May was a very dry month. As I'm writing this we are just under half an inch of rain (though we might get more this afternoon). It is usually our wettest month of the year at 4.5 inches. Everything is so dry that our town has seen numerous small mulch or brush fires and one big one that took down part of a condo complex and killed someone. Needless to say we need the rain that is predicted for the next couple of days.
All the sun and abnormal heat has been great for the garden. I've had to water a lot, but the growth has been amazing. I've already harvested more than twice what I did last year at this time. And because of our heavy snows and cold weather over the winter, it was the latest start I've every had for the garden in spring.
The fruit is setting well too. It looks like it will be a great apple and peach year. I've thinned out the apples already, but I still need to get to the peaches. Even the two year old peach tree tried to set a few peaches. I took them off so that it can get stronger. It has really burst into growth this year and I've already had to prune it once this month to keep its shape. The smaller fruits are also setting well. It is looking to be a great strawberry year and the currants, gooseberries, and raspberries are doing well too. Sadly the blueberries suffered from all the snow crushing them. Hopefully they will recover.
- May 2, transplanted last succession of Asian green 2E
- May 3, transplanted zinnias, Brussels sprouts 8W
- May 6, transplanted lettuce 7E, basil 7E, by driveway, and in front perennial bed
- May 7, seeded peas 7W, corn 3W, cilantro by driveway
- May 10, seeded chitted Thai Rai Kaw Tok 3W
- May 16, planted purchased herbs, 2x Arp rosemary, 2x Hill Hardy rosemary, Berggarten sage, Mojito mint
- May 18, seeded parsnips turnips 4W
- May 19, stared rooting sweet potato slips
- May 20, seeded corn 3E
- May 21, put footies on Ginger Gold apple to protect from insects, and thinned
- May 24, reseeded one Thai squash 3W, one broccoli 1W
- May 24, seeded butternut 3E, coriander 8W, beans 6w
- May 24, transplanted sweet potato slips CE
- May 25, seeded second succession of turnips 4W
- May 28, seeded cucumbers 7W, zucchini 7W
- Watered 7, 12, 16, 24, 28
- Weeded all the time
- Continually tied up espaliered apple and pear trees
Oh the harvests. I've harvested a lot of greens - spinach, bok choy, mizuna, tatsoi, choy sum, chard, kale leaves, kale blossoms, pea shoots, and lettuce. The roots have started to come in too - radishes and turnips. And best of all are the fruits. I've harvested rhubarb. But my heart is stolen by the strawberries. The squirrels and I are competing. The bird netting helps a lot, but they always get some.
I've been very busy preserving this month. For some it might seem strange to prepare for the winter in the springtime. But some harvests are very much spring harvests. Many herbs get dried in May. I've dried thyme, oregano, sage, and tarragon. Spinach is a major spring harvest. This year I had one overwintered bed that got pulled in the first half of the month, but the three spring planted beds have overwhelmed me a bit with all the harvesting, blanching and freezing. In addition I've frozen mizuna, kale, and chard. Though the small bit of chard I froze somehow got mixed in with the spinach. So it is all labeled spinach in my freezer.
I'm freezing in a different way this year. Before I've done individual packets. But this year I'm doing packets that have twelve half cup blocks. They take up less space this way and I seriously need more space in the freezer. They are also easier to organize. I freeze the blocks in my mini loaf pan. And the packets are vacuum sealed. This will keep them good for a year. And I need about a year's worth of storage as if my green hold out through the winter I'll be eating them in April still. The garden doesn't really feed me until May. You might notice that my greens packets are brown. I use parchment paper to keep the greens from touching the plastic. I wish I had a good way of storing massive amounts of greens without plastic, but stainless steel is too expensive and glass is too bulky. I use glass to freeze things that are rotated through a lot, like broth or frozen meals, but greens get stuck in plastic still.
Tally of what is in storage from the garden for 2015
- Kale - 14.5 cups
- Mizuna - 17 cups
- Spinach - 36 cups
- Rhubarb butter 5 half pints
June To Do
- Plant successions of lettuce (every two weeks) and turnips (every week)
- Start plants of broccoli and other fall brassicas
- Figure out what fall brassicas I want before I have to seed them
- Continue freezing greens
- Pull spinach, baby Asian greens, and the early lettuce and radishes to make way for summer crops
- Plant corn, squash, and melons
- Stake outside rows of corn early before they blow over
- Thin peach tree
- Pull oldest strawberries when they finish producing
- Build trellis for the cucumbers once they start to run
- Pull sage in center of herb garden and put rosemary there, add parsley
This post is part of the Garden Share Collective hosted by Lizzie at Strayed From the Table.