Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Sets Slowy In

Well, the first few eggplants have been harvested and eaten, along with plenty of green beans and tomatoes. We've been whipping up puree for 'you know who' (not Voldemort) from the beans and some carrots stored in the fridge. It's a very gratifying feeling to have grown food for a loved one.

All of the onions are harvested and are new cured. Total harvest: 24lbs of onions! According to John Jeavons, the low end of the yield spectrum for onions is about 1lb per square foot of bed space if you use his methods. Hmmmm.... I'm a bit under that... I figure I planted about 120 sq.ft. of onions, and only got 24 lbs... BUT, i did harvest a lot of spinach, lettuce, and carrots from the same beds, and I know that set my onions back pretty badly. So, I guess we'll still be buying onions from the store after a few months. I wonder how long 24 lbs of onions will last, anyways.

The garlic was much more productive, probably because I was more intentional about keeping other plants from growing up around them and choking them out. I think I had something like 32 bulbs of garlic, all pretty good size and healthy looking. Not bad for about 15 sq.ft. of bed. (Well, I don't think it's bad. Jeavons might. But I have never seen anyone get anything CLOSE to the yields he reports. Does he lie? Is he a god? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?)

The summer heat is setting in. Highs lately and for the foreseeable future are in the mid 90's.

The bugs, birds and blight have been attacking my tomatoes. :( I think i have another few 'big hauls' of tomatoes before they really poop out for the season. Oh well, I have had a lot of tasty 'maters already.

This post's pictures include:

All of the onions for the season piled up on the floor.
A couple of recent harvests from the garden.
The garlic hanging in the kitchen in a long chain.
The baby goats.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

So much news...

Tomatoes are ripe!  Baby goats were born (3 babies)! Onions and garlic are harvested. Peas are over and done with.  Green beans are ready. 

Wow, it's been busy lately.  Since last I wrote, PJ had her kids, 2 girls and a boy, all healthy.  The sugar snap peas came and went, beautifully, and the aliums have all been harvested. It's early for garlic to be done, but it was ready and is curing nicely in the shed.  Curing?  To get garlic ready to store, it must cure.  This means hanging it up in a dry, warm place with good air circulation for several weeks/months to let the skins form over the cloves.  The onions need this time to dry as well.

The sugar snap peas were a real success.  I harvested about 3.5 lbs of peas from the 6 ft of row, so that's a decent yield of a tasty treat.  They were only producing for about a week, and were in the ground for 3 months, but they sure were good!

The carrots have been coming out too.  I only have a small plot of carrots left in the ground, and with the thermometer hitting 97 degrees today, they are going to need to come out soon.  Summer is here already.  :^/
I think I'll have harvested a total of about 30 or 40 lbs of carrots from the various plantings this winter/spring.  The main lesson I've learned is to give them space and time, and grow a longer variety next year.

Wow, I can't believe it, but I harvested my first ripe tomato on APRIL 30.  Yeah.... an APRIL tomato!

I planted them a few days after Valentine's day, and with our unseasonably warm winter, they did just fine.  The Early Girl is the best producer, followed by Celebrity.  Better Boy is crummy, not a single green fruit.  All of the vines, however, are infected with early blight.  There are a few hybrid varieties resistant to early blight, which I may try out next spring.  I bought all indeterminate varieties this year with the hope that they would continue producing through the summer and into the fall, but with the disease pressure, I don't think this will be the case.

My experiments in the garden include an okra-long bean poly-culture.  While working on a local farm several years ago, I noticed that the best cucumbers were the volunteers growing up in the okra beds, where they had some shade and a good trellis.  I am hoping that the long beans, which are basically black eyed pea, will vine up the okra like the cukes did.  Black eyed pea can take a little shade, so maybe it will thrive amidst the okra plants.  I'll keep you informed.

Other new plantings are sweet potatoes, melons, watermelons and amaranth greens.  So, we're definately moving into the hot time of year.  Which in Austin, lasts most of the year!  Yay!  Swimming, melons and peppers!

My yellow frying peppers, which were supposed to be sweet peppers, are extremely hot.  I mean mouth on fore hot.  This is a real problem because I didn't WANT hot peppers, but I'm not so keen to replace them now that they are cranking out peppers.  I started some pickled peppers today, if that works I guess I'll keep them and make a bunch of pickled peppers.  I did rip out two pepper plants and replace them with eggplants from Home Depot, at $6 per eggplant....  But, these are in 5" pots so I am hoping that, even though it's technically too late to plant eggplants, they will be far enough along and have a large enough root system not to die and to thrive and produce.  We'll see, I'm not too optimistic about Home Depot plants.

ok that's all for now.