Friday, April 27, 2007

Hi, everyone. Hope you are doing well

We are in the peak of the "greens" season, and we should enjoy it to the fullest while it lasts. Everyone is encouraged to harvest the lettuce and spinach now - as much as you think you can use. Take the entire head, as opposed to harvesting leaves. Find a head in a crowded spot and pull it up or cut it at its base. I have a knife in the garage. We are running out of plastic bags, so bring some if you think of it.

I am guessing that we have about 2 more weeks of these nice lettuces. Radishes have been a big hit, and they are the only thing we've been tight on.

We've caged all the peppers and most of the tomatoes with the cages Ed brought over. The Girls replanted the bush beans. Peas are starting to bloom. We are in our 2nd radish crop. The potatoes look great. We have chard, but we still don't know how to use it. Spinach is trying to bolt. The tomatillos and the eggplants have blooms. The squash is mostly up. We've not had to use any insecticides or herbicides or fungicides. The compost bin is doing its thing.

Weeds. This is where we need help. Because of the very dry weather, we've had a reprieve from the normal amount weeding. With the blessed return of rain, this has changed. Penny is looking for straw to help mulch everything. That will preserve moisture as well as suppress weeds. We need to get the mulch down before the weeds get started and the soil dries. Timing is everything. We'll lose the battle against established weeds.

We also need to consider what we plant to replace the greens. I have some ideas, but yours are needed.

We will be home most of today and tomorrow. So drop by; say hi.


*Penny, it would be great if you and Pat could drop ~3-4 bales in the back yard anytime. If you need Mickey's help, let her know.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The garden's constant and rapid change amazes me. It looks nothing like the garden of a few weeks ago. Virtually all the small garden has come and gone, and soon will come and go again at unreasonable speed. The back garden is thick with green, narrowing some paths to extinction. I had to trim one of the tomatoe plants back to about 6 foot high.

We enjoy something from the garden almost every lunch and dinner. Mickey is adept at using whatever happens to be available each day. And since the garden furiously renews the "vegetable of the day", we've yet to tire of anything.

I estimate that we harvested about a bushel of produce this week, not counting the baseball bat sized zuchinni. Most of this is taken during the weekend. The garden hasn't caught on to our usage pattern, so we need to catch on to its production pattern. Some vegatables are best when picked within a one or two day window. We need mid-week harvesters! Mickey's without a car this week so come by, say hello and unburden some of the vines, bushes, etc.

Several spots have opened up in the small garden, and I've filled a couple with some yellow crooked neck squash, zucchini, beats, Chinese cabbage and fennel. In the remaining ample room we will put in some fall greens. Anyone with preferences/suggestions should let Rebecca know (you will meet her, Brian and kids sometime soon, I hope).

Here's this week's status:

Cucumbers *** (Don't let the regular cucumbers get too big; they get bitter. The Chinese cucumbers are best at about 1 foot long.)
Bush beans ***** (These need to be harvested when small, about 1/8 inch in diameter.)
Tomatos *** yes, for cherry; some Roma, a few yellow, some Early Girl (slicing)
Turnips done
Beets done, 2nd planting in a couple weeks
Dill *** waning quickly
Peas - one!
Lettuce - forget it
Hot banana peppers *** (these are marked with a red string on the cages)
Other peppers ***
Bell, Pablano (Ancho when dried), relleno (for stuffing), pimento (wait until red?), jalapeƱo (a little early, I think), & mild banana.
Chard ***** (2nd planting, very good green.)
Onions ***** (all harvested and drying)
Carrots nearly done
Eggplant (Japanese) - RIP
Radishs **** we found a patch!
zucchini *****
scaloppinni squash *****
acorn squash **** (we've baked this and it's easy and great, serve with butter & nutmeg.)
tomatilloes - close
potatos - We should harvest as the tops die. Also, we can dig "early" potatoes. The fingerlings wither within a few days, so gather them only for use within the next few days.


PS - I made 8? spelling errors above. Spelling these vejutabuls is tufff.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hi, everyone.

What a great time I had today. First, Sidney (and Stan) came over and we planted 4 tomato plants. That girl was in the zone as we worked. She was carefully inverting the potted plants, removing the plants from the plastic pot (with a little help), carefully cradling the fragile root ball while turning the plant upright, placing the plant in the hole, and gently packing only the "good" dirt around it. Both of us had a grand time.

Then Isabelle came by to help with watering. She patiently watered most of the garden, which takes much longer than you would imagine. As we watered, she noticed I was picking, washing (quickly rinsing) and snacking as we went. Kids don't have a good sense of what is "dirty" and what's not. It might be odd to them that you can eat something that is actually grown in dirt. Next, we got to really look at a spinach plant and saw its two clearly different types of leaves. We tasted each, looked at their thickness and noticed the first leaves were much smoother that the ones that follow. Isabelle preferred the taste of the bumpy surfaced ones.

The greens are vigorously growing to the point that we are getting behind in the harvest. The only thing we've managed to devour are the radishes. The greens feast will last only a few more weeks, so enjoy them while you can. We'll try for a fall crop in a few months.

All 42? pepper plants are in. We are close to planting all five rows of tomatoes. Summer squash and bush bean are planted. Most of the tomatillos are planted. Eggplants are in.

The next step is mulching, unless someone out there LIKES unending weeding and watering. And after that? Vacation! It's interesting that most people think that summer's the time for gardening work. Actually the Master Gardener's organization pauses over much of the summer. Early summer is the time to wait for the onslaught of tomatoes, beans, squash, etc. that comes a few weeks later.

Not that there is nothing to do.

We have to GET the mulch. I think the best way is to buy a few bales of straw. Then, we need to cage or stake about 100 plants - no kidding. Ed brought over some cages and stakes, but we are still short. So, if you have access to tomato cages, bring them over. We'll use them on our peppers - because the will get so big they will require tomato cages!

If you missed coming by the last couple of weeks, stop by. We've been having a good time. (from mid-Sunday afternoon on, no one will be home until late Monday)


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Well, can we have worse weather?

There's not much activity in our garden yet. A few things are doing OK - onions and garlic. And, there are sightings of some lettuce and spinach seedlings.

The radishes started to flourish right before the cold snap. Then they froze and the wind beat them to death! Sorry, Dave! I replanted them Tuesday. And I started tomatillos and roma tomato seedlings last weekend. They're coming up!

Most of the seedlings haven't emerged, and the earliest planting should have come up by now. But I'm not too discouraged. We started pretty early because of the unusually warm weather; but our gamble didn't pay off.

But soon it will get nice. For us, that means we need to be ready when we get an opening. So, if you have time when the weather warms, you may want to come over and reseed things that look as if they didn't make it. This could happen mid-week (~April 17th) or maybe even this Sunday afternoon.

We are putting off building the compost bin until we find sufficient material. We need 7 fork lift pallets or some more 2 by somethings or 1 by somethings.

The other major task is tilling the big garden. It's still too wet, and here again we'll need to be ready when we get an opening.

Regards, Kim

PS - Marcia, do you want me to use your home email address?