Monday, October 31, 2011

Harvest Monday - October 31, 2011

As you have probably read about on so many blogs in the eastern US, we got snow. But it wasn't as much as Robin who lives in Pennsylvania or Thomas who lives in eastern Massachusetts. We are so urban, and the city holds a lot of heat. We only got about two inches. And as you can see on the brick path, much of the snow melted as it hit. The plows didn't even come out in our town.

Last week was the last of my CSA so this week I was just picking enough for myself. I brushed the snow off the Asian greens row cover and picked a few plants. Some tatsoi, white stemmed bok choy and some Shanghai bok choy. I like to pick for the week when it is so cold outside. In the morning especially I won't go out in the cold. If I make eggs and there are greens in the fridge, I"ll use them. If not I'll eat them plain. So I have to make sure the fridge is stocked.

The Asian green patch is now in a new mode. In the last few weeks I thinned it out, making sure I picked enough from every row that the other plants had room to grow. I sent the extras to my CSA and to my townhousemates. This week I tried to pick what I would eat for the week. It has become cold and in a couple of weeks the ground will freeze. Recently this has been happening around mid November. Last night was a freeze (as I write the temp is 27.8F). It will unthaw during the week, but I'll soon have to get the plastic hoop up. The cold weather means the plants will stop growing. They will hold in the ground just fine for a month or two. At least that is the hope.

Last week was also clean up week. I got all the bean trellises taken down. There were two varieties that had some beans that hadn't dried on them. So they were shelled to be eaten fresh. These were runner beans and Cherokee Trail of Tears beans. The smaller green ones are the same varieties, but the beans just hadn't matured yet.

  • Beans 1.31 lbs
  • Greens 1.70 lbs
  • Weekly Total 3.01 lbs
  • Weekly Spent $0
  • Yearly Total 538.19 lbs
  • Veggie Garden was worth $1178.81
  • Fruit 1.87 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What's Growing in the Fall Garden

Though I've ripped out most of my plants in the garden, I still have a few producing. Or in the case of carrots I have tons. Above is a spot about 2'x8' section of my circle garden filled with carrots ready to pick. Since the circle garden is surrounded by bricks and brick path and close to the kitchen door I want to save these and cover them when the ground starts to freeze. I want to bring carrots to Thanksgiving. BTW the netting on this bed is for the almost gone lettuce. The birds would eat it down to the stubs if I didn't do this.

Then there is the main part of the garden that is lower in sun. These carrots were planted earlier than the ones in the circle garden, but with the lack of sun they are small and many aren't even big enough to pick. Over the next few weeks I'll be eating the ones that are large enough. I'll leave the rest and see if they make it to spring. This area is a massive area of carrots. I've probably got over 30 sqft of carrots in this bed, but only if they can mature in time.

The Argentata chard did so much better than the Ruby chard. There seems to be some disease maybe that is distorting the leaves of the Ruby chard, but the Argentata is fairly immune to it. I never knew anything could affect them besides leaf miners. Live and learn. I'll grow the Argentata exclusively next year or at least as long as Fedco offers the seeds.

Also in the Chenepodium family is my spinach. It has been struggling this fall. The leaf miners did a number on it earlier and rotted out their leaves. So I picked all the dying rotting leaves and they have recovered somewhat, but at this point it will be spring spinach and not fall spinach. I'm sure it will overwinter just fine.

My kale is growing so fabulously. I used to have a row cover on it, but in the last couple of days I haven't seen any of those white butterflies. So I'm guessing it is safe to uncover. Which is good since I wanted to stake them for fall and they were getting too tall of the cover. I'll leave them unprotected this winter and harvest the leaves in January maybe. I want to see which ones survive the winter. These are a mixed batch. I'm not sure which ones they are, but hopefully I'll be able to narrow it down. If they all survive, well then I want to find the tastiest and best growing for next year.

And last but not least are my herbs. I so love fresh herbs. I chop them up in the mornings for my eggs. I toss them on a slice of bread and melted cheese. They have finally filled out their circle. Now my chore will be to keep the English thyme from invading the French thyme. I like the French better, but the English seems to survive better. I also have some Rosemary in this bed. It is supposed to be hardy to zone 6 or 7. I'm hoping it survives. I also have two along the foundation of the house. One that is a hardy one like the above and one that is Tuscan Blue, which is one of the best tasting. I don't have high hopes for the survival of Tuscan Blue, but I had to try.

I also have my Asian greens bed producing, but I'll take photos of that another day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Planting Garlic

Tuesday I got my garlic planted. I like to plant it in the last week of October, which is usually about the time of our first frost. Most years I plan ahead and prepare the garlic cloves, but this year I just picked the largest bulbs, took them apart and used them as is. I'm being such a lazy gardener this fall.

I like to plant my garlic six inches apart in a grid. I plant them four inches deep, then mulch with an inch of compost. In past years I've mulched deeper, but our city climate seems pretty mild. I think that will be sufficient.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cleaning Up

I know over the last two months I've been not blogging except to keep Harvest Monday going. All my extra energy has been spent trying to keep the garden up. But I've been feeling much better over the last week and figured I ought to get back into the swing of things. Or maybe I want to start again because my townhouse mates took down all the solanum crops for me. Seeing them every time I went out into the garden was pretty depressing. They offered to take them down as soon as I got sick from them, but I figured they ought to be enjoyed even if I couldn't. Now that they are gone, I'm much happier.

I've been working over the last couple of weeks to take all my trellises down and get all the beans into the compost. Yesterday the last of them came down. The overhead view shows that there isn't much left in the garden anymore. I'll show you all that is still producing in another post, but for now it about taking them down.

My compost is over flowing. I had to get the finished compost taken out of that almost empty bin. I've spread it over parts of the garden that have been cleaned up. Now I finally have room to turn it. I'll probably get to it during the next non rainy day. But today is raining and tomorrow it might even snow. Wow. Snow. We have had such a warm fall it is hard to imagine weather that cold. But Thursday night we might get our first frost and snow. Maybe.

It is pretty empty. I put the tomato trellises on the surface of the cleaned beds because otherwise the cats leave me unwanted gifts. We have about 5-7 cats that regularly visit the yard. So any empty soil is always kept covered. But I do provide for the cats. I have a spot that they can use when they want. I clean it every month. It is under the chimney to my gas fireplace so it is even a dry spot for them. I'm hoping with all the cats I won't get too many mice and voles.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Harvest Monday - October 24, 2011

The cold weather really has moved in. We haven't had a frost yet, but as I write this our temperature is at 37F. So I was out removing things from the garden. My townhouse mates were too. They removed the eggplants, picking as they went. And they removed all the pepper plants and harvested a huge amount of them. They were going to make some hot pepper sauce with the spicy ones. None of these were weighed, but they picked a couple of huge bags of peppers and quite a few eggplants.

I was out picking the last of the celery. This doesn't look very big, but trust me it is. I had to cut them in thirds just to fit them in my fridge. There are six pounds of celery in that pile. What I kept I'll clean and chop up and freeze. I'll keep a little fresh as it is truly soup season now. I made two different soups last week.

I picked the last of the leeks. If you see the one on the bottom is is perfect. I don't think I've ever grown one that has been as huge as the ones you find in the supermarkets. Mine tend to be an inch wide or less. Also in there is probably the last zucchini. I never pulled them even though they stopped producing and lo and behold, the strongest of them put one more out. A tiny one, but still a zucchini toward the end of October here is really unusual. I picked more carrots. These were smaller than last weeks. I picked them over in the shadier part of the garden. Some have sized up OK, but not great. I figure I'll pick all the ones big enough at all over there first. When it gets colder the carrots outside my kitchen door will be easier to get to and have a tendency to freeze less as they are surrounded by bricks and not wood.

Every week I pick Asian Greens. I thin out the largest of the baby boc choy (both white and green stemmed) and the tatsoi. Every week they fill in the gaps and get bigger. I tipped one up in the corner so you can see how big they are getting. The biggest are just under half a pound which is huge for a baby choy. Every week before harvesting they look so beautiful in their beds (I really need to take a photo) and every week they look so sad after harvesting. But the holes left in the bed give me a chance to put down some sluggo. There are slugs in this bed and I pull some off the greens every week, but with the sluggo the leaves aren't shredded at least.

The slugs like the Fun Jen the best. I think it is because it is such a mild Asian green, but they are still doing well. Only some heads have tattered tops. I think this plant really acts as a trap crop for the rest of the bed. Most are looking pretty good though. So I'm pretty happy with them. I pick the largest of these each week too. Almost everyone thinks these are lettuce when they see them, and in fact that is how I use them. They make very good salads.

  • Alliums 1.49 lbs
  • Carrots 1.23 lbs
  • Cucurbits 0.21 lbs
  • Eggplant unknown
  • Greens 11.39 lbs
  • Herbs 0.18
  • Pepper unknown
  • Raspberries unknown
  • Weekly Total 20.50 lbs
  • Weekly Spent $0
  • Yearly Total 535.17 lbs
  • Veggie Garden was worth $1164.01
  • Fruit 1.87 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Harvest Monday - October 17, 2011

I was gone all week long to visit my parents in Colorado (last Harvest Monday was scheduled). When I got back the Asian greens had filled in the spaces that I had thinned out. So they needed to be thinned again. The Fun Jen will get a lot larger, but the bok choy is pretty much at its adult size. There are a few little ones hiding though. I cut the larger ones out to give them a chance to grow up.

Yet more Asian greens from my little 2.5 x 8 foot patch. Along with carrots hiding under the tatsoi and some huge bunching onions. The fall garden by the kitchen - my circle garden - is growing well this fall as is the rock wall garden. But the main garden where my spinach is is stagnating. It just doesn't get enough sun to let things grow well. I have a huge patch of spinach there, but I won't get anything this fall. I'll have to wait until spring when all the leaves are off my neighbor's tree and the sun comes out from behind his house. I get lots of sun in the spring, but not enough in the fall. The carrots show this too. The carrots in the circle garden are already being picked, but the carrots in the main bed are still very small and struggling. I hope they have time to bulk up, but I'm not counting on it. I should have planted peas there since at least the peas are tall and can reach for the sun. I'll remember that for future years and make sure to have the shorter fall crops in the circle bed and any tall fall crops in the main bed.

My dill has self seeded everywhere as has my cilantro. The cilantro is just an inch tall (again it is in the main bed with little sun and the bad part of the main bed at that), but the dill is growing well and I have lots to pick. Last night I made carrots and dill for a dinner. They were very good.

  • Alliums 0.86 lbs
  • Carrots 1.99 lbs
  • Greens 3.60 lbs
  • Herbs 0.34
  • Lettuce unknown
  • Pepper unknown
  • Raspberries unknown
  • Weekly Total 6.79 lbs
  • Weekly Spent $0
  • Yearly Total 514.67 lbs
  • Veggie Garden was worth $1101.49
  • Fruit 1.87 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Harvest Monday - October 10, 2011

This week I broke 500lbs of produce. I'm sure I broke the number earlier, but since none of the tomatoes and peppers have been weighed since the end of August I can't count them. I did a better job of photographing what I picked, but still am falling down on the job. This week the Asian greens really started to come in. Everything I'm picking in that category is just thinning out the patch.

The August sowing of carrots is starting to produce. The Mokums and Purple Haze are huge now. The Sugar Snax need more time and may or may not size up totally. But this basket really features the leeks. It is time for leek and potato soup. Well not for me since I'm still not allowed to eat potatoes, but my CSA friends got leeks and potatoes. Maybe they will eat soup.

The potatoes are about two thirds picked right now. The yields have been about half what I would like. I planted about five pounds of seed potato. I'd love to pull out ten times that or 50 lbs, but I think the total will end up being about 25 lbs. Pretty sad. It is hard to get worked up over it though since I don't get to eat them. But I'm saving a few Kennebecs for my husband. When we bake chicken I'll bake him one and me a sweet potato. Hmm maybe I should try growing sweet potatoes next year. My husband won't touch them, but I will.

I've also been picking my beans and pulling out the plants over time. These are the Borlotto beans. I was growing them as a dried bean, but they just took too long. So I picked a lot as shelling beans. The dried beans I've been picking aren't in the harvest totals yet as they are drying in paper bags. I've shelled all that I've picked already. Since it has been so wet over the last couple of weeks I like to get the bean out of the shell as quickly as possible so they don't mold out. I've lost a bit to mold, but not as much as I feared.

  • Alliums 1.83 lbs
  • Shelling beans 0.66 lbs
  • Carrots 1.21 lbs
  • Cucurbits 16.36 lbs
  • Eggplant unknown
  • Greens 2.74 lbs
  • Herbs unknown
  • Lettuce unknown
  • Pepper unknown
  • Potatoes 5.64 lbs
  • Raspberries unknown
  • Weekly Total 12.09 lbs
  • Weekly Spent $0
  • Yearly Total 507.89 lbs
  • Veggie Garden was worth $1069.62
  • Fruit 1.87 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Harvest Monday - October 3, 2011

Though this was harvested ages ago, I finally had it all dried and weighed this week. I had enough to send to my CSA and my townhouse mates. I still had plenty for myself to use as a spice and for seed. Though the odds of me needing seed are slim. I put the chaff which had a ton of seed all over the place in the garden. I'm sure I'll get a lot coming up next spring. Cilantro (same plant as coriander but called a different name when grown as a leafy herb) really is best self planted. Or sort of self planted like I did. Just toss the seed heads where ever you want them when the seeds ripen. The only flaw is that you do have to plan ahead.

The squirrels have been tasting things this week. I was afraid to leave the butternut squash out any longer. Though the skin is hard to get through if they get desperate enough they will succeed. For now I've got a couple with little teeth marks that tried to get through. I'm sure they will scar over just fine, but they will be the first used. None are terribly large. They average just over two pounds each. I didn't pick any of the Black Futsu. It isn't quite ripe. I have one starting to turn orange, but the others are quite dark green. The squirrels haven't touched them. I have to be honest. With the weird warty black skin and the strange grey cast they get as they ripen, they don't look very edible to me either. I hope they do ripen up though. I really want to try them.

It is raspberry season. Though most of the raspberries are picked and eaten out of hand, I finally took a photo of one day's harvest. This variety is Jaclyn. At my old house I grew Heritage which I loved. These taste just as good and the berries are huge which makes for easier picking. Our Alpine strawberries are getting picked and eaten out of hand too. A photo of them is elusive. The Yellow Wonder are so tasty. I wish I had only planted that one variety. Our red variety Ruegen just doesn't hold up.

Then came the chard. I had to clean it out. I hadn't looked under the row cover and some moth had gotten under. They looked like cutworms - those grey worms that curl up, but unlike cutworms they didn't hide in the dirt. They hid at the base of the plants. Some were out foraging during the day. I had to cut out a lot of too damaged leaves. Boy they did a lot of damage. As I was cleaning the place up I harvested three pounds of the leaves. The chard didn't do as well this year as previous years. I think they do better when I harvest them more regularly. Either every week or every other week. I just let them go this year. And the carrots and onions look so small in this photo, but don't be fooled. That is a pound and a half of green onions there. And almost that amount of carrots. Those chard leaves are huge. I've been really impressed with the Argentata chard this year. The Ruby chard just isn't pulling its weight. I love the red color, but I like the taste of the Argentata and it is way more productive.

  • Alliums 1.57 lbs
  • Carrots 1.32 lbs
  • Cucurbits 16.36 lbs
  • Eggplant unknown
  • Greens 3.00 lbs
  • Herbs 0.19lbs + lots unweighed
  • Lettuce unknown
  • Pepper unknown
  • Raspberries 0.18 lbs
  • Tomato unknown
  • Weekly Total 22.44 lbs
  • Weekly Spent $0
  • Yearly Total 495.80 lbs
  • Veggie Garden was worth $1037.69
  • Fruit 1.87 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.