August 2016
The Herb Farm

More Hot and More Garden Stuff

 

Black Pearl pepper is usually grown as an ornamental plant, but can be eaten as well. It looks great on a salad, but watch out … it’s a hot one! Black Pearl peppers make beautiful container plantings.

Hello, gardeners! Happy August to each of you!

Today, I’m like the kid who refuses to pick up his room before he can go outside and play. Maybe the August heat just scorched my brain a little and I can’t seem to find my productive thread.

Be careful with this weather. I just burned my mouth with water from a bottle that was sitting in my truck today. I didn’t realize it was hotter than a cup of McDonald’s coffee!

Please leave bowls of water out on your properties for thirsty animals. Also, remember that if you feed the raccoons at your home then please leave a bowl of water near where they feed. Raccoons are one of the cleanest mammals in our area, as they wash their food before consuming it.

Now … on to gardening. Lately the water catch system here on the farm has been going completely dry between rains; meaning some of the vegetable beds have to be irrigated with public water. If you are having the same issues, I suggest you add more catch vessels. Your local Co-op stores have a variety of holding tanks available for you to choose from.

Forget those 55-gallon barrels. Get some 275-gallon storage tanks to catch your roof runoff! As long as you’re catching rainwater, you might as well catch the most.

Speaking of catching rainwater, remember to leave your watering cans and various other vessels where they can catch a drop of nature’s liquid goodness. Just be sure to empty them at least every three days in order to keep mosquito larvae from hatching. Another helpful tip is to use a water-breaker to reduce the surface tension on standing water. A drop of dishwashing liquid added to a bucket of water will be enough to prevent mosquitoes from being able to walk on the surface of the water, thus preventing them from being able to lay eggs. The mosquitoes will sink and theoretically drown. About a teaspoon of Dawn will treat about 50 gallons of water.

If you have containers out to catch water, use them or dump them.

Sun Sugar tomatoes are super sweet and just keep on producing through the hot weather.

 

Sunscald is affecting a lot of plants here on the farm. Tomatoes, chili peppers, bell peppers, and even watermelons are getting a tough dose of the rays. For small gardens, a white sun shade (such as a bedsheet) can make a big difference in preventing crop loss due to intense exposure to the sun.

Lately, I’ve noticed sunscald damage on sun coleus, bay laurel, betel leaf and various tropical houseplants. Most of these can be moved into the shade without starving them for light. I like to boost the growth of tender plants during the warm months so they will better tolerate the three or so months of cold weather indoors.

Last month I made one of my favorite summertime desserts and I’m getting ready to make another one. Banana pudding! Want the recipe?

This recipe is one that I found on the internet at food.com. It most closely followed my aunt’s recipe. But a couple of years ago, my dear friend Lady Murielle made her own version of my copied recipe and it is sensational! We worked together on this one Wednesday evening, and wrote down the adjustments. I hope you enjoy it.

 

BANANA PUDDING

 

This is by far the most delicious banana pudding I have ever made.

¾ cup (heaping) sugar, divided
1/3 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon mace
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
10 ounces whole milk
6 ounces evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
40-50 vanilla wafers, divided
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 large bananas, ripe but lightly speckled, sliced

Mix ½ cup sugar, flour, mace and salt in top of double boiler. Blend in egg yolks and milks. Cook uncovered over boiling water for 10-12 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. This makes the custard. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Reserve 10-12 vanilla wafers for garnish.

Spread a small amount of the custard on the bottom of a 1½ quart baking dish; cover with layers of 1/3 each of the remaining vanilla wafers and bananas. (Place one banana slice on each wafer.) Pour about 1/3 of the remaining custard over the bananas. Continue layering wafers, bananas and custard to make three layers, ending with custard.

Beat egg whites on high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining (heaping) ¼ cup of sugar and cream of tartar, beating until stiff but not dry. Spoon over custard, spreading evenly to cover entire surface and sealing well to the edge of the dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned.

Allow to cool slightly before serving. It is also good after refrigerating.

Garnish with remaining wafers and bananas when serving.

Make two and save one for tomorrow’s dessert!

 

Remember the Perseid meteor shower is August 11-12.

Until next time, remember to watch your salt and sugar, drink plenty of pure water, and breathe in and out!

Thanks for reading!

For more information, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I’ll answer your questions and I enjoy the emails!

Be sure to find me on Facebook at Herb Farmer-The Herb Farm.

 

As always, check with an expert, like your doctor, before using any herbal remedy.