Wednesday, June 15, 2011

growing a garden

Rosemary | photo: Nataraja
It's been very dry here in the Eastern Piney Woods of Texas.  So dry that there are now warning signs all over town about the potential for fire hazard.  Needless to say this is not boding well for my garden.  This is our third year here and each year we do a little bit better than the year before.  But we also spend a lot of time and energy moving things around trying to find just the *right* spot on our postage stamp-sized property.  We seem to have finally found the right spot for the tomatoes and they're producing faster than we can eat them which is a delicious thing.  If I start to get too many I make something my friend Libby calls Tomato Junk and shove it in the freezer ready to use at a moments notice for pasta dishes, salads, egg scrambles and more.

I've just gotten back from the store where I have purchased, yet again, a rosemary plant.  This is my fourth one of the season.  I had one last year.  It did pretty well.  We enjoyed using it in a lot of recipes, especially veggie marinades, last summer.  Then winter came.  It was a bad winter (for Texas) and many things in my yard did not make it.  One of them was that poor rosemary.  Okay, it happens.  So I went and bought another one.  For some reason it wasn't happy where the first one was and it died.  I bought another one and moved it to the bed across the way.  That one died too.  Then I bought another one and planted it in a pot with the lavender.  The lavender is still going but the rosemary?  Yup, dead as a doornail.

So I've bought another one (luckily they are just $4 a pot so I can afford to keep shelling out until I get it right) and I'm really hoping this one will make it.  I've got a different location in mind, a little more shade, hopefully a better location and nowhere near the areas where the others have not survived.

Along the way I keep being reminded that gardening is an ever-evolving process.  Especially after learning how to garden in one area of the country and then moving to a vastly different agricultural zone and temperate climate.  Learning what plant where takes time and attention and effort.  Luckily most of what my husband and I plant in our garden seems to grow well or I probably would have given up by now.   I also like playing in the dirt and this certainly gives me an excuse to keep on doing it.  And it's a great way to get some sunshine and fresh air, something I recommend for everyone.

Since I mentioned it, here's the recipe for Tomato Junk.  There are no precise measurements, I just throw it all together but somehow it always works out.

Tomato Junk

a lot of very ripe tomatoes, washed, cored, peeled and quartered
a sweet onion, chopped
a clove or two of garlic, minced
a bunch of basil, minced

Using a generous amount of olive oil in the pan saute onions and garlic until the onion starts to wilt
Add tomatoes and cook until they start to break down
Add basil and cook another 5 minutes

Remove from heat, let cool and then package for the freezer in 1 cup containers

I do not add salt or pepper to this as I season it when I use it

1 comment:

MidnightAgenda said...

A. I would be happy to take some tomatoes off your hands now that I am back in town.

B. Trust me, your Rosemary doesn't need too much shade, what it needs is an area with a breeze. There used to be two HUGE ones behind my mom's house and they were big and smelly (I don't like rosemary). They sat right in the airway between the house and the garage so it got all sun all day and breeze from back yard to front.