Late February Garden Tour

Before the month is completely gone, I thought I would give a quick tour of the garden here in late February. It’s hard to believe we had ice and 8 to 12 inches of snow covering everything about a week ago, and the thermometer didn’t get above freezing for over a week. But warmer temperatures have now melted the snow, and you would hardly know it ever happened! I was surprised to find the collard greens had survived all the bad weather. These are growing uncovered in the main vegetable garden, and survived temps that got down to 3°F one morning and 4°F on two others. They are a little limp looking  but otherwise in reasonably good shape, all things considered.

bed of collard greens

I have harvested quite a few of the leaves on many plants, but there are still many plants left with leaves. The hybrid Tiger is variety with deep green leaves that has held up quite well.

Tiger collards

Hen Peck is an open-pollinated heirloom variety that I have harvested quite a bit already. There are still a lot of young leaves on the plants though, and hopefully they will begin growing again as the weather continues to moderate and the days lengthen. Eventually all the plants will bolt to flower, but last year that didn’t happen until sometime in April. I will likely try and save seed from some of the plants this year like I did in 2020.

Hen Peck collards

The heirloom Purple has been highly variable in size and shape for me. One plant turned out short and wide last fall, with large rounded leaves. They were covered in frost this morning when I was out with my camera. The one plant has more than enough leaves for a meal or two for us.

Purple collards

Behind the greenhouse, I have a cold frame bed planted with kale. The cold frame is covered only with bird netting to keep the deer from eating the plants. The Starbor curly kale has held up well, and I haven’t harvested any of it yet. It will be ready whenever we need it.

Starbor kale

The Mars Landing variety is also in the cold frame bed. I have cut some leaves from it already, but it is making new growth and there should be more for cutting in a few weeks. It’s my first time growing this one, and it appears to be quite hardy in our area.

Mars Landing kale

But vegetables aren’t the only things we grow here. We have several beds with perennials planted, including ones for both shade and full sun. Daffodils are one of our earliest flowers to bloom, and I found a few leaves poking up out of the mulch already. We have several different patches of them planted here, including one that was here when we bought the place. The early ones typically begin blooming in March, although in 2017 we had a few that flowered in Februray.

daffodils emerging

We have quite a few ferns planted in the shade garden area, and a couple of them have stayed green all winter. I don’t know the species on this one, but it emerged unfazed from the snow covering when it melted.

ferns

We also have quite a few different hellebores planted. I found buds on several of them, so they should be blooming even before the daffodils flower.

hellebore bloom

Over in the sun garden area, the irises have new leaves coming up. It will be April or May before most of them flower, and they usually put on quite a show since my wife has quite a selection of them planted. We always look forward to the annual iris show here, and I am guessing the 2021 version won’t disappoint.

iris foliage

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of our garden in February. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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Harvest Monday February 22, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I only managed one fresh harvest last week. And I had to dig out around the greenhouse door to get that one! We had snow coming down on two occasions last week, and it is piling up on the ground. It’s pretty to look at, but not great for gardening. The temperatures are expected to moderate this coming week and it should be all melted soon.

snowy February

I did cut some kale when I got in there, a bit of both Dazzling Blue and Purple Moon. I used the Dazzling Blue in soup, and the Purple Moon went into a frittata.

Purple Moon and Dazzling Blue kale

I baked up a batch of Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls to go with the soup. This is my go-to recipe for dinner rolls, hearty and full of whole grains and seeds.

Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls

My wife did take advantage of the somewhat rare snow to do some snow dying. She did a tank top for me using green dye which I think turned out well. It will be awhile before it warms up enough for me to comfortably wear it though! It will be just the thing for staying cool around the house during our hot summers.

snow dyed tank top

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 be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

 


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Harvest Monday February 15, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Well, it’s Sunday and not Monday, but better a day early than a day late I guess! The weather continues to be cold and wintery here, and ice has covered the ground outside for about a week now. Harvests are limited to what I can get from the greenhouse, which is cold but at least protected from wind and snow. I made a cutting of the Mars Landing kale and it wound up in a kale and potato hash dish I made for a side dish. The kale cooked up tender and mild tasting.

Mars Landing kale

I confess to using frozen hash browns, since I had some in the freezer I wanted to use up. I cooked them in a cast iron skillet with a bit of olive oil, which browned them up nicely.  The dish turned out well, and was easier than grating up the potatoes myself.

Kale and Potato hash

I also harvested a bit of Bergam’s Green lettuce from the greenhouse before the ice storm hit. The greenhouse has frozen up inside most mornings, so harvesting the greens has to wait until they thaw and return to some semblance of normal. I am hoping we will get out of the deep freeze weather pattern soon! We used this lettuce for a wilted lettuce salad. The weather forecast is calling for a big snowstorm to hit today, so harvests may be light here for the next week or so.

Bergam’s Green lettuce

In non harvest news, I baked up a loaf of naturally leavened sourdough sandwich bread using a new recipe from King Arthur Flour. I baked it in a pullman loaf pan, and I am happy with how it turned out. I will do more experimenting with this recipe in the future.

No-Knead Sourdough Sandwich Bread

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 be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Photo Friday: Icy Winter Wonderland

Our recent weather has turned cold and wet. This week we had snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice coming down over a two day period, and it left everything outside covered in a coat of ice. The grill is just outside our back door, and it and the deck around it are covered and quite slippery.

gas grill

This is the first ice event for the new greenhouse. It is holding up well, and the pitched roof made for an interesting display of hanging ice.

ice on greenhouse roof

I have a metal shepherd’s hook that I use for hold hanging baskets of flowers, usually petunias. It shows just how much ice has accumulated.

ice on shepherd’s hook

The grass is covered in ice, and crunches when you walk on it. It’s slippery as well.

ice on grass

I haven’t gone out to check on the vegetable garden. With temps below freezing, harvests are out of the question. Of course the winter greens are likely covered in ice too. The tomato cages by the side of the greenhouse tell the story.

icy tomato cages

I have ventured out to stock up the bird feeders. I have a couple hanging on a dogwood tree, and the tree is sagging under the weight of the ice. It is pretty though, and the birds are visiting the feeders as they usually do.

Icy dogwood tree

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the wintery wonderland of ice here. I’ll be back with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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Harvest Monday February 8, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The weather has been cold, wet and dreary here lately, as it seems winter has truly arrived. I am happy for whatever winter harvests we get, and thankful for the veggies and fruit we have in the freezer and in storage. I used some of the frozen tomato sauce to make a bean enchilada casserole last week, and more sauce went onto a pizza for topping. The casserole has all the flavors of enchiladas, with beans, cheese and sauce. It is a bit easier to make though, and a good use for any broken tortillas. I also used some of my homemade guajillo chili powder to season the sauce, which gave it just the right amount of little heat for me.

Two Bean Enchilada

Also on the pizza was fresh arugula from the greenhouse. I’ve got the arugula growing in containers, and it is one of my favorite pizza toppings.

arugula

I made a large (for us) cutting of purple sprouting broccoli. I cut a main head from Santee, and side shoots from the early maturing Burgundy. The fresh broccoli is a real treat this time of year, and we most often roast it or sauté it.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

As of last week, all the collard greens I planted last fall were still alive. Some looked better than others, to be sure, but all seemed alive. They aren’t growing much, but there are still a lot of edible leaves on the plants. The heirloom Ole Timey Blue has colored up well in the cold weather, while the green leaves of the hybrid Flash have taken on a slight pinkish tinge. I’ve been cooking up all the varieties I planted last year and doing taste tests to guide my planting for this year. The Alabama Blue I cooked up last week was especially tasty, and I want to see how the Ole Timey Blue compares. The leaves from Flash may end up in soup.

Ole Timey Blue and Flash collards

From the greenhouse, the Sea of Red lettuce has colored up a deep shade of red, and though the plants aren’t full sized I am cutting a few to add color to our salads.

Sea of Red lettuce

Saturday night we got a little bit of snow, brought in by a blast of arctic air. The temperatures are forecast to be below normal for a week, with the highs below freezing for several days in a row. It will be interesting to see how the outside garden looks this time next week. Inside, it is seed starting time and I already have lettuce and parsley coming up under the lights. It won’t be long and I will be starting the spring brassicas. The busy time of year for gardening is about to begin!

snowy February scene

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 be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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