Posts tagged ‘garlic’

Up close and personal with the freshly dug garlic!

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July 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm Leave a comment

Garlic Harvestime!

A good sweaty day in the garden with my new phone/camera. Maybe I’ll be a better blogger now??

See photos of the garlic digger and garlic – both look great!  Plus photos of my companion plants doing their thing – namely borage attracting bees to pollinate the tomatoes.

July 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm Leave a comment

Summer Has Arrived Extra Early! Gardener’s Journal 3/20/12

Wow, what crazy weather this is!  It is a little scary that is only the beginning of spring and it is forecast to be 80F at the end of the week. I’m sure we will be paying for this in some way..  in the meantime though, I guess we should enjoy the weather and get busy gardening!!

I planted my cold frame in mid Feb and have some nice lettuce mix coming up and some healthy looking brassicae transplants – cabbage, broccoli, mustard greens and kale.  I also planted in my new raised bed at the bottom of my deck – I got some Japanese greens seed from a friend and so am trying that out..  The first peas I sowed at the end of February got eaten by a resident vole or mouse – hopefully with the hot weather it has now abandoned its winter home.

Today was an exciting day for the chickens – we put their coop onto wheels and now can move them around the garden, so today was the first day they were moved.  They seem to  be enjoying digging themselves pits to sit in to keep themselves cool and to clean their feathers.  I love watching them, they are very interesting and they always have something to say when I go by them.

I have been using the “deep litter bed” method in their run – mostly leaves with some straw and of course lots of their poop!  Occasionally I throw a little wood ash into the coop to neutralize the ammonia – this seems to keep the smell under control.  So today after the move, I shoveled all their  litter bed into a compost heap at the back of my new garden area.  That is going to be some nice compost!

I haven’t been blogging very much since I started teaching a gardening class at Northampton Community College – I am doing one per month until October. Luckily I found I love teaching gardening!  I am enjoying sharing my knowledge and meeting lots of enthusiastic gardeners!  This season I am also going to work part-time on a small CSA farm called Shooting Star Farm near Easton.  I am working for a share in the CSA and so have decided to grow mostly storage crops in my garden.

I ran out of potatoes in late January, squash in February and my onions didn’t grow so well anyhow.  I still have garlic, canned tomatoes and kale in the garden.  This year I decided to purchase onion plants instead of sets – they arrived last week and so I go them in the ground already.  I will purchase some seed potatoes very soon.  I wanted to plant them later, but don’t really have anywhere to store them under ideal conditions – probably in the basement is the coolest place right now.  In the potato class I went to, the teacher suggested buying them as soon as they come in since when they are stored at room temperature they lose some vigor.

My compost piles that I made last year didn’t do very much over the winter – I just moved a couple of them and they were really dry and had hardly started decomposing.  I added some water and made a bigger pile, so hopefully by the mid to end of the season they will be done.

March 20, 2012 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment

Gardener’s Journal – 11/29/11

My goodness, now I know I am a rubbish blogger!  I haven’t posted for two months again, but since it is raining and I have gotten to the end of the pressing household jobs, I thought I would do an update.

Well, this month has been unbelievable in terms of weather – so warm – it nearly made up for the wet August we had.. I’m not so sure my tomatoes would agree, but my cabbage, lettuce and cauliflower might!  I have them under row cover and plastic that I am closing up on cold nights (last night was 50F though, so no need for putting them to bed last night!) and opening during warm days.  Quite a lot of work, but they are all looking really good – I hope they mature before the number of hours of light starts affecting them.

I have been composting like a mad thing over the last month or so, I collected a lot of leaves from neighbors and friends – with my new toy – an electric leaf vacuum/mulcher (Worx).  It works very well but I think I have gotten tennis elbow from hauling it about – plenty of time to get over that though with the winter approaching fast.  I made three new compost piles with grass and straw and most recently now chicken manure & bedding – yes that’s right we have four new residents – four lovely red hens (Red Stars) – donated to me by a friend with a CSA!

We built (an experience that is a story in itself) a cute chicken house (that matches our house) and are happily collecting eggs – so far so good.  The girls are entertaining and seem happy, although I feel bad that the run I built is a little small – it was supposed to be moveable so they could have new pasture every day, but we need to work out how to make the house moveable too (very heavy), that is a Spring job I think.

I was recently very satisfied by my ability to feed our visiting friends two weeks in a row with food almost exclusively from the winifredslittleacre – big egg-centered breakfast, then later a roast dinner consisting of meat (locally grown) and a medley of roast vegetables – including sweet potatoes, swede (rutabaga), turnip, potatoes, parsnip, butternut and delicata squash.  Followed by peach crumble (using peaches from our tree frozen in syrup). Delicious!

In the garden itself, amazingly I managed to get nearly every empty bed sown with cover crop – winter rye, hairy vetch or clover (which I was using as a living mulch under the tomatoes).  That should add some nice organic matter to the soil for next season and protect the soil over winter.  I planted 123 garlic cloves back in October – which seems premature now that November has been so warm – they are putting up green shoots, which hopefully won’t be too much of a problem for next year’s growth.  I mulched them with pine needles (following a last weed – I’m trying to be more diligent about that – especially now I have my new scuffle hoe!)

I have already started planning for next year – those seed catalogues have begun to arrive already – sooo tempting all the different varieties, etc.  I am planning a couple of different edible landscapes this year so I have to take a slightly different outlook on the plants – I will look at their aesthetic value as well as their functionality.  I also want to save some more seeds this year, so I will have to be more diligent about choosing open pollinated varieties.  I haven’t decided if I am going to try and sell more produce next year – I have to do some survey work and talk to a couple of people yet.  I did start to add up the value of all the vegetables and fruit that I grew this year – so far the total was over $1000!  Which is great – I have to go back to my plans and see how the actual production compared to the quantities I was aiming for – more on that later!

November 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm 1 comment

The Garlic is Ready! Gardener’s Journal 7/16/11

How satisfying it was  (and just a bit sweaty) to dig up 96 great heads of garlic yesterday!  I had to fight through the weeds to get to them, but it was worth it! I attended the Easton Garlic Festival last Fall and purchased a bulk load of garlic – mainly Turkish Red, but also a variety pack that included German Red, Music, Elephant, French to name but a few.  My son and I planted the bulbs late last October, we mulched them with pine needles and waited…  I cut the scapes off in May (although some escaped – resulting in smaller heads) and treated them to some fish fertilizer in Spring and that was pretty much it – they are a very low maintenance crop!  The yield was pretty impressive – about 90% of the bulbs produced full heads.  (A few of them had gone too far and were splitting at the top – but I will use or trade these ones early).. I made a screen from hardware cloth and an old window frame for them to lie on to cure (out of the sun, dry place) for a week or two.

This week has been hot but productive, I can last until about 11:30am in the hot sun and then I have to retreat inside – how do those real farmers do it?  I sprayed my fruit trees with the homemade beneficial spray again – this time it included Neem and Bt for insect control as well as the usual molasses, vinegar, soap and seaweed extract.  I got really annoyed though, I had purchased a new gallon sprayer and after 10 mins of spraying, the handle (on/off switch) failed and it was such a pain to keep fixing during the spraying (luckily only my dog was the only witness to the expletives being muttered!).  Whilst I was dealing with the trees, I decided to prune them – the peach tree was getting a bit tall, cherry that I am training in a fan against the fence had a center branch that needed to come out, and the apple had two central leaders that I had to choose between.  It was tough, but it had to be done!

I started on the new raised bed for the carrots this week and also decided to where I am going to locate the new raised bed for my fall/winter produce – I thought it was going in or near the fenced garden but realized it needed to be nearer to the house (to make it more usable in the winter), so it will go by the back deck where the cold frame is currently.  I think I am going to use concrete blocks to frame that out too – the ground is not level there and so I was worried about using wood or plastic lumber.

I sowed some more green beans and a few peas – just to see if they would work this year (I planted them too late last year and the flowers didn’t survive the cold weather).  The various squashes are doing very well so far – the butternut is flowering and we ate the first yellow summer squash last night – no signs of squash bugs or cucumber beetle this year.

July 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm 2 comments

Gardener’s Journal – 4/13/11

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.

April 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm 2 comments

Gardener’s Journal – 3/22/11

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.

March 23, 2011 at 2:21 am Leave a comment

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