The work in the gardens and other landscape areas here at Kate’s Garden has been non – ending these last few weeks. It’s always like this in the spring, and my body is already screaming at me! Even though we have had many cool nights everything is a go for this seasons production. I am keeping my fingers crossed and have had a talk with the garden devas in the hopes that we do not have a freeze or hail. With all the challenging weather that is going on in other parts of the country, I think we are blessed to be living here in Montana.
All of the brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower), scallions, greens( red mustard and mizuna), lettuces (red and green), have been transplanted into their beds. We have seeded several varieties of beets (Red Ace, Chioggia, Bulls Blood, and Yellow), radishes (pink, red, purple and white), carrots (Parisienne and baby) and the snap peas are already up! I am holding off planting the tomatoes until it warms up a little. They have been hardening off in the outside window box, so in another week or so they should be able to handle some temperature fluctuations. I have several varieties of early tomatoes that I just might try to get in under Wall’O’Waters, however. They ripen early, produce all at the same time and are small but still very flavorful. They will definitely stave off our craving for those big, juicy slicers for a little while.
It’s time to make the final payment for your vegetable share, if you haven’t already done so. I was hoping to have a few more subscribers this year. If you know of anyone who might be interested in joining, there is still time. I just need to know soon, so that I can plan accordingly. I know that organic food is higher priced than what you can purchase at the grocery store, but when you take into consideration the fact that the produce you receive is harvested the day or day before your pick up, that you can actually get to know the person who grows it and see the garden where it is grown, and meet others who share your interest in good food, I think it is a Win, Win for everyone. It is important to me to acknowledge and thank you. You are supporting a small local business that also supports other local businesses, and we all depend on you to help us grow a strong vital community.
I still have lots of tomato plants available for you to plant in your own garden or pot at home. They sell for $3.75 ea. Here is a list of the ones I have. Click here to purchase these tomato starts!
Gardeners Delight – organic, indeterminate – Train this cherry heirloom on a trellis, all the better to admire the lush, dangling clusters of bite-size red fruits and to pick a few in passing. This German variety, for good reason also known as ‘Sugar Lump’, bears 3/4-1 1/4in fruits, 6-12 in a cluster. ‘Gardener’s Delight’ has an old-fashioned, tangy sweet taste, is crack-resistant, prolific, and will continue bearing until frost. Ripens in about 65 days from transplant.
Yellow Pear – organic, indeterminate – Vigorous vines produce high yields of 2″, yellow-skinned, pear-shaped fruits with few seeds. Slightly later than Red Pear, but with the same prolific yields and dependable performance.
Black Cherry – organic, indeterminate – Beautiful black cherries look like large, dusky purple-brown grapes; they have that rich flavor that makes black tomatoes famous. Large vines yield very well; very unique and delicious.
Blue Berry – organic, indeterminate – Here’s a new, small cherry variety from Brad Gates, Wild Boar Farms. Very dark purple color, which means it’s super-rich in anthocyanins. Unripe, the fruits are a glowing amethyst purple. At maturity they turn deep red where the fruit was shaded; the areas that received intense sunshine are a purple so deep it’s almost black! The flavor is intensely fruity, and sugar-sweet! Plants are very productive, yielding all season in elongated clusters that look so beautiful.
Early Slicing Tomatoes
Sub Artic Plenty – organic, heirloom, determinate – Allegedly developed in the 1940’s by the U.S. Military to provide fresh tomatoes to their troops in Greenland. If your weather turns cold after you set out plants, try this variety. Sets hundreds of small, 1 to 2″, red fruits with that tart, “real tomato” flavor. Hardier than virtually any other variety. Extremely early maturity. No need to stake.
Glacier – organic, determinate – Extremely early, cold-tolerant, high-yielding special strain of tomato plant. Begins flowering when only 4″ high and bears tasty tomatoes only 45 days from flowering. You can expect higher-than-average yields of 2 to 3 oz. fruits with outstanding flavor for such an early tomato.
Amish Paste – organic, heirloom, indeterminate – Dates back to the turn of the century, and is the best for sauces and canning. Its deep red fruits are large for canning types (about 8 oz.), with “real tomato” flavor. Not overly acidic.
Jersey Giant – organic, heirloom, indeterminate – This New Jersey canning variety is on the verge of extinction! Large, 6-inch long, pepper-shaped fruit are packed with great tomato flavor. Delicious fresh from the garden. Their large size makes them a snap to can. Their thick, rich flesh is much tastier than modern paste types, and the fruit have very few seeds.
Black Prince – organic, heirloom, indeterminate – A genuine Russian treasure! Its small to medium, oval fruits are very juicy and ripen to a beautiful, deep garnet red color. Fruits, about 2″ in diameter, are uniform and blemish-free. Their green flesh contrasts appealingly with the exotic skins.
Black Krim – organic, heirloom, indeterminate – A most unusual novelty. Fruits are a dark, deep red (almost a shiny black) with heavy green shoulders. Interior is a deep, reddish-green color. Sweet and tasty. Matures extremely early.
Green Zebra – organic, indeterminate – This is the most unusual variety you’ll ever grow! Fully ripened fruits are bright green, with stripes of a still lighter green. Round, smallish, 2 to 4 oz. fruits have excellent, “real tomato” flavor. Plants are vigorous.
Orange Icicle – organic, indeterminate – These extra-long, plum-shaped fruits are polished golden orange, and their rich, sweet taste has definite citrus overtones. The full-bodied flavor, thick-walled flesh, and very few seeds are the makings of a must-have new condiment, orange ketchup. Or serve it in a Technicolor salsa with other ‘Icicle’ companions. Fruits ripen about 75 days from transplant.
Pineapple – organic, indeterminate – Enormous, uniquely-patterned, yellow-red striped fruits will be the center of attraction. Beefsteak-type fruits easily grow to 5″ and larger, and are orange-yellow with red streaks. Fruits have meaty flesh, mild flavor, and no green shoulders. Heavy foliaged plants produce good yields.
Brandywine – organic, heirloom, indeterminate – An Amish heirloom that dates back to 1885 and is generally considered to be the world’s best-flavored tomato. Plants look like potato vines with good yields of extra-large (weighing up to 1-1/2 lbs.), firm, clear-skinned, light rosy-pink fruits.
I also have lavender plants in 6″ pots. These are hardy here in our area. I have been growing this wild lavender for 12 years. Purchase these lavender plants now!
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The dill has self seeded all over the garden, but I just love to harvest the small plants and use them in salad dressings, butter spreads and egg recipies. The asparagus is back, too! Here is a wonderful, easy brunch recipe using both. Enjoy!
Asparagus Quiche with Dill
The nutty bite of Gruyère cheese blends well with dill and asparagus. Try this quiche for a Sunday brunch. It is delicious hot, warm, or cold.
• 1 nine-inch unbaked tart shell 1/2 pound fresh asparagus
• 3 eggs
• 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
• 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
• 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill weed
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Line the tart shell with pie weights or prick with a fork and bake for 7 minutes, or until barely set and faintly golden. Transfer it to a cooling rack and remove the weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
3. Trim off the woody parts of the asparagus stalks. Steam the stalks over boiling water for 3 minutes, or until barely tender. Drain immediately, then chop coarsely.
4. Whisk the eggs with the half-and-half, then fold in the asparagus and remaining ingredients and pour into the tart shell. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the filling is set. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Refrigerate if not serving within 30 minutes.