Sunday, June 30, 2013

Garden Tour

I haven't given a garden tour in a while. I used to be good about it and took photos every month, but I've gotten lax about it.

As you can see below, I live in an urban neighborhood. Most of the homes surrounding me are two family houses. Some are condos, some are apartments with different generations living on different floors. We bought our house new. The land many years ago was an estate, but more recently it was a neighbor's garden. The lot has two townhouses on it. Our friends live in the other townhouse. We bought the houses at the same time and had the builder connect our living rooms. The builder originally had the backyard fenced off in the middle. We had him change that too. We share our small yard and the fence in the backyard is now a short picket fence that keeps the critters out of the garden. The rest is landscaped in pretty plants, fruit trees, and berry bushes. Someday this summer I will hopefully give a tour of those too. But this tour is about the vegetable garden.

Side yard
Most of the garden is in the side yard. Much of it used to be driveway. We had the builder take a lot of the pavement out. We left just enough space to park two cars. We had the front small patch of lawn turned into drivable grass as legally we were supposed to have two parking spots for each household. But neither of our families really felt like we needed two cars where we live. We are 3/4 of a mile from the subway stop (and if they ever get the green line extension up, we will be 1 mile from a different line), and two blocks from the bus stop on a line that runs every 10 minutes. The garden was a better use of the space for us than a huge driveway.

I divided this space into eight beds that are 4'x16. There is a wooden board in the middle of the bed, so I often think of them as having two beds each 4'x8'. And of course I've numbered them 1-8 on all my garden plans. I also have what I call the circle garden. which is just around the corner. That section is built with bricks instead of cedar like the rest of the garden.

Bed 1
Bed 1 had my peas, carrots, bolting lettuce, celery, and annual herbs. Sadly I'm going to miss the next flush of peas before I leave for vacation. I'm hoping the carrots will be ready to pick before I go. If not they will have to wait until I get back. I don't like to leave them in that long as the carrot flies will start hatching soon enough. I don't want to lose them. I'll pick them small if I have to.

Bed 2
Bed 2 is my Allium bed with some lettuces at the end that I'm going to collect seed from. The garlic is usually almost ready to be picked by now. I usually pick it around July 1st. It could use more time this year as the bottom leaves have only started to show a little brown. But I'll harvest before I leave anyway as it will be way too late by the time I get back. The rest of the bed is in onions. Some of them are covered to protect from the onion maggot. Sadly I put the cover on too late. I'll be better about it next year I hope.

Bed 3
Bed 4
The next two beds are my two sisters beds. As you can see I planted them at different times to stagger the harvest of the corn. Sadly the squash from the latest planted bed didn't germinate at one end. I've resown the bed with some Early Butternut, but I don't know if it will have time to mature or not. I hope so.

Bed 5
Bed 5 has my sweet potatoes (not shown) in one section of the bed and the Tigers Eye beans in the other. As you can see the Tiger's Eye seems to be doing OK right now. It still has rust, but it doesn't seem to be spreading as much as it was. I'll drench it with some fish emulsion again tomorrow. The sweet potatoes are doing well and are starting to vine. Now the hard part starts as I try to keep them inside their bed.

Bed 6 house side
Bed 6 fence side
The favas are doing very well, but I think I might be gone before they are finished. I have been picking but there is a ton still on the plants. I think I'll just let those be and maybe they will be dried by the time I get back. I can hope. The other side is the zucchini and cucumbers. As you can see the third sowing of cucumbers finally took. So I will get some this year. I'm keeping them under cover to keep the squash vine borers at bay. Keeping out the cucumber beetles is a nice side bonus. I'm hoping these won't get big enough to fruit while I'm gone, but will be about ready when I get back. I can remove the cover then and train the cukes up a trellis.

Bed 7
Bed 7 has some just planted Jacob's Cattle beans (not shown). I wanted my Tigers Eye to go there too, but I couldn't find the seed jar. I've never lost seed like this before, but usually it isn't in a jar. I put it in my plastic seed box in the fridge. Oh well. The other side of bed 7 is the broccoli and swiss chard. Both are doing well this year.

Bed 8
The last bed in this section has my Cherokee Trail of Tears beans. I planted a whole 4'x8' bed in it. I've never done that before. I wonder how much I'll get. The other side is my new asparagus bed. I really hope it likes it here. I love asparagus.

Circle Garden
I only took one photo of the circle garden. The middle circle holds a lot of my herbs which are growing fabulously this year. The outer two beds are a strange shape, but put together they are close to the size of one of my other beds. The nearest is planted all in melons. I'm not going to trellis them this year. I'm just giving them more space. I'll see how they do. The far bed is planted in pole beans. I have four kinds. Tabais, GaGa Hut pinto, Kentucky Wonder, and Kentucky Wonder Wax. So half of them are green beans and half are dried beans.

Our lot is small, but luckily the side yard is very sunny for one so close to the other houses. The neighbor's house shades the garden in the winter - I'll never have a greenhouse. And in the fall the trees block the sun quite a bit. But I can still grow things pretty well here.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fiesta Broccoli

Fiesta is a very tasty mid season broccoli.

Until last year I had never gotten a big head of broccoli. My heads were maybe 3-4" across if I was very lucky. Production never amounted to much. Last year I tried Fiesta. I was floored. The heads were huge. I figured a broccoli that has huge heads wouldn't continue to put out side shoots, but it does. And some of the side shoots are real broccoli heads in their own right. Before I grew this variety, broccoli was a much loved plant that couldn't pull its weight in the garden. I grew it anyway. But this one will produce all the way from summer into fall. Last year I harvested 22 pounds in two thirds of a 4'x8' bed. So it was giving me a pound per square foot. Amazing for broccoli.

It does have its flaws. Minor ones for someone that isn't selling her produce. The heads don't stay flat. The head above still has very tightly packed buds. It hasn't greened up yet and is still quite yellow. But the head is already irregular. It has a very small picking window unless you want to pick it at this yellow green stage. Once it gets to the typical broccoli color it is almost ready to burst into bloom. Sometimes there are also brown spots in the head. So far I haven't seen them yet this year, but later in the summer as it gets warmer, it will become more frequent. They are easy enough to cut out as a home grower, but they wouldn't make it if you wanted to sell them.

Also the stems will get tougher and sometimes the thick stem will have a hollow core. Now I'm eating the stems with relish, but later on I'll have to peel them if I want to eat them. I'm fine with that. The production and the good taste are enough to overcome its minor flaws.

The taste does change over the season if you keep the plants in production. The first pickings are pretty mellow, but as the heat comes on and the plant gets older, the flavor gets more intense. Usually I hate my broccoli with cheese sauce, because it covers up the taste of the broccoli. But when the flavor intensifies, cheese sauce starts to make a lot of sense. It can hold its own next to a sharp cheddar.

I'm linking up with Liz over at the Suburban Tomato. Check out the other Saturday Spotlights.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Strawberries and Gooseberries

I got a little more preserving done today. I made another batch of egg rolls to use up the last of the Chinese cabbage. I succeeded. My fridge seems so much more open without all that Chinese cabbage sitting around. Though I still have the regular cabbage. At least it keeps longer in the fridge. I also harvested some peppermint and dehydrated it. Luckily the weather forecast for the day was much cooler with scattered rain mostly in the afternoon so I could spend some time actually in my garden. I just can't make myself go out in those 90 degree days. Especially when it is humid.

The big chore for the day was to deal with my strawberry plants along the rock wall garden. So of course my neighbor Astro wanted to join in. But he was stuck behind the fence. I ended up petting him a couple of time while I was working. This section is the plum tree section. I had lush Earliglow strawberries along the side.
But in the front there was nothing. That section got way too dry. Between the lack of rain last year, the lack of a working irrigation system, and the plum tree roots, they just couldn't live there. Hopefully I'll keep it better watered this year with the soaker hoses.
This was half of the fig tree section that has the Sparkle berries. As you can see they could care less about water and competing with a tree.
This is the other half of the fig tree section. The Seascape berries couldn't even survive the edges. So I pulled all the Seascapes. I don't need a berry that can't produce. I also don't like it since it is an ever bearer. I like to put up bird netting to protect the berries, but I hate it being up all year long. I like having the fruit change with the seasons. Right now I'm picking raspberries and gooseberries. And the blueberries are just starting to ripen. Then the peaches and apples will come. I know I have figs, plums, and pears too, but harvesting anything from them looks iffy or a long way off so I'm not counting them.

Anyway they got pulled out. I amended the soil with some compost and fertilizer. Then started digging out some of those over crowded Sparkle plants to go there. I don't want the strawberries to grow along the back of the bed. It is too hard to cover the strawberries to keep the birds and squirrels out. I just want one row along the front. And I only wanted one solitary plant for each foot. Now Sparkle will ignore me unless I keep on top of it. Both my varieties are very vigorous with runners. But I'm going to try to keep them from getting too crowded for better production. I'm going to have to go out and pull them ever couple of weeks.

Next up was the apple and pear section of the rock wall garden. This is new this year. Last year it was a sick asparagus bed. Now it has espalliered trees like the rest of this garden. But until today it didn't have any strawberries. I did put a few flowers into the bed. So I planted the strawberries in between the flowers, but still in the front. This time I used all the excess Earliglow. I didn't finish the whole section. I figure some runners will fill in the holes.

Then I mulched with some salt marsh hay and watered it all in well. I still hadn't gotten to the plum tree section, but I was exhausted. So I started to go in for a rest. I didn't get in however - well except to get some containers. I noticed that my gooseberries had started to ripen. The Tixia was starting to blush and the Invicta had turned a slight yellow (which green gooseberries get when they ripen). So I picked. Last year I loved the Invicta and the Hinnomaki Red. The Tixia didn't produce last year. The Invicta has large green tart berries that taste good and cooks quite well and is easy to process because of its fruit size. Its thorns are vicious however. You have to be very careful when picking.

The Hinnomaki Red has smaller berries. It is very productive it is good cooked and eaten out of hand. The taste is divine. I didn't pick the Hinnomaki since I want it to be dead ripe which it might be next week. Many gooseberries are picked before they ripen totally since they have a really in your face tart flavor that way. They aren't eaten raw that way, but are cooked.

Last year I didn't really prune the branches much. There weren't many branches. They say to prune out the ones on the ground, but that is all I really had so I didn't. This year the bushes are much larger. So I got my pruning shears and pruned off all the ground based branches on the two I harvested.

They look much better now. And their fruit next year won't be dripping on the ground. I do have a few war wounds though. I swear Invicta's thorns are out to get me. I ought to do it wearing leather head to toe to protect myself.

I taste tested my Trixia for the first time. Ick. I'm not saying it tastes bad. But compared to my other two it just isn't worth it. I thought it was watery. It was billed as a bush with very large berries (true), very productive (not for me), excellent taste (not so much) and semi thornless (well I didn't notice bad thorns, but nothing compares to Invicta with thorns). So I'm going to have to rip it out. Sigh. I'll replace it with another Hinnomaki Red. The branches lying on the ground have rooted in spots and when I pick that bush I'll dig up a part and use that was a replacement.

After that I came in for my rest and my friend who was making a huge dragon for our house called. The dragon was done. And if you didn't know dragons are my husbands animal. He has always loved them. It isn't the only dragon we own. Our doorbell is in the form of a dragon too. I keep looking for a dragon for my garden too. I envision a Chinese dragon "swimming" in the soil, with several sections that come above. I still haven't found one.

I had a nice cooling lunch. Though the temperature only got to 75F I was hot and sweaty. The air was like soup. And I have to say those carrots were to die for. This is my first week picking them and oh so good. Usually summer carrots are slightly bitter, but not these.

Then I finally got out and finished up the strawberry bed. I hope they grow and give me more strawberries than this year. This year I only got 6 pounds of berries. Last year I got 22.6 pounds in the same space. If I keep them healthy (read watered). I ought to be able to get even more. I missed my strawberry smoothies. There will be no strawberry ice cream. And no strawberry rhubarb crisp made from the frozen berries. Ah well. I do have jam. And I got some in my cereal during the season. I guess that is something. Strawberries are not something that can be neglected if you want a good harvest.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Laveder, Peas, Broccoli, and Egg Rolls

There has been a lot of preserving done in my house recently. As usual I missed the lavender when it was in the bud stage when you are supposed to pick it for use in the kitchen, but I picked it anyway. Some had buds, some flowers had opened. It still smelled fabulous.

Some of the flowers I made into a simple syrup. The color is from the sugar and not the lavender. I'd never made this one before and was hoping to get the purple from the flowers. But none of the color bled out.

The rest of the flowers and buds I dehydrated. I had way too much to fit into the dehydrator so I made two bundles and they are hanging on the sides of my mantle. Earlier in the morning I had dehydrated parsley too. I have so many herbs to work through.

Both Monday and Tuesday I was blanching and freezing peas. I blanch peas for exactly two minutes then dump them as quickly as possible into a tub with a lot of ice water.
Tuesday I did more than just peas. I had the first broccoli harvest. I knew I couldn't eat it all so I blanched and froze some. I used to tray freeze them and put them into a ziploc but I've found that vacuum sealing them in individual packets keeps them so much longer and fresher. So I do that now. In some ways it is worse as I can't measure out what I want. I have to defrost a packet size (usually a cup).
Yesterday afternoon I made a huge batch of egg roll innards. I have trouble with deep frying things as I just detest the smell of the oil in the house afterwards. And since it has been hot and humid the house has been closed up. So I made the insides one day.
Then early the next morning while it was still not deathly hot I put them together and deep fried them. I had the deep frier under the window with a fan pointing out. It worked pretty well. I can still smell the oil just a little now that the house is closed up again, but not a lot.

This is the first time I've made egg rolls. I put a recipe together that was a compendium of other recipes. They included of course all the things that are coming out of the garden right now. I added 50% to the recipe. I figured I would go through a packet and a half of wrappers, but nope. It only made 22. And that is about how many come in a packet. So below I have a new recipe adjusted for how much it really makes.

Egg Rolls

  • 1 1/2 T oil
  • 1 lb shelled shrimp (optional)
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 T fresh ginger grated
  • 8 oz shiitake mushrooms (optional)
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 2 T rice wine
  • 1 1/2 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 c bunching onions chopped
  • 1 1/2 c carrots shredded
  • 10 c Chinese cabbage shredded
  • 1 package egg roll wrappers
  • oil for deep frying
  • Saute shrimp in oil in a very large pan until just done. Remove from pan and cool. Chop into small pieces.

    Add mushrooms, ginger, and garlic to pan and cook until mushroom are soft. Add the liquids and sugar and stir to deglaze pan. Add the onions and carrots and mix very well to get the garlic and ginger well incorporated. Add cabbage, stir, and cook until soft. Drain well.

    Put the egg roll wrapper so one of the points if facing down. Put 1/4 c of the cabbage mixture and some of the shrimp onto the middle bottom of the egg roll. Form it the mixture so it is in a rough tube shape. Moisten the top corner. Fold the bottom corner up and over the mixture. Then fold each side corner in. Tightly roll it up. Deep fry at 375F for 3-4 minutes or until brown. Flip in the middle. Don't crowd them too much or the oil will get too cool. Drain on newspaper covered by paper towels.

    All of mine except one are getting frozen. I'm going to taste test that one for lunch.

    Monday, June 24, 2013

    Harvest Monday, June 24th, 2013

    This was a heavy rhubarb week for me. I had more than what you see above. I made rhubarb cookies. I made a fish dish with rhubarb.

    And I made rhubarb strawberry jam. I've been making all my jams without pectin and weirdly this year they seem to be over jelling a bit. I happen to like a soft jam and I'm not getting it as I should with pectin free jams and low pectin fruit. At least it is tasty. I wish I could show you a photo of all the strawberries I picked. But no photos and I even forgot to weigh two harvests, including the biggest one. I'm slipping.

    I also had a lot of herbs harvested this week. Yesterday I was drying non stop. Somehow the tarragon didn't get into a photo. I have trouble growing tarragon and this year I had enough to harvest.

    And speaking of not getting in to the photo, As you can see I harvested snap peas and favas. But I harvested peas yet again with its own basket as there were so many. I swear I took a photo. However it wasn't in the camera. It did get into the tally at least.

    And speaking of snap peas, in the past I've had trouble freezing them. They turn too mushy for me to enjoy. But I figured I just wasn't cooling them down fast enough so the cooking time was too long. Instead of doing big pots, I've tried small pots of them which lets the small amount cool down faster. I tested it and it works. The pea I unfroze wasn't mushy. Softer than I like, but still fine to eat. So I'll be taking a lot of those peas and freezing them today.

    I harvested some tiny tiny cabbages. And the last of the turnips.

    The last harvest was for last nights dinner. I made tuna pasta salad. I had fresh parsley, celery and onions. And I also put in snap peas as I have a fridge full of them.
    • Alliums 0.59 lbs
    • Beans 2.71 lbs
    • Greens 4.44 lbs
    • Herbs 1.01 lbs
    • Peas 5.99 lbs
    • Roots 0.91 lbs
    • Weekly Tally 15.66 lbs
    • Yearly Tally 96.83 lbs, -$22.56
    • Fruit
    • Rhubarb 1.97 lbs
    • Strawberries 0.33 lbs (actually way more)
    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, June 21, 2013

    Bad News in the Garden

    The first bad news was about my cabbages. I had to harvest these because of my vacation timing this year. I think they could have used more time. I had one head that was a good size, but all the others were tiny. So sad. I pulled them all out along with the turnips that were in this bed. I also had some Brussels sprouts but the seedlings just didn't do anything. I knew they would never produce so they got pulled too.

    I was supposed to plant another succession of my beloved Tigers Eye bean (bush dried bean) in this vacated space. They mature fairly quickly for a dried bean so I thought they had plenty of time. I went inside to get the seed and couldn't find it. I looked everywhere. Sadly I think I'm going to have to plant something else. I've got some Jacob's Cattle beans left over from last year. I might have to plant those.

    And speaking of my Tigers Eye beans, the first planting was doing so well. But we had a long stretch of rain. I went out to weed them this morning and found out that rust was getting a foothold in the plants. I get rust here often closer to fall, but this is way too early. If it spreads to my other two bean beds (or the new one I haven't planted yet), I will lose a lot of beans. So instead of weeding I went in and clipped off all the leaves I could find that showed rust (I'm sure I missed a lot). These were not composted, but trashed. The poor things looked so sad afterwards.

    Then to give them a chance I sprayed them with some fish emulsion. In fact since I had the sprayer out I sprayed all the beans, my fruit trees, and my roses, melons, and sweet potatoes. As I was spraying my fruit trees I noticed a couple of trees and my plum tree in particular had some really nasty aphid infections. They looked pretty sad. The plum tree's leaves were all yellowing. Luckily most of the trees were fine. So after the others were sprayed, I added some insecticidal soap to the fish emulsion and sprayed with that.

    But that wasn't all the bad news to be found. I had seeded my cucumbers twice. The first time I only got three plants where I wanted about 8-12 of them. So I had seeded again. Only one seed had come up of all of them. They are all being eaten down from something, probably sow bugs or earwigs. Though after all that rain it might even be slugs. The spring was so dry we just haven't had all that many slugs. But the are starting to reproduce now.

    I was out of the Cross Country seed. So I seeded yet again with the Calypso. It means I won't be able to save seed (though the first two on one side of the bed might flower first and I could save from those if I pay enough attention at the right time). I just hope this seed comes up. I put three seeds at each spot I want a plant. I do have a few left if I have to seed yet again. But I hope the third time is the charm. I used to always do starts inside for just this reason. But I hadn't had much trouble at this house getting cucumbers to come up so I had been direct seeding. I might have to go back to the old way. Too bad. It is so much easier to direct seed.

    In good news the rhubarb had to be beat back again. I made some rhubarb cookies. I liked the cookie OK, but I thought the cream cheese frosting was pretty mediocre. And today I'm making a big batch of strawberry rhubarb jam.

    The snap peas are also coming in well and I've been picking. I've tried freezing them in the past and haven't been successful. So I'm trying it yet again, but I'm blanching it in small batches which can cool down faster. I really hope it works. I've frozen four cups and have one test pea that I'll defrost tomorrow. If the pea is decent I'll freeze more. If not, well the frozen peas are still good in soups, but not much else.

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    Summer Dips

    In the spring I usually eat a lot of salads as the lettuce is really coming up, but by summer my lettuce just isn't as appealing. Usually it bolts or becomes bitter. I ought to plant more every couple of weeks to keep up a supply, but invariably I don't. Also about now I have a lot of veggies that I can eat as finger foods.

    I have lots of turnips, kohlrabi, and peas getting harvested. The radishes were harvested a while back. These are the last of the French Breakfast. As summer goes on I'll get zucchini, cucumbers, and beans. They are all improved by a dip of some kind. I have two favorite dips and the nice thing is that they are healthy too.

    One of my favorite dips is hummus. Not only are the vegetables that I dip from the garden, but so is the main part of this. The beans. I didn't use garbonzos, I used a white bean.

    White Bean Hummus

    • 1 cup dried white beans
    • 1/4 c lemon juice
    • 1/4 c tahini
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 T chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
    • 1/2 t cumin
    • 1 t salt

    Cook the beans (if you never cooked dried beans before, there are plenty of instructions on the web on how to cook them) and save some of the bean water in case it is needed later. Cool. Blend all the other ingredients until smooth in a pureeing device of your choosing. Add the beans and blend until it is a smooth as you like. If it is too thick add in some of that bean water to thin it out a bit.

    My second favorite dip is basically tzatziki without the cucumbers and with whatever herbs I like. It is a yogurt dip. And interestingly enough I usually like it best with the traditional dill. The one above was made with basil, parsley, and chives. Not my best. I think the parsley over powered it too much. Usually I like single herbs, but occasionally I feel like I have to mix it up.

    Yogurt Dip

    • 7 oz plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 clove garlic grated
    • 1 T lemon juice
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1 T to 1/3 c of chopped herbs of your choice, 2 T of dill would make a nice tzatziki
    • 1/4 - 1/2 c grated/diced vegetable - optional, 1/4 c cucumber would make tzatziki, but if I could eat tomatoes I could imagine a tomato based one too, or spicy peppers

    I keep thinking about coming up with a honey mustard dip, but I keep stopping myself. The two dips above are pretty healthy as dips go. A honey mustard one wouldn't be. With all that sugar (honey) and mayo - oh it would taste good, but not good for you. Hummus might have a lot of fat in it, but the fats are both very good for you. And some fat isn't bad. Many of the nutrients in your veggies can't be absorbed into your body without a dose of fat.

    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    Succession Planing for Nerds - Two Sisters Beds

    I plant two full 16' beds up with corn and butternut squash. You can never have too much sweet corn. The squash is a bit more than I can eat in a year. I give a lot of it away and bring squash dishes to parties a lot in the winter. Eating the corn however isn't a problem at all. Sweet corn is one of those few things from the garden that my husband will happily eat. And he raves about it.

    I don't plant both beds at the same time. Last year I even planted each 8' section successively. They didn't turn out very successive though as the later planted ones caught up to the early ones a bit as the weather warmed. This year the first bed was planted on May 28th. The second one was done yesterday June 17th. So about three weeks apart. I'm thinking they will end up being about two weeks apart as plants mature not based on the growing days, but on the GDD or growing degree days. And the weather is warmer in July and August than it is in June. I'm not sure if my guess is accurate though as I've never had a running total of my GDD for the year. Knowing your GDD is so useful as it can tell you a lot about when something will need to be picked or when an insect will start bothering your crops. My favorite GDD chart is from the Medina Beekeepers. They have one that lists the GDD of flower blooms times throughout the year.

    This year I'm importing the data from my weather station into a spreadsheet and calculating the GDD. I've got one number on top that I can change that is the base number (the temperature above which the plant will grow). The base number is usually 40 degrees or 50 degress, but different plants grow at different minimum temperatures. I figure with a running total for each day I can figure out when to plant something like corn if I want successions to mature at a give rate. I remember planting peas last year in succession and three weeks difference in planting time only equated to a one week difference in maturity.

    But back to the garden. The bed I was using was just full of weeds. The front part wasn't so bad, but the back part in the sun was just filled with them. I even had two 8" tall self seeded tomato plants.

    But the useful self seeded plants for me were the herbs. There was a lot of dill and cilantro. I think I'll dry the dill and freeze most of the cilantro.

    Once it was well weeded, I did the usual prep work. I fertilized fairly heavily since it was corn and squash. They are both heavy feeders. I don't really turn over my soil, but I do loosen it with a garden fork to aerate the soil. This time I didn't even rake it smooth since neither squash nor corn really need a smooth seed bed. I planted the corn in the middle 10' of the bed. I plant corn on a one foot grid. I put three seeds into each hole. I will thin them down to one provided too many come up and if there are gaps in the germination I'll replant once I see the others come up. I want two squash plants at the end of each bed so I planted three seeds where I wanted each of them. Unlike the corn, usually all the seeds come up with squash, but it never hurts to have backups.

    Monday, June 17, 2013

    Harvest Monday, June 17th, 2013

    The harvests started with me picking most of my kohlrabi as I had to plant the last of the sweet potatoes.

    Over three pounds of strawberries were picked.

    This basket contains the disappointing Napa cabbage harvest that was attacked by earwigs. I picked the first of the fava beans. Michelle says she eats the whole pod sometime. I wasn't sure I wanted to sacrifice the inside bean for that, but I had to try it. The flavor is very different. I haven't decided if I like it yet or not. And more turnips were ready to pick. The Japanese turnips are interesting. They don't mature like radishes. With radishes you pick them all at the same time, but turnips mature over a much longer time. So I get some every week which is nice.

    The Michihili cabbage was also attacked by earwigs. I cut off the green parts since that is what they ate. Luckily for me the ribs are what I like most.

    More peas started to dribble in at the beginning of the week.

    I picked over 10 pounds of chard most of which I gave away. The piles is deceiving. It is much taller than it is wide. I'm surprised it didn't fall over.

    One monster kohlrabi (1lb 10oz) was hiding in with the broccoli plants. I obviously got the plants mixed up when planting. Whoops!

    More peas were ready at the end of the week. I'm sure I'll be eating peas most every day with lunch. I make dips and love munching on them. Some will get cooked, some might get pickled, but most will be eaten raw. Well actually most will be given away. I put more in my townhouse mates fridge than in mine. I also had the first picking of basil and parsley. The parsley will just get chopped into whatever I'm making, but the basil was dried. And since I was out of onions in the house, I picked more bunching onions. I find that I'll use them for meals if they are already picked, but often I don't go out and pick them during meal prep unless I'm desperate. Picking a good handful every week works the best for me.
    • Alliums 0.47 lbs
    • Beans 0.21 lbs
    • Greens 14.06 lbs
    • Greens, Asian 5.11 lbs
    • Herbs 0.64 lbs
    • Peas 2.49 lbs
    • Roots 1.39 lbs
    • Weekly Tally 24.37 lbs
    • Yearly Tally 81.18 lbs, -$86.99
    • Fruit
    • Strawberries 3.41 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.