Monday, May 28, 2012

Harvest Monday

My first harvest of the year!

8 Giant Easter Egg Radishes!  This is my first year growing radishes.  I could have picked even more, but I'm not sure how many radishes I can eat in a day or long do radishes last in the refrigerator?  Should I go ahead and pick out all of the radishes that are ready, or will they keep in the ground like carrots?

Merveille de Quatre Saisons Lettuce (Marvel of Four Seasons).  I harvested the baby greens to give the mature heads more room to grow.  Total harvest was about one large baggy of greens to enjoy this week.

(not pictured) Rhubarb stalks - 4 cups.

I am really pleased with the garden this year.  The plants are all looking very healthy and growing like crazy.  I'm anticipating a harvest of Swiss Chard sometime this week or next, and green beans should be flowering soon.

This is my first post to Harvest Monday, although I've been a follower for years.  For more great harvests, check out Daphene's Dandelions blog.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Battle of the Weeds

I've literally never seen so many weeds in my garden.  They came out of nowhere, almost overnight.  I've been invaded by an army of green.

Maybe it was the early warm weather that brought weeds to life sooner than expected, or maybe I got a really weedy batch of compost from the garden center.  But I can't help but feel like somebody is covertly breeding weeds in my garden when I'm not looking.  I went outside last night to find that my beautiful kitchen garden has been conquered by tiny green weeds.  In some spots, the weeds are so thick that they number hundreds in just a little square foot patch.  I've never seen anything like it.

Needless to say, I spent the better part of my evening pulling out weeds.  I've made no significant progress, but hopefully in a few days the headway will be noticeable... 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yes, It's Planted!

I planted this year's garden slowly over the course of the first couple of weeks in May.  From the looks of this blog, you might assume I've done nothing in the garden yet but dream!  But that's not really true, I've just been incredibly busy and have neglected to set aside time to write this post.  

This year, I split my garden into 4 quadrants, approx. 5x7 ft. each.  My husband tilled and amended the soil with compost and it looks beautiful!  Well, beautiful until it rained and I noticed how many rocks he had tilled up this year.  So out we went, and picked bucket after bucket of rocks until we could stand no more.  As you will see from the pictures, we didn't manage to get them all (is that even possible in an in-ground garden???).  We got the big ones and all of the rocks that were directly in the path of a seedling or row of seeds.  And then, we forced ourselves to be content with the results.

Once all of the hard work was done, I went crazy with tomatoes!  Final count...19!  What on earth was I thinking?  The tomatoes are the one exception in this year's garden that are unfortunately not all heirloom varieties.  I did not have room on my grow cart to start tomatoes from seed (last year's over crowded cart led to widespread wilt disease and a total loss), so I had to purchase seedlings from the store.  The selection of heirlooms was disappointing.  I did manage to snag some Pineapple Tomatoes, which I am excited to try.  I also purchased Bloody Butcher, Mortgage Lifter, Rutgers, Roma, and some cherry tomatoes.

My heirloom pepper plants from seed turned out beautifully and I transplanted 12 into the garden.  The others found homes with my parents and brother.  Stay tuned for the conclusion of the pepper plant saga...(yes, I've been negligent on that post too!).

The tomatoes are in a quadrant all to themselves, and peppers share a quadrant with two rows of carrots (Chantenay Red Core and Parisienne) and a row of Bull's Blood beets.  The third quadrant is the bean patch, with 5 rows of Contender beans.  At the end of the bed, I've sneaked in a row of Bright Lights Swiss Chard.  The fourth quadrant contains even more Swiss Chard, a row of Merveille de Quatre Saisons lettuce, Easter Egg radishes, and 6 zucchini hills.

I've also managed to sneak in a few more varieties by planting in pots -- Desiree potatoes, Good Mother Stallard beans, and a bush variety of cucumber.  I planted some Nasturtiums and Marigolds among the garden and additional seeds in pots. 

My herb bed is coming to life with marjoram, thyme, oregano, and parsley.  I hope to add another variety or two after a trip to the Farmer's Market (finally opening on Saturday!).  I also have chives and mint in pots, and some basil seeded in the bed with tomatoes.

Now I'm just waiting for those pokey beans, cucumber, and zucchini to germinate and I'll be all set!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chores for a Kitchen Garden, May 1858

In May 1858, the Indiana Farmer magazine suggested the following garden chores:
Cabbage -- Remove "old" Early York from hotbed and move to garden; plant Flat Dutch seeds for mid-summer use
Cauliflower -- Sow in deep, rich soil
Peas -- If space is limited, plant dwarf varieties; dwarf peas can be used as edging around the garden; good varieties include Bishop's Dwarf and Tom Thumb
Lettuce -- Sow directly in garden
Sweet corn -- Sow directly in garden
Bush beans -- Sow directly in garden
Radishes -- Sow directly in garden
I was out in my garden this past weekend sowing many of these vegetables.  I guess I am right on schedule!
Source: "Kitchen Garden." Indiana Farmer vol. 7 no. 2 (May): 35.