Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

It’s Sweet Corn Season, Make Esquites! May 28, 2015

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I only eat fruits and vegetables from my garden or local farms, so everything I eat is in season.  One of the beautiful things about eating seasonally, is the anticipation for things I haven’t had since their last season.  I can think of few things as delicious as freshly harvested Sweet Corn.  When I saw that Boggy Creek Farm was to have sweet corn at their market, I went early to the farmstand to snag some.  They hadn’t harvested any when I got there early, so Carol Ann took me to the fields to harvest some with her.  The ultimate test of when the corn is ready, is to taste it, raw, right in the field. It was tender and delicious and I came home with several ears.

I already had something in mind for it, Mexican Street Corn Salad.  When I searched for a recipe I settled on one from Serious Eats.  I had never heard of Esquites before, but it looked like exactly what I wanted, and I had jalapeños and cilantro from the garden to use.

I cut off the worm end of the corn,  removed the husks and picked off the silks.


I would have loved to grill the corn to get it a bit charred, but alas it was raining.  I scraped it off the cob, and cooked it in a hot pan until slightly charred.


The recipe called for more charring, but the starches had begun to stick to the pan, so I pulled it out,  and added salt and pepper.


I doubled the jalapeños, because I had fresh garden peppers to use and wanted more heat.


I mixed in some scallions, lime juice, mayonnaise, cilantro and then pulled out the cheese.  The recipe called for Cotija or Feta.  Alas, I had gotten Queso Fresco instead of Cotija.  The sharpness of Cotija was exactly what this needed, but I made do with the milder Queso Fresco, because that was what I had.  I finished it off with some Springdale Farm Smoked Pepper Mix, which is good on everything.

The result was still delicious, but the proper cheese would have made it outstanding.  This salad even better the second day, because the heat from the pepper had settled in.  Sweet corn will be around for another few weeks at the farmstands and farmer’s markets.  I highly recommend this recipe, and can’t wait to try it again with the correct cheese.



Memorial Day in an Austin Urban Garden May 29, 2011

I can’t believe the end of May is already here.  I feel so blessed with my harvest of tomatoes already, and there are more to come.  My kitchen window has housed the rotation of tomatoes from daily harvests for the last 5 weeks or so.

Yesterday's window

May 16th window

May 6th window

I have no idea how many tomatoes I’ve harvested this Spring, but it has been a lot.  Everyone who visits gets a bag full; everyone I visit gets a bag full, my freezer is full, and I’m eating them as fast as I can.  I’m in garden tomato heaven, and there are lots more where those came from.

More tomatoes!

The cucumbers have done fairly well, and I’ve harvested two very different ones, a Straight 8 and a long curly one.  Since those were harvested, the plants have taken off and started flowering more.

Cucumber plant

I pickled mine and some from the farmer’s market, yesterday.


The peppers have been heavy producers as well, and I’m eating peppers every chance I get.  This morning I picked the biggest of the jalapenos, serranos, padrons and an Anaheim.  The Hinklehatz aren’t turning red just yet, but I have a plant full of them.

This morning's pepper harvest

The watermelon plants took off after I fed them some Buds and Blooms and gave them a good douse of water.  There are tiny watermelons making an appearance.


I still haven’t managed to grow fantastic corn.  It is delicious, but the ears never fill out as much as I’d like.



My breakfast gets eaten outside these days, as I pluck nearly ripe tomatoes with blackberry stained fingers.


The citrus are coming right along, too.  Meyer lemons, key limes, and  Satsuma oranges have all set fruit.

Meyer Lemon

I have had a dwarf peach tree in a pot on my driveway for 3 or 4 years.  Each year, it has peaches on it, and each year, they get stolen, by some animal.  This year, my little tree has 18 peaches on it, and remains unmolested by nature.  I’m ecstatic.


I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful garden this year.  Yet, I have no idea why my garden, and everyone else’s that I know, are so very productive and trouble free.  Did the freeze kill the bugs?  Maybe.  But where are the squirrels?  I have no idea, but I’m thankful for it!