Archive for Beans

What Vegetables are Good for Freezing? Handling and Storage Ideas

The plan this growing season for me is to can, freeze, preserve, and dehydrate fruits and vegetables we do not consume and have an abundance of (i.e. peak of tomato season where we have lots of tomatoes). This is a big endeavor for me since it will be my first time preserving what I grow. I have gotten a lot of books detailing how to  preserve vegetables from your garden. I have been busily reading and noting what techniques to use. A great reference book I would recommend is Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving. It details every vegetable you can grow and how to preserve them. It’s an invaluable resource to any gardener who wants to pursue this adventure.

I have read a lot about preserving vegetables by blanching and freezing. Freezing is a great way to lock in nutrients. Blanching is the process of dropping your desired vegetable in boiling water for a set time (typically for 30 seconds to 3 minutes). After blanching, you will take the veggies out and place them in an ice bath consisting of water and ice cubes. After they have cooled, you can freeze them flat on a tray in the freezer before packaging. Since, you’re not completely cooking the vegetables you keep the nutrients and texture of the vegetables. Happy gardening everyone!

What you’ll need to freeze vegetables is simple:

-desired vegetable you want to preserve
-pot
-water
-bowl
-ice water
-bags (sandwhich or freezer) and/or small containers (1 quart)
-freezer

Here’s a chart of vegetables that will do well freezing, when to freeze, and how to handle and store them:

What to Freeze

Time to Freeze

How to Freeze

Berries Spring to Fall Wash your produce, air dry and freeze
Broccoli Spring and Fall Cut into bite-size pieces, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze
Chard Spring, Summer, and Fall Blanch until wilted (several minutes) It will look like wilted spinach. Cool in ice bath, drain, and freeze in small batches
Edamame (soybeans) Summer to Fall Simmer pods in salted water for approximately 5 minutes. Cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain, and freeze
Peas Spring to Fall Blanch in boiling water for a minute. Cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze
Peppers Summer to Fall Slice, blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze
Snap beans Summer to Fall Blanch in boiling water for a minute. Cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze
Spinach Spring to Fall Blanch until wilted (several minutes) Cool in ice bath, drain, and freeze in small batches
Sweet corn Summer Cut kernels from cobs, simmer in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Cool in ice bath, drain, and freeze in small batches

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Update Fall Gardening

Here are some pictures of how the fall garden started out. Enjoy!

French Lettuce Mix (swiss chard, bib, black seeded simpsons, beet, etc)

Purple Podded Beans 21 days from seed

Basil Seedlings 21 days

Carrots 21 days from seed

Update of the Fall garden. I was able to have success on all the seeds I planted in my raised beds and I planted a lot of things. The list includes: beans, carrots, lettuce, peas, garlic, cilantro, basil, radishes, arugula, spinach, cucumbers. It was a busy fall and winter. The beans were the success of the story. It was so nice to have so many different colored beans in your dinner. We grew purple podded beans, green beans, and yellow wax beans. I allowed a couple of plants to grow and dry so I would have some for next year. I absolutely love the purple podded beans. They are actually a bush variety that produces purple beans. However, when you cook them, they turn green. I believe the purpose of the purple shell is so it is easier to find. Imagine picking green beans in a sea of green leaves!

Almost everything survived the winter except for the beans, arugula, cucumbers, and basil. Those are typically warm season plants so I did not expect much from them. I was able to enjoy a plethora of arugula before they died. I had planted arugula in my front yard and I allowed them to seed and I find arugula everywhere now. So beware, arugula can be a weed to some gardeners J. I enjoy them nonetheless.

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More seed starting…04-25-08

Seedlings (click to enlarge)

I can’t believe we’re in the middle of spring already. During winter, I couldn’t wait for it to come and now it’s already here. I finally realized it was spring when I was walking around our campus with a couple of my coworkers as part of an “Active for Life” program. The weather was wonderfully nice: not too warm and with a slight breeze. Our campus is wonderful. It has the best scenery and landscape. My coworker showed me that the school has rosemary growing crazy at one of our buildings. I had to make sure it was rosemary and once I picked it up and smelled it, it was definitely rosemary. She said that if I ever need it to just take a handful. It would be doing the landscapers a favor. The rosemary bushes were growing like crazy all over the place and I could “prune” some for them. It was wonderful to see herbs being used in a great way.

Today, I planted several more seeds in my attempt at succession planting this spring. I started some more

  • watermelon radishes
  • cherry belle radishes
  • romaine/cos lettuce
  • fish pepper
  • Nardello sweet pepper
  • ornamental corn
  • snapdragons-apricot
  • watermelon sugar baby (pre-germinating in a bag)
  • spinach-giant noble (pre-germinating in a bag)

Tomorrow, I plan on planting out some more seedlings I have indoors: mainly beans and some stocks, zinnia, chicory, oriental and shirley poppies, and nasturtiums. Wish me luck and as always happy gardening!

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What’s Growing Under the Light Shelves…

Today, I thought I would show everyone what’s underneath my fluorescent lights. I have a variety of flower and vegetables seedlings, houseplants, and more.

My coleus: I love the color variegation on these:

My coleus: I love the color variegation on these. (click to enlarge)

Coleus with flower buds. It’s pretty but I pinched it off to keep my coleus living. (click to enlarge)

I have some sweet and Thai basil. I have some in some self-watering pots but I thought I would grow some more in individual pots so I can grow them anywhere in the garden and not just in a pot.

Basil Seedlings (click to enlarge)

I have beans growing and sprouting! Yippee.

Top Crop Beans 12 Days (click to enlarge)

Endive seedlings (click to enlarge)

Under my lights, I have lots of African Violets:

A pretty pink African Violet (click to enlarge)

Propagated African Violets from leaf cutting (click to enlarge)

Older baby African violets (click to enlarge)

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Pepper Transplanting, Bean Germinating and More

Pepper Seedlings (click to enlarge)

I transplanted jalapeno, bell peppers, and squash into individual pots I got from Thompson and Morgan. I planted more cucumber straight 8 seedlings into the ground and gave them a good watering. I also planted some tomato plants I had sitting on our fence. I planted a lady bug hybrid tomato and also a gardener’s delight. I received the lady bug tomato seeds from a friend from you grow girl, which is a garden forum I actively visit on a daily basis. There, you can exchange various seeds you have for other seeds you don’t have! It’s been great fun.

French Filet Bean Sprout(click to enlarge)

Top Crop Bean Sprout(click to enlarge)

Oh, on the bean front. I have 3 sproutages from a French Filet and a Top crop variety. Eek. I was super excited. I also see some romano bean sprouting. But I really wanted the purple peacock beans to sprout. I want to have purple beans for the summer. I’m crossing my fingers for those! Please sprout…please sprout…

Pink nicotiana seedlings (click to enlarge)

My flower seedlings are doing well too. The stocks are growing slowly but surely. My nicotiana seeds are growing like mad. They’ve been crowded in a salsa container and I plan on planting them out soon. I have them on my west facing windowsill so they can get some real sun and get acclimated to the harsh sun. I’ll eventually take them out and slowly get them used to the outside weather. The weather here has been wonderful. It’s going to get into the high 70s and maybe 80s soon. I love spring!

Yesterday, I planted some lunaria(aka money plant or honesty plants) seeds into a 9 pack. These are biennels and they’ll grow the first year and flower the next. They look like delicate little silver dollars. They would look great in flower arrangements or dried and put in a nice vase. I have tons of these seeds so if it doesn’t germinate this time, I can keep trying.

Hydrangea flower bud(click to enlarge)

My hydrangea plant is now forming tiny little flower buds. I thought I had killed it since during the winter, it was woody but I noticed other people’s hydrangeas did that too so I shouldn’t be alarmed. I kept it outside, watered occasionally and covered it during frosts and all that hard work paid off since it’s still alive and budding! Yippee.

Well, that’s all for now folks. Happy Gardening. Please don’t forget to sign up to get email updates on my blog! click here to subscribe!

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Garden Update 03-29-08

Okra Seedlings (click to enlarge)
Today I was busily spending lots of time in the garden. I moved my bell pepper seedlings, dill, fennel, Mexican Honey tomato and stock seedlings into bigger pots. I also planted more radishes (watermelon radishes) into the ground as well as sunflower, asparagus peas, and black zucchini seedlings.

I’m also going to attempt to try getting some green beans to sprout. I have some seeds I got from a trade and my coworker gave me some the other day. I am soaking some purple peacock, romano, top crop, and tendergreen beans tonight so I can plant them tomorrow. I truly hope they sprout! Wish me luck. I also plan on planting some more nasturtiums seeds. I have some that have sprouted but I hope to grow a bunch. They look so pretty last year.

On Friday, I planted more flower seedlings: zinnia-thumbelina, aster, marigold, lams ear, calendula and sunflower maximillon. I noticed that I didn’t have enough flower seedlings the other day. I believe my veggie seedlings

I also put some stakes down to distinguish my square foot garden and I noticed that I had six squares empty. I think I’ll plant more herbs like basil in some of the squares but I don’t know what else. I need some low growing veggies b/c my these squares are in front of my cucumbers and tomatoes and they need as much sun as they can get. Any suggestions?

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Happy First Day of Spring

Tomatoes in jiffy pellets (click to enlarge)

Today marks the first day of spring. Happy spring!!! The weather has definitely been nice with the start of spring. I have a little issue with my Bok choi though. One day they look fine and healthy and the next day, I find it with holes and gooey stuff around the holes! I couldn’t find any caterpillars or snails or slugs. I moved my pots to a different place and this morning there were no new holes. I guess you win some and you lose some. Gardening has involved watering with fish emulsion every other watering. I transplanted my tomato seedlings to individual Styrofoam cups. I will probably give these away to friends/family and people at work. I put them outside so they can get some good sun.

I plan on buying some purple podded pole beans this year. My coworker, who is an avid gardener, told me about this bean that grows purple but when cooked, it turns green. I was fascinated and am going to go in with her to buy some things from Nichols’ Garden Seeds. They’re only $2.45 for a 2 oz packet which probably comes with 100-150 seeds. These are a heat tolerant, French heirloom. I also plan on getting some bean inoculant as well. Inoculant is useful because it helps beans and peas for that matter develop root nodules which in turn increase production of beans and peas. I think I might order more seeds/supplies since we’re probably going to go in on the shipping which is only $3.45. Not bad…

Today, I bought some Bok choi seeds from Home Depot and got a rosemary plant from Target. I plan on growing Bok choi inside under my grow lights. That way, I will have some control on bugs like slugs and snails. I think they’ll be fine inside if I give them sunlight on occasion. I also planted some more sugar snap and sweet peas in the garden. I hope to grow tons of fragrant sweet peas this year and possibly collect the seeds to trade or plant next year! Well, that’s all for now. Happy gardening!

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