Monday, October 20, 2014

Harvest Monday, 20 October 2014

This week's harvest is remarkably like last weeks harvest, but replacing the broccoli with chard. I have little bitty zucchini and carrots a lot.

I did however get a few radishes this time. The fall radishes didn't grow that well. They didn't have much light and were started a bit late. But they finally have sized up a bit.

And just like last week I have a Michihili cabbage. This is the last one. It was starting to crack and bolt, but still good to eat.

Last night had frost and freeze warnings. I haven't checked the garden yet. I might have gotten the last of the zucchini. If I have, it is too bad. I've never had zucchini produce this late before. It was very slow to start this year, but at least made up for it a little bit.

Like last week I picked about eight pounds of produce, which is all that I need to eat for the week, with the addition of some of the storage crops. Sweet potatoes, squash, and onions. With the most likely demise of the zucchini and the end of the Chinese cabbage. I'll be switching over to bok choy and European cabbage. Though not this coming week. I'll be on vacation this coming week. It is a girls vacation, so I'm leaving my husband at home. Luckily nothing much needs to be done in the garden at this time of the year. Just harvesting what we need to eat. When I get back though I'll start being busy again with cleaning up and planting garlic. Though I won't be here, I'll set up a Harvest Monday post so you call can have fun without me.

  • Alliums: 0.50 lbs
  • Carrots: 2.81 lbs
  • Greens: 1.38 lbs
  • Greens, Asian: 2.24 lbs
  • Herb s: 0.07 lbs
  • Roots: 0.16 lbs
  • Squash, Summer: 0.94 lbs
  • Weekly Total: 8.10 lbs
  • Yearly Total: 642.81 lbs
  • Yearly Tally: $1103.61

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.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Harvest Monday 13 October 2014

This is a really bad year for diseases in my Chinese cabbage. My Napa was pretty sad. And I had to totally toss one of my Michihili cabbages. This one though was fine on the inside. I have one left in the garden and I really hope it is good all the way through.

It is October, but still I got a decent zucchini. I think another is setting and I'll get to pick it this week. Usually now it is just the small ones that don't set. And this is my first fig. I'm thinking that my fig experiment might end next spring. I might rip them out. They aren't hardy here. The early crop never lives. And the later crop always ripens in October which is a bit too cold for it. I get very few fruit. the plants themselves look great and grow well. But without ripe fruit it might be worthwhile to put in something else.

And yet more carrots this week. It is good that I love carrots as I'm really getting a lot this year. I have a friend a few blocks over that is hoping I have too many as I've promised extras to her. Carrots are her favorite. So far though I've had no trouble eating pounds of carrots each week.

And the fall broccoli that I was afraid might not mature in time is starting to produce. I've got three more heads out there. One will certainly make it. The others are just starting. I hope they hurry. Also in the basket is a green onion that looks more like a leek, a single turnip, a very small handful of choy sum, a few baby zucchini, and a tiny cabbage that grew off the stump of the spring cabbages.

All in all it was a decent fall week. No major storage crops were harvested, but just what I needed for my meals. I did check on my parsnips that I planted pretty late in the season and I was shocked by how big they were. I didn't pull any out yet as I want them to see some good frosts first, but I dug down far enough to see that their shoulders are pretty wide. Now if they just go really deep I'll get a lot to roast up. I do like parsnips, but I've never grown them before. Part of me wants to harvest some now. I'm trying to be patient as I have plenty to eat at its peak right now.

  • Alliums: 0.49 lbs
  • Broccoli: 1.48 lbs
  • Carrots: 2.97 lbs
  • Greens: 0.37 lbs
  • Greens, Asian: 2.28 lbs
  • Roots: 0.13 lbs
  • Squash, Summer: 0.93 lbs
  • Weekly Total: 8.65 lbs
  • Yearly Total: 634.71 lbs
  • Yearly Tally: $1085.1

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.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Next Generations

Over the last week I got a few things done around the garden. I took the above beans down. There were lots of overly mature beans on the plant that just got tossed. I really should have been picking them for my townhouse mates, but since I don't eat them, I had just ignored them.

Behind the beans I noticed the fennel seed was ready to pick. I separated it into two bags to dry. One had the dark ripe seeds. The second had the green seeds. I'll eat the green ones and keep the other to plant next year.

On the other side of the same bed is my cabbage patch. I used to have a row cover, but I decided the white butterflies are gone, so they are safe to uncover. I'll get to uncovering the broccoli soon. I might even take off the covers from the carrots too. I can't imagine with the weather cooling down so much that the insects have time hatch any eggs. If there are still carrot flies around. They might be gone too.

The mustard patch is starting to ripen. I picked off any spires that were getting yellow. Hopefully the rest will have time to ripen in the next few weeks. If not I'll pick them green and see what they are like.

Then my husband noticed the preying mantis on our screen door and had to take photos.

I've had so many of these in the garden this year.


Egg Sac

And while I was taking the beans down I found this. It looks like I'll have preying mantises next year too. I attached it to one of the sage plants to overwinter. Hopefully that next generation will keep my garden relatively pest free. I did have few problems with earwigs this year. Maybe the mantises are the reason.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Harvest Monday, 6 October 2014

Garnet with a few Beauregard

Purple

I harvested the last of the sweet potatoes.

And all the Butternut squash. 92 pounds! Needless to say I'll have a lot of orange vegetables to eat over the winter.

And some to eat now. The carrots are getting huge. The one I'm holding is a Mokum and is usually a fairly small carrot. I don't think they have ever gotten this big for me. Some are getting close to an inch and a half around. I grew both Yayas and Mokums to eat fresh this year. They have both grown very well, but I like the Mokums better. The Yayas are a bit tasteless to me. Not bad mind you, but not a lot of carrot flavor. Mokums are both carroty and sweet, so just perfect.

Despite the cooler weather the zucchinis keep putting out fruit which makes me very happy. I haven't had nearly enough zucchini this year.

My raspberries started producing again. I got two containers like this. It isn't a lot, but enough to add to my cereal in the morning.

My favorite harvest was the choy sum. It wasn't the best I've grown by far. It was a little spindly and only four ounces. But at least I had some this fall. I find it grows better here in the spring.
  • Carrots: 2.94 lbs
  • Greens, Asian: 0.26 lbs
  • Squash, Summer: 1.75 lbs
  • Squash, Winter 94.52 lbs
  • Sweet Potatoes: 18.94 lbs
  • Weekly Total: 118.39 lbs
  • Yearly Total: 626.06 lbs
  • Yearly Tally: $1066.45

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, October 5, 2014

Garden Share Collective - October 2014

Beds 1-3
Here in the northeastern part of the US our leaves are starting to turn beautiful colors. Well not the squash you see above. They are all turning white as they die and get mildewed. Soon the squash will all be harvested (actually it already has been, but I wrote this at the end of September). But as you can see in the next bed down the storage carrots and parsnips are growing well. It might be my best carrot year ever. In bed 3 I have my cabbage covered. Though I haven't seen a cabbage butterfly in a while. Half that bed has been picked, the other half is still getting bigger.

Beds 3-8
In Bed 4E my mustards are starting to turn yellow as the seed dries. I like to make my own mustard so grow the seed for it. To the west side of the bed are my kales that have been doing a good job of feeding me over the last couple of weeks. Bed 5 holds more squash. Bed 6 has my fresh eating carrots and under the row cover on the west side of the bed is the broccoli.

Bed 7E has my bok choy and chard. Bed 7W is more squash. Bed 8E has my sad looking zucchini plants. They are still producing, but I think it isn't long before they die. The asparagus in bed 8W mostly died this summer. I have two plants still left alive. It might be my last attempt as asparagus here as it doesn't want to grow.

Around the corner in the Circle Garden

The far side of the circle garden had the sweet potatoes that were harvested. It is empty now and needs to have compost put on it. The near part is my spinach. I got this in about a week too late to eat it this year I think. But it will over winter here and give me greens in the spring.

September Completed

  • September 12th, 22nd, 26th Watered garden
  • September 7th Seeded Spinach Bed CE, mostly Space with some Winter Giant
  • September 9th Sprayed insecticidal soap on kale and broccoli
  • September 16th Started turning compost piles and sifting compost (almost done)
  • September 17th Pulled 1/2 sweet potatoes and started curing
  • September 24th Pulled sweet potatoes from ornamental pot by front door
  • September 27th Sprayed insecticidal soap on kale and broccoli
  • September 29th Pulled last half of sweet potato bed, put the first batch into storage and started curing second batch

Harvests

In September I transitioned from harvesting the summer crops like cucumbers, to the more fall based crops like carrots and greens. The harvests were varied: bunching onions, beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, Napa cabbage, chard, kale, kohlrabi, melons, zucchini, and sweet potatoes. In the herb department I harvested cilantro, fennel, parsley. That isn't to say I didn't harvest any other herbs, but I tend not to record or weigh very small amounts. Or herbs grabbed at the last minute. All in all I harvested 106 pounds for the month.

Preserving

September is the month that I start making and canning applesauce. My husband would eat it every night after dinner if given the chance. So I put up a lot of it. Sadly these aren't my apples. It was a sad year for my apple trees, so this year I got them all from the farmers market. I'm not putting these in the tally of what I have below as they aren't mine. I did get to freeze a good amount from the garden though: 3c zucchini, 3c Napa cabbage, 9c kale, and 1c chard. I ought to have five more frozen of chard already, but it isn't going to happen. I do have tons more kale than necessary though. Way more than I've ever frozen before. So I'll be eating kale a lot over the winter. I also froze burritos for my husband to last the winter. These use my carrots, onions, and cilantro. I buy the nightshade crops (like salsa and peppers) because I'm very sensitive to them and get poisoned by just touching the plants. I even have to open all the windows while cooking them so I don't breath too much of it.

And unlike the sad apples, the sweet potatoes did very well this year. So I have 42 pounds to go into storage. These keep very well. Basically until my basement starts to warm up a lot sometime late May. So I'll be eating these for about 6 months. I wonder if I can get through 7 pounds a month. That is about 1.6 pounds a week. I'll be working on it. But I know I can get help from my townhouse mates if I get behind.

Tally of what is in storage from the garden:

Frozen

  • Broccoli: 19 servings
  • Celery: 5 cups (Oh how I wish I had more)
  • Chard: 11 serving (need 5 more)
  • Chinese cabbage: 10 servings, 4 soup packets
  • Corn: 16 cups
  • Cucumber juice: 2 quarts
  • Kale: 36 servings
  • Spinach: 24 servings
  • Zucchini: 11 cups
  • Burritos: 13 servings
  • Mizuna Soup: 4 servings
  • Basil: frozen leaves
  • Cilantro: frozen leaves

Canned

  • Rhubarb syrup: 4 half pint jars
  • Gooseberry jam: 2 half pint jars
  • Peach cobber filling: 4 half pints
  • Peach preserves: 4 half pints
  • Peach rum sauce: 6.5 half pints
  • Dill Relish: 10 half pint jars

Basement

  • Onions: 7 braids (we ate 4 of the 11 braids that were stored)
  • Garlic: 9 pounds

October To Do

  • Plan next year's garden so I know where to plant the garlic
  • Plant garlic
  • Clean up beds that are done and cover with compost for the winter
  • Finish sifting compost
  • Harvest, cure, and store squash (actually started this process on Friday)
  • Harvest and winnow the mustard seed, fennel seed, dill seed
  • Collect seed from the zinnias
  • Go through my seeds and see what I need for next year
  • Deadhad the garlic chives before the seed drop - or I'll really regret it next year
  • Weed
  • Go through the row covers and store the ones that are still good
  • Store 8' bamboo in tarp
  • Check to see if I need to dry anymore herbs



Friday, October 3, 2014

92 Pounds! A New Record

I can't believe I got thirty squash this year. The last time I got a good haul of squash was in 2012, the year I got a lot of everything. It was the year that had no winter and I planted seed in February (totally unheard of here, where I usually start at the end of March). I'm wondering if I will beat my production record this year over all even without the early start. 92 pounds of squash really kicks the total up a lot. Last year I got only 50. Though to be fair I have 25% more space in squash this year. Even taking that into account it was the best squash year ever. And I have six little squash trying to ripen still in the garden. I don't think they will make it, but I'm rooting them on.

Squash is a hard one in my raised bed garden. Squash likes to ramble. Containing it is hard. I give the plants 3' at both ends of my 16' long raised beds and grow corn in the middle 10'. I train it under the corn. It is a constant struggle to keep it where it belongs. Even in a good corn and squash year like this year, I can't get a pound per square foot out of the space with just them. One of the beds had crops in them in early spring though. That added to the poundage in the beds. So these beds probably came out pretty even to one pound per square foot. Most people without a lot of space don't grow corn or squash. But corn is my husband's favorite. And squash is one of my major storage crops for the winter.

And speaking of winter. Can you imagine me eating 90 pounds of squash in six months? That is about half a pound a day. There is no way I can eat that much. I'm sure I'll be sharing it with my townhouse mates. And bringing squashed based items to every party I go to during the holidays.

For now the squash is joining the sweet potatoes in front of the sliding glass door so they can cure. If only we would get some sun that is. Recently it has gotten cold and dreary so nothing is really curing they are just sitting there shivering.

Well at least the ones by the far windows have a nice view of the garden while they shiver.

And in future possible records, the carrot harvest is looking big too. My fresh eating carrots are getting just huge. I'll show you the photo on Monday. If the storage carrots get that large I'll certainly break my 2011 record of 42 pounds. But sadly I'll have to wait until November for that one. I like to let the carrots see a bit of frost before I dig them up as they get very sweet and delicious that way.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sweet Potatoes Out

I had decided that I wasn't going to pull my sweet potatoes yesterday. I knew with the weather report getting cooler and rainy that I should. But I went out gleaning carrots. After hours of pulling, the last thing I wanted to do was deal with digging up my sweet potatoes. But as it was getting later I got a second wind. Half way through I regretted my choice, but at least I got it done before the cold wet weather started.

If you remember, two weeks ago I pulled half of my sweet potatoes. I wanted to see if leaving them in for the extra time did anything for them. Some extension services says the sweet potato will continue to grow until the soil temperatures reach 50F some say 65F. That is a huge range. And my answer is, I'm not sure. But I don't think there was much of a difference. I got a lower yield out of the second half of the bed. But I did get the biggest of the sweet potatoes. I think if I want to in the future, I can just pull them in the middle of September. If they do grow once the soil drops below 60F I really doubt it is significant. So I'm going to go through the production numbers for the potatoes putting all the harvests together.

I did notice one difference between the two sides though. I had barely any damage on the early pulled potatoes and I had a few potatoes with significant damage on the late pulled ones. It is not enough to really be a significant difference I think. It might just be random location but then it might be how long they are left. Supposedly what eats them is wireworms. I do have a few wireworms in the beds. Nothing huge. I wonder if I got less damage this year because of the really cold winter. If so I hope we get another cold winter this year. I like having pristine sweet potatoes that don't need surgery before eating.

Garnet

I grew three types of sweet potatoes. Garnet is a misnomer in my book as its flesh is still orange, but the skin is at least more red. I harvested a total of 20.8 pounds. 3.9 pounds was in a pot by my front door, which turned out to be a great way to grow them. The rest, 16.9 pounds was produced by 9 plants for 1.9 pounds per plant. I had a good handful of annoyingly small potatoes and a nice amount of medium sized ones which are the most useful in the kitchen.

Purple and a few Beauregard

Beauregard is a traditional orange one and had a tiny yield of 1.5 pounds for six plants. Three died to a late cold snap and the other three never really produced much.

Purple is the biggest producer and is nice because it is purple all the way through. It is a great way to get your anthocyanins. In past year I've had long snaky sweet potatoes from this plant. This year they grew into huge tubers. Often there was just two per plant. But when I say huge I mean it.

The largest of them was over two and a half pounds. What in the world will I do with such huge potatoes? I can't bake them as it would take forever, and it would take a lot of nights to get through just one potato. I might end up mashing them and freezing some. Or cubing them for salads. I can imagine a nice kale and sweet potato salad for the winter. The few regular sized ones that were produced, I'm going to save for starting slips for next year. I always mark them with some tape so I don't accidentally eat them.

The Purples produced 20 pounds from 7 plants. Or 2.9 pounds per plant. Which was the best yield of all. Of course I can't really say they always produce better than the Garnets. The Purples had the best spot in the bed. The part right next to the brick, so they were hotter than the Garnets. And we don't get all that hot here, so added heat is a real bonus for the potatoes. I think next year I'll give Garnet the place of honor and see if they can out produce Purple that way. Not that it really matters. I want both an orange and a purple sweet potato, so they will both be grown even if one is 50% more productive.

Overall I harvested about 38 pounds from the bed, which is better than a pound per square foot. I usually shoot for a pound per square foot over all in the garden. Some crops do a better, some do worse, but it is nice to know that the sweet potatoes are finally pulling their own weight. Last year they didn't quite make it, but they were not in the nice brick (and hence warmer) circle garden. This year they put out 8 pounds more with the better location. I'm slowly learning how to get the best production from my new garden. Every time you start over with a new space it is a learning process. This is the fourth here year and I'm still learning. I think it never stops.