Harvest Monday May 29, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We made the last cutting from the asparagus beds last week. It has been a good year for it, and we harvested almost 13 pounds overall. Now we will cut down the weeds, apply a complete fertilizer and let the ferns grow for the rest of the year. We’ve enjoyed it a lot this year, and one of our last treatments was a simple side dish with asparagus and mushrooms sautéed in a little olive oil. It’s a good use for some of the thinner spears, which cook in no time.

last asparagus harvest of 2023

asparagus in stir fry

The lettuce is winding down too. I cut a little more of the Navara last week to use in salads. I am thinking we will get one more week of it before it all bolts and becomes too bitter to eat.

Navara lettuce

But even while the asparagus and lettuce is winding down, we got our first fruits of the year! Our cherry trees have never given us a lot, but we got enough of them last week to make a small cobbler. We are planning to make a trip to Farview Orchards when their cherries are ready to give us some for the freezer.

cherry harvest

I pulled another of the collard plants in the greenhouse to make room for planting the rest of the cucumbers. This batch was from one Georgia collard plant, and weighed just a bit over one pound. We’ve been enjoying this ‘bonus’ crop after the collards re-sprouted after they got frozen out in December.

Georgia collard greens

My latest planting of arugula is ready for cutting, and I got enough to go on a pizza we made for our Saturday night dinner. This is a mix of Astro and Esmee, and added great flavor as we piled it on top of the other ingredients, just under the cheese.

Astro and Esmee arugula

pizza with arugula

In other news, the tall tombstones in the cemetery across the road from us make a good perch for hawks and other birds. I spied one big hawk sitting there one day last week, no doubt waiting for a meal to be served up.

hawk sitting on tombstone

I’ve been more busy planting the past few weeks than I have been harvesting. Last week I was planting eggplant and tomatoes when the paparazzi (aka my wife) showed up with the camera. I have all the tomatoes planted now, and next up on my schedule will be the peppers, vining squashes and pole beans. The last crop to be planted will be sweet potatoes, which I try and have in by early June. I will be keeping busy getting all that done for sure!

planting eggplant

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please check out what everyone is harvesting!

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Harvest Monday May 22, 2023

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s been a good year for lettuce so far, and I’ve hauled in 13 pounds of it so far. I grow several of the Salanova line of varieties, and while the seed is expensive I get near 100% germination and they do well for growing in the greenhouse. I grow both the red and green oakleaf types, and they usually make fairly dense heads for me.

Salanova Green Oakleaf lettuce

I pulled a few more radishes last week to go with our salads and other dishes. Rover is a small red skinned variety that makes crisp and mild tasting radishes for me in spring and fall plantings.

Rover radishes

radishes after cleaning up

Last week I began pulling the collard plants that overwintered in the greenhouse. These died back to the ground when we had extremely cold weather last December, but re-sprouted and made good growth this spring. I got over a pound of leaves from this one Yellow Cabbage collard plant, and there are two more plants of other varieties that need to pulled to make room for the cucumbers I plant in the summer greenhouse.

Yellow Cabbage collards

And speaking of the cucumbers, I got a few planted last week on one side of the greenhouse, where lettuce had been growing earlier. I am using the plant halos around them to make watering easier, and to apply liquid fertilizer to them.

cucumber plant

My bread bake last week was a sourdough Multi-Seed Sandwich Loaf, with millet, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Recipe is from Elaine Boddy’s Easy Everyday Sourdough Bread Baking. The bread should be a great base for sandwiches, though I have to say it is quite tasty on its own!

Multi-Seed Sandwich Loaf

I used some of odd pieces of bread to make croutons to go on a salad we had for lunch one day. The lettuce was the only thing homegrown in the salad, and sadly by the time we have tomatoes and cucumbers here the lettuce will be done for.

salad with croutons

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please check out what everyone is harvesting!

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May Planting Update

This week I was able to work in the vegetable garden and get more than half the tomatoes planted, along with all of the bush squashes. The soil temperature warmed up to over 65°F, meaning it’s time both crops can be safely planted out here. We had a bit of rain early in the week, but not enough to keep me from setting out plants in between the showers. Both beds were already covered in weed barrier fabric with holes cuts, so that made the process a bit easier.

flat of tomato seedlings

I grew the tomatoes from seed to planting in 50-cell plug flats, and the seedlings are about 7-8 weeks old now. The root systems are well developed, but they are not root bound, and should take off quickly once planted.

closeup of tomatoes

well-developed root systems

The tomatoes I set out are a mix of the small-fruited types and the slicing varieties. The paste and processing tomatoes, along with eggplant, will go in another bed which isn’t ready for planting just yet. That will be next on my to-do list, which is always long this time of year! I’m using my homemade cages made from concrete remesh wire to support all of these varieties I planted this week.

bed with tomatoes planted

tomato planted and caged

I had the squash plants growing in 24-cell trays, and they are about a month old. These are all bush types, including acorn, zucchini and yellow squash varieties. They did quite well planting in the fabric last year, and it seemed like I had less issues with both squash bugs and fruit rot. Hopefully that trend will continue this year. And of course the only weeds to contend with are the ones that come up in the planting hole, which are usually minimal.

squash seedling

The next two beds that need to be prepped next are right next to each other, and will be home to the eggplant and processing tomatoes as well the all the peppers. It will need to be mowed first before amending with compost and my tailored mix of nutrients like blood meal, kelp, sulfur and bat guano. I also am adding borax, zinc sulfate and manganese sulfate since the soil has tested low for these micro nutrients. These are both doing to be no-dig no-till beds, so I will spread the amendments on top of the soil before putting down the weed barrier fabric. After that I will start planting the vining squashes in another area, followed by sweet potatoes.

next area to be planted

I hope you have enjoyed this update on my planting activities, and I’ll be back soon with more happening from Happy Acres!

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Harvest Monday May 15, 2023

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The lettuce harvests are slowing down and quality is starting to go down as the greenhouse heats up. I can plant more heat tolerant varieties outside, but I like to remind myself I don’t have to grow everything we eat! I stay plenty busy this time of year planting the summer veggies which will keep us fed for months to come. That said, I did harvest some lettuce last week and we haven’t had to buy any for months now.

Navara and Salad Bowl lettuce

I am glad I set out hybrid curly kale plants last month. They are now big enough to start cutting, and I got a good harvest of the Winterbor variety last week. I used it to make a Kale and Cannellini Bean dish we had for dinner, and the young tender leaves were perfect for the dish.

Winterbor kale

Kale and Cannellini beans

I also got a generous cutting of the overwintered parsley last week. It’s starting to go to flower, as it does every year about this time since it is a biennial. I used most of this for a tabouli salad we had for lunch one day.

Italian Splendid parsley

tabouli salad with curried chicken salad

I interplanted radishes when I set out the kale last month, and these are ready to pull now. Bacchus has dark reddish purple skin, and we used them both raw and cooked in several dishes last week.

Bacchus radishes

cleaned up Bacchus radishes

It’s still asparagus season, and some of the radishes got roasted along with the asparagus one night along with the Panko Parmesan Chicken cutlets. Another marriage of radishes and asparagus went in a stir-fry we served up with Walnut-Rosemary  Crusted Salmon.

Panko Parmesan Chicken with roasted asparagus and radish

Walnut Crusted Salmon with stir-fried asparagus and radish

I used up the last of the collard leaves I fermented last fall to make another batch of bean and cheese enchiladas. The fermented collards add another level of flavor to the dish, and I made a mental note to ferment even more of them this year for this use.

collard leaves topped with refried beans

collard enchiladas after baking

two enchiladas made a filling lunch

And last but not least, the Pileated Woodpeckers have been daily visitors to our feeder lately. I often hear them before I see them, since they have a big voice to go with their big bodies!

Pileated Woodpecker on dogwood tree

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please check out what everyone is harvesting!

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(Almost) Tomato Planting Time

I spent the last couple of mornings here getting the bed ready for planting tomatoes. Last year I experimented with a couple of no-dig no-till beds, and got great results. So this year I decided to expand the experiment and plant the tomatoes that way. The bed I’m working on had sweet potatoes growing last year, and had gotten a bit weedy since they were dug last fall. So the first thing I did was mow down the weeds, then I amended the soil with compost and fertilizer.

bed after amending

I’m also experimenting with using the woven weed barrier fabric on the beds, and I planted tomatoes that way last year in another bed. So the next task was to get the fabric up from that bed and move it to the one I’m planting tomatoes in this year. The fabric is in good condition, and I am guessing I can get several year’s use out of these before they wear out or fray too badly to use. And even though the mix of tomatoes I’m planting this year is a bit different than last year’s, the holes are spaced so that any variety of indeterminate tomato can be planted there. These will be a mix of small fruited types plus slicers, with paste types going in another bed.

laying out the weed barrier fabric

The next job was to roll out the corrugated cardboard I’m using along the side of the fabric to keep down weeds. The product I’m using comes on a large roll, and seems to do the job well. I put it under the edge of the fabric before securing with galvanized metal landscape staples.

rolling out corrugated cardboard

bed ready for planting

Then it was time to check the soil temperature in the bed to see if it was warm enough to start planting tomatoes. I used my trusty soil thermometer I got several years ago, but you can use any type thermometer as long as it registers in the necessary range. I like to wait until the soil temp is at least 60°F, and today it was not quite warm enough. In my experience, if you plant your tomatoes when the soil is below 60°F, they’re just going to sit there and sulk.  I’ve got the seedlings in the greenhouse and I will wait until next week to see if the soil has warmed up any before setting out the tomatoes. You can check out my Seed Starting and Planting Schedule to see what soil temps are recommended for the different vegetable crops.

taking soil temperature

I hope you have enjoyed this update on the happenings from Happy Acres!

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