Sunday, July 5, 2015

Garden Share Collective - July 2015

June has been a very variable month. We have had highs in the 50Fs and highs in the 90Fs. But at least we are getting rain again.

The spring cool weather crops are almost done. Most will be pulled out in a week or two. Some like the broccoli will produce all year long, so they get to stay. Our hot is not the hot of the south, so some years they produce very well over the summer.

The hot weather crops are starting to grow. The corn and squash are doing well. The cucumbers have started to climb. The sweet potatoes are taking over their bed. Sadly though the melons were eaten down by slugs. They were replanted, but they are being slow to restart. I hope it doesn't end up being a melon free year.

June Completed

  • June 3, planted second half of lettuce succession, planted corn and Sweet Potato squash 2W (third succession)
  • June 7th, resowed failed turnips, seeded corn (fourth succession) and butternut squash in bed 2E, resowed 4 bean seeds (all I had) after the groundhog ate the others
  • June 7th, planted melons
  • June 14th, reseeded melons after being eaten down by slugs
  • June 15th, seeded turnip succession
  • June 16th, started transplants under lights for broccoli, basil
  • June 17th, seeded squash bed 6W, reseeded more melons
  • June 19th, planted corn seed 6W (5th succession), planted lettuce succession
  • June 19th, ripped out sage plant in herb circle and replaced with rosemary
  • June 27th, started transplants under lights for fall cabbages, kohlrabi, and amaranth
  • June 29thth, seeded amaranth at ends of bed 7W and 8E
  • June 29th, planted Broccoli, lettuce succession, basil
  • June 29th, redid part of strawberry bed
  • Netted peach and apple trees

Harvests

Harvests started out with greens, greens, and more greens. But by mid June the greens avalanche was over. I still am picking greens, but at a much more sedate pace.

Now my harvests are more varied. This month I've picked bunching onions, a few head of garlic, garlic scapes, broccoli, carrots, Michihili cabbage, bok choy, mizuna, tatsoi, cabbage, celery, chard, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, snowpeas, pea shoots, and turnips. I've also picked a lot of herbs - chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, mint, oregano, parsley, rose petals, sage, and tarragon. All in all it was over a 100 pounds of veggies.

For fruits I've picked 16.9 pounds of strawberries, 2 pounds of raspberries, and 3.5 pounds of currants.

Frozen packet with 6 cups of spinach

Preserving

I've been busy drying herbs. I like to replace them every year. Most have been done already, though I can always use more of some things like parsley. I could use a truckload of that if I have the production and time to dry it all. I froze a good quantity of the strawberries and a few of the raspberries. I'll eat them up in my breakfast smoothies over the next few months. They won't last until winter. It would be nice to grow that much, but I just don't. I froze the currants as I'll make jam from them later this year when I get a chance. Most of my preservation though has been the frozen vegetables that I store for the winter. June, especially early June, is my biggest preserving month for greens.

Tally of what is in storage from the garden

Freezer

  • Brococli - 13.5 cups
  • Chard - 14 cups
  • Mizuna - 23 cups
  • Kale - 30 cups
  • Spinach - 61 cups
  • Chinese cabbage - 4 cups
  • Turnips - 5 cups

I need about 180 cups of greens to get me through the winter without skimping. Right now I have 145. I need 35 more cups. I didn't think I'd get anywhere near my goal, but I'm making very good progress. Well as long as I don't have to eat any of those greens during the slim times during the summer. I have planted amaranth, but it should have been planted weeks ago. I hope it serves to fill in the gaps.

July To Do

  • Seed transplants for fall kale
  • Harvest and dry garlic
  • Replant garlic section with mustard or more greens
  • Weed and water
  • Prune currants and gooseberries after harvest
  • Plant two carrot beds
  • Plant cabbage and kohlrabi bed
  • Keep lettuce and turnip successions going
  • Seed more cilantro

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

Saturday, July 4, 2015

This and That

I had to get my lettuce seedlings planted. My wonderful successions are starting to fall apart. Some lettuces take longer than others. To plant these I took out four plants. One that just wasn't growing. A Deertongue which I know gets bitter in the summer heat, so I didn't want to leave it in very long. A romaine that sort of headed up. And a nice pretty red oakleaf. And two of the lettuces I planted in the spot the basil used to be in.

So now I have a patchwork quilt of lettuces. I'm finding that two week successions is too short and three is too long. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot for my space. Though the pretty crisphead that is growing well and sizing up nicely, is taking a long time to grow. I think these kinds of successions work better if you know what you are growing. When one lettuce takes a month longer to size up than another, it just doesn't work well. It either leaves holes, or you are pulling plants prematurely, or just not planting all of the seedlings.

I also planted out the next attempt at basil. If you will remember my first set all died from downy mildew even though I planted them in random spots in the yard. This one was planted in the herb circle. I hope it survives for a couple of months.

The last succession of corn needed thinning out. I plant three seeds. Most of them come up, but some are stronger than others. I also thinned out the squash at the end of the bed.

I was checking on the first four successions. Three and four have caught up to one another. I always plant toward the fence first. That bed is more shaded. And it gives the squash a chance to get going faster. But it does bring the beds together in timing a bit.

I usually don't let my rhubarb bloom like this. I like to keep it cut back better since it is in front of my air conditioner. I finally got around to it. Now it is much more under control.

The sweet potatoes have started to vine. Whoot! This meant I could take out most of the bamboo poles I put around them. I like to cover the ground enough to keep the cats from digging. We have a horde of cats living in the neighborhood. But they leave the soil alone once the plants grow big enough.

I was checking some photos from last year. My sweet potatoes seem to be a little bigger than last year, but the melons are way behind. I might be picking my melons in September, which is sad as they won't be as sweet that way.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Broccoli, Cabbage, and Kale

The broccoli I seeded two weeks ago was doing well. I figured it was time for it to see the light of day. I didn't bother to harden them off. They were better off just going in the ground. Soil blocks don't need much hardening off and with even one sunny warm day the blocks can dry out if I forget about them. And I tend to. They were safer in the ground.

In the spring I plant 10 broccoli plants, 5 on each side of the bed. After I harvest the heads, one row gets pulled out.

Side shoots starting to form

The other side I leave for side shoots. That way I get the best of both worlds. I get some really nice heads, but I get a constant supply of broccoli over the summer too.

The huge leaves on the other side of the bed will die over time, or start to get mildewed. I tend to pull them off at the first sign of yellowing. The side shoots will put out more new leaves to feed the plant.

I also got under the kale cover to pick. I'll miss my kale harvests when it comes time to plant this bed up in carrots.

Golden Acre

Also under the same cover as the kale are my cabbages. This one had a leaf starting to crack. I was worried that it might bolt on me. I've never really gotten the hang of when you should pick cabbage. Someone mentioned when the head hardens up. But this head was tight pretty small. It would have been a tiny thing. It still isn't huge, but a couple of pounds is pretty good for cabbages in my garden. Some year I might learn how to grow them well.

Early Jersey

Despite my lack of cabbage expertise, this is turning out to be my best ever year for cabbage. Though I suppose that really isn't saying much. I might not get huge heads, but I love cabbage a lot and will enjoy eating them. Big or small.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Strawberries

Strawberries underneath the pear and apple trees

I picked the last of my strawberries. I only grow June bearers as keeping the squirrels out of the patch is so annoying I like to keep the picking season short. I do have alpines that are closer to the house, though the squirrels tend to leave those alone. Those also rarely make it into the house.

Every year I have to renew some of the beds. This spring I bought some and planted them. But it would be nice to renew them with runners of the established plants. That way I could plant them now and they would be big enough to pick next year. Nice in theory at any rate.

I ripped out a stretch of the plants. The bigger ones halfway up are the ones planted in the spring. The lower ones are planted with partly rooted runners. I'm not sure they are rooted enough to survive, but I'm sure I'll find out in a week if they live or die. Probably some of both. If I'm lucky enough the ones that have survived will start sending out their own runners to fill in the gaps. If not I might buy more plants next year. Or try again.

I did get around to trimming off most of the runners from all but one section of the plants. I don't know if I'll keep up with it. It is a never ending chore. It does help them from getting too crowded though. I grow Earliglow which sets a lot of runners. Usually by the end of July I've gotten so sick of the chore that I quit. I'll cut off the easy ones hanging down, and the ones trying to over take the trees planted in the back, but nothing more.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cucumbers, Peas, and Amaranth

I keep my cucumbers under a row cover when they are young. The cucumber beetles around here can be vicious. And wilt is common. So it gives the cucumbers a head start all safe and sound. Eventually the beetles will show up as will the wilt they carry, but for their early life they are protected. I took the covers off on Monday. Some of the cukes were starting to run. I like to grow mine up a trellis, so that had to be constructed.

In past years I've had a very vertical trellis, but this year I built it on a bit of a slant. I'm hoping it will be easier to find the cucumbers amid the foliage. I know it is a futile effort. I will miss picking some cukes. But it can't hurt.

The zukes behind the cukes were trying to burst out of their row cover, but it is still squash vine borer season, and I've seen several of them recently. So I rearranged them and added a separate row cover for the biggest one.

I had peas blooming in two spots, but since I can't eat peas and I want more greens, I've decided to rip them out. This spot mostly was done with its first flush. The harvests all went to my townhouse mates.

The other spot was near the parsley and celery. Since I had planted two extra celery plants and they were in the way, I harvested them. I'm surprised at how well they are doing now. I've never had such nice celery so early in the season. The beds were seeded with amaranth, both a green and red variety. I also started just a few upstairs under lights. The red ones have already sprouted, but not the green ones.

While I was near the parsley I noticed that the plants were getting huge. If I don't pick the leaves they turn yellow and die, so I picked the oldest ones and dehydrated them. I use a lot of dehydrated parsley over the winter. It isn't as good as fresh, but it isn't bad. I'll freeze some too later on.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Harvest Monday, 29 June 2015

The greens are coming in slower. I did pick chard this last week, but never got around to the kale. I'll probably get to that today. It is a big change from a few weeks ago when I had to pick and process greens every single day to keep up.

Some lettuce that needed to come out. Both are romaines. That pretty red romaine that I couldn't figure out what it was? Well it is Red Romaine. Who would have guessed. I totally forgot that Baker Creek gave me a surprise packet of that one. It has started to bolt when I picked it, but it still tasted sweet. The problem is that it didn't head up well before it bolted, so it probably isn't a good one for a later planting. Though it might do well earlier in the spring.

Kohlrabi and turnips

The broccoli was going to flower if I didn't pick it so I picked a lot all at once. It wasn't the prettiest broccoli in the world, but still tasty. I froze some and saved some to eat this week.

Snowpeas

Chives all cleaned up

The first of the carrots came in this week. I love carrots. They are one of the vegetables that if I run out, I'll buy it from the store anyway. So I'm happy to be eating my own again. I can say the same for onions, but I've been mostly using the scallions instead of bulbing onions right now. Only occasionally I'll need a real one. Soon I'll be picking my bulbing onions and I'll be happy not to have to buy those.

Currants were the big fruit harvest this week. I also had a good amount of raspberries and just a half pound of strawberries. Both the raspberries and strawberries are coming to a close. But the raspberries are everbearers so they will start producing again in a month or so.

  • Alliums, 0.79 lbs
  • Broccoli, 7.51 lbs
  • Carrots, 2.89 lbs
  • Greens, 8.18 lbs
  • Herbs, 0.75 lbs
  • Peas 2.19 lbs
  • Roots, 1.15 lbs
  • Weekly total, 23.47
  • Yearly total, 168.14 lbs, $292.69

  • Fruits
  • Strawberries, 0.58 lbs
  • Raspberries, 1.24 lbs
  • Currants, 2.99 lbs
  • Fruit Yearly total, 27.03 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.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Garden in the Rain

We so needed this rain. I should have watered on Friday, but I didn't. I only spot watered things like the lettuce and newly seeded plants. It hasn't been too hot and I was hoping to wait for the rain to come. Summer is hard because sometimes the predicted rain never comes.

Corn

This time they were right. So far we have had 1.4" of rain so everything is very happy.

The peas will have to wait to be picked. But they sure do look pretty with all the rain drops.

Prairie Splendor coneflower

The front perennial garden is in its first year and I'm getting a glimpse of some of its first flowers in the rain.

The gaillardia that I grew from seed is slowly getting longer petals. Not all of them are as spectacular as the one above. I like the color gradations on it. Another has opened that is more subdued - at least comparatively. I didn't expect these to be quite so vivid orange. The name Arizona Apricot seemed to me to imply a more subdued apricot orange. I would name this Arizona Sunburst. Sadly the kniphofia Red Hot Popsicle which I expected to be vibrant, is just a burnt orange red. It is always interesting picking plants from a catalog and not from real life.