Canning Blog

Shelia Bustillos Reynolds has taught canning classes for Edible San Marcos twice now and she is awesome.  She has started a canning blog called “Put a Lid on It”.  Make sure to check out the link.

Tomato Contest

Tomato

A contest can be a lot of fun so we are challenging you to grow tomatoes, and we want to see pictures.  Take pictures of your first tomato of the season.  The person with the first outdoor tomato, not in a greenhouse will win a pack of heirloom tomato seeds. Send your photo with the date into ediblesanmarcos@gmail.com

There is another contest for the plant with the most tomatoes on it at one time, take photos.  Count the tomatoes, and take pictures we want to see how many you have on the plant at one time.  The deadline for the number of tomatoes will be Deadline is July 30.

At another point this summer we will do the biggest and best tasting tomatoes where we will have a judging downtown. So stay tuned.  As you can tell we are interested in your garden.  We want to get pictures and see how your garden is growing. Send in pictures so we can share your garden with others.

Central Texas Seed Varieties List

If you want to be a successful gardener in Central Texas you need to know what varieties to grow and when to plant them.  These are two crucial items that will play a big role in whether your garden will succeed or not. Let me explain a little further.  Scarlet runner beans are a beautiful bean coveted for the beautiful edible flower.  It grows in the northern states without a problem.  In Texas you can grow it in the very early spring but it is tricky as our weather turns hot so very fast. Therefore it is not a recommended crop as it burn out really fast.  Now the Rattlesnake pole bean however grows like crazy and performs well in the heat.  It is made for  the heat as are tepary beans which are also drought tolerant.

All of the seeds on this list are open pollinated.  This means that you can keep the seeds from the current year and save them for the next.

All of the varieties have been grown and tested for a minimum of three years.  You cannot grow a crop for one year and say it does well.  You need to have a trail that is consistent.

If you grow an open pollinated vegetable that is not on the list please email me and let me know.  Please let me know how long you have been growing it.  I will collect information.  Even if you have only grown it for one year it will help as it will add up if many of you email.  We need to all work together. If you have been growing it for three years it can go directly on the list. Sharing is a valuable resource that gardeners have with each other.

The list is also posted under our Library tab any time you want to go and look at it.

Seed Varieties List Page 1

Seed Varieties List Page 2

Seed Varieties List page 3

Join Us For Our Annual Meeting

You are cordially invited to the first annual meeting of Sustainable San Marcos


Sunday, March 6  3-5pm

The Tap Room Meeting Room, 129 E. Hopkins


So you want to find out more about our organization and get involved.  Or maybe you just want to meet more like minded people.  Well here is your chance. This is a great way to find out what is going on and have a great impact on future policies and events in the city. Come out and spend a little time getting to know us and having fun.

Sustainable San Marcos (SSM) was founded 3 years ago to help residents of San Marcos “live an earth-friendly lifestyle in their home or place of business”.  Realizing that there were many areas that needed addressing, we (Steve and Debbie Harvey, Tom Wassenich, Mark Taylor and Betsy Robertson) formed SSM as an umbrella organization, with 4 areas of focus:  Food, Waste, Transportation, and Energy.   The Food committee has evolved into Edible San Marcos a highly successful organization in its own right, spearheaded by Suzi Fields.  To encourage waste reduction, we formed Waste Not San Marcos currently co-chaired by Daniela DeJongh and Matt Akins.  Transportation and Energy have not yet become separate entities and are covered by our core group.
In our short lifetime we have been very effective at educating citizens and encouraging public policy.  We were instrumental in getting out information about single-stream recycling and encouraging its extension to multi-family residents.  We have had numerous education booths at conferences, on the Texas State campus, in the public schools and at the last three Earth Day celebrations.  Edible San Marcos has published an informative monthly newsletter, started 3 gardens at public schools and is now working to create a network of community gardens.  And we have accomplished the hard work of incorporating the organization and achieving 501(c)3 approval.
Now it’s time to “take it to the people”, to expand our horizons.  We invite you to join us in a quick review of our progress and to participate in setting priorities for the future. There will be light refreshments and Jo Secrest of the City of San Marcos will update us on the City’s sustainable initiatives.  All are welcome. Bring a friend.

Seed to Table – Spinach

Spinach

Spinach is thought to have come from ancient Persia or Iran.  Spinach was brought into China where it was termed as the “Persian Vegetable”. It was said to have come into Nepal around 647 AD.

Next spinach found it’s way into Sicily then Arab and Germany by the 13th century. England and France came into Spinach in the 14th century.  In 1533 Catherine de’Medici not only became Queen of France but she insisted on having spinach at every meal.  This is why dishes made with spinach are named Florentine.  Now that is my kind of Queen!

Why do  you think that spinach was such a hit?  It is so nutritious!  it belongs to the amaranthaceae family.  It is chock full of phyto-nutrients that are life savers in many  areas. Spinach is very low in calories and fats while providing about 25% of your daily iron.

Fresh leaves also  provide you with vitamin A, lutein, zea-xanthin and beta Carotine as well as omega3 fatty acids.

Spinach can also pack a whopping 402% of your daily needs of vitamin K, This helps with bone mass and preventing Alzheimer’s.  Like that is not enough Spinach has high levels of B-6, B-1, Folate, Niacin and  Vitamin C, potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc.

This is all very exciting for me as it is getting a lot of iron and strength with out eating meat.  I always feel energized when I eat spinach.  There is one thing that you are probably not aware of.  You need to eat citrus to make the protein complete, when eating raw spinach.  So have an orange with your salad today.

Planting

Choose a sunny well drained location for your spinach.

Spinach germinated well in cold soil that is between 38-40 degrees F and up to about 60 degrees.  It gets fussy over that.  It does not like acid soil either so we are very lucky in that regard.  The trick is to plant your spinach early and then replant every 2 weeks. Spinach also likes nitrogen and boron.

There are two different types of spinach the savoy or  darker crinkled type, and the smooth leaved type.

It is advisable to soak your seeds for 6 hours or overnight to help them to soak up some water and become more pliable. Then plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep and about 3 inches apart. You want the plants to be about 4 inches from each other in the end.  It takes 37 to 50 days for spinach to reach maturity.  You can snip off the outer leaves when they reach 3 inches long or you can cut the entire rosette off.

Strawberries grow well with spinach.

Make sure to water in the morning not in the evening as wet leaves spread disease. The diseases that you have to worry the most about is Downy Mildew and fusarium wilt. The insects that attack spinach are Aphids and leaf miners.

Do not store spinach next to apples, melons or tomatoes as they give off ethylene gas in the fridge and will make your spinach spoil.

here are some healthy spinach recipes

and more recipes and still more.  Happy Cooking!

Recycle Your Pots For a Fundraiser

Recycle Pots

Edible San Marcos is working on a fundraiser and we can use your help.  We can use your old pots from vegetables and flowers.  This will help in two ways. First off it will keep them out of the landfill and second we will be reusing them.

If you want to wash them out first in a 10 percent bleach solution that would be wonderful.  If not that is fine too.

You can bring the pots to the monthly meeting or to the community garden.  Just email us first.   Or we can meet you at a coffee shop or at your house.  Just email us at ediblesanmarcos@gmail.com and let us know what would work for you.  If you are interested in helping us raise plants let us know.  You can be part of the fundraiser in other Ways too!

Mendez Elementary School Garden

Mendez Elementary School

Mendez Elementary School

Well the year ended with a bang.  Hays County Juvenile Center with the help of John Griffis came out early on December 23 and helped Edible San Marcos with a dig in at Mendez Elementary School.  The kids at Mendez have been wanting a garden very badly.  The second grade teacher Mr. Adam Voglewede was key in getting the garden started.  He had gardening experience as a child and this fostered his gardening movement. Mr. Voglewede had told his students that the area where they wanted the garden may look different when they get back from break.

When we got to the school to work on December 23, the kids surprised us, instead by putting a sign in the window thanking us for helping them. When we saw the sign it about brought tears to our eyes.  It stopped us all in our tracks. It made us thankful for helping out the little children. Their appreciation was the biggest Christmas gift anyone could have ever wanted. Edible San Marcos and Hays County Juvenile Center worked very hard to surprise the little children.  We wanted the kids to be surprised when they came back to school.  We were hoping to have the hard work of digging the beds done so that the children could concentrate on the planting.

The boys from H.C.J.C. had fun on December 23.  It was a brisk morning. Before long there were stories of families that had raised chickens.  Next thing you know I am hearing “Maim, look at the size of this earth worm!” Earth worms got tossed to and fro a little bit but did not get harmed.  The grub worms got removed and saved for the chickens.

I brought a lemon bunt cake for the boys to eat and they loved it.  They did not go for seconds because they didn’t think there was enough to go around.  Once they were assured that there was enough for all, it was gone in seconds.  Then fresh oranges went down quickly. It was a great day.  Afterwards I went and looked at their garden site.

You should come out on a dig in sometime, or volunteer at one of our schools.  It is so enriching.  Rest assured you will leave with a smile on your face.  I am thankful that we were able to help so many children this year.  If you aren’t able to dig or volunteer on site, you can make donations.  It takes money to keep our programs running. We also need volunteer to do office work. It can be done from your own home, or from our office.

Have a Happy New Year and we look forward to growing with you!