April 9, 2018

Harvest Monday, 4/9/18

Harp and Clarinet spinach harvested Sunday. The spinach is staying nice and tender even with all the weird up and down weather. We had some last night in an omelet with a light sprinkling of cheddar, even the stems are delightful.
Red Russian kale was also harvested on Sunday. The kale did end up dying down with this year's extra cold winter, but it came back only to be bolting now. I can already see the florets forming which I imagine are very much edible.

Please, join us for Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

April 7, 2018

Snow Day

Snow in April is actually a very rare occurrence for Western Kentucky. The last time this happened was back in 1983, 35 years ago.

Tomorrow will still be cold but it should be sunnier, so I'm going to try to spend the day in the greenhouse potting up cold weather seedlings like kohlrabi, kale, and lettuces into individual containers. It'll be awhile before the soil dries out enough for tilling so it might be a little late for the pea seedlings, I'm debating on cutting them down and using the pea shoots in stir fries.

The kale and mache/corn salad overwintering in the garden are now both bolting. Although the overwintered spinach is still growing very well. I've got lots more spinach in the greenhouse ready to be planted, though they probably need to be fertilized at this point.

Onions and leeks seedlings are doing well even the reseeded Cipollini onions. Their flat has really tiny cells so they need to be either planted out soon or potted up into larger containers, something I'm not looking forward to.

After I get everything potted up into larger containers and it warms up this week, I'll do a tour of the greenhouse.

March 26, 2018

Harvest Monday, 3/26/18

Spinach picked on Sunday. We grew two varieties of spinach, Harp and Clarinet, both are F1 hybrids which overwintered without any protection. The leaves are large and amazingly tender. They've really started to grow now that it's gotten warmer and the days have lengthened a bit. Harp has serrated margins and a long stem, making it easier to pick and the stems are nicely crunchy and juicy.

We've been eating the spinach in salads as well as soups.
Corn salad picked on Sunday. The corn salad overwintered without protection as well. This variety is Coquille de Louvier and has a mild flavor, but it's already starting to run to seed. Even so, leaves are very tender and we've been enjoying them in salads, soups, and sandwiches.

The same bed that has the spinach and corn salad is also home to Red Russian kale. The kale had died off during our sub zero weather, but came back from it's roots and should reach harvestable size in another week or two. Everything else in the garden was killed off.

Lots of spring seedlings are growing in the greenhouse. I'm hoping the ground will dry out in the next couple of weeks so we can start planting. Pepper seedlings are starting to form their first true leaves, and tomatoes are just starting to germinate. Fingers crossed things go well.

Please join us at Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

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

Peppers:
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

Tomatoes:
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*

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

Leek:
American Flag, and Asian leek/garlic chives.

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

Shallot:
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.