Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Harvest Totals 9/21/09

The harvests are slowing down. You can see other gardeners' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

I picked 1.5 oz of tatsoi, 2 oz of green zebra tomatoes, 2 oz of cherry tomatoes last Monday.
On Wednesday we harvested 8 pound of Japanese quince from the bush outside our kitchen window. These were cooked into jam and jelly. I'll update that in another post.
We harvested our first sorrel, 8 oz for a potato leek sorrel soup that was alright, though not a favorite. We'll have to find another use for the sorrel.
Saturday night brought the first frost warning so we put the windows on the cold frame and picked the last 14 oz of tomatoes.
Lastly I harvested the last cayenne pepper today for some salsa, and it was the one we let get the reddest.
Harvests from now on will be greens from the cold frame and the few hardy greens like lacinato kale which are outside the cold frame.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Asian Spice Experiment Update

Here's a update on two experimental Asian spice plantings this year.
The good news is that my second try at growing ginger took off well. It has been growing well on the front porch with the other herbs. It sent out 3 strong shoots, and recently developed a fourth. Now the leaves are beginning to yellow with the cooler weather and I'm preparing to bring it indoors. I haven't decided if I'm going to harvest any of the root, or keep it as an ornamental plant.
My sesame experiment was not so successful. As I mentioned in my harvest update, only one of the 8 plants bloomed and it only had one flower. I harvested it when the leaves were beginning to yellow, but the seed pod, was still green. I didn't want it to open and loose the seeds. Here's what the seedpod looked like before it dried.
It held a total of 13 black sesame seeds. Next year, I need better soil and better light.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


On Saturday, I was on the phone with my mom when I looked out the window and saw a bluebird picking up grit from the driveway. I picked up the camera and followed him as he flew to the apple tree. There were actually two male bluebirds, and one female. I have not seen them here in Vermont before, only at my mom's house in Maryland so I was glad to get a few photographs. I only wish it had been a blue sky day instead of gray and dreary.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Harvest Totals 9/14/09

Here are my harvest photos from this week. You can see what other gardeners have harvested at Daphne's Dandelions.

On Monday we picked 13 oz Lacinato kale. We blanched it and put it into a green enchillada casserole.
On Thursday I picked 14 oz of tomatoes and 1.5 oz of lettuce for tacos.
On Saturday, I picked one cayenne pepper which was almost fully red, and 1/2 oz of lettuce.
On Sunday, we pulled some lettuce (about one oz) and a few carrots that would have been squished as we put the cold frame around the greens.
There is a chance of frost for later this week, so we put the frame on the bed and got it situated. We'll put the windows on another night this week, at least a day before the frost is forecast.
And the smallest crop harvest for the whole year goes to my sesame seeds. I planted these as an experiment, but didn't put them in the raised beds with good soil. Though they had walls of water around them to warm them, they never really took off. Out of 8 plants, only one blossomed. They're described as having multiple flowers similar to snap dragons, but the one that bloomed, had one flower. From that one flower, I got one pod with exactly 13 black sesame seeds. I'll try again but in a place with more sun and better soil.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fall Garden Plans & Overview

It's been a long time since I've shown any photos of the garden as a whole and what is going on there. Since I did some work to prepare for fall crops this past weekend, I took some photos so I could give a tour.

Here's the bed with all the warm weather crops.
As you can see, the tomatoes have no foliage left on the lower half of the plants. The cherry and green zebras are holding their own against the early blight, and two of the heirlooms are putting out lots of new growth at the top with a few green tomatoes. I'm going to let them hang on and see if we can at least get green tomatoes from them. The romas look the worst, and have stopped putting out growth. I'm just waiting for the last three fruit to ripen. The empty spots in the bed are where the zucchini and green beans were. I harvested 1 zucchini this year from 3 plants. They had leaf mold and were still only putting out male blossoms so I pulled them. The kale is looking great at the back of the bed, but we're a little tired of it at the moment. Two peppers are at the front of the bed. One just finally bloomed a few weeks ago and is only starting to develop fruit. I think I'll be trying to bring these inside to see if we can get the peppers to ripen off them. The cucumbers didn't get enough sun, they were shaded by the beans which were in front of them. They didn't climb nearly as high as I thought they might. They may still give a few more cucumbers so I'm letting them hang on until frost.

My other bed looks lush and green in comparison. This is where I'm planning on putting my cold frame in a few weeks to protect winter greens and to see how long I can continue to harvest. Here is a closer look at some of the things in this bed. On the near side, I have swiss chard, carrots, & winterbor kale.
I've also started Italian Dandelion (Chicory), though something snacked on it when I forgot to plug in the electric fence.
Under the Italian Dandelion, I seeded mache which is supposed to be very winter hardy. Near the carrots, I seeded claytonia, another hardy salad green.

In the middle of the bed, I transplanted tatsoi, arugula, & broccoli raab (not pictured).

I also have some fall kohlrabi, which I started from seeds earlier in June and transplanted in mid-July. It is starting to create the small stem swelling that you eat.
I planted sorrel from seed this spring because it is supposed to be a hardy perennial and it is now looking like it is big enough that we can harvest some. I've tasted a leaf and it is very lemony. I found a recipe for sorrel soup that we might try.
At the very end of the bed, I have tatsoi, freckles romaine, and a mesclun mix that are all doing very well, though they won't entirely be within the cold frame when the time comes.
The only thing planted in this bed that isn't frost hardy is the basil in the far back corner. The whole bed won't quite fit under the cold frame when the time comes, so the basil wouldn't be included anyways. In summary, here is the list of hardy greens and other crops that I'm planning on having under the cold frame:
  • Winterbor Kale
  • Italian Dandelion (Italiko Rosso Chiccory)
  • Quarantina Broccoli Raab
  • White Vienna Kohl Rabi
  • Claytonia
  • Verte de Cambrai Mache
  • Mizuna Japanese Mustard
  • Swiss Chard (semi hardy)
  • Purple Haze & Chantenay Red Core Carrots
  • Arugula
  • Tatsoi
  • Broad Leaved Sorrel
It should be an interesting experiment to see which crops survive with the protection of our cold frame.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Harvest Totals 9/7/09

Here is a summary of my harvests from the past week. You can see what other gardeners have harvested at Daphne's Dandelions.

My harvests have slowed down now that the large tomatoes are all gone. On Wednesday I pulled the Blue Lake and Romano green beans. There were 3 oz of beans left on the plant. Some of the romano were big enough that we shelled them to braise with artichokes (from the farmers market) later in the week. I also harvested 4 oz of green zebra tomatoes and 9.25 oz of roma tomatoes.
On Thursday I harvested 11 oz of swiss chard, and forgot to photograph it. We used it in a yummy zucchini-greens soup where we substitute it for the spinach in the original recipe.

This weekend I did a fair amount of garden work. I'll update about that later this week. In the process I pulled 3.5 oz of golden beets. These were very sad because I planted them way back in May and they never took off. I also pulled my seedlings of more beets from July because they weren't making any progress either. I'm not sure what I'll do with these tiny beets. I thinned and transplanted my mizuna and in the process harvested 1 oz. And there was 5 oz of cherry tomatoes.
Sunday morning I picked two slicing cucumbers and made a summer salad with the cherry tomatoes, mizuna, cucumbers, feta & basil. We took it on a picnic lunch for our church's baptism service.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Day of School Story

I usually keep work life separate from this blog, but today was the first day of school and I have to share this story.

I teach first grade and after having issues with the misuse of the bathroom in past, I've learned that an important part of introducing students to the classroom is introducing them to the bathroom. So around 9 o'clock this morning I was showing my class the bathroom. I remind them what goes in the toilet, how to use the seat, how much toilet paper to use, and when to flush. Just as I finish saying that this is the toilet, and you sit on the seat etc, a little boy interrupts, "Hey! We have one of those at our house!"

Another voice chimes in, "We have two!"

You never can tell what first graders expect to find in school. They'll probably be surprised to learn that I don't live at school.