January 8, 2015
America’s Test Kitchen + Family Growing Together
Here’s to new starts, dreams and rain that reigns this year!
To snag Trisha’s tips for winter vegetables, director Ed Fuentes and I headed out in November to her Lake Austin Spa Resort garden.
Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s not too late to pair leafy lettuce, kale, broccoli and others against tasty multiplying onions (get Trisha’s tip for keeping them multiplying).
That’s Mark Morrow steering the microphone as head gardener Dustin Mattson demonstrates how to cut leaf lettuce for lots of greens until hot weather.
Dustin also shows how to harvest quick-growing kohlrabi, protected with bird netting to fend off deer.
Trisha likes office supply clamps to anchor netting (and cold weather row cover) to her rebar hoops. To harvest, simply slip the netting/row cover back up.
Even though Trisha’s vegetable ensemble is pretty on its own, she mixes in flowers (many edible) to heighten her color wheel across seasons.
Flowers aren’t just for show, as this Eastern Black Swallowtail can tell you.
Fall blooming asters and milkweed invite Monarch butterflies along with lots of pollinators and beneficial insects to patrol and fuel her garden.
In winter, Trisha includes snapdragons, violas, and dianthus in her edible plant arsenal that also feeds bees, butterflies and tiny beneficials on warm winter days. See how she controls winter pests and lots more.
Daphne’s got the preventive tip to fend off some of those pesky critters that damage our fruit trees: horticultural oil (also called dormant oil).
By spraying in winter, these petroleum-based products suffocate overwintering pests, including scale. But it’s called dormant oil for a reason. Find out why we don’t want to use it in warm temps.
Now here’s a fun surprise! CTG meets Christopher Kimball, publisher and editor of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and beloved host of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country on PBS.
Last summer, Ed and I caught up with him at the Long Center to find out what led him down the kitchen path and the science behind memorable meals.
Through Christopher ‘s behind-the-scenes stories, discover how the Test Kitchen team turns bad food into good food. Like us in the garden, it can be try and try again. What works and why?
The “set” where they tape 26 shows in just 3 weeks is the real test kitchen, where Christopher asks the questions that viewers want answered.
And hear how his long term cohorts sometimes play tricks on his taste buds!
It’s not too late to plant trees, but do get them in soon while it’s still cool. For large gardens, what about deciduous Mexican sycamore, Daphne’s Plant of the Week?
You will need some room since they can mature at 50’ tall by 30-40’ wide. Those rustling silvery-backed leaves against stark white bark certainly are a standout!
In topsy-turvy Texas, many gardeners had spring flowers blooming this fall. Viewer Picture goes to Nelwyn Persky in Bartlett, whose bluebonnet has bloomed since September.
His brother Kirk Marek near Killeen boasts an Indian paintbrush that geared up last fall. And now Nelwyn’s got iris and springtime amaryllis blooming. What a year!
Experts at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center see this every year. One observation: “There are always a few individuals in a population that are phenologically out of sync with the norm. Could be genetic, could be environmental or some combo of the two. If it is isolated occurrences of just a few individuals, I would speculate micro-climate and look for a causative factor (like plants adjacent to warm pavement, especially good soil, etc.).”
On tour near La Grange, meet a family that’s growing together!
Home schooling parents Brianne and William Bernsen added homegrown organic food to their family curriculum. Brianne and the kids explain how they maximize space with trellises that multitask crops.
In this chemical-free garden, wedding tulle fends off rambunctious grasshoppers. Robert Avila on microphone monitors blustery winds.
When Brianne’s mom Lori visits, the children are always eager to show what’s coming up.
Fencing around the garden protects it from deer and errant balls!
Get their secret for healthy soil, which naturally includes compost turned daily by chickens.
What they don’t eat, share, can or freeze, they sell to La Grange restaurant Bistro 108.
With cattle feed containers from the local recycling center, each of the older children grows individual mini-gardens. And find out how they made their own stepping stones!
And wouldn’t you love a secret clubhouse like this? The Bernsen kids built it themselves from recycled materials.
Meet them now!
Thanks for stopping by! Linda