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IN THE GARDEN: Duties, freezing veggies for later

Instead of purchasing frozen vegetables at the supermarket, make your own straight from your garden.

We are so blessed with the incredible events in our area. Thank you to the many volunteers who work tirelessly to make summer events possible for families and children of all ages.

Here’s your to-do list this month:

  1. Vegetables to plant: corn, eggplant transplants, pepper transplants, summer squash, winter squash, watermelon and tomato transplants and, this week, pumpkin seeds for Halloween jack-o-lanterns.
  2. Deadhead your flowering plants so they will continue to bloom throughout their season. Generally, you want to cut off spent blooms right above the first set of healthy leaves below the bloom.
  3. With the continued showers we have received, it might be deceptive how much water our new plants have received. Check your soil down to 3 inches to ensure that the roots of new plants received rainwater.
  4. Continue to water trees deeply if you don’t receive 4 inches of rain in a month’s time.
  5. Mulch, mulch, mulch!
  6. After showers, continue to be vigilant about dumping collected water. For example: plates under plants, decorative porch pottery, kids toys.
  7. Herbs need continuous pruning to encourage growth. If you are going to be cooking with them, the best time to prune herbs is in the morning. That’s when they have the most robust flavor. If you need to prune more than you are going to eat, share with a neighbor or put them in water on your window sill to “make” more plants. We’ll discuss drying your herbs in the fall.
  8. Make sure to drink your water. You can use your garden to make your water taste better. For instance, peel and dice a cucumber then place in a snack-size plastic bag. Place in the freezer for yummy-tasting ice cubes when you refill your water bottle. You can also dice fruits to freeze — unlimited possibilities. We also throw mint leaves in our water bottles. P.S. — Most fruits freeze well; however, if you are going to freeze watermelon, use it first. Because of watermelon’s high water content, it will turn to mush if it is in the freezer too long.
  9. Herbs to plant this month: basil, cilantro/coriander, fennel, lemon balm, oregano, parsley, and French tarragon.

FREEZING VEGETABLES

One way to preserve your vegetables is to freeze them. Harvest your vegetables when they are just right. You don’t want them too soft.

Slice and dice your vegetables as if you were going to be cooking with them today. Blanche your vegetables then quickly place in an ice bath for a couple of minutes. Pat dry.

You can either categorize your harvest by vegetable or place them into bags by categories. For instance: One bag might be for an Italian night, so that bag will have sliced zucchini and squash with rosemary sprigs. Make sure to label and date the bags or containers before you freeze them and that you are using containers for freezers, not just sandwiches. We wouldn’t want your delicious harvest to suffer freezer burn.

Keep your souls and soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

Contact Bill Luedecke at The Luedecke Group Realtors at (512) 577-1463 or email him bill@texasland.net. Contact daughter Martelle Luedecke at (512) 769-3179 or luedeckephotography@gmail.com.

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