Posts tagged ‘asparagus’
Hurrah! I have harvested 10lbs of delicious strawberries over the last week or so. Some are sweeter than others but all are sooo much better than those Californian strawbs with all their associated air miles.
I made my first ever strawberry jam last night – I can’t believe how easy it was! 4 cups of mashed strawberries, 1oz of low sugar pectin and 2 cups of sugar – stir the pectin into the strawberries, heat it to boiling, stir in the sugar and boil for 1 min and voila – 2.5 pints of strawberry jam. So much easier than pasta sauce – none of that stirring for 4 hours. The jam even passed the Marcus test!(Never did get the homemade tomato ketchup passed by him).
What else is going on in Winifreds Little Acre – well, I sowed my beans today – I am trying red kidney beans and garbanzo beans (since those are the two beans we eat a lot) and there is no pressure to harvest them since you let them dry out before picking.
The peaches are in need of thinning and there are signs of oozing from bug penetration in some of them, but not a majority like last year – maybe my homemade fruit tree spray is working a little.. The apple tree has baby apples but is showing signs of cedar apple rust, so the fruit spray was ineffective on that disease. The peas are coming but there aren’t enough of them to make a meal, so mainly they are for snacking in the garden.
I spotted (and squished) a couple of Colorado Potato beetles a week ago and haven’s seen any since, but my poor asparagus is suffering under the strain of asparagus beetle larvae – I sprayed it with Neem last week, but that didn’t have any effect. I’ll try spinosad this week – there are too many to hand squish.
We’re in for some hot weather this week, so I have to get my watering system organized – I need more soaker hose and I think I’m going to get some drip irrigation for the new (straight) beds outside the deer fence.
Hurray, the peas are coming up! Despite all this cold and rainy weather (and my impatience)! The carrots also germinated under the board I had over them to stop the seeds getting washed away – but now I am worried about the effect the rain is having on them – they were a little spindly since they took me by surprise and germinated quicker than expected. Time will tell if they make it – if they can get through today, they should be OK since we have a little break from the wet coming up tomorrow.
The seedlings in the basement are doing well – even my basil has germinated, usually I have difficulty with basil for some reason, but all the new seeds are coming up, the seed from last year is being a bit more temperamental – maybe basil seed doesn’t keep well – I’ll have to look that up. I’m a bit afraid the lights aren’t bright enough, since there doesn’t seem to be a lot of growth from the plants once they get their first leaves. Mike McGrath says you should change out the lamps every year, but I was trying to save the planet (and the dollars) by not doing that. I heard on his show this week that the LED grow lights are pretty effective – I will look into those – good from an energy efficiency standpoint, probably not too easy on the pocket though.
I’m pleased with the transplanted lettuce and kale – all doing well in the garden, and the mache and other radish that I sowed last week is coming up too. The garlic plants are going crazy – I sprayed them with some fish fertilizer a couple of weeks ago, I may do that again soon since I can’t quite be bothered put compost around each one of the plants. Can’t wait to harvest the first asparagus – it is starting to shoot upwards now – I have to check my reference books to see what is the best way to harvest (first time for me) and how long to keep cutting, etc.
After a short break to pull together the final pieces of organization for the Lehigh Valley Green Home & Building Expo and to work the event itself, I was back in the garden this afternoon – and what a beautiful day – 50F and sunny! (Snow is on the way tonight though).
I did manage to plant my peas last Monday (3/15) – I needed to get them in, in order to hopefully have them ready before my trip to the UK in June. I put in a total of 100 seeds of four different varieties – I soaked them all first for about half an hour and then rolled them in innoculant to help them fix nitrogen from the air.
I started today by harvesting compost from a tumbler composter and my “Darlek”-like container. I got a wheel barrow full and spread it under my fruit trees and around the asparagus – and guess what – there are some tiny spears starting to come up! Hurrah! The compost adds some nutrients but also helps fights any diseases lurking around the base of the trees.
On the seed starting front, I did sow some Early Girl tomatoes last week too – they have germinated already, so we are on the way to having tomatoes by July 4th! (That’s the plan anyhow). The cosmos and marigold seedlings are doing well, but the beets are not looking very happy and the parsley has not shown any signs of life. I fed them using a weak solution of fish emulsion. In the cold frame, things are going a bit better – pretty much everything I sowed is coming up – I thinned the seedlings out (by snipping off the weaker seedlings with scissors so as not to disturb the roots), but may have to transplant some of the lettuce into the garden to give everything enough room.
The big news from the garden this week is that the ~80 garlic bulbs my son & I planted last October are poking their little heads above the mulch! How exciting! At the same time though, I am a bit worried about the asparagus – I thought that might be showing some signs of life by now, but alas not.. I always remember that scene in Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” where they rush out to uncover and cut the first asparagus. This is my asparagus’ plants third year – I grew them from seed in 2009 and haven’t tasted one bit of them yet – you have to wait to let them get established – can’t wait to have our first spears coated in butter and ground black pepper – ummmh!
This weekend I am going to sow some onion seed, pot on my seedlings and sow some peas – can’t wait – it is supposed to be a good weather weekend! Oh and we still have to finish off harvesting the honey (we just received our new freezer to store the frames in!).