Speaking of things not going as planned...

on Monday, May 30, 2011

See this freshly planted patch of pepper plants?

This morning it was a patch of Asian greens that sounded so good on paper. While they DID like the colder, wet weather we've had this spring, they didn't care to much for the periodic heat blasts we've had. Rather than turn into nice lush greens perfect for stir fries and salads, they bolted and shot up tall spires of yellow flowers and turned bitter. Grrrr.

So, scrap the spring attempt at Asian greens, and we'll try again this fall. Looks like we're suddenly shifting from wet weather to hot n sunny. I'm sure no one's complaining, but we have to play fast and loose with the garden. Well, hey, at least we're looking at having good tomato and pepper weather. We'll have to see what the near 90 temps do to the lettuce and spinach!
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Peas and Cues(cumbers)

So here's a dilemma... The initial planting of sugar snap peas got off to such a late start sprouting and are running so far behind iiiin the space the cucumbers were going to grow... and now I want to put the cucumbers in the ground. Granted I've never followed peas with cukes, but in theory it should've worked. The fun (?) thing about gardening is that whatever looks good on paper, and with carefully plotted calendars just doesn't always work out the way you want. I guess gardening is a very organic thing, right? ;-) Gotta be flexible!
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Lettuce teaser

on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So many varieties! And Bambi's head is over to the left. Fresh is Best members will know what I'm talking about? ;-)
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Almost ready to eat!

Customers's lettuce mix is LIGHTLY rinsed and spun before bagging. You should always give your lettuce another washing and pick it over for the rare spider, slug, maple tree helicopter, etc.
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Safe and sound

on Monday, May 16, 2011

The bird netting isn't up to protect the lettuce, rosemary and other short plants in this bed. It's actually there to protect my plum trees that I just planted this spring, which got nibbled on by deer last week. But don't you like knowing the CSA veggies are getting the benefit of the bird-netting fortress??

While we've been saying we're so worried about how poor things are growing this season, this round of lettuce that I started in the basement months ago are actually doing beautifully with the wet, chilly weather. In fact, I miiight have to start harvesting some earlier than the early-to-mid June "official" start date of this year's CSA!

I have another batch in a different bed started later, and planted out later. Smaller than these heads here, but also doing much better than the lettuce I direct seeded...

Ya just never know what you'll get with the garden each year!
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Garden ghosts?

on Friday, May 13, 2011

That's broccoli under the row cover, which is there to protect it from those "pretty white butterflies" you see flying around. They're actually cabbage white moths, and you don't want to eat their larvae (aka caterpillars) in your broccoli! ;-)
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The great gardening risk...

on Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I did something in the garden this evening that i've never done before!

No, no... garden naked day is this coming weekend! ;-)

I planted some of my tomatoes well before our last average frost date. Crazy, right???

The weather has shifted from cold, wet and gray to warm sunny days and a forecast of rainy but warm weather soon.

Now this is the first year I'll be growing my tomatoes in the raised beds... no more in-ground gardening with the heavy clay soil where plants rot in place. This means I have less space to crowd my tomatoes in. But it also means soil that warms earlier, is lighter/higher quality, and has better drainage.

So today I took a risk. I found I could fit 7 tomato cages along the length of one raised bed, and decided to plant varieties where I have a backup plant that's also really healthy. And for most of the plants I put in the soil, the cup actually had more than one very healthy seedling because I still hadn't thinned them (slacker!). So I snipped off the spare seedlings with scissors and stuck them in the bed outside of the cage... cut off tomato plants will sometimes root and keep growing!

Now this is all an experiment. If the weather gets nasty bitter cold, I can use the hotcap covers Mary gave me for my birthday to provide a mini greenhouse effect over the plants in the raised bed. And if they still bite the dust, I've got spare plants as backups!

Check out the root growth in the picture... I think I potted those tomatoes up maybe three weeks ago, and they already had roots spiraling around the base of the pots. This would be a really good time to pot the plants up into bigger pots, like maybe gallon size? That is if I didn't have enough going on already...

Fingers crossed that this all works out well!
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May 14 World Naked Gardening Day is coming!

on Friday, May 6, 2011

World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD)

Are you ready for it? You'll probably be happy to know that I probably won't be tending your veggies without my clothes on! ;-)

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Funky Favas

I've never grown fava beans before... the seeds alone look very strange... I can't wait to see what the plants look like. I've been reading conflicting information on when to plant them. Before final frost or after was the big issue. We're still a few weeks before the average last frost, but we'll have to see how tough they are. I went ahead and interplanted them with the barely growing tatsoi, which I was really looking forward to, and may still take off... but just in case they're a waste of space, hopefully the fava beans will be a success.

From what I've read, fava beans (also known as broad beans) are supposed to be a very different taste from regular green beans. Definitely a stronger flavor, and one source implied a touch of bitterness. If picked really young you can cook the whole pod, like a snow pea. Allowed to mature a bit more and you shell them and cook the beans you pop out of the pod. Allowed to go even longer and I guess they're good, but you need to remove the outer skin from each bean (think lima beans?).

I feel like I haven't really seen fava (or broad) beans listed in too many of the US cookbooks I've read, but it seems like they appear in every British cookbook I have. If they do well, I'll have to include some preparation techniques and recipes here.
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Foul weather

on Thursday, May 5, 2011


Ok, that just suuuuuucks!

Sun kissed

on Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tucker is still coming down off of his catnip high. ;-)
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Eggplant replant

Mary and I like to tease each other a lot about silly of strange things we do with the gardening. We've started saying "what kind of gardener are you that you would do such and such ", or after we hear something the other has done, we'll fire off a "and you consider yourself a gardener?? "

Wellllll, what kind of gardener would forget to water his baby eggplants to the point of killing off about 90% of the plants? And then to let them dry out A SECOND time???

The good news is there's still time to restart the seeds. It's a little later than I'd prefer, but this spring is so cold and damp that the plants won't be going out for weeks anyhow (besides, our average last frost date is May 20 I believe, and eggplants like WARM weather!)

So... Here we go again!
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Guess how old this lettuce is!

on Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This lettuce returned after winter... toughed out the cold, snowy winter, freezing temps, and yet looked deeead. But when things started warming up this spring, sprouts started popping up from what looked like rotted leaves, and before I knew it, these lettuce plants were showing full signs of recovery. This isn't where I plan to have lettuce this season, but I figure we'll have to enjoy them while they're up.
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Broccoli and more

There's several different varieties of broccoli here. The ones down the middle are Pacman and Green Comet if I remember correctly. Those are storebought plants. Then down the right are Happy Rich and Santee - I started those from seed. They're intended to be used more for repeat cutting of small, tender sprouts. The ones down the middle are more large heading varieties, buuut.... once you cut the initial head of broccoli, you continue to get tender, smaller side sprouts, and apparently that's what most home growers really appreciate.

I can't promise huge grocery store worthy heads of broccoli, but hopefully we'll get to enjoy all the smaller tender sprouts.

Over to the left are leeks.

So the plan (in a perfect season) is that the broccoli would be harvested some before it's ever warm enough to plant tomatoes... and then if the broccoli is still doing well when it's time to put in the tomatoes, I'd rip out some of the broccoli in a checkerboard pattern, planting tomatoes in the newly vacated space, and those could shade/prolong some of the broccoli.

But that's in a perfect world. Who knows how it'll really go!
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Cold, wet veggies

The spinach sprouts down the middle of this bed were planted about a month ago, but are only just sprouting. Last year at this time I was eating spinach!

And over to the right are the onion plants I put in about a week ago... they've really taken off!
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