Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kale kale kale

From Gardening

There is nothing like having a recipe you want to try, and being able to wander out to the garden to get what you need for it. I had a recipe for shredded kale salad that a friend had posted about in Facebook, so I picked a variety of kales (purples and greens!) and a few leaves of radish greens that were still around and headed back inside.

We haven't done as good of a job keeping on top of harvesting things this year, but it is still nice that the garden is out there, growing away, even when we aren't being as attentive.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July Gardening Update

From Gardening

We're still playing with sprinkler and timer setup, but after a period of daily afternoon thunderstorms, look who finally joined the party? I was beginning to think some of the kale we planted just wasn't going to grow. You can see that some kind of bugs, maybe snails, are also a fan, but it doesn't matter. We will chop it down and put it to good use soon. I've seen a few Japanese beatles flying around today but nothing like last year.




From Gardening

We do still have some lovely ruffly lettuces growing. The freckles lettuce got tired of waiting for us to harvest it and has shot some seeds up into the air. Really, it doesn't matter, it was too bitter and we didn't enjoy it. But this little bright green lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce, has grown very nicely in its limited space. We should try more of it next year. It has a mellow flavor that is great in sandwiches.

From Gardening

The strawberries are still growing, and the blueberries have started ripening finally. The birds have been hanging out around this plant quite a bit, but there were still some berries left for us. We planted two new plants this year, but they are in their teenage years and are not being very productive. Hopefully by next summer, we will have three producing blueberry plants! The first blueberries of the season were put to good use, as you can see over here in the baking blog.

From Gardening

We have two watermelons coming up in the watermelon patch that we did not plant. So that's exciting! We welcome plants that *want* to grow without any assistance. Except you, weeds, who seem to have found their way into our raised beds this year. Blame the birds again, I imagine.

We finally planted some more herbs and tomatoes a weekend or so ago, but it might have been too late and too hot. We'll see if they make it!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Harvesting Garlic

From Gardening

We tried to harvest the garlic a couple weeks back, but it didn't seem quite ready yet. Today was clearly the day, before the daily thunderstorm. You can tell it needs it by how the leaves are browning and the stalks of the softneck variety (on the right) is falling over.

From Gardening

This is a first for me. I also didn't grow up with my family growing garlic. So I read a few books and websites, and gathered that you gently shake off the loose dirt, tie the hardneck heads together in small groups, braid the softneck varieties together, and let them cure in a warm place for 2 weeks or so. I don't really have the right scenario; it is the garage or nothing, which won't be very breezy, but will have to do. I grouped heads of garlic in clumps, braided some, and strung them up around the garage.

In two weeks we will gently brush the (then dried) dirt off, and cut the stalks off the hardneck ones, and prepare them for storage. I'm nervous that they got too wet and that they will mold rather than cure. So we'll see!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Watermelon Radishes

From Gardening

Growing radishes is a puzzle. While I'm happy to eat radish greens, I have no idea what makes one seed turn into a lovely radish with small greens and the one right next to it never really develop a radish but shoot seedy greens three feet into the air.

I picked almost everything this morning because they had clearly gone to seed, and I don't know if there is anything I can do to prevent it at that point, and we ended up with about 4-5 decent radishes.

Oh well, to be fair, we don't actually like radishes all that much, but they are certainly beautiful.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Garlic Scapes

From Gardening

This is our first year growing garlic! We ordered two varieties from Sow True Seeds in Asheville, and they got planted shortly before Thanksgiving last year. They are just about ready to be harvested, probably once June hits. It was amazing to see it come up so quickly after a long, cold winter, but I'm a fan of plants that grow with little effort.

A month or so before the garlic needs to be harvested, there is a unique culinary opportunity that only people growing their own garlic will usually have access to, unless you have a very thorough farmers market (I have never seen scapes at any around here). Chive blossoms were our first revelation of the growing season, but we can add garlic scapes to the list! These thick curly tendrils are really unblossomed flowers, and when harvested before blooming, can be consumed in a variety of ways. Check out the cooking blog to see what we did with them.

From Gardening

To harvest garlic scapes, you simply cut them at the base that the loopy shoot came off of. It is actually helpful for the garlic to do this, because it allows it to put more energy back into the bulb in its last few weeks, rather than in flowers you don't need. Everything I read said the best time of day to do this was afternoon, since the sap would more likely dry out and harm the plant less if it was already hot outside. It felt wrong to cut them off, because these were the sturdiest parts of the plants!

I had originally planned to harvest the garlic today, but everything I've read said it is best to wait at least two more weeks. Since it is going to have to dry for a few weeks anyway, we will just continue to be patient.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Discerning Palate

Yesterday I made the mistake of giving my dog a fresh pea right from the vine, and now he knows where they come from. We have to chase him away from munching on them. This morning I discovered that he only picks them when they're ready.....

Friday, May 13, 2011

Garden Update

From Gardening

The green things in the garden are growing strong. In our first raised bed, the potatoes (up front) have taken off, the peas (in the back) are starting to produce, the garlic (on the left) is just about ready to be harvested and tied up for drying, and the radishes (behind the potatoes) have been farmed a bit for greens already, and are probably close to being ready for first harvest. The freckles lettuce is just about there, and will probably grow strong once we take the garlic out of its sun!

From Gardening

Over on the side of the yard where we removed the dead palmetto tree and filled it in with dirt we took out when digging up the grass to plant fruit trees, we found a volunteer watermelon plant. If it wants to grow, we are not going to stop it!

There are a bunch of blossoms on the raspberries and blueberries, and strawberries are already ripening. We are on our way!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chive Blossoms

From Gardening

Head on over to the cooking blog to find out about delicious dishes made with chive blossoms. If you grew chives last year and let them stay through the winter, you have something in your garden that you need to eat!
From Gardening

First strawberry of the year, almost ripe!

From Gardening

A new lettuce for us - freckles lettuce from Sow True Seed.

From Gardening

Irises from our friend Kathryn - not sure if this was the right time of year to plant them, so we'll see if they make it!

Other things are growing too! Potatoes have sprouted through, peas are almost ready to produce, garlic is almost ready to pull out, greens are going (slowly!), and the radishes are starting to grow the huge leaves we love to eat! We still need to plant more herbs, ladypeas, and maybe some more tomatoes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Works in Progress

From Gardening

Today we planted the apple tree, moved the raspberry, and put weed matting down in our newly designated "fruit tree area." Nathaniel had taken out the grape and dying blueberry and put two more blueberries in a few weeks ago. We're going to end up with mulch covering that area with a nice border, but don't have all the parts yet.

From Gardening

Forgive the photos, we were covered in dirt and the only camera downstairs was the old iPhone. The garlic is going strong, the peas are growing fast, and the lettuce and greens are starting to show up. I planted an additional lettuce and some potatoes today as well. I'm still waiting on May 1 to plant tomatoes and the southern peas we have, but could put in new herbs any time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A rainy spring

From Gardening

We haven't had a lot of time to get outside on the weekends yet this year, but the garlic I planted last November is going strong.

From Gardening

This year we are planting more squares of less things, so a few weeks ago we planted peas, watermelon radishes, and three kinds of greens. Things are sprouting and the rain keeps falling.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A new pest to watch out for

This is serious business, and I'll need to make sure I have taken care of these pests before starting my spring planting....

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gardening Resolutions 2011

This will be our second year gardening, and we don't want to bite off too much. Here are a few goals we hope to accomplish in 2011.

1. Order seeds from seed catalog
This is supposed to be one of the fun parts, and adds diversity you can't get at the grocery store. The biggest challenge in this will be not to diversify too much! Last year we tried a little bit of everything, and we want to grow more of what worked this year. So the seed catalogs will be to select diverse varieties of what we know we can grow well (greens, tomatoes, etc) and to pick out a few really random items.

2. Defeat the kraken
We didn't do everything we needed to to prevent the return of the Japanese beetles this year, so we know they're coming. Thankfully we finally found a resource for pesticide free diatanacous earth, so that should help once they come out, and it might also help with squash beetles. We've also discussed putting in some bird netting for the strawberries.

3. Play with worms
Really this is about composting. My parents bought us a gift certificate to a local worm company, and while it completely grosses me out, I'm intrigued by the idea of creating our own rich composting soil. (Is that what they do? Haha, guess we'll be learning).

4. Find a new tree to replace palmetto
We should have done this in November but things got a little crazy with family visiting and our normal jobs. We had a beautiful palmetto tree that didn't really survive the winters in the upstate, so Nathaniel took it down. We are thinking of what tree to replace it with, and hopefully will put it in before the summer comes.

5. Put down stones between raised beds
We have always thought of our garden as something that would happen gradually, built on year after year. Last year was busy with building raised beds, planning out the space, planning out the planting, and starting this blog. This year we at least want to get bricks or stones down in between the beds. We'll need to kill the grass and put down sand to make everything even, but the worst part will be transporting the stones from the store to home, ouch. :)

What exciting plans do you have for your garden for 2011?

Jenny has also made cooking resolutions and baking resolutions for 2011.