Monday, June 29, 2009

Another harvest from the garden

We brought in our first leeks this evening. They're still thin - roughly pencil-sized - but pulling them will make room for their brethren to grow big and fat. Another plus: at this size the greens are still tender enough to eat.

I also picked the remaining peas. There weren't many in this batch, so they will likely either a) be eaten straight from the shell without cooking, or 2) be frozen along with the bulk of peas we've gotten from the CSA, so we can devote our current veggie cooking to the items that don't save well, like chard and lettuce. Oh, the lettuce. We have the stuff coming out our ears. Three gallon-bags full, and the Munchkin won't touch the stuff. On the up side, we have discovered that he LOVES the bread-and-butter pickles our friend Bruce's mom made from summer squash. I'll be hitting him up for the recipe, you can be sure.

Two of the butternut squash plants are still going, although one is definitely a bit weak, and we have a cucumber plant with blossoms on it now. There are also about a bazillion blossoms on the tomatillos, which should make for some fun salsa-making in a few weeks. Anyone else have any good tomatillo recipes?

Monday, June 08, 2009

A good weekend

We nearly finished the new paths and garden beds yesterday. We were one bag short of mulch (not bad estimating, given that we used 16 bags), and there's one fiddly bit of edging that needs to be done. It looks pretty dang nice, if I do say so, and the beds will look even better with plants in.

I also planted two hills of cucumbers, four Kung Pao Hybrid chilis, and some basil, and I may have located my lost parsley. Although the seedlings I put in were munched into oblivion, the seeds I scattered around them on a whim seem to be sprouting now. All the remaining seeds have been started, save for a few herbs I'm doing in pots. The leeks still need to be thinned and there's a ton of mowing left, but all in all a good productive weekend.

The Munchkin was a huge help throughout, spreading mulch and planting sunflower seeds with us. I wish we'd read the label on the mulch before we bought it (turns out it had a ton of nasty pesticides in it), but at least we're not using it on the veggies. If we ever get around to putting pavers on the path, I'll see if I can figure out whether it's safe to compost.

By the end of the day yesterday, we were all filthy and hungry. Joe cooked, and the Munchkin ate more than he has at a non-pizza dinner in months. After that, baths and showers for everyone, a little Tony-award-watching (Rock of Ages? - possibly the least metal thing ever), then falling into bed exhausted.

Today it is raining, so no choice but to deal with writing, I suppose. *Sigh*.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Garden notes for May

Yeah, I know it's June. I couldn't very well make my list of all the stuff that happened in May until it was over, could I? Moving on.

  • The veg garden is half in. Snap peas are going gangbusters. Round one of the watercress is done, and round two is coming up. Honestly, I'm not sure if the watercress is worth it. I love me some caldo verde (which traditionally uses kale, but also works well with a mix of greens), but that's about the only thing we use it for, and it takes up a fair bit of space - space that might better be used for collards or something. We'll need to rethink that for next year.
  • The indoor snap peas are doing OK, but not great. Tons of vine, not much actual fruit. After a few Google searches, I suspect that the potting mix I used is too high in nitrogen, and not enough in potassium and phosphorous. Luckily, the soil outdoors doesn't seem to be suffering the same problem.
  • Our last frost of the year ended up being May 19 - nearly a week after my estimate, and one day after I planted the Frenso chilis and tomatillos. The tomatillos were up against the wall of the house and I think that helped protect them, but the Fresnos didn't make it. I'm going to start a new batch of seedlings today.
  • We had a few irises, but not many. I suspect it's time to divide the clump and find some new homes.
  • A pair of bluebirds have taken up residence in the yard. The Munchkin looks for them every time we're outside. A family of robins also built a nest in the hanging fern on the porch. It made watering tricky, but I wanted to keep the eggs safe. Toward the end of the month, we started hearing peeps from the nest, and most recently I saw three very small robins perched in a row on the electrical line to the house.
  • In other wildlife news, there was a baby deer bedded down in the backyard for a few days. Gave us a handy excuse to delay mowing for a while.
  • We cut two new paths (really 1.5) in front of the house. The main path runs from the porch steps to the driveway, and the second connects that path to the back patio. In the process, we also stripped the sod from two new beds in front of the porch. No plants or pavers yet - that's the next step.
  • The leeks need to be thinned again, and soil mounded over them (to increase the amount of white).
  • We have seedlings indoors ready to go outside. A few hills of cucumbers, some kung pao hybrid chilis, some basil, and (in a bit of a shocker) some butternut squash from seeds I saved three years ago. I had the Munchkin plant them. He put five or six in one tiny peat pot, and five of them sprouted! We also have seeds for Brussels sprouts, dill, and sunflowers. I'm thinking of starting the sprouts and sunflowers in pots, too, but dill evidently doesn't like to be moved, so I'll just need to keep an eye out to make sure I don't accidentally weed it out of existence.
  • The parsley has vanished. I strongly suspect an enterprising bunny or groundhog.
  • I'm already planning next year's larger-scale garden. Raised beds, definitely

What are y'all growing this year?