Fresh Tomatoes for Winter

tomatoes-Nov 26-2013

tomatoes-Nov 26-2013

Our mild Fall and Winter weather allows for a Fall garden, but it’s often a “gamble” due to sporadic cold snaps — like the one we had for Thanksgiving (with lows in the upper 20’s and highs in the upper 40’s to low 50’s).

This year, due to perfect conditions for growth, the tomato bushes were filled with green tomatoes the day of the first freeze for winter. Continue reading

Fig Colors while Ripening

Cluster of figs shows stages from small green, to larger yellow, and finally purple ripe color.

Fig Development (July 9, 2013)

This picture, taken July 9, 2013, illustrates the various stages of fig ripeness. The most ripe and sweet figs are the darkest purple, figs beginning to ripe are yellow-ish and new figs are small and green. 

Currently, the there are small green figs on the tree, unfortunately, the heat keeps them from ripening. I’m keeping the tree watered and hopefully the heat will break and we can get a few more ripe figs. 

Rain is in the forecast for the next two days, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!


First Peaches Harvested!

Peaches from July 10, 2013

Peaches were picked July 10, 2013

These peaches  came from two different trees The first two (left to right) were from one tree and the third one (far right) was from another tree. The first two peaches on the left are smaller and have small dark sunken spots, surrounded by yellow areas (see bottom picture for closeup). Both peach trees are the “Sweet Sue” variety and “Sweet Sue” is susceptible to bacterial infections. These spot were caused by a bacterial pathogen. The spots first appear as a round yellow areas that turn brown and collapse in the middle. As the disease progresses, the sunken areas merge.

Bacterial Spots on Peach

?This peach (left) has minimal damage at this point so it can be washed –or the spotted area can be cut out–and the peach can be eaten. Crops that are organically grown (without chemicals) often have spots and blemishes (look next time you are in the produce section at a grocery store).

How do I prevent this damage from happening?

Damage over time ruins the peach.  The best way to control this disease is to buy bacterial spot-resistant peach varieties (that should be noted on the plant information label ). Plants do not have immune systems, like humans, and a genetic system geared to help the plant resist invasion by various pathogens is the best approximation. Unfortunately, as microbes are tested by resistant varieties, those microbes may be able to overcome the plant’s resistance to disease, and a new variety of plant is developed. (If this condition is worse next year, I  will probably look for a resistant peach variety to add to the garden–until then, I’ll enjoy these!)

NOTE:  This is an ongoing war in nature. (We see the same thing in humans when antibiotics are overused and “super bugs” emerge—like the antibiotic resistance staph infections that can become deadly.)

Frozen Figs

We have been picking figs this summer since July 7. The tree has —so far— yielded about 70 pounds of figs! Freezing is a great way to have figs all year. (We finished the last of the frozen figs from summer 2012 two weeks before we picked the first summer 2013 fig!).


Steps to freeze—- 1) rinse well with water (these are organically grown, no pesticides), 2) place on cookie sheet (see picture), 3) freeze at least 3 hours (I have left them on the cookie sheet overnight), and 4) put into bags for storage.

NOTE—we use vacuum-packed and sealed gallon bags, then open them and use a clip to keep the bag closed. Because the figs are frozen before packing, they will break apart easily and you can remove as many or as few as desired.

Rinse the frozen figs in a cup of warm water to soften them and they will have the texture of a Popsicle — a great treat for the hot summer months!

Freezing Figs

Green Figs


Figs–June 17, 2013

Figs grow pretty well in Texas Heat as long as they are watered well. This picture was taken June 17, 2013 — 3 weeks ago — and the first large batch will be ripe by the end of this week.

Figs can be used to make jelly or jam, and they freeze quite well. The frozen figs have a popcicle-like texture, they don’t form large chunks of ice. The frozen figs make great summer treats, and they are loaded with macro-nutrients as well.

The variety of Fig in this picture is “Alma”.

Fig nutrition facts.


Peaches, June 13, 2013

Peaches, June 13, 2013

The peaches are just about ready to pick. This year, we planted two trees in April. The trees had already leafed out and bloomed shortly after planting. Over the course of the May frosts, about half of the peaches were destroyed, five survived.

Peaches can be eaten fresh, frozen, or canned. The fresh peaches don’t last long — only a week or two–so if I have a lot of them, I will can them in jars because they last longer than frozen (I’ve used peaches up to 2 years after canning). Add peaches (fresh or canned, or any fruit) to Greek non-fat yogurt for a healthy breakfast with a variety of macronutrients AND low calorie!