Sunday, May 31, 2015

Garden Share Collective - June 2015

Beds 1 to 3 finally getting rain

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.

Beds 3 to 8

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.

Circle garden

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 Completed

  • 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

Spinach before harvest

Spinach after harvest, tub in the background with four pounds of spinach


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.

Upper left are frozen vacuum sealed packets of greens, lower right the spinach is getting frozen

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
  • Weed!

This post is part of the Garden Share Collective hosted by Lizzie at Strayed From the Table.


  1. Oh...look at those strawberries! Yum! You are so smart, preserving spring greens for use in the winter. I found that I was often in the "I have to use what I harvest now" mode last year and that is just not the case. It seems so obvious - you have excess, you preserve it for when there is no harvesting going on. So thanks for that lesson & I'm hoping to put it to good use this year!

    I think we have just received an entire month of rain since yesterday - we definitely needed it - I was getting tired of dragging the hose around, especially with the new trees & berry canes.

    Yesterday I was constantly back and forth, trying to get my tomatoes transplanted and beans in, in between downpours. And today it is raining again. When they said it was going to rain this weekend, I thought it was going to be like all the other times - a bit of a sprinkling but that's about it. Had I known it was going to be as much as it was, I would have made a big push to get everything planted out during the week.

  2. Wow! Talk about progress! Nice work busy bee :)

  3. Your garden really is a food-factory! Why is it bad to let the frozen greens come into contact with plastic?

    1. My doctor just wants me to avoid as many endocrine disruptors as possible. Which means no plastics. Or as little as possible. Though to be honest there is very little migration of plastics into frozen food as long as it stays frozen.

  4. I LOVE when you show pictures of your garden beds all at once - they look fabulous (and so organized compared to my rambling beds all over the place). Strawberries look sooo good!

  5. Daphne you are my garden to freezer goddess, I have so much to learn. Your garden looks very green and with the rain you are having it will give all your plants a super start to life. Hope you have a wonderful month in the garden.

  6. I am so jealous of your strawberries!

  7. Wow...just amazing! Your garden looks so professional and neat. It's scarey about the fires, hopefully enough rain will come soon.

  8. Oh your garden is so organized, and clearly you are pretty self sustaining in vegetables. awesome! Your strawberries look delicious - I normally eat mine while I am out in the garden, obviously I dont have as many as you do!.

  9. Your garden and preservation process is truly inspirational. Very methodically planned and managed. I love it.

  10. I love how consistent you are with preserving your bounty. Normally we do a lot of canning, but we may have to get a freezer this year.

    Your spring garden is amazingly productive, even with the late snow you had.

  11. Daphne , your garden is amazing. I live in central Florida and every thing has started to bolt. Even the beans have stopped producing. Bees are not pollinating my squash plants so only have blossoms. What are the round covers on your beds?

    1. They keep the insects out. I have two types. The white one I probably wouldn't buy again though it doesn't last long enough for the price and doesn't look good in the garden. The see through ones are just fabric netting. They are fragile but cheap.

  12. You really are a model gardener. I'm constantly impressed by your level of organisation and commitment to preserving. May I ask how large your growing space is?

    1. My raised beds have 565 sqft (52 sqm) of space.