Friday, July 24, 2009

July 23 CSA Night!

It is SO fun to head out to the garden these days--all kinds of goodies out there! Today I found the FIRST true ripe full-size tomatoes. I called Sue (CSA member and local newspaperwoman for the big Cannon Falls Beacon), so she brought out her camera tonight and snapped a few shots of it. Maybe I'll make the paper this week! Could it be that I have the first ripe tomato in Cannon Falls??? Last year I would've believed it, but this year they are much later. Last year I had a dozen ripe tomatoes on July 4!

Emily was excited to show off her garden tonight, too. Her sunflower has a very full bright blossom. I will get a picture of it on here soon.

Here is what the baskets held this week:
broccoli (and LOTS of it!)
green bell peppers
yellow cherry tomatoes (the orange ones will be ready next week!)
sugarsnap/snow peas
zucchini (green and yellow)
baby eggplant
leaf lettuce--speckled amish and green salad bowl


Thursday, July 23, 2009

DING! Round Two!

So this is the time each year that I think, "I really need to get some fall crops started." Then I usually let the chance slip by. Not so this year! Last week, with the help of my family, I planted beans, collards, kale, basil, cilantro, dill, and set out some more scallions that were started in soil blocks. Today I continued the push towards a fruitful fall--I made 200 soil block and planted seeded cabbage, red cabbage, more scallions, broccoli, and cauliflower. If it's dry enough tomorrow, I'll direct-seed a lot more in the garden--rutabaga, beans, carrots, radishes, and more lettuce for starters. I'd like to find some more chard, beet, kohlrabi, and pea seeds. I'll be checking Farmer Seed and Nursery in Faribault first chance I get. Many of the other stores are either sold out or the seed companies have already picked up the overstock. More sugarsnap peas would be sooooo nice.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kids in the Garden!

Sometimes I wonder if our kids will enjoy gardening someday. They put a lot of hours into it beside us, weeding and harvesting. It starts out as all fun and stuff--planting beans and peas, corn and tomatoes--but it isn't long before that loses it's glamour. The weeds come up, the sun is hot, Mom is cranky, etc., etc. I like to believe that the kids appreciate our family time in the garden; or even if they don't appreciate that, they appreciate the good eats! Alycia is known to run up to the garden to grab cherry tomatoes for breakfast before going to school. (She has asked me if I can send her cucumbers at college! LOL!) Katrina and I spent quite a bit of time oohing and ahhhing over the soon-to-harvest peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and onions last week. Emily has "her" garden. Mikey is my A-#1 tilling man. Gregory would rather just eat the veggies, but will do manual labor if forced. Elias is always about if I'm in the garden, constantly on the lookout for worms--and if that's not exciting enough, the sandbox is right by the gate to the garden.

I like to think that the experience of helping in the garden will be a good memory someday, and that maybe, just maybe, someday they will want a garden of their own.

Elias, that cabbage is as big as your head!

Emily next to her garden--notice the sunflower ready to bloom!

Elias posing next to Emily's zinnias.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CSA Night #4

Tonight was our 4th CSA night! Tonight's basket included:
a bag of peas (snow and sugarsnap--all edible podded)
a cabbage
2 green bell peppers
some baby pac choi
2 heads of broccoli
a bag of leaf lettuce
some jalapeno peppers
the first yellow cherry tomatoes (many more to come!)

I better jot down what was in the baskets from a week and 2 weeks ago, since I didn't do that yet!
July 9 basket contained:
bag of shell peas
odd cauliflower :-)
a green Carmen pepper
leaf lettuce
green onions
Easter Egg radishes

July 2 basket contained:
beet greens
green onions
Easter Egg radishes
sugarsnap peas
leaf lettuce

Each week the variety in the baskets is growing! You can see why in these pictures--the garden is growing beautifully! It's amazing to look back on pictures from just a few weeks ago and compare them with the plants now. In the first picture you can see the broccoli, with the cabbage and then leeks to the right. The tomatoes and peppers are behind. The second picture shows the pepper and tomato patches better. Be sure to click on the photos--they look much better in full size, plus they are much clearer.

Some things have not cooperated like they should--the cauliflower went a bit crazy and then immediately flowered (there will be a fall planting; hopefully that will work better), the chinese cabbage also flowered before reaching any usable size, and the okra is just not doing well. This week will be when many of the second crops and fall crops are planted--more green onions (some are already started), cauliflower, more beans (the first are flowering now--there should be green beans next week), cabbage, lettuce, rutabaga, kohlrabi... and the list goes on!

But for the few things that have not gone well, we have much more that is going GREAT! The cherry tomatoes are just starting, and with some warmer weather we can expect many many tomatoes of all sizes! The pepper plants are LOADED--I counted 9 bell peppers on one plant! The will start to turn red or yellow or orange with a little warmer weather. In the meantime we can start to enjoy the green ones! The eggplants are also proving to be abundant. Next week I believe we should have eggplant in the basket as well. The onions, leeks, celery, and melons are all well on their way to harvest! I've added a few pictures to make your tastebuds water--some nice bell peppers and a baby Ping Tung eggplant.

And finally, I need to share a couple photos of my fertilization program:

Meet Mr. T and Sir (as in T-Bone and Sirloin). These happy little fellows are currently residing in the first section of the garden, which is not planted. Each year 1/3 of the garden is seeded to a cover crop, which is then turned into the soil in the fall to build up the fertility. Section 1 was seeded to rye grass and clover, but as you can see, there is a lot of ragweed that has sprung up. (This may have something to do with the fact that my son didn't know I had seeded this area when he was disking up some space for me and used this area for turning the tractor around... not that I'm complaining or anything... I'm just saying.) The calves have clipped down all the grass and are now slowly working on the ragweed. As they clear (and fertilize) part of section 1, they will be moved into a fresh area of section 1 to continue their clearing and fertilizing. It is all very scientific. :-) Happy cows=better soil! They will be moved off section 1 later this summer, leaving us plenty of time for the manure to break down before tilling it into the soil.

In this last picture Elias is MOOOing. He seems rather at home in the pen with the calves, doesn't he?!