Early May finds our garden with some new faces showing up to complement the many different greens that have been feeding us all winter and spring. We have kohlrabi starting to size up, with both purple and white varieties planted. Its unusual shape has earned it the nickname of ‘Sputnik vegetable‘ with some. We love kohlrabi both raw and cooked.
Some of the radicchio is also heading up. Spring planted radicchio is less certain to form tight heads than when fall planted, but the leaves are still edible. We like it in salads, and the heads are tasty when grilled.
The Apache blackberries are in full bloom. These upright, thornless blackberries have become our favorite producer. We planted two new varieties this year (Natchez and Ouachita) to see how they compare.
Large blackberry blooms equal large blackberries, and Apache makes big berries. They should begin ripening in late June. Last year we got over 10 gallons of blackberries from our plants. Our new favorite way to use them is to make blackberry leather, which is really yummy.
The blueberry bushes are loaded with blueberries. The first ones should begin ripening early next month, and continue bearing through mid to late July. Three of our nine plants were here when we bought this place, and the rest were planted in 2007. The new plants are still not at their peak production.
Black raspberries are coming on too. The red raspberries are everbearing types that will bear in late summer. Planting different varieties with different maturities helps us extend the harvest season. It’s nice to have fresh, homegrown fruit as often as possible!
It looks like we will get a cherry harvest this year, if the birds leave them alone!
We’ve been mulching the asparagus patch with shredded paper to try and keep down weeds. It looks like a snowstorm has hit!
We’ve been getting lots of fat, tasty asparagus spears from these all-male Jersey varieties – almost 14 pounds so far in 2011. Anything larger in diameter than a pencil gets picked. Harvest season will end around Memorial Day, when we will stop cutting the spears and let the ferny foliage grow to replenish the roots for next year.
The drought last year was really hard on the strawberry beds. I’ve replanted about half the plants, and the new plants won’t make any berries until next year. After the strawberry harvest is over, I’m ripping out one of the three beds to make room for more red raspberries and some rhubarb. Strawberries are great to have, but high-maintenance compared to our other fruits. I’ve threatened to stop growing them entirely, but that hasn’t happened yet. The first berries are turning red about now.
Back in the vegetable world, I hilled our small potato patch this week. We have about 30 hills planted.
The soil also warmed up enough here to start planting tomatoes. I wait until the soil is consistently over 60F to start planting them. I’m planting two plants each in all the cages this year. I got fourteen plants in the ground in the kitchen garden. The main vegetables garden is still a bit too wet to start planting them there.
Some of the spring planted Asian greens are ready for harvest now. The leaves of some were damaged by our April hailstorm. That’s ok, they’ll still be good in the kitchen in stir-fries and such.
The Ruby Red chard has stunning red stalks and reddish green leaves. We can harvest it as needed now. This is our first time growing this variety.
And to finish up the tour, here’s a look at the large salad box that I planted with salad greens about two weeks ago. The plants are off to a good start in there.
I hope you enjoyed a peek at what’s growing here in early May!