Friday, June 25, 2010

First Harvest

The new garden was planted on May 23rd. Well now it is a month later and I've gotten my first harvest. I was out picking off leaf miner eggs from the chard which I do every couple of days. Then Scott (who owns the other half of the townhouse we are in) wanted to know how the garden was doing. He was commenting that things were growing well. And indeed they are. He probably mentioned something about what I'm picking from the garden and I was struck that I hadn't harvested anything yet. And here I was picking off leaf miner eggs from the huge leaves of the chard. A couple of the plants were quite ready to be harvested from. And the basil that I kept bumping into and smelling when I dealt with the chard was also ready.

Plants after harvest

So I did. Now the chard looks tiny again. I usually pick chard once a week and pick all the large leaves off but one. This way I don't have as many leaves to check for leaf miners. It may or may not be the most productive way to grow chard. It certainly isn't the prettiest, but it is the easiest.

Dehydrating Basil

I also picked the basil tops. You can barely tell the plants were harvested from, but I did. Some of the basil is a little yellow in spots. This is probably not a nitrogen deficiency but an iron deficiency. I did a soil test a while back and it has a pH of 7.2. This is a bit high for all of my crops and it is high enough to cause a few minor micronutrient deficiencies like iron. The soil is rich in organic matter so that ought to help as most micronutrients are more available when the organic matter is high. I'm guessing with all the acid rain we get here that by the end of the summer my soil will be easily below 7, so I didn't bother to correct it. Usually I have to add lime every year for things to grow well.

23 comments:

  1. Congrats on your first new garden harvest ! The chard looks great. I got my first chard harvest this week too. Like you, I picked the bigger leaves. Will it keep producing all summer ?

    Sure is pleasant brushing up against basil, isn't it ? Mmm, I can smell it now. Nice harvest !

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  2. miss m, not only will it produce all summer, but it will produce all fall too. It won't stop until a hard freeze.

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  3. Yay for the new garden! Congratulations on your first harvest from it. :-)

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  4. Yay for your first harvest! I would suggest, if you haven't already, getting a professional soils test. I've had horrible luck with the store bought ones, costing me an entire year of crops.

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  5. How exciting, your first harvest from the new garden! I love chard for its long season, with my mild winters I can harvest until the plants bolt in the spring.

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  6. EG, thanks

    Rachel, never fear the soil test was from the extension service. I always send soil to them when I start a garden because I want the lead test done too.

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  8. Congrats on your first harvest from your new garden!

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  9. YIPPEE!!! Celebrating the first harvest!!! Sometimes the first harvest sneeks up on us!!

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  10. Another YAY for the first harvest in the new garden! Your basil looks really healthy. Mine was like that too, until I discovered some mystery holes on my leaves. My container basil is doing much better than the ones in the ground, but mine may be planted too close together at just a couple of inches apart (I'm a newbie - I didn't know!!). How far apart did you plant yours?

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  11. Love fresh basil. Congrats on harvesting from the new garden.

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  12. The chard and basil grew so fast - it looks beautiful! Your old garden is looking great too.

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  13. New beginnings Daphne, it sure is a good start of a harvest!

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  14. I second all those Yays! Granny is doing the happy dance for Daphne's new garden, and her first harvest!

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  15. michelle, I wish I could harvest it all winter. I wonder how long it will last in this house. The bed stays pretty hot so it might take a while to freeze over.

    Mr Lonely, I'm more of a gardening blog person.

    Robin, thanks

    debiclegg, usually I'm all over it, but this year it really did sneak up on me. I'm sure when the tomatoes come in I will have anticipated for ages beforehand.

    thyme2garden, I plant mine about 8" apart. Jeavons says 6", but I've never done them that close. This year was weird though. I didn't grow my own transplants and bought some. Each cell had about 5 in them. The birds kept ripping the tops off of them so they stayed five for a while so I would have some left after the birds killed them. Then I went down to two. So each spot is 8" apart but has two plants.

    meemsnyc, thanks.

    A Kitchen Garden, the basil in the old garden is totally slug eaten. It never really grew well without me there to take care of it.

    Kelly, I hope so.

    Granny, I want video of that :>

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  16. Congratulations on your first harvest from the the new garden.

    I've never thought of drying basil before, you gave me something to think about. I'm still waiting for my chard to size up.

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  17. Your basil could have blight...NPR has an article about how basil blight is back in your area. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128061773

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  18. mac, thanks. Basil is very hard to try. It often loses its flavor if you aren't careful with it. I've never been successful without a dehydrator.

    lauren, I read about that yesterday an another blog. I don't think it does yet. There are no black spores on the back yet. But I will be picking the basil regularly to freeze in oil because I'm guessing I'll lose it soon enough if that disease spreads quickly.

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  19. Hi Daphne! Your garden looks fantastic! I wish I'd planted more basil--I harvested some the other day and now my poor teeny square of basil looks pretty sad!! I'm inquiring about chard recipes. I want to grow some (I'm pulling up my cilantro because it's already bolted) and am excited about it's long growing season but am clueless about what to do with it! It's such a BEAUTIFUL green just by itself but I'd love to know how to cook it. Any advice?

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  20. I envy your basil. Mine is pitiful this year because of the cold and rainy conditions for weeks on end. I am hoping it will rebound if the weather ever warms up.

    Congratulations on the new garden harvest!

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  21. Liz chard is in the same family as spinach and can be used just like it. I use it in quiches and soups. I eat t by it self sauteed or steamed. My favorite way to eat it is just like I eat spinach. I boil it up and after it is cooked and drained I sprinkle a little balsamic or red wine vinegar over it.

    kitsapFG, sadly at the other house the basil is doing poorly. I think the slugs have eaten it too much. Ah well I have plenty at this house.

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  22. Basil plant's soil pH is 7.2. It means that the soil is more on alkaline. Maybe you are over in fertilizing your basil plants or maybe your soil is too waterlogged. Its the reasons why iron deficiency happens.

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  23. Rose Silver, the soil was put in like that in May. I'm sure it will be acidic by the end of the Fall. We usually have acidic soil here.

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