February 25, 2018

This Year's Vegetable Growing List

I've decided to try and grow corn this year, it's been a long time so we'll see how that pans out.

I tend to go back and forth when it comes to varieties, my choices may change up until the time the seeds get sown. This is especially true when it comes to tomato and pepper varieties, so this list is in no way finalized.

*new varieties

Jalapeno Gigantia*, Padron*, Ajvarski*, Red Marconi*, Figitelli Sicilia*, Melrose*, Feher Ozon*, Boldog Hungarian*, Odessa Market*, Corno di Toro, Pablano, Jimmy Nardello, Shishito, Sweet Antigua, Corno Rosso, and Carmagnola Rosso

Be My Baby gene pool cherry*, Sweet Aperitif (F1) cherry*, Indigo Blueberries cherry*, Black Vernissage cherry*, Reisentraube cherry*, Large Red cherry, Sun Gold cherry, Brandywine, Black Brandywine, Yellow Brandywine, Dark Brandywine, Prudens Purple, Black Krim, Black from Tula, Kellogg's Breakfast, Cosmonaut Volkov, Celebrity (F1), Peron, Coustralee, Pink Berkley Tie Dye, Goldie, Jubilee, Granny Cantrell German Red, Ananas Noire, Big Zebra, Big Rainbow, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Orange Icicle*, Mariannas Peace*, Peach Blow Sutton*, Cherokee Green*, Anna Russian*, Juane de Flamme*, and Green Zebra*

Buhl (early)*, Stowell's Evergreen (middle)*, and Maiz Marado/Kulli corn (late)*

American Flag, and Asian leek/garlic chives.

Cipolle di Tropea*, Cipollini Borettana*, Australian Brown, and Bronze d'Amposta

Matador* (F1), and Zebrune

February 24, 2018

The Allure of the No Dig Method of Gardening

I've been looking into the no dig method of gardening, which I find enticing since it would allow early planting even with our very wet springs. The theory involves laying down deep layers of compost and then planting directly into the compost, and as the grass or weeds underneath deteriorate the growing vegetables on top will grow into the underlying soil. Some people lay cardboard or newspaper down first before adding the compost, but it looks like both methods work well if there's enough compost depth.

Normally we till our garden mechanically, adding amendments like composted rabbit manure and rock dust. But our very wet springs sometimes don't allow us to till until mid-May and since our last frost date is April 10th, that is very late indeed.

The only problem is our fence, we'd have to wheelbarrow in the compost from the alley or driveway, and it would take three truckloads of compost just to do a couple inches over the whole garden. Compost is easily and cheaply available from our municipal tree waste recycler, but shoveling and moving that amount of compost sounds insane. We've done it before for our garden at our old place, but we were able to drive right up to the garden and unload directly into it.

So my dreams of early planted peas, fava beans, turnips, beets, and corn might just not happen.

January 8, 2018

Harvest Monday, 1/7/18

5 out of 7 different varieties of turnips sautéed with butter and Penzey's Mural of Flavor herb seasoning and just a pinch of sugar and salt.

The little turnips were roasted on Friday for dinner and they were delicious. There's definitely a difference in flavor with each variety. Some were sweet, some were savory, and just a couple had a touch of pungency.
It's been pretty cold here the last couple of weeks. We've been enjoying 7 degree (-14 Celsius) temperatures regularly, so there's not much salvageable in the garden except turnips, corn salad, and spinach.

With the passing of the new year, it is about time to think about starting onion, leeks, and shallot seeds. If it warms up enough I'll probably start them at the end of January or beginning of February in the unheated greenhouse. I've also been thinking about trying potatoes again. They were so easy to grow in Idaho, but I've had zero luck growing them in Kentucky. Either way, I am very excited for the coming gardening season.

Please join us for Harvest Monday hosted by Michelle at From Seed To Table.

December 4, 2017

Harvest Monday, 12/4/17

The first turnips were just picked yesterday. The Tsugaru Scarlet turnips on the left are just slightly spicy and somewhat sweet, they would be great in a salad. The white Hakurei turnips to the right are sweeter and even more mild than the scarlet turnips, both would be good on a crudité tray. The Di Milano A Colletto Viola turnips in the center with the faint blush on their shoulders have yet to be tried this year, but they're usually a fairly spicy turnip which cooking tames.
The planting of gailaan or kailaan, otherwise known as Asian broccoli, is heading up well. Their flavor is very much like broccoli and the stems are wonderfully delicious. We've been eating these in soups but they would probably be great blanched and then sautéed with garlic.
This came from a package of mixed baby leaf pak choi, they're mild and tasty. I've been thinning them but they need to be thinned even further.
These flowering choy sums were planted much too close together, but with diligent thinning the later heads will get much bigger. The thick stems are juicy and the whole plant is delicious.
The red stemmed yu choy is also delicious, but it flowers later and so far we've just been eating them as a leafy vegetable in soups.
Mizuna is one of my favorite leafy greens, they're mild and delicious and their thin stems are wonderful as well. A lot of our greens are just prepared by sautéing with garlic or onion in a little bit of olive oil, or just added to soups.
Mibuna is also a fantastic green, it's a lot larger than I would have guessed from internet pictures. It has a different flavor and texture than mizuna, but just as delicious. The upright habit of Mibuna and Mizuna means their leaves keep fairly clean compared to spinach, lettuce, etc.
Tatsoi is a lower growing plant with a slightly stronger mustardy flavor than they other greens listed above, but I think they're still a lot milder than most other mustards.

It's usually dark by the time I've finished picking and washing greens, so I didn't get a harvested picture of them this week. I pick about 5 pounds of them once a week, even after washing they keep in the fridge really well.

There's lots of other greens growing in the garden which I haven't harvested with most being in the baby leaf stage. I'll be posting a bit about them in the next day or two.

We've been having light frosts in the upper twenties (-4 degrees Celsius), but are expecting a hard freeze in the low twenties at the end of the week. I'm going to try and cover the carrots, beets, and spinach bed with floating row covers.

Please join us for Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres, a place where vegetable garden enthusiasts share what's growing in their gardens.

November 5, 2017

Harvest Monday, 11/6/17

As part of thinning the beds and weeding, I've been harvesting choy sum greens and rapini to eat with spicy soba noodle ramen. These were seeded September 16th, so they are fairly large now and starting to form their little heads.

Choy sum is a tasty and juicy mild green with just a hint of the heat normally associated with mustards. But cima de rapa has a more assertive flavor that has a bit of bitterness, which tastes delicious with a dash of an acid like vinegar. But in ramen I usually add a squeeze of lime for the acid.
After tilling the garden, a bunch of squash plants came up. I got to harvest a nice amount of late season summer squash. There's definitely some frankensquash that look like one of their parents was a vining winter squash. And the greens are all putting on lots of growth with all the rain and moderate weather we've been having.
There were actually 3 different greens harvested on Sunday. On the left is choy sum with it's flowering heads, which is just sliced and sautéed with nuoc mam and pepper. In the middle is mizuna, to keep the plants going I just pick individual leaves. The real surprise was the mibuna on the right whose leaves grew to be a lot larger than I was expecting.

The summer squash were sautéed in olive oil with a little salt and Penzey's Mural of Flavor spice and herb mix. The choy sum and summer squash were served with meatballs and rice, along with roasted sweet potatoes that were mixed with olive oil and mild chili powder.

1.024 pounds of summer squash
4.128 pounds of greens

Please join fellow vegetable gardeners at Our Happy Acre's for Harvest Monday. A wonderful tradition where we share what's growing in our gardens.