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Tips for how to keep your garden healthy

As summer comes to a close and gardens become abundant, it’s time to harvest your favorite fresh vegetables. Whether you acquire some produce from a friend or have your own garden, here are some garden vegetable recipes you can make from fresh produce along with some tips on how you can keep your garden healthy for next year.
Here are some ideas for how to keep your garden fresh and ready to go for next season
Mulching
Mulch benefits plants by keeping the soil cool and moist and depriving weeds of light. You can set weeds back by covering the soil’s surface with a light-blocking sheet of cardboard, newspaper, or biode­gradable fabric and then spreading prettier mulch over it. Mulching also benefits your garden by keeping the soil rich. Mulch with leaves to give your soil extra nutrients.
Digging up old plants
Old plants can harbor disease, pests, and fungi. Removing spent plants from the soil surface or burying them in garden trenches prevents pests from getting a head start come springtime. Burying old plants in your garden also adds organic matter to your soil, improving the soil and its overall health.
Pull up any old weeds
Pull all weeds from the bed, including the roots, to prevent them from taking over the bed in spring. Remove old plant debris and fallen leaves, otherwise the debris might harbor insects or diseases that could attack your new plants in spring.
Plant cover crops
Late summer or early fall is a good time to sow cover crops like rye, vetch, legumes or clover. These crops help prevent soil erosion, break up compacted areas and increase levels of organic matter in garden beds. Cover crops also add nutrients.

Roasted Butternut
Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash (about 3 lbs), halved vertically and seeded
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)
1 tsp salt
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups vegetable broth
1 to 2 Tbsp butter
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes. Then, use a large spoon to scoop the butternut squash flesh into a bowl and discard the tough skin. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot has softened and is starting to turn golden on the edges. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently. Transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to a blender. Add the reserved butternut, maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in vegetable broth. Add butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend well. Taste and stir in more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Rainbow Garden
Vegetable Soup
1 tsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
3 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
10 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 medium zucchini, halved and chopped
1 medium green cabbage, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped into small florets
1 cup green onions, chopped
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped yellow onion to the pot and saute for approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the onions and stir to combine. Cook the onions with garlic for 1 minute before adding the chopped celery, carrots, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper, dried parsley, dried Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix well and cook for approximately 5 minutes or so. Add the chicken or vegetable stock to the vegetables and increase heat to high. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook, covered, for approximately 30 minutes. Remove cover and add the zucchini, green cabbage, chopped broccoli and green onions to the soup. Cook for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables reach desired doneness. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, green onions and red chili flakes.

Rosemary Potatoes
1 lb small potatoes, or 3 medium round red or white potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges or coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt, sea salt or coarse salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp snipped fresh thyme, rosemary, and/or flat-leaf parsley
Wash potatoes. In a greased 9x9x2-inch baking pan or shallow baking pan, combine potatoes, onion and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil; toss to coat. Roast, uncovered, in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes. Stir potato mixture; bake for 10 to 20 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and brown on the edges. Stir in fresh herbs. If you like, top with cheese, allowing it to melt slightly and garnish with snipped chives.

Classic Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp salt or to taste
2 Tbsp tomato paste
20 – 24 whole tomatoes, peeled and chopped
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, bay leaf, oregano, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir constantly until the sauce begins to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent the sauce on the bottom of the pot from burning. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. Remove bay leaf before serving.