Monthly Archives: January 2013

Easy Roasted Vegetables

Use your oven to bring out the sweetness of vegetables with this simple recipe.  It may even get “Mike-y” to eat all his vegetables!

Per Serving: $.34


  • 5 cups assorted vegetable pieces cut in chunks (potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, turnips, carrots, onions, mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Heat oven to 425 F.
  2. Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Spread vegetables in pan. Sprinkle oil on vegetables. Stir. Sprinkle with seasoning, pepper, and salt. Stir.
  4. Bake uncovered 45 minutes. Turn every 15 minutes.
  5. Serve while hot.

Cooking Tips:

  • Roasting brings out the sweetness of vegetables.
  • Use thyme, basil, or rosemary in place of dried Italian seasoning.
  • Save energy. Roast veggies in oven with other food or right after other food is done.
  • Use veggies that your family likes.  Leftovers are great.

2013 Garden Plans: Tomato & Basil Garden

The raised bed that is closest to the outdoor classroom area is the one that has 2 square sections that are a second tier. Because of where we had tomatoes last year and the garlic and shallots in Beds 2 and 3, we had no choice but to put tomatoes in that bed, fondly known as “Bed 1.” However, with those raised tiers, we decided to put some basil in those sections, with tomatoes on either end. The tomatoes will be half yellow/orange/gold varieties and half red varieties.

Tomato & Basil Garden

This is going to be fun! In both groups of tomatoes we have 3 average slicing tomatoes, 1 heirloom, 1 grape, and 1 random other tomato. Here’s a little information about each variety.

Yellow/Gold/Orange Tomatoes

BHN-871: We tried to plant this one a few years ago, but I could only find seeds in volumes of 2,000 or more. Yeah, not so much. This year I can get a packet! Hurray! 10-12 oz. fruit, disease resistant, low acid, determinate. 74 days.

Carolina Gold: This has been on the K-State Recommended List for a long time, probably because there haven’t been better options. We thought it was only fair to try it and compare. 8-10 oz. fruit, some disease resistance, determinate. 71 days.

Taxi: An early producing variety with smaller fruit. 4-6 oz. fruit, determinate. 64 days.

Limmony: Supposedly this Russian heirloom tomato has tangy, lemony flavored fruit? Hmm…. Beefsteak type tomato, up to 1 lb. fruit. Indeterminate, 80 days.

Golden Sweet Grape: Yellow grape tomato, mild flavor, crack resistant. Indeterminate. 60 days.

Yellow Stuffer: This is obviously the “random” variety. The tomato fruits are shaped like bell peppers and are hollow like peppers, so you can make stuffed tomatoes! Indeterminate. 76 days.

Red Tomatoes

Iron Lady:  This is a new variety that I mentioned on the blog awhile back. It is resistant to late blight, early blight, and Septoria leaf spot. It has dense, 5 oz. fruit on determinate plants. 75 days.

Jetsetter: This is a slightly earlier version of Jet Star with much more disease resistance. 8 oz fruit, indeterminate. 64 days.

Bella Rosa: Another highly disease resistant slicer, this variety claims some heat tolerance as well. 10-12 oz. fruit, determinate. 75 days.

Arkansas Traveler: This is an heirloom that I’ve had recommended to me as one that tolerates heat. We’ll see! 6 oz. fruit, indeterminate. 90 days.

Five Star Grape: Basic red grape tomato. Crack resistant, indeterminate. 62 days.

Plum Regal: A very disease resistant plum/roma tomato, with some Early blight resistance. 3-4 oz. fruit, determinate. 80 days.

Basils….I will come back and hit the basils on another day when I talk about all the herbs.

Old Seeds for 2013…?

I was looking through my Richters Herbs catalog this morning, getting some ideas for the Herb sub-committee meeting, and noticed information about something called “Seed Zoo“. Basically they are working with ethnobotanists to preserve traditional varieties of vegetables found in different parts of the world. This isn’t a new concept, certainly. I’ve been a fan of Native Seed SEARCH for quite a while. They preserve traditional plants and seeds from the desert Southwest.

If you visit the Seed Zoo website, they have interesting stories to go with each seed about where they came from. While many of them probably wouldn’t grow well here, I always find it extremely interesting to see the differences in fruits and vegetables grown in different parts of the world.

One thing I find interesting is that in the descriptions, a couple of times they say that the particular melon was growing in a very hot humid location, therefore that variety might have some good disease tolerance. I suppose that is possible. It is also possible that some of the diseases we find problematic do not exist in those locations. Like plants, not all diseases naturally exist everywhere. They have to be spread to a new location in one way or another. That’s one reason that there are restrictions on importing plant material into the U.S.

Anyway, check out those links to see some very unique vegetables! (And if you’ve never looked at the selection of herbs from Richters, you should do that too!)


Fiesta Fish Tacos!

Fish Tacos

When it is cold outside, I often crave foods that are spicy.  USDA’s MyPlate  recommends that we replace some of our protein 2-3 times a week with seafood, especially fish that is high in omega-3’s  like salmon, tuna and mackerel.  Eating baked fish can get boring, so this week, lets spice it up with some fresh vegetables and herbs.  Add a fresh fruit salad and you have a delicious meal.  Did Someone Say Fiesta?

Serves: 5 –

Serving size: 2 tacos
Cost per serving: $1.45


  • 1/2 cup light ranch-style dressing
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped fine (optional)
  • 4 cups coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw
  • 10 6-inch corn tortilla
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 pound firm white fish (tilapia, swai, domestic mahi-mahi, or halibut), cut in 1-inch pieces or in 10 strips
  • 1 tomato, chopped (optional)


  1. Stir together the dressing, lime juice, chili powder, pepper, and jalapeno (if desired). Pour over coleslaw mix and stir to mix well. Cover and place in refrigerator until serving time.
  2. Warm the corn tortillas according to package directions.
  3. Heat the oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. While the oil heats, spread the cornmeal on a plate. Pat the fish pieces in the cornmeal to coat on all sides. Fry the fish in hot oil until the cornmeal is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  4. Top each tortilla with some of the fish and some of the coleslaw mix. Fold in half and serve with the chopped tomato, if desired.

2013 Garden Plans: Kids Snack Garden

This garden should be a fun one!

Kids Snacking GardenSo the idea behind this garden is actually a combination of two ideas. I had the idea of planting a “snacking” garden, planted exclusively to vegetables that can be used for eating raw as a “snack.” One of our Master Gardeners wanted to plant a garden geared towards kids. So…we combined the two ideas! I think it will be a lot of fun!

We have been doing the cattle panel trellises in the raised beds for 3 years now, but for this garden we will be trying something different again. We are going to try putting a trellis over the walkway between beds 4 and 5. It will be quite an experiment! I hope it turns out!

Sunflowers: We will be planting 3 varieties, ‘Teddy Bear,’ ‘Aztec Sun,’ and ‘Valentine.’ These are a variety of heights and colors.

Tomatoes: We will have two cherry tomatoes, one red and one gold. The varieties are ‘Super Sweet 100’ and ‘Golden Honey Bunch.’ We will probably be doing some heavy pruning to keep them controlled on the trellis, so that will also be a new experience.

Beans: A lot of people do not have success with pole beans here, but one of our Master Gardeners has had good luck with ‘Emerite’ filet pole beans, so we will be giving those a try.

Cucumbers: We will be revisiting the white ‘Salt and Pepper’ cucumbers that we had in the Vertical Garden last year.

Peppers: Our pepper plants will be the red and yellow ‘Lunchbox’ peppers.

In the spring, we are planning to have some baby romaine lettuces and mixed color carrots and radishes. In the fall we will revisit the lettuces as well as try out some purple and white cauliflower varieties and the ‘Purple Peacock’ Sprouting Broccoli.

We are also going to try some fun containers near the garden, one with sugar snap peas and the other with perhaps a tomato or a bush pumpkin or melon.

This should be a fun garden to photograph this summer!