In the Garden :: May 30

In the Garden 2015 May 30

Things are growing pretty well…for the most part. The onions are still completely choked with weeds, but the garlic is looking really good. I pulled a few garlic hoping to give the remaining plants more space, so we’ll see…

I harvested the teeniest little carrot the other day, while I was working with the tomatoes. These were actually seeds I planted in the fall, hoping for a “winter garden,” but nothing {no-thing} grew. I was very surprised to find these little guys growing when the weather warmed, and even more excited when I harvested a full-size, grocery-store-looking carrot this week! We haven’t eaten it yet because it’s just too awesome. I’ve been “growing” carrots since we started gardening in…2010?, and I’ve never {ever} harvested a dinner-worthy carrot. Accident or not, it’ll be good eats.

The asparagus didn’t look harvest-able for as long as I was hoping. We got maybe 8 pounds? We ate what we harvested and had asparagus every few nights for about 2 weeks. That’s probably normal but still a little disappointing. I was especially concerned when it didn’t seem like any more would grow – so we wouldn’t have anything to leave through the fall to do its thing. Fortunately, there’s a pretty decent stand of asparagus morphing into tiny trees out there now, so hopefully our patch isn’t doomed…

The raspberries should be ready to harvest soon. Lots of fruit growing. I’m concerned about the nasty fruit flies we had last year… I’m also disappointed that even though we worked and worked to tame the canes last fall, there is so much new growth you can barely even see the mature canes, better yet harvest from them without drawing blood. I’ve found a fair number of wineberry canes around the farm, so if we can harvest a good amount from them I may not keep the raspberries. {If it’s even possible to get rid of raspberries – they put out runners 6+ feet away!}

Some of our tomato starts are actually still alive. Most didn’t make it, but a top dressing of chicken house shavings seemed to help a lot. The starts we got from the farmer’s market are way more full and already setting fruit.

My Sugar Snap Peas didn’t germinate very well. Only 50% even though I’m pretty sure I put two seeds per hole… The four plants that are growing look really great, and starting to set some pods. We’ve actually never grown this tasty snack, so I’m just keeping my fingers crossed for something edible.

I planted black beans again for drying. I had good luck with the plants in 2012 but didn’t plant enough to actually eat any. Practically speaking, I think I would need to plant hundreds of row-feet to grow enough to eat for the year. If these produce we’ll save some for planting next year and enjoy one special beans-from-the-garden meal sometime this winter. I’m still not sure if planting in the ground will be an option for us here – there are SO many rocks! My pasture management plan is focused on #1) producing healthy animals and #2) building up organic matter. {More on that later.}

That dag-on Winter Rye is still persisting! It even put out seed this month! The kids and I hacked it back and I gave it all to the sheep, hoping we wouldn’t have any accidentally seeding itself in the garden. I think I’ll cover the last remaining bed with cardboard and compost and let it sit for a while. Ugh.

I started my first potatoes this month! I’ve never grown potatoes but I had a rather large bag of spuds sprouting in the pantry to I went ahead and put them in the ground. I had very little hope for anything, but they are all {ALL} growing green leaves and looking really good! I honestly can’t believe it. I *think* they are New Potatoes, but I’m not sure if that just means young potatoes, so who knows what we’ll end up with.

How’s your garden growing?

in the garden :: September 28

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Panoramic | I’m standing in the southeast corner of the garden. House is due north.

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From southeast corner looking west-ish.

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From southeast corner looking north.

This is the first weekend we spent any significant time in the garden, so things were looking pretty sad! We’ve been eating gobs and gobs of Sungold Cherry {our all-time family favorite}, slicers and paste tomatoes, plus raspberries, but we’ve been kind of ignoring everything else… So, we had Betty over on Saturday to show us around and help identify weeds/plants. Turns out what I thought was dill is actually fennel, and what I was hoping was some kind of cover crop is really weeds… So I yanked out everything that doesn’t belong, and put together a plan for the winter.

I pulled about half of the basil plants today – they’d gotten so overgrown our last meal with the stuff was just awful.. There seems to be some new growth on a few of the plants, though, so I just hacked them back to see if anything tender comes up. The beans in the last picture are an unidentified white/golden wax bean. They were beyond edible when we moved in, so I’m leaving them there to see if we can harvest seed for next year. The chard has been here all along and even though it’s only rained 3{?} times since we moved in six weeks go, seems to be going strong. I’m hoping to eat up the big leaves this week and maybe throw some kind of blanket on it when the frost comes; just to see what happens. There are two prolific and healthy green pepper plants, but we just aren’t green pepper eaters, so they’re sitting there, looking beautiful. I really should take them to the farmers market or something! Next year we’ll plant some sweet orange peppers…yum… I hacked back the asparagus because it was beginning to turn  yellow, but then felt some anxiety that I had acted too soon. In add to my guilt, Betty said she usually waits till very early spring/late winter to cut it back…The video I found said to cut it in the fall and then cover with 2″ compost and straw, so we’re heading into town tomorrow to pick some up from the co-op. It’s a 30-foot bed of 4-year-old asparagus and it’s one of the main reasons I wanted to buy this place – I have to keep it alive!

I am hoping to use a raised bed hoop house over one bed {the one with black PVC pipe} and plant lettuce, spinach and kale inside. I have Napoli Carrots {Eliot Coleman’s favorite for winter growing} on the way. I ordered garlic sets {our playroom smells SO good} and onion sets to put in when the weather really cools off. Then I’ll broadcast some kind of cover crop over the remaining beds and keep my fingers crossed till spring comes. If we’re very very lucky we’ll have fresh food through the winter! If not, well…. c’est la vie! {OvO}