Harvest Monday February 25, 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I got a couple of fresh harvests last week. The curly kale I have planted in a cold frame bed has held up amazingly well. I never got around to putting row cover material on the cold frame, so it’s only been covered with bird netting material which keeps the critters from eating it but doesn’t protect it from the cold. This cutting was from Prizm, a 2016 AAS Winner that has done quite well for me here. The leaves were tender and sweet and cooked in no time.

Prizm kale

Prizm kale

I also made a small cutting of lettuce from the greenhouse, this time Tango and Red Sails. It wasn’t a lot but it will be enough to go on quinoa tacos I plan on having for lunch today. The winter lettuce has also done well, and I will have seedlings ready to plant anew in a couple of weeks.

Red Sails and Tango lettuce

Red Sails and Tango lettuce

From stores I baked up one of the Rancho Marques squash. I have to say this moschata type was a real disappointment. The flesh had an average taste, and was extremely stringy through and through. I have another squash from this land race type that has a different shape and perhaps a different taste, but most of this one wound up on the compost pile. We still have several of the Turkeyneck and Tetsukabuto squash in storage, and I saw no need to eat a stringy one when we have fine tasting ones we can enjoy instead.

Rancho Marques squash

Rancho Marques squash

I’ll close on a wildlife note. We had a Red-bellied Woodpecker visit one of the suet feeders this week. This bird has a brilliant red head, but I managed to catch a pic of it showing the red spot on its belly that gives its name. The suet I am using is infused with hot pepper, which gives it the orange color. That keeps the raccoons from hauling it away and the squirrels from eating it, while the birds can’t taste the hot pepper at all.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

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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Seed Starting Update

Here’s a quick update on some of my recent seed starting activities. The parsley I sowed early in February is up and ready to be potted up into individual containers. I find it does best when you transplant while it is still small, about the time the first true leaves have appeared.

parsley seedlings

parsley seedlings

The lettuce I started in a plug flat is ready to be thinned. Tough love is necessary to give them the room they need! I’ll let these grow for another couple of weeks before I start planting them out in the cold frames and greenhouse, weather permitting.

lettuce ready to be thinned

lettuce ready to be thinned

I already thinned the arugula and early kale I started a couple of weeks ago. These too will be ready to plant out sometime in March. The kale varieties I started for spring include the curly kales Prizm and Starbor plus White Russian and a new one called Purple Russian.

kale seedlings after thinning

kale seedlings after thinning

I also started some eggplant and pepper plants that are destined to go in containers. Those are up and also will need to be potted up in individual containers as soon as the true leaves are showing. The eggplants are Fairy Tale and Patio Baby, two AAS Winners that do great in containers and should give us an early taste of this heat-loving veggie.

Fairy Tale eggplant seedlings

Fairy Tale eggplant seedlings

Next on my to-do list is to start some Wave petunia seeds, a fiddly task even with pelleted seeds since they are tiny even then and the pelleting material will dissolve as soon as it hits the moist potting soil. It’s also time to start the spring broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi, which I will sow in 72 cell plug flats. I hope you have enjoyed today’s update and I’ll be back soon with more happenings!

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Harvest Monday February 18, 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. My harvests last week looked a lot like other recent harvests. I made a small cutting of lettuce from the greenhouse, this time green Tango. This wound up on a taco salad we had for lunch one day.

Tango lettuce

Tango lettuce

And I harvested the rest of the sunflower shoots from the planting I made a couple of weeks ago. This batch yielded right at 4 ounces of shoots, enough to keep us supplied until the next batch is ready. The going rate locally is about $5 for a 1.5 ounce bag, which means I grew around $13 worth of sprouts using a small amount of seed. I’d grow them even if it wasn’t so cost-effective because my wife and I both enjoy the taste and use them on salads, sandwiches and other dishes.

sunflower shoots

sunflower shoots

I did bake a loaf of no-knead sourdough bread last week.  I proofed it in an oval brotform then baked it in my Breadtopia oblong clay baker. It had a crispy crust and great flavor, and much of it went into the freezer for later use. I try and have a variety of bread in the freezer for us to use, even though we don’t necessarily eat a lot of bread. When we do eat it though, it’s homemade since we haven’t bought any in almost 10 years now.

No-Knead Sourdough Bread

No-Knead Sourdough 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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Harvest Monday February 11, 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I got another cutting of lettuce from the greenhouse planting last week. This included a green butterhead called Mirlo and a red leaf lettuce called Spritzer. Neither were full sized but they were plenty big enough for a salad. It is so nice to have even a small amount of fresh greens in the middle of winter and these were especially tasty. Both are doing quite well growing in shallow containers.

lettuce for salad

lettuce for salad

I also made the first cutting from the sunflower shoots I have sprouting under fluorescent lights. These are easy to grow, and only take about 7-10 days from sowing to cutting. I get the seeds from a natural foods store, and they cost about $3 for an 8 ounce package that makes several plantings of shoots. These are labeled for sprouting use, though any food grade raw seeds will work.

sunflower shoots

sunflower shoots

I put these on the salad I made from our lettuce.

salad

salad

On a wildlife note, we had a Pileated Woodpecker come and visit the suet feeder last week. This is the largest woodpecker we have around here, and they are occasional visitors to the woods around us and occasionally to the feeders. The photo is a little hazy since I shot it through the window, but you can see how big and brightly marked the bird is. The underside of the wings are half black and half white, and it makes quite a display when flying.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

And I’ll close with a cat pic. It has taken Ally and Puddin several months to truly warm up to each other, but they have finally bonded. They took turns giving each other a bath Saturday before settling down together for a nap in the sunshine.

Ally and Puddin

Ally and Puddin

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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Let the Seed Starting Begin

Once again it’s time to start seeds for the garden. This time of year I start all of my seeds indoors using fluorescent lights setup in our basement. On February 3rd I started seeds for parsley, cilantro and chives. All those went into 3.5″ plastic pots, one pot for each variety, and have not yet come up. I will need to prick them out and pot them up into individual containers once they start showing their true leaves. Parsley has a reputation for not liking to be transplanted, but I find the small seedlings do quite well this way. Since parsley takes a long time to germinate, usually 2 to 3 weeks, I have covered those pots with plastic to help keep them moist.

starting parsley seeds

starting parsley seeds

Yesterday I started seeds for lettuce in a 128 cell plug flat. The lettuce will emerge in a few days, and in about three weeks the seedlings will be ready for planting out in the greenhouse and cold frame beds. For a potting mix, lately I have been using Pro-Mix All Purpose Mix or Pro-Mix Organic Seed Starting Mix. I prefer to use a seed starting mix without added fertilizer so I can add my own as needed, and Pro-Mix is usually available locally. Once the seedlings are a couple of weeks old I will use a weak fish and seaweed fertilizer like Neptune’s Harvest to give them a little food. I’m not trying to plug or endorse these products, but people often ask what I use.

plug flat with lettuce seed

plug flat with lettuce seed

About a week ago I started sunflower seeds for using as sprouts (aka shoots). They are ready to begin cutting, and the first batch will go on a salad we are having for lunch today. Next I will start seeds for greens like arugula and pac choi, tatsoi, mizuna and other mild mustard greens. Near the end of February I will start seeds for broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi. You can find my general timeline in my Seed Starting and Planting Schedule.

sunflower sprouts

sunflower sprouts

I hope you have enjoyed this update, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings!

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