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Monday, December 10, 2012

Harvest Monday Emergency

Well with all the Christmas parties and shopping and decorating to do, I wasn’t supposed to have a harvest this week. Mother nature decided to force my hand. I have lettuce that has bolted because it has been some warm, but today…..we had to do an emergency harvest because the next three days will see lows in the 20s. Yep, a 40 degree drop in the lows from just a week ago!

I don’t have any weights yet; and when you see the picture below, you will know why. We barely squeezed pulling the stuff from the garden. Now we need to squeeze in weighing it and blanching it too! Thanks Mother Nature.
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Starting at the top with the cauliflower and going clockwise, we have: cauliflower, a bag of broccoli (small head and lots of side shoots), a boat load of turnip greens, and finally a stack of collard greens. I know having these on our kitchen floor looks very unsanitary; but, we had no place else to put them. Plus, we will thoroughly clean and blanch them. In the middle of all of that, just below the cauliflower, is a little bit of celery. That celery plant is still putting out. I will dry this batch. I think the freeze will kill the celery plant, but it’s sure been good to me and I will be sure to ‘lose’ more celery under the tomatoes next summer.

Here is a closer look at everything:

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Bag of broccoli
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Also here is a close up of one of the turnips. I mostly planted seven-top turnips; which doesn’t produce an actual turnip, only the tops. But, I did plant a few Purple Top White Globe Turnips; here is a look at one of them.
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Well, I am glad for the freeze; maybe a few bugs will die. This is how my beds look now.
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Tune in later this week to see if there were any casualties. In the meantime, check out other harvests at Daphne’s Dandelions Harvest Monday….our bloggers in Australia should be starting to crank out more of their summer crops now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Good, Bad, and Ugly - December Garden Tour

This tour will be about the Good, Bad, and Ugly of our garden as it stands this first week of December.

Garden blogs are usually full of beautiful pictures of neatly arranged garden plots. This post will show you the under belly. Those moments when the garden isn’t so tidy.

But, so that I don’t scare you away; I’ll start with the good.

The Good

In the front you see the garlic has emerged and put on some size and in the back are some collard greens that are ready for harvest. The bed looks scarce, but there is garlic planted throughout. This is poor space planning because I definitely could have planted more collards. I need to have planted more collards because collards cook down to nothing.
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Bed 4
A bed full of turnips with small cabbage seedlings in what appears to be gaps in the turnips.
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Bed 5
A bed of frost-killed tomatoes. You would think this should be a part of the ugly. But take a closer look. You see that small area of green in the middle of the bed. Well that is a celery plant that was planted last spring. Yes, LAST SPRING! It survived 100+ degree weather because it was buried under a jungle of tomato plants. I left it there (pulled all the others) because I wanted celery seed. I expected the 100+ temps to cause it to bolt. Well, I guess it never got hot enough under all those tomatoes. I harvested most of it in October, some more in November, and I’ll be able to harvest more in a few weeks. This plant has survived a few frosts as well. Note to self: next spring, leave all the celery planted.
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Bed 8
I know this bed looks a mess and it is. The green you see is actually weeds. But, I called this good because under those dead plants are potatoes. We dug some of them up after I took this picture. This was our first attempt at fall potatoes. I;’ll share the harvest later after we clean them and weigh them. There aren’t many, but I totally neglected this bed. It's also ‘good’ because its got some volunteer dill and onion growing in it.
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Bed 10
Another bed of broccoli and cabbage. All of these were seeded indoors and transplanted late summer. Everything survived and the bed is nice and full.
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This bed also has another garden first for me….we’ll be harvesting cabbage fairly soon.
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The Bad

Bed 3
A cover crop of … I think its hairy vetch.

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Bed 7
This bed is broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. I put it in the bad category because a few seedlings died and a few more never germinated. This bed should be full. So it’s a minor disappointment.
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Bed 11
Lettuce, Spinach, and Celery
Don’t see the spinach and celery. Me either. That is why this bed is BAD. The lettuce has done brilliantly; except the warm temps have some wanting to bolt. Spinach is hard hear because it really needs cool soil. Our soil doesn’t cool down enough until mid to late October. By then, the days are too short. I think I will start some in a few weeks (around Christmas) and set them out in Feb and hope for a March harvest.
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The Ugly

Bed 2
Pepper plants killed by frost
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Bed 6
Frost killed Beans
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Bed 9
Frost killed beans that didn’t produce a thing. I planted these much too late. I really wanted these cannellini beans because I love minestrone soup.
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Bed 12 is so bad that I didn’t even take a picture of it. Copy and paste any of the above pictures.

I hope these pictures don’t discourage anyone from gardening Laughing out loud, but gardening is work and as you can see….we’ve got work to do.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Harvest Monday

This week’s harvest brings us great delight! We’ve got …….
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This is our third attempt at growing broccoli. The first time was the spring of 2011. We got beautiful plants and no heads. Then the fall of 2011, we had horrible germination rates and poor growth. One broccoli plant survived and gave us a bountiful harvest of one large head and pounds of side shoots.
We decided that our spring gets hot too fast to attempt spring broccoli again, so we waited until fall. SUCCESS! FINALLY! We have harvested 7 heads so far; with more to come (see broccoli bed below) and side shoot production should start soon as well. This week’s harvest came in at 5.3 pounds; two heads like the one above and two smaller heads; our largest weekly harvest yet.
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We also harvested a head of romaine lettuce. It was quite large. Our temps have been rather warm (mid 70s) and this one was actually starting to bolt. I hope it tastes ok because there will be no cooking this week. We are still not in the cooking mood after Thanksgiving  and all of the leftovers are gone ….we’ll be eating sandwiches and salads.
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We went ahead and dug up the fall potatoes. I figured there weren’t many and  they weren’t that big. The plants died much soon than they did last spring, so potatoes may be best as a spring crop here.
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Last but not least, TOMATOES! Not many; just a couple. I harvested these a few weeks ago before an expected frost. I didn’t include them until they ripen. I had more, but they spoiled while ripening?. I’m actually scared to taste them because they ripened in doors from a fully green tomato. I’ll brave it later this week on one of my sandwiches.
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Check out more fall harvests at Daphne’s Dandelions Harvest Monday.