Late Summer Veggie Garden Pt 3 & Fall Veggie Gardens (Pt 2)

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

We came from here:

The other thread was getting way too long, so here's a new one! Let's continue talking about summer harvests and what others are doing to prepare or start their fall gardens.

Almost every single one of the cucumber seeds I planted on Monday has germinated! Yikes! Will definitely need to thin seedlings in about a week. We're growing National Pickling, Muncher, and Ashley this fall. The husband LOVES cukes! Need to get some mulch on them now that they've sprouted. We're growing two varieties along a cattle panel and one on an old wooden ladder that my husband has.

Since we have cooler temps for the next couple of days, I plan on being outside a lot more. We're working to expand our garden plot as well. We're adding about 10' on the east side and 12' on the south side. (I use the word "we" very liberally, by the way.) Pic #3 shows the east side where we'll plant some pole beans along a cattle panel. Pic #4 shows the area yet to be dug up on the south side of the garden plot. The area with grass to the right of that runner will be dug up so that it's parallel to the fence support. Putting the runner down kills the grass under it and also provides a clean spot to kneel down. All these pics look so good because we received an inch of rain and have had cloud cover and cooler temps for the past two days!! Woot!

Thumbnail by stephanietx Thumbnail by stephanietx Thumbnail by stephanietx Thumbnail by stephanietx
North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

I like the garden additions. It seems like we all need more space for veggies.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ok, I've been promising to post this recipe so, here it is, LOL!

Last night I made up my last batch of Spicy Eggplant, portioned for the freezer. It'll taste so good in the middle of winter, with some juicy shrimp thrown in!

SPICY EGGPLANT (Original Recipe)

"Eggplant cubes are stir-fried until browned, then simmered in a spicy Asian-inspired sauce with onion and garlic until meltingly tender."

My adjustments are in ( ).

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use Olive Oil)
4 Japanese eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
(or, slice them on the diagonal, like plantains)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use Olive Oil)
2 onions, thinly sliced (thin is better, too)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I put LOTS of garlic)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I adjust to my taste)
2 Tbs. water (I use about 2 cups of water. You can also use shrimp broth or rice wine vinegar;
I use about 1/4 cup rice vinegar -- no wine -- and 2 cups of water, because I like more sauce
over my rice. Plus, it takes awhile to stew the okra down, and you need enough liquid...)
1 &1/2 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
(or use 1/2 fish sauce & 1/2 Worcestershire -- I use a good bit of the Oyster sauce; The fish
sauce is SALTY, and I've never used the Worcestershire sauce...)
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (adjust to your taste -- I use about 2 Tsps. in mine for a kick)
1 teaspoon white sugar (I've only used brown sugar, and I like it. I also tend to go on the
sweeter side, because it cuts some of the eggplant bitterness, if you're a little past the
prime. More like 2-3 teaspoons for me -- It balances with the salty, so it's not totally sweet.
But once you add the shrimp, you can appreciate the sweet...)
Ground black pepper (or red pepper flakes, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil (drizzled on the finished plate...)
Toasted Sesame Seeds for texture (optional - I've never used them, although you might
consider toasting up some Ramen Noodles and garnishing for crunch)
Fresh Ginger (optional -- I LOVE the subtle ginger flavor; mince finely & saute with the onions
and garlic)
Fresh Broccoli flowerettes (haven't added these, but I think I'll add some in the future)
Shrimp, chicken, beef, or firm Tofu for protein (I've used shrimp and chicken -- I prefer adding
the shrimp, because it adds its sweetness to the eggplant; I'd consider some cubed pork or
honey ham in the future, again, because these would add sweetness to the eggplant.

1. Make your sauce FIRST. Mix the soy sauce, water, oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, sugar,
and black pepper, and stir to form a smooth sauce. Adjust to your taste, and set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok (I use my cast iron skillet) over medium
high heat until almost smoking. Cook and stir the eggplant cubes until they begin to brown, 3
to 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

3. Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, and cook and stir the
onions just until they begin to soften, about 30 seconds. Stir in the garlic, and cook and stir an
additional 30 seconds.

4. Return the eggplant to the skillet, pour on the sauce, lower the heat, and allow the
vegetables and sauce to simmer until the eggplant is tender and almost all the liquid has
been absorbed, about 10-15 minutes (If you do NOT add the extra water to your sauce, you
won't have a lot of sauce over your rice -- mostly a drier eggplant mixture). Drizzle sesame
oil over the dish, and give one final brief stir to combine. Careful with that Sesame Oil!

Here are some helpful reviews I printed out before I made this the first time, for add'l tips and warnings

►Used everything but oyster sauce to keep it vegetarian. Served over ramen noodles (without seasoning packet). I used ROSA BIANCA eggplant from Farmers' Market. It has a wonderfully firm texture and not watery as regular eggplant can be. Can't wait to have again.

►I followed the instructions making only a few slight modifications - I added in a splash of rice wine vinegar, brown sugar instead of white, a teaspoon of teriyaki sauce and a sprinkle of ginger. Also, I left out the sesame oil and sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on the top. I served alongside sticky rice, broccoli, and prawns made simply with butter and lemon. I will certainly make this dish again and found the inclusion of Japanese eggplant versus the standard variety larger headed eggplant to be the key

►Excellent! I add shrimp for my husband for protein, and I also double the sauce, definitely a keeper.

►The only problem was that I didn't cook the eggplant long enough so it was a bit bitter.

►Add more chili paste to make it spicier. Cashews for crunch. Green onions for color. Serve on rice noodles.

►This was great! I omitted the oyster sauce, but everything else was the same. I spread it over pizza dough and sprinkled it with cheese (although it really didn't need it) and baked it. Absolutely LOVED it!

►This was an excellent dish. I added firm tofu which soaked up a lot of the flavor and made it more of a main dish for my family.

►I finally bought Japanese eggplant and wanted to make Basil Eggplant that I get at our favorite Thai restaurant. I decided to use this recipe and add basil. Recipe is outstanding! Don't be tempted to overcook the eggplant in the beginning. I mixed all of the sauce ingredients in a little bowl and added all at one time to the pan, increasing the sugar to 2 tsp. instead of 1. Added chopped basil (3-4 TBS of chopped) at the end. It is the very first time I cooked a sauce in a recipe that actually tasted like a sauce in a restaurant. Definitely a keeper for us. Next time I'm going to add chicken or shrimp...or both. Served with white and brown rice (choices) and sugar snap peas.

►Really good recipe. I used rice wine instead of water, brown sugar instead of white, and I added about a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger. Instead of adding the garlic and sesame oil at later stages in the recipe, I mixed both with the sauce. I diced the onion instead of slicing so everything would be the same shape. I used Lee Kum Kee Garlic Chili Sauce. It's really chunky and more of a paste than a sauce. I don't find it that spicy so I added red pepper flakes to the sauce to boost up the heat. I stir fried the eggplant in two batches using a 14" carbon steel wok, and added about 6 fresh basil leaves to the last batch. I returned the eggplant and onion back to the wok and then stirred in the sauce and let it cook for a minute or so. I kept stirring as it cooked to keep it from burning. I will make this again as it is a tasty and quick recipe for eggplant.

►I loved this recipe!! I actually didn't have SESAME OIL but I could see how it would just add more to the flavors. I also substituted Worcestershire sauce for the oyster sauce.

►Tasty! to make it easier, you can just cook the onion and the eggplant in the same pan, then add the sauce ingredients and stir it all together.

►This is a phenomenal way to use eggplant. I used Sriracha because I did not have any Garlic Chili sauce and it add a good amount of spice - also I added ginger and the garlic and sesame oil to the sauce as other reviews did and it's a great flavor blend. I suggest cooking everything together for much longer, almost 15 minutes, so the eggplant gets really creamy and absorbs all the sauce. Great, easy, fast recipe! Oh- I also added oyster mushrooms - great addition!




Read more:

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

yeah now i am REALLLY hungry thanks to GG, LOL :)

seeing as i have a very small garden, (i would say 6FT X 6FT max--thats all the space my parents would allow me to dig up, lol!), what i usually pick, i end up eating the same day.

Although everything else in my garden is starting to look tired, the tomato plants are really starting to pump out plenty of toms. I do promise to get some shots of those tomorrow. By the way, anyone else been having stink bug problems lately? They seem to have a taste for the still developing tomatoes. I squish every one i see. (i dont care about stinky fingers if it saves my toms, lol!)

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Are you a teenager? So KEWL if you are. Nice to have the next generation sharing here!

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

i am 26 actually, but i do still live with them, dad has a self owned auto shop that is his work, and we all pitch in for our part around here and get our own pay. Plus they appreciate the extra pair of hands around here. :) And they have both admitted that they could kill a plastic fern, lol, so thats another thing for me be happy to add to my part around here.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)


So, ya'll are the "Waltons," yes?


SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Didn't know where to post this, but, my cousin Wanda in College Park, Ga. inherited all my 5-gallon, self-watering eBuckets, and she is now ready to pass them on.

If anyone is interested in having them, or knows any Georgia growers you think might be interested in the offer, please send me a dmail, and I'll let Wanda know. There are between 20-30 buckets available.


(P.S. I'm posting this in several forums...)

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

LOL i guess we could indeed be like the Waltons ;)

Ok here are the photos that i was promising yesterday of my tomatoes

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Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

Also i have some carrots that are coming along nicely, the one in the wash tub is Scarlet Nantes, and the other is Black knight (there would have been a lot more of those, but i had myself a bit of a slug war, hence the eggshells, i did put some more seed down in there to see if i could make up for the ones that i lost).

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SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

VERY nice tomatoes! You're doing a great job!

I see you make use of pine bark fines (in the washtub). That's what my original container garden was built on, because of the structure it offers and the great drainage. I've since moved on to raised beds, and dumped all my pine bark fines into the raised beds, so now, there's a mixture of the PBFs, garden soil, peat, sharp sand, and various amendments along the way.

The tub carrots are very promising. I believe the other container may be a bit confining, especially if you add more seeds there. If you can, try to find some old Rubbermaid tubs, 18-gallons. You wouldn't need to fill them all the way. Pine bark fines for good drainage (sift out the chunks larger than a quarter) and some peat for moisture retention (I'd go probably 3 parts PBFs, 1 part peat, and 1 part sharp sand). The square tubs would give you more surface room for the carrots.

You can do beets and turnips in those tubs, too.

My very first gardening experience was in containers because my DH's love affair with his St. Augustine grass in our HUGE yard, relegated me to being creative on the fringes of the yard. So, I gardened in homemade eBuckets!

This message was edited Aug 16, 2013 10:38 AM

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

and i did manage to find a few shots of what i have already picked this year :)

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Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

i know the carrots are rather scrawny, but i wanted myself a Rainbox mix "baby carrot" batch, lol ;) the scarlet nantes and black knight carrot that i am growing now, i will allow to get to full size

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

oh i just now noticed your post edit GG.

The round container is actually a nice and deep 10 gal. sized pot, plenty of root space, but i do agree with what you say about the square containers having more "real estate" than the round ones. :)

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

Here's what I'm getting daily now. To give you an idea of scale, the tomato on top weighed in at 22 oz. and is about 4 1/2" across. Most of these are from my ongoing tomato breeding experiment. With a couple of Cherokee Purples in there. The peppers are all "Jackpot," and yes, they are really that big.

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Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Great looking tomatoes jmc!! What varieties are you growing.

Way to go, Nicole!

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Quote from jmc1987 :

Ok here are the photos that i was promising yesterday of my tomatoes

Very nice looking batch of tomatoes going there!

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Nicole, VERY impressive!

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

my tomatoes this year are Red Brandywine, better boy, aunt rubys german green, cherokee purple and black krim

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

Thanks, Rita. I find it ironic that I am currently trying to breed my potatoes a little smaller but want huge bell peppers. :)

Strangely, selecting for size and crack resistance has significantly reduced the amount of red on the tomatoes. They are originally a German Striped / Brandywine cross, but they strongly resemble Gold Medal now. German Striped and Gold Medal may have a common parentage -- certainly the strong striping was the first thing to go.

They are still surprisingly sweet tasting given the massive amounts of water this year.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Well, I don't know anything about growing potatoes but have grown tomatoes my entire life. My parents grew tomatoes in the garden when I was a kid and I grew up thinking everyone should have a veggie garden. And I am 66 now.

I have both Better Boys and Big Boys in my garden now. Really like both those varieties.

That is very interesting that breeding for crack resistance has made the tomatoes less red. As long as they taste great then I think it doesn't matter!

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

Pulled my carrots today and blanched them and stuck in the freezer. Going to plant snap peas where they were tomorrow. Planted some collards where the Kale grew all season.

Picking Patio tomatoes.

Drying my spanish and red onions. Not a lot of them but about a dozen or so.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

My snap peas are already planted and up and growing. Love sugar snap type peas.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Tomatoes anyone?

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North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

cucumbers, pole beans, squash, peppers.

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North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Mixed harvests.

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Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

Holey mackerel, what a load of maters!

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

I must be getting a record number of tomatoes this year. Tomatoes have been excellent.

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

what variety are those really huge ones in photo #2?

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Beefmaster. I love that variety. And they taste really yummy. I had that kind for the first time last year and I loved them. So they are back this year again.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Do you deliver to Texas?

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Quote from stephanietx :
Do you deliver to Texas?

I guess you like the tomatoes!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes and our production has slowed down considerably due to the heat. We actually had to BUY tomatoes last week. First time we've had to do that in 2 months. :( Next year, hubby wants to plant twice as many tomatoes as we planted this year.

Time to thin cucumber seedlings!!
My 3 year old watermelon seeds sprouted. (Well, at least 2 of them. LOL)
Pure evilness in the garden. I absolutely HATE jumping flying things!

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North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Stehanie, I have 60 tomato plants. So planted an awefully lot. Last year had about 50, I think that was plenty. So next year will cut back some to about 50 instead of the 60 this year.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Holy tomato! We only planted a dozen plants!

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

A dozen plants wouldn't do anything much around here. ALL my friends and neighbors wait for summer home grown tomatoes. I give so many tomatoes away that I could supply a farmers market. And I don't give them away afew tomatoes at a time, they get large bags or boxes of tomatoes.

I few years ago I thought to myself, I am getting older, I don't need to plant enough for the entire neighborhood, I will just plant enough for me. Had about 16 plants. Well, let me tell you that did not work out very well. Everyone was asking for tomatoes and I didn't have enough to go around.

I was not happy, my friends were not happy so I went back to planting lots of tomatoes. But this is the most yet and it is too much even for me. Last year at 50 plants was the most I ever planted until this year. Before that maybe 40 plants or so.

Circle, MT(Zone 3b)

Rita, it's so kind of you to take care of the whole neighborhood that way!

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

No one around here veggie gardens. And I am happy when I have plenty for myself and plenty to give away. Everyone knows me around here for my pretty flower gardens and the veggies that I grow.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

A Straight Eight Cucumber I picked along with two nice melons. Also some okra pods including one much too big one. The for fall planted Sugar Lace II snap peas growing nicely.

Thumbnail by newyorkrita Thumbnail by newyorkrita Thumbnail by newyorkrita
Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

We were able to share tomatoes with our across the street neighbor this year. She was very grateful and it makes me happy. I also shared with a friend's mom who's been unemployed. It doesn't help a bunch on her grocery bill, but they were fresh and she loved them.

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