Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spring Garden Log -- April 30, 2017

The spinach was all harvested and I put 9.9 pounds in the freezer! 

I still can't believe that I was able to grow spinach that turned out so well.  The two varieties were very different - the Regiment was much more sturdy and held up to triple washing much better then the Red Kitten. It also held up to being stored in the fridge for a few days much better. The leaves were bigger also. I never knew how fragile spinach was until I had to process it in big quantities -- I don't know how market farmers do this? There's got to be some secret to it that I need to discover.

A few pics of the other veggies from around the garden.  Here's the Red Swan beans in flower -- very pretty! 
 This is the first time I've tried oak leaf lettuce and it is just so pretty, but also pretty much paper thin.  Not sure how it will do when I bring some in.  I'll have to let you know when I pick it.
I'm seeing more and more tomatoes on all of the plants -- all still green.  I think it's gonna have to get a bit hotter around here for them to start turning.  Meanwhile, I'll keep an eye on them. 
We've started bringing in the peaches.  These are all from our Rio Grande peach trees so far - 14.13 pounds to date.  There's going to be many, many more. I love these peaches, they pull away from the pit so easily when they are ripe, and they peel very easily too! Highly recommend this variety.
The Chester blackberries are starting to show up! I'm expecting good things from this berry patch this year.  Last year I logged only 9.2 ounces, but so many of them were eaten right from the bush and I didn't get a chance to weigh them!
 The avocado tree is putting out new leaves like crazy -- I think it really likes the spot we have it in this year. Not much direct sun.
 I was excited to receive a package from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds this week! I had ordered these plants from them way back in January and they finally shipped them out.  There were three dwarf banana trees, 3 Sweetie Pie blackberry plants, and 3 Glencoe Thornless Raspberries.

We have two Truly Tiny banana trees that I got from them back in 2015, and they have done very well - one even had a baby during the winter! Those two spend the summers up on our pool deck and they love the sun, but they're only about 1-1/2 foot tall.  These new dwarf banana trees will get a bit bigger.  They shipped me three different trees in the batch.
First is a Dwarf Orinoco Banana tree - from what I've read this type originates in Venezuela. It can grow from 6 to 8 foot tall. 
The other two were a Dwarf Green Banana and a Dwarf Cavendish Banana. These originate from the Canary Island and can get from 6 to 12 foot tall.  

 Needless to say, I'll be keeping these all in pots and move to the greenhouse in the winters (as long as I can get them in there and they don't get too tall!) I plan for these to spend the summers on the deck, too.

More weeding and fertilizing this week!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spring Garden Log -- April 22, 2017

To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. -- William Blake

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

The squash house plants are all growing so well, even the Asparagus beans that I saved several years ago - I was sure they wouldn't grow, but all of them came up!

 This is a shot of bed #4 - it's coming along too. I've been slowly mulching and weeding it. Almost done!
 This is Bed #1 and #2 - it's a jungle! Weeding in there is a chore, but I'm giving it my best. 
I really need to pick more spinach and give this bed a chance to breath. It's so full. I'll be doing that on Sunday and freezing some of this bounty.
I weeded and cleaned up the kale bed this past week. It's growing so well.  I'm in love with this Siber Frill kale. 
 Next to the kale is this bunching onion patch.  
 I'm still thinning out all of the onions - finished with the white onions this week.  We'll use these in cooking and John likes to add them to his salads.
 Here are the first of the Blueberries tomatoes -- I'm excited to see how these look when they mature. Supposed to be pretty dark.
I have the tallest garden huckleberries this year - these plants are almost 4 ft. tall.  
The potatoes are flowering! 
 Something funny going on with these Red Swan bush beans - they have some long vines coming out from the top. I'm new to this variety, so we'll see what happens.
 Today I had to get John's help in dealing with my tomatillos.  They are huge this year, and the yellow variety flopped over onto the beets and onion plants, so he put a trellis in there to force them back up. The plants are loaded.  They look beat up here, but I'm hoping they'll recover - I had to unweave them from the plants around them and they were resistant!
 The beets look good, but really packed in there.  Will probably space them out a bit more next year.
 The squash bugs have started to show up - mostly on the tomatillo and the huckleberry plants. My actual squash plants are still too small to attract them yet.  I've started picking them by hand and drowning them in an insect spray solution. Nasty things - I really hate them.
 In my spare time I'm re-labeling all of our fruit trees so that we can ID them.  I'm putting the year they were planted on the aluminum metal label as I go.  The labels we had on them are now too small and I don't want them to girdle the plants, so they had to go.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spring Garden Log -- April 15, 2017

Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, "An Easter Hymn"

Everything's planted, so now it's just a matter of keeping an eye on things! The squash house is sprouting everywhere - all of the beans and the squash are up and growing. I think this will be a wonderful sight to see when they've covered the arches!

The peppers are showing up. Here's a jalapeno already....
 ...and this Cubanelle is getting quite big!
I spent a good hour thinning out the tomato plants -- too many leaves! They need to be trimmed to allow air flow and to keep them from touching the ground.  I'll have to continue this every couple of weeks. 
 I only had to clip a few to the wire this time, but I'm sure I'll be securing all of them pretty soon.

The cucumbers are looking great....
...and I think these are the tallest tomatillo that I've every grown. They're covered in fruit too! 
 View of Beds #1 and #2
 Full view of the Squash House
 Full view of Bed #4
The herb garden is filling in nicely.
 John put two burr oak acorns in a pot this past winter and they stayed in there all winter.  I think he had given up on them, but I just put the pot out when I emptied the greenhouse, and look what happened!  Both have sprouted!
 And finally, I planted some begonias around the big oak tree outside our side door.  I think it looks like spring there now - the garden gnome approves!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Harvesting already!

The first part of the main garden is really doing well, and I've started bringing a few things in already.
I'm thinning the onions a bit as a time to give the remaining more room to grow, so they are coming in to eat as green onions.
Red and white onion thinnings

We've already eaten some of the kale, but this is the first of the Siberian Siber Frill that I've picked. What a funny leaf - besides being super frilly around the edges, this leaf has little frills poking up all inside the leaves too. Very interesting!
The spinach that I was sure that I wasn't going to be successful with has grown beautifully. I don't know why or what I've done right, but I'm not questioning it. Both varieties are just beautiful.  This is a handful of the Red Kitten spinach that I brought in for salad.
The extra dwarf Pak Choy are all looking beautiful - I like to chop them up fresh in salad, too. So crunchy! 
This is the Nero di'Toscana kale that I planted in a container. They are small but beautiful!
Another container grown lettuce (Valmaine) - these were packs that I had just a few seeds left of, so I put them in containers.
Still bringing in a handful of mulberries every day.  Those trees just keep producing.
And finally, here are a few leaves from the beet tops to add to a big salad this week.
Harvest totals so far:

   Mulberries                                         6.6 oz.
Beet tops
Nero di'Toscana Kale
Siber Frill Kale
Valmaine Lettuce
Red Onion
White Onion
Extra Dwarf Pak Choy
Red Kitten Spinach
Sea Foam Swiss Chard
Orange Fantasia Swiss Chard