on each side.   The best thing about these sweet onions is  that they won't make you cry when you are preparing them!   They are wonderful in salads, sandwiches, soups and just about any dish you would use onions.

    Here are some great recipes:

    Sweet Onions with Parmesan-Pecan Crumble

    Cucumber and Sweet Onion Salad

    Cantaloupe Salsa

    Sweet Onion and Bread Soup

    Sweet Onion Casserole

     

    Sweet Onions Ready to Ship Sweet Onions Ready to Ship

    You can stop by our market to pick them up now through March.  Remember we are now open 7 days a week from 9 am to 6 pm.  If you can't make it to our market, you can also order them online through our website,  or by calling us directly at 888-311-1701.  We can ship them via FedEx Ground to the southeast and northeast USA.   For shipping out west, please call us for more information.

     

    Have you tried our "Strawberry Onions"?

    Are you a "Sweet Onion" fan?

  • Top Three Yellow Tomato Recipes

    I've been on a yellow tomato kick this week and came up with three easy tomato salads.  So far, I've eaten yellow grape tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  A couple of days ago, I roasted a double batch of eggplant, zucchini, sweet peppers (red, yellow and orange), mushrooms (button and baby bella), purple onion and yellow grape tomatoes.  Sure it took a bit longer to make a double batch, but they cooked together and I had plenty for various meals.  Win Win.  Once you have roasted them, you may eat them right away or add to your lettuce mix.  If you have any leftovers, you can add it to your salad the next day or mix them in with quinoa or bulgur wheat.

    Roasted Tomato Salad Roasted Tomato Salad

    Roasted Yellow Tomato Salad:

    1 Eggplant, cubed

    1 package mushrooms, quartered

    1 zucchini, cubed

    1 sweet red bell pepper, cut in thin strings

    olive oil

    salt to taste

    In to the broiler for about 30 minutes.  I moved them around half way through.

     

    Green Bean and Tomato Salad Green Bean and Tomato Salad

    Green Beans and Yellow Tomato Salad

    My second favorite tomato salad is Green Beans and Yellow Tomato Salad.  Easily made in your pan by searing a handful of green beans, yellow tomatoes and one clove of garlic.  I added the green beans first.  Cooked them with some Olive Oil and salt for about 5 minutes, then added the garlic.  After about a minute, I added a handful of yellow tomatoes.  It was amazing.  The tomatoes got sweeter and somehow juicier.  They seemed to explode in your mouth with every bite!

     

    Tomato Salads Swiss Chard and Yellow Tomato Salad

    Swiss Chards and Yellow Tomatoes:

    If you've been reading my blog, you'll remember I planted a backyard garden from seed in December.   That garden has been growing steadily and I've harvested some Rainbow Swiss Chards as well as Black Seed Simpson Green lettuce.  Along with my eggs, I sauteed a handful of swiss chard and some yellow tomatoes with a little bit of salt and Olive Oil.  Amazing! The flavor combination between the bitter and slightly salty chard and the sweet grape tomatoes was better than any other cold salad I've ever tried!

     

    Grape tomatoes for tomato salads Yellow Grape Tomatoes

    And if you are wondering why I'm on such a tomato kick, the reason is that these little beauties are at our market right now.  They look so happy and cheery I couldn't help but try them.  We should have them in stock for a few days, so try them before they are gone!  And if that's not enough to get you to try them, you should know they are grown in Immokalee, Florida!  Gotta love Florida produce!

    Have you ever had a salad with cooked veggies?

    What's your favorite salad?

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