Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Garden Update

May has been a great month for the garden. May 10 is the ballyhooed last frost date around here and it's been and gone with nary a sign of low 30s temps. Granted the nights are still in the 40s but those temps coupled with the fairly regular rains have given us a good early growing season. The picture above shows a partial view of the garden looking away from the house towards the sheep field. Green cabbage (Stonehead) is in the middle, the beds to the right hold sugar snap peas along the rear, peppers (bell and pepperocini) to the front and a little lettuce (cos) and various herbs tucked in here and there. Some yellow storage onions (Globe, I think) are in beds to each side near the back of the "U" and Irish potatoes are partially visible in the row to the left (summer squash and cucumbers are in the hidden part of that row).

Broccoli, red cabbage, beets and potatoes (Kennebec, Pontiac and Yukon Gold) are in the far back, stretching almost to the fence line. Green beans, tomatoes, and the spot for corn (not yet planted) are out of view over to the left. Pole beans are up, too, and are all the way over to the left at the back. The crossed poles are just barely visible in the big picture.

The broccoli is so close to being ready I almost can't stand it.

If I didn't know DH checks it every day, I'd run out there and pick one for breakfast before everyone else is up.

The walking or Egyptian onion is loaded with bulblets (or are they bulbils, like with rocambole garlic?) and I can see we'll need to rethink its position. I'm wondering if I would prefer it in one of my flower beds -- maybe as an edging in front of something tall? I'm glad it's doing so well since I've had several requests from friends and family for their own plants. To help supply the demand, DH bought a dozen sets (spent a whole $1!) from a vendor at the Charlottesville Farmer's Market last month and they're coming along, planted in a bed next to the yellow onions.

My lovage, the bushy plant in the right front corner of the picture to the left*, is going on three years old and could be divided this year. I'm thinking it would make a nice foliage plant in one of the flower beds, too. A member on FFF, didee, suggested candying lovage stems like angelica. She said it wasn't as good as the "real" thing but would do in a pinch. Since I can't seem to find any angelica locally (was hoping Buffalo Springs would have it but unfortunately they've closed their doors for good) it may be worth the try with lovage. I love to use the stems as straws in homemade vegetable juice cocktails.

Inspired by the Devraes family "100 foot diet" challenge, we're trying to measure our food production this year. However, it's going to be a little hard with the strawberries as, short of weighing DS before and after picking, we're not going to know our true strawberry yield. He assures me that they are all delicious and invariably offers to share so I can't really complain. Saves me having to top them, right?

Tracking the vegetable production doesn't seem to present as much problem. We're at 12 pounds of asparagus, 9 pounds of lettuce and almost 8 pounds of spinach so far. Radishes harvested number 66 and counting. Until this past week, all that came from the two cold frames DH set up earlier this year.

Rhubarb I forgot to weigh. Sigh. But I gathered it in 5-gal. buckets by standing the stalks on end and packing them in very tightly. Measured that way we had 3 full buckets and about a dozen extra stalks. It's still producing, too.

*That reads too much like the old Johnny Cash song...


Melinda said...

W-O-W, Carolyn! Everything looks fabulous. Yum. I'm totally jealous!

I weighed mine last year as well. It was a real eye-opener, and made us realize how much money we actually saved growing our own food. LOL, though - I also photographed every harvest, so in case I forgot to weigh it, I could still guestimate. I'd guess the Dervaes do the same on occasion. ; ) They had a big part in one of my first documentaries, actually! Amazing what they're doing.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to live. A very satisfying lifestyle, indeed. I get all thrilled when I have a bumper tomato yield from a half dozen plants! I enjoy campari tomatoes from the supermarket....only because I can't seem to find the seeds or plants here in Ontario, Canada, I like them because they are small in size, but not as small as cherry tomatoes; (about twice the size).
Thanks for allowing me to see your blog etc.

Kris said...

I've got some Angelica seed left on the plant... would that upset the local food thing if the seed came from England? :)

Carolyn said...

Well, once the seeds started growing and I harvested a few stems, they'd be local, right? ;-) What could I send in exchange, tho? Send me a note, Kris, at walnutspinney(at)gmail(dot)com and let's see if we can come up with a new exchange program!