Sunday, August 2, 2015

Garden Share Collective - August 2015

Beds 1 to 3

We are in the depths of summer. July has seen a transition from spring crops to the summer crops. The fall crops have just been seeded as you can see in Bed 1 where the carrots are about 2" tall. In Beds 2 and 3 I have my two sisters beds and the squash is really trying to take over the world. It is hard to walk down my narrow and now almost nonexistent paths. Every day I have to go down them and tuck the squash back in their beds under the corn. The corn has just started to produce, and the butternuts, but not the Upper Ground Sweet Potato squash or the Thai Rai Kaw Tok, have set their first fruits. I do see little female buds on the UGSPS so those ought to set soon. And they had better give me a lot of fruit as that plant is a real pain in my behind. The leaves are shading the corn way too much and they can climb up the stalks with ease. Keeping it under control is impossible. The other two are pretty vigorous vines, but as not bad.

Beds 3 to 8

The rest of the garden is growing well, but it is the typical fight with the aphids on the brassicas. If I spray them with soap every week they stay under control, but you have to coat every single surface for that to work. And there are a lot of leaves on the broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The wilt has started in cucumbers, but hopefully it won't be too fast of a spread. There aren't a lot of cucumber beetles this year so I might get lucky. Powdery mildew has been spotted in the neighborhood, so it is only a matter of time before it hits the garden. And the flea beetles are keeping my turnips from growing well. I'm going to try again where the onions were. I'm thinking I might have to buy some yellow sticky traps, which I've never used before.

Circle Garden

The hot part of the garden is the circle garden. I plant my melons and sweet potatoes there. They seem to be doing well. I was worried about the melons as the slugs took a lot of them down early on and I had to resow in mid June. They have recovered from the late start. I see multiple little melons on the ones that didn't get eaten. Hopefully the others will start to set soon. I'm hoping for melons and corn when my mother and MIL visit on August 24th. So far it is looking good.

Behind the circle garden is my compost area. I've got the earlier of my storage onions and shallots curing there under the tarp. They will be done soon and more room will be available for the later storage onions.

July Completed

  • Watered the garden three times
  • July 4th planted lettuce
  • July 7th pruned gooseberries
  • July 8th planted fresh eating carrots 8E, planted turnips 4W, pruned raspberries
  • July 10th planted storage carrots 1E
  • July 11th pruned currants
  • July 13th sprayed Brussels sprouts
  • July 14th planted fall brassicas and turnips 4E
  • July 26th reseeded bare spots in carrot bed, sowed lettuce outside in nursery bed
  • July 27th sprayed broccoli
  • July 29th sprayed Brussels sprouts
  • Almost everyday - keep the squash, melons, and sweet potatoes in their beds
  • Often enough - weed


I harvested the following in July: sweet onions, bunching onions, garlic, beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, celery, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, turnips, zucchini. Of note were the carrots, of which I harvested about 20 pounds. They have taken over one vegetable drawer in my fridge and will keep me in carrots until the fall carrots start to produce. Also the yearly garlic harvest was picked at the beginning of July and cured and is now stored in the basement. It is a long storage variety (German Extra Hardy) and will stay good and last until next year's harvest is ready.

Herbs that were picked in July: basil, chives, cilantro, coriander, dill, fennel, majoram, mint, parsley, rosemary, and sage. Some of these were larger harvests to dry for the winter.

All in all the harvests went from greens in early July to the cucurbits at the end of July. The lettuce has petered out and is mostly bolting, though I keep planting more. I'm on my last cabbage and will really miss it when it is gone. I eat cucumbers and zucchini every day. The cucumbers are almost always made into a cucumber salad which I love. I've used some to try to ferment pickles, but so far no luck. As long as I get an excess of cucumbers I'll keep trying, but the daily eating comes first.


Some varied preserving was done in July. I froze more kale when the plants were ripped up. I also made some gooseberry jam and some plum sauce. The jam was made from my gooseberries, but though I have two plum trees in the yard, neither of them are old enough to produce anything. So I buy them from the farmers market to make it. I cured my garlic and it is now stored in the basement. And I dried some herbs.

Tally of what is in storage from the garden:


  • Brococli - 13.5 cups
  • Chard - 14 cups
  • Mizuna - 23 cups
  • Kale - 36 cups
  • Spinach - 60 cups
  • Chinese cabbage - 4 cups
  • Turnips - 5 cups


  • Gooseberry jam 6 cups
  • Plum Sauce 6 cups


  • Garlic - 7.5 pounds

August To Do

  • Control the squash
  • Plant fall turnips
  • Keep seeding lettuce
  • Spray brassicas every week for aphids
  • Weed
  • Harvest and cure remaining onions
  • Transplant kale

This post is part of the Garden Share Collective hosted by Lizzie at Strayed From the Table.

Friday, July 31, 2015


My garlic had been drying in our bike shed for three weeks. The occasional dirt shower had to be endured as we got our bikes out to use. All the appropriate vampire jokes were told. But it was time to cut the garlic down and finally clean it up and put it in storage. Going down to my basement when I run out of garlic is so much easier than running to the bike shed.

The yield wasn't spectacular. Out of the five years I have had this garden, it ranks fourth in production. I did get some nice bulbs, but I also got a lot of small bulbs. Above is the range from big to small. The big was 2.6 oz and the small was 1 oz. While it isn't a huge yield, it is more than enough for me. And to share. I dumped about six bulbs on my townhouse mates' counter. I'm sure they will eat a lot more of it over time. I grow way more than I can eat.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sprouts, Cucumbers, and Lettuce

I finally got around to spraying the Brussels sprouts with soap again. The broccoli needed spraying too. The aphids are taking over slowly. I find soap works OK if you cover every tiny part of the plant and spray regularly. I probably ought to look up how long it takes for eggs to hatch and aphids to reproduce to make sure I'm not getting multiple generations not being sprayed, but I've never done that. I try to spray once a week, but in reality it tends to be more like every two which isn't enough to keep them down.

But as long as my little Brussels sprouts stay aphid free I'll be happy. It sure does seem like a lot of work though. Especially this week. We are getting a heat wave that is lasting over a week. I'm a true heat wimp. I've been known to faint in the heat. Needless to say, I do all my work in the early morning during weeks like this.

Other bad news is that I saw my first wilted leaf. I never got wilt in the cucumbers at my last house. We had cucumber beetles, but they didn't seem to spread it. Here we get it ever year like clockwork. I've learned to use a row cover early and only let them out after they have started to run. It delays the inevitable. It is too bad the wilt has started as I'm trying to learn how to make fermented dills and I could use more cukes for experimenting. But it will take it a while for the wilt to take them down. Probably weeks. The bacteria starts with one leaf and it travels very slowly up and down the stem and the leaves die one by one. Hopefully it will be a while still before it gets transferred to all the other cukes. I'm trying Lemon cucumbers for the first time and they haven't even set any cukes yet.

But there isn't all bad news in the garden. I sowed some lettuce last weekend. It is up even with the heat. I'm using this as a little nursery row. I'll transplant them to better spacing when they get bigger - and all the other lettuce has bolted.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Harvest Monday, 27 July 2015

This week I had a much lighter harvest than normal. This is pretty typical in the transition from spring to summer for me. If I could actually eat all foods, I'd be harvesting things like tomatoes and peppers and legumes. I can't even touch a tomato plant as I get sick from that. At least the legumes I can grow for my townhouse mates. I don't grow much mind you, but I have a soft spot in my heart for beans. I've always loved them. And since I've never seen a bean beetle in my life, they have been easy to grow. Well at least until the rust takes them down.

Early summer harvests for me tend to be cucumbers and zucchini. I eat a lot of the cucumbers in cucumber salad, but I also pickle them. Before it was always refrigerator pickles, but this year I'm into fermenting, so I've started making pickles that way. One of the tricks to keep your pickles crisp, is to use something that contains tannins. Often these are grape leaves, which I don't grow here. But luckily for me, grapes grow wild all over. I picked a few from the bike path to make my pickles. These won't go into the tally since I only put things that I grow into that. But it was still a harvest and a very useful one.

I had a new harvest this week - amaranth. It wasn't big. I just picked the tops off of each plant. Hopefully they will bush out a bit.

The side shoots have started in the broccoli. Sadly I've noticed a huge infestation of aphids in some parts. I'll have to go out and deal with that today or the shoots will be inedible. I love the first shoots as they tend to be pretty large.

And of course I harvested chard.

And some onions.

  • Alliums, 1.56 lbs
  • Beans, 0.44 lbs
  • Broccoli, 0.49 lbs
  • Cucumbers, 2.45 lbs
  • Greens, 1.83 lbs
  • Summer Squash, 1.64 lbs
  • Weekly total, 8.39
  • Yearly total, 248.40 lbs, $502.37

  • Fruits
  • Currants, 1.11 lbs
  • Fruit Yearly total, 37.51 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Melons and Dirty Boots

Yesterday I was dutifully turning the melon vines back into the bed and away from the path and I saw my first melon forming. Whoohoo! So I looked carefully and found a couple more that haves started. This year's melons were a bit late after slugs took down the first sowing. But it looks like I'll get melons after all which makes me happy. Now all I need is hot weather and not too much rain when they are ripening. Last year's melons were the best ever because of the weather. I can always hope for a repeat. But even if they turn out to be just decent melons I'll be pretty happy.

My boots have nothing to do with my melons. But I ended up tracking dirt all over my floor as I didn't notice how dirty they were. I was out gleaning at Kimball's Farm. I've never gleaned there before but I'm really happy I got to as Kimball's is one of the farms that comes to our farmers market and I buy a lot of apples from them in the fall. They are an IPM farm which I like. For instance they never spray their strawberries after they start blooming, so the pesticides won't end up on the fruit.

The farmer talked out the corn we were going to pick. His farm is just over the border in New Hampshire or at least the part we were on. The University of New Hampshire uses it as a test field for when pests and diseases come up from the south. So he knows exactly how many pests are around. They tell him when to spray and how much. Though he doesn't always follow the recommendations. Right now they are telling him to spray for corn earworms every five days. He knows that if he sprays only once a week instead, he will still have 95% of his crop free of worms. Which he thinks is good enough.

We got to glean in this field because it had been picked twice already. What was left wasn't economically viable to pay someone to pick it. But we gleaners are volunteers, so we were out sweating for our corn. Many of the ears that were left were small but still otherwise perfect. Occasionally we would get a patch that was big lovely ears. The biggest problem with picking was the 6' high ragweed that grew between the rows. We could have used a machete. It was a true jungle in the weeds. Some of the ragweed was taller than the corn and it certainly was thicker.

Friday, July 24, 2015


I was out in the garden this morning checking on things. First I noticed that the storage carrots were doing very well. I had good germination in both sets of carrots. The fresh eating carrots on the other hand were pretty spotty. So I resowed the empty spots. I don't know if they will come up or not as I can't cover them or water them every day as that would be bad for the ones that are already up. But maybe they will come up.

Then I noticed that my lettuce patch was getting crowded out by the bunching onions. They were supposed to have been picked a month ago, but I picked them by thinning as I needed them. And I didn't need them all so they grew.

They grew huge. Doesn't this look more like a leek than an onion?

So I cleaned up half the lettuce patch. I'll do the other half after I've eaten these.

And how do you get rid of a buttload of bunching onions? Well I slow cooked them down until they started turning brown then put them in an onion frittata . Or maybe it is a crustless onion quiche. I did use coconut milk, so it is probably more quiche like than frittata like. The nice thing about this is that I get to eat it for three more days as all those onions made a lot.

I've been having a lot of nice lunches from the garden recently. This is a vegetable pancake. I used to call them Okonomiyaki, but mine have little in common with the Japanese version anymore except for the heavy use of cabbage. I put in herbs like parsley, cilantro, or sometimes mint. And the toppings here were strawberry chutney and a horseradish mustard sauce.

I made a chard and onion soup that was nice hot the first day and nicer cold the second day. I ate it with leftover herbed quinoa and poached eggs. And you might not know it but I had stirred some sauerkraut into the soup. The day before I'd eaten my kraut on the side, but found it tasted really good with the soup.

Most of my lunches are inspired by what needs to be eaten. I had a couple of left over tortillas so I put in some guacamole and some fried eggs. Yum. From the garden I had coleslaw, sauerkraut, and cucumber salad.

Some fried eggs over leftover rice with sides of garden broccoli and some zucchini fritters.

Probably my most common lunch looks like this. An open faced egg salad sandwich. I adore egg salad. With sides of garden veggies with a little kraut.

Have you noticed a theme with my lunches. I tend to eat eggs - lovely pastured eggs with bright orange yolks. I know they are supposed to be breakfast food here, but I eat them for lunch almost every day. I eat whatever veggies the garden gives to me, but I prefer to eat some kind of green if I have it. And I'm eating a little of my fermented food every day too. I tend to eat it in rotation. So the first made gets eaten first. But when I finally get pickles that might change (the first pickles are being made now). I don't think I'd be able to resist eating dill pickles with my egg salad sandwiches.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Green Coriander and Onions

I had a very minor procedure done by my doctor on Tuesday and he said no strenuous exercise for two days. Gardening isn't strenuous is it? Well it turns out that all those little gardening chores is basically doing squats over and over which was just a bit stressful. Since it was such a lovely day, I really wanted to be outside. So I figured I could sit outside on my stool and pick green coriander. And what a lovely afternoon. I sat on my stool doing a normally tedious task, but the wind was blowing and the little tiny wasps were flitting about with the hoverflies. I should have had my camera, but of course I didn't. I still have a lot of flowers blooming and a lot about to bloom on the plants, but some of the coriander was starting to turn brown already.

I do collect ripe coriander to use as seed, but green coriander rules in the kitchen. You can eat them fresh (and yes they are better that way), but I dry a lot to use all year round. They are more intense and have a better flavor than the ripe kind. If I get another lazy day in the garden maybe I'll pick more to pickle. I bet they would keep their flavor well like that.

Today I decided to do the onions and shallots even though it would require a bit of climbing to tie up the tarp cover to the drying rack (really doc I swear it isn't vigorous). The onions and shallots had fallen 1-2 weeks ago. I would have done them a bit earlier, but I wanted a some time after the last rain for them to dry out naturally in the soil. I deemed them ready.

Only about half of them were down. The remaining are two varieties are still standing tall. I've been using the Walla Wallas as I need onions. They don't store well and I hope they last upright for a while. The longer they do the more I'll get to eat before they start to rot.

Harvesting was easy, but getting them on the rack was more of a comedy of errors. I made my drying rack a week ago, but instead of using old bamboo, I used new ones to hold it in place at the ends. It turns out the new ones are really slick and they moved as I was trying to put the onions in and as they moved, a couple lines of onions fell right through. Luckily the leaf bin is a pretty soft place to land.

After getting the onions in the rack. I had to tie up the tarp. I hadn't remembered from last year that the fence posts I tie them to in the back don't line up with the compost bins I put the rack on top of. It turns out that I can't cover part of the rack I built and put the onions on.

So I moved them all over a bit so they wouldn't get wet when it rains. Now I just need to wait a few weeks for them to dry so I can braid them.

I won't be getting to certain parts of my compost area for the next month, but I'm OK with that. I never put the onions over the one bin that is the working compost pile.