Monday, May 25, 2015

Harvest Monday - 25 May 2015

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm!

This week we are continuing to pick baby mesclun--enough for a nice salad every other day or so. The mix is from Baker Creek, and I've been very pleased with how fast it grows and how tender and tasty it is. Although I certainly can't tell just what everything is! Could be weeds for all I know.

And I'm also quite pleased with the radish turnout. The row cover seems to have done its trick--very little damage from root maggots, and nice big bulbs. This is French Breakfast and Cherry Belle--what everybody grows. Is there anything nicer than a fresh, crisp, sharp radish?

A second major picking, with greens too:

Do you admire the artistic use of both black and white napkins??

This weekend was the big push, as expected. We planted a second bed of Espresso bicolor sweet corn, and gave it a cover just until it germinates.

And in the row garden, four half-rows of Honey Select sweet corn, zucchini (yellow and green), Diva cucumbers, and pickling cucumbers. I'll plant the other half-rows of corn when these emerge, and if all goes well (it seldom does), we'll have a continuing harvest of what is my favorite vegetable.

On the opposite side of the row garden, all 12 tomato plants went in. There are four indeterminates-- two Supersauce, one Caspian Pink, one Sugar Plum (grape), and eight determinates; three Incas plum tomatoes, two Roma, two Rutgers, and one yellow variety, Taxi.

In this same section will go the peppers and eggplants. As of now the plan is still to plant them next weekend, but I'm keeping an eye on the weather, as there is a chance the temperature will drop below 50 F. (~10 C.) just after the weekend. If so, I will wait. I've made the mistake before to set them out too soon, and they just seem to get stunted.

We planted melons (on the trellis), and 3 types of snap beans--Denver filet, Velour filet, and "Carson" yellow wax.

And in the "Survival Garden,"Floriani" red flint corn, Kenearly yellow-eye beans, Midnight Black Turtle beans, and four types of winter squash/pumpkins, all C. moschata varieties: Burpee's Butterbush, Butterpie, "Fairytale" (Musquee de Provence) pumpkins, and Long Island Cheese pumpkins. 

And along a fence line, scarlet runner beans, behind the ornamental sunflowers just now emerging. The runners climb the fence, and also sometimes the sunflowers of course.

So as you can imagine, it was a busy time! But with two of us working, it really didn't take all that long, and we have a pleasant feeling of accomplishment.

The potatoes have emerged, except for one piece which I must have cut too small.

I've said it before, I cannot seem to grow spinach. Here you see a tiny specimen already bolting! What is wrong? Plenty of sun, water, temps not too warm. It's got to be the soil I guess.

And here's another problem--a hen wild turkey has taken up residence under the bird feeder. She seems to think it's dandy to take a shortcut right through the herb garden, and she's already been scratching at the Survival Garden. Those are big feet! What to do about this? I couldn't bring myself to shoot her (woodchucks, that's another matter). And anyway, they are a game species and it's illegal to take hens this time of year.

Finally, a snap of blooming azaleas and Shasta daisies at the front of the house. Thanks so much for reading. Go back to Daphne's Dandelions, our gracious hostess of Harvest Monday, and see who else has been busy.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Harvest Monday - 18 May 2015

Welcome to another Harvest Monday post from Eight Gate Farm, and yes, there are a couple of tiny harvests to show!

The last of the asparagus:

And a picking of baby mesclun, or if you're classy, micro-greens. Cheers to the first salad of the season!

Continuing the update of garden progress, here you see (clockwise from bottom right) Brussels sprouts (transplanted last weekend, took the row cover off), broccoli (doing nicely), Espresso corn (happily germinated despite my fears), and the empty bed that will hold the next planting of Espresso, hopefully next weekend.

Next weekend, Memorial Day in the US, will be the big push. That's when I traditionally plant tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, sweet corn--really, almost everything remaining except peppers and eggplants, which will wait another week. I hope the weather cooperates. Actually I saw that a local "real" farmer already has tomatoes in the ground--and farmers know best. So everything is ready to go in the "row garden." Here's where the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants will go. I seeded a row of sunflowers in the back this weekend.

And here's where the late season corn, cucumbers, and zucchini will go. The new row of asparagus is in the foreground.

The potatoes planted last weekend have not emerged yet, but the onions are getting stronger.

The soup peas, behind the still-fragile leeks, are looking good. That's artichokes in the background.

The spinach is unfortunately still small. I never seem to be able to grow it rapidly.

Behold, a radish that escaped the anti-root maggot doghouse. Won't be long now!

And the "Survival Garden," too, is all ready for planting next weekend. The Survival Garden is where we grow foods that don't need refrigeration--dry corn, dry beans, pumpkins, and winter squash. Learning from last year, I intend to plant less corn, more beans, and not let the squash overwhelm the beans. And a big thank you! to The Kitchen Goddess, who furrowed this bed while I was busy fiddling with the drip irrigation system for the reconfigured row garden.

I leave you with a picture of one of my favorite perennials--Alyssum compacta. Too bad it only flowers for a short time in spring.

Thanks for reading! Now head back to Daphne's Dandelions to enjoy harvest posts from around the world.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Harvest Monday - 11 May 2015

Welcome to another Harvest Monday post from Eight Gate Farm! Thanks to Daphne's Dandelions for providing this forum.

Our first vegetable harvest of the season...asparagus!

Of course, we should have had many times this amount, but last year voles destroyed most of the plants. I replanted, and even added a second row this year, but it will be a few years before we get to pick them.

This became part of a wonderful dinner of chicken and baby back ribs we smoked using chunks from the ancient apple tree that fell over last fall. Also included are corn cakes using our flint corn from last year.

I gave the chives a haircut. They are about to flower, and I find they are tastier before flowering. I also topped the basil, which was getting leggy. It will be a few weeks before it gets transplanted.

Okay, that was a ruse to get you to look at the rest of our non-harvest garden pictures.

The nectarine tree is flowering beautifully as usual. Too bad we never get any fruit. It develops some sort of disease which turns the fruit gooey.

The Macoun apple we planted four years ago looks like it will give us fruit this year. I hope so. It's my favorite apple.

The broccoli transplanted April 18 is doing nicely, although one seems to be a runt. The varieties are Acadia, Blue Wind, and Fiesta.

The bed frames are new. They are cedar, and measure (nominally) 4x6 feet. I bought four, to replace two 4x12 beds that had rotted. They are kits from The Farmstead. I forget which blogger suggested this source; for that I apologize. The mortise-and-tenon joints make them super-easy to assemble. My one complaint is those very same joints reduce the inside dimension by 9 inches both length and width.

The Brussels sprouts were transplanted this weekend. These were started April 15. They got a row cover to hopefully help them adjust to sunlight and outdoor temperatures. I know they are useful, but I just don't like row covers. I like to watch the plants grow!

I also sowed corn (Espresso bi-color, an early variety) in one of the smaller beds. I know this is dangerous, but it's been so warm the soil has gotten up to temperature. I'm taking a risk, but I guess the worst that could happen is I replant it.

Potatoes were planted this weekend. The onions (from sets) in the same bed are doing pretty well.

The leeks (from seed, transplanted April 19) are starting to settle down. In the background are Dwarf Blauwschokkers peas (for soup) I'm trying out this year. These were sown April 19.

Mesclun, snow and snap peas, and in the doghouse row cover, radishes. I hope this cover prevents the root maggots.

The "row garden" section has frustrated me productivity-wise for years; I finally gave in and brought in 6 yards of fresh loam. On the left tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant will go, on the right corn and cucumbers.

So here's a shot looking up the fenced garden. The first two beds on the right are resting this year.

I leave you with a snap of our weeping cherry tree at its loveliest. Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Daphne.