Some sun out there! Need a drying out for sure, but hate to wish too hard or else that could be it on rain for awhile. Collected wildflower samples for show. Ended up with 25 from right around here. Didn't have to trapse in the forest at all. This is the calypso orchid, so pretty. There are thousands of them up right now. They liked all the rain!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Almost 1/2 inch of rain yesterday and over night. It is raining still. Ah well, have some more transplanting to do in the greenhouses. Good weather for that. Time is slipping by, though, and when it does open up, there will be long houred days and those first real sunny ones will be a shock! Looking for wildflower samples for the show set-up tomorrow. We don't pick anything endangered, just the everyday ones that are in the area. I guess we have had up to 200 before. I am tagged with certain responsibilities as the lower down folks have a new set of flowers and cannot find the ones blooming in my yard and woods now. I will dig up a shallow rooted calypso orchid, bring in a hound's tongue, and hope to find one last trout lily. Pictures soon. Here is the latest on the baby tomatoes you have watched since they were seeds.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Busy day ahead with not all of it in the garden. 9 bags today! I have never had success with turnips before. Usually something eats them before I can. We have pumice in our soil from Mt. Mazama, Crater Lake's blow up and it is a home for wire worms, click beetle larva. Growing the turnips overwinter seemed so much better, so I will keep trying that. Always learning...What do you do with a turnip? I love them raw, kinda like a radish, but sweeter. I put them in salad, a stir fry, stew, and I cut squares up and fried them with potatoes the other day and they were interesting little sweet chunks in with the blander potatoes. They sure are a beautiful color!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
It is raining again. We received an inch by daylight and there is another 5/10's of an inch in the rain gauge already since then. I am working on harvest for 9 bags tomorrow and a couple other orders. The bags will have parsley, a root selection (beet, radish, or turnip), romaine lettuce, kale, and asparagus. I can see I may have a lull in a couple weeks, but the peas are coming on quickly, so maybe. There are some young bok choys, too. The overwintered carrots haven't done much because of the cold rains, but they may fill in at the right time. I have put flower bouquets in as a part of the bag on occassion and they are well received even if not edible.
Monday, April 26, 2010
It is ruff being a gardener's dog. Planted third round of bush beans over the weekend. With a CSA, I need new things for the bags each week, so small beds and many successions is better than one large planting for say, a growers market. I also planted the Fortex filet beans and a last pea planting for awhile. They tend to get a virus over the summer months, can sometimes sneak them in in a shadier zone. Also transplanted baby cabbages and broccoli. I have them covered with insect barrier cloth as the cabbage moths and friends are looking for them to lay eggs and produce offspring caterpillars that will eat them.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Next weekend is the local Wildflower Show, a fund raiser for the fire department of our area. We collect over 100 specimens which are identified and labeled by botanists and then displayed for the weekend to view by donation. We have cookies and beverages, a plant sale, a boutique, local artists, and lots on information booths. It is a pretty nice function seeing that it is put on by a volunteer crew. I helped dye tee shirts today for it. We had fun and came up with some pretty colors by mixing dyes together. Transplanted more tomatoes this afternoon and got a fence system up for the boysenberries. The tayberries are next. Beautiful day!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Rhubarb Quick Bread
Mix togather 2 c.flour, 1/3 c.(at least) brown sugar, 2tsp.baking powder, and salt.
Melt and cool 2 Tbs. butter. Beat 1 egg until light and then beat 1 c. milk into it. Add butter, mix and then add to dry ingredients. Mix well and add 1 c. chopped(small chunks) rhubarb. I didn't, but I will next time add 1tsp.vanilla, 'cause I love vanilla. Place dough in greased bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Make ingredient substitutes at will. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
HAPPY EARTH DAY! I definitely have plans to work in some earth today. I have lots of baby plants to rescue from what I am calling "the bad soil mix". Even old farmers need a lesson now and then. I have hopes of working on the compost pile to get it going. I have bits here and there to add in and a chicken pen to clean out. Hope to get a few chickens before too long, but need a varmint proof house retrofit before I do so. Enjoy the day and love your very special planet.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Harvest this morning rendered asparagus, spinach, chard, celery, turnips, radishes, and cilantro. The peas are blooming, and having figured out the baby plant dilemma, although sad, I feel I can say things are moving on. Nicer temperatures coming over the next few days. That is what everything really needs is a little less Pacific Northwest and a little more Mediterranean climate. Me, too~! Sorry, forgot to rotate the picture, just turn your head to the left.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
It is raining as predicted. 3/10th already in two hours. I will work on drip lines in greenhouses. A couple have holes that I accidentally whacked in them when I was cleaning the beds out. Some have drip lines from years back that finally just don't deliver much water because there is algae built up inside. I think I will transplant some things to the lower greenhouse today as the upper is pretty much filled up. I have cucumber plants and a couple squash plants I can put in and maybe a couple rows of beans which would be the third succession of them. I love the bush bean "Venture" from Territorial Seeds. They are so sweet and don't get starchy on the bush as quickly as some I have tried. I might plant some "Fortex" pole beans, also from Territorial. They can be picked very small as a fillet bean or let get full size of 8 inches for a still sweet meaty bean. Good asparagus harvest last evening. 8 CSA bags tomorrow!
Monday, April 19, 2010
The dark clouds are moving in and you don't have to be a meterologist to know it is going to rain soon. The two days of sun were just what the baby plants needed, although they might have liked two more. I have had some problems with over-watering and dampening off. It was so warm for awhile and then I watered just before a week of cold wet and I lost quite a few baby plants, more than I have ever lost before to such a swing in temp and moisture. I think something is up with my soil mix, like maybe the compost wasn't quite finished and contained too much nitrogen for little guys. I am using my old compost now, but too late for that group of plants. Need to get the farm compost pile going(adding three piles together, some nitrogen, and turning until it starts to work and gets hot). It is another project that needs some warmer weather. At least it was dry enough to make another bed for carrots and ?
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Even if you have only a small handful of asparagus, you can make soup. I make all the vegetable soups about the same in that I start with a sauce of 1Tbs. butter(or substitute) and 1Tbs. flour, and 1 c. broth. Melt the butter add the flour until a sticky paste forms, then add the broth whisking like mad until smooth. Then start adding your vegetable; broccoli, asparagus, celery, mushrooms, you name it. This makes one serving, so I usually do 3 or 4 Tbs. butter, 3 or 4 Tbs. flour and 4or5 cups broth. I use the Better than Boullion vegetable paste, but they have beef and chicken, too. There are the boxed organic broths I have used also. Cook the vegetables down for almost an hour and add more broth depending on how thick you want your soup. At the very end, I add a 1/2 cup 2% milk and any seasoning I think it still could use. Thyme is a nice herb that gives a background flavor without taking over. The milk just makes it taste a little more like a cream soup. Not necessary for the flavor really. Add a salad or bread and voila!, a hearty fare.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Weeding the garlic which I will not show you a before and after as the grass and garlic are the same height. Going to let my neighbor help me by hauling the grass off for her goats. Hopefully that will work out for both of us. Baby tomatoes like the sun today and yesterday. Mouse on the bench ate old seed Delicatas I planted yesterday. Da, tah, dan, da...
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Started the day with 6 elk passing by. Ended by getting a little compost on those strawberries. Sorry, I did not get a photo of before, but trust me, it was a mess. Paths have been wheel hoed, so the weeds are cut off just below the soil surface. They won't be green tomorrow. Row cover is to ward off any animal thinking of grabbing a bite on their way through to somewhere else, surely not HERE! Lawn chair adds to their confusion and fear, really.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I lied about the berries being finished. The cane berries are cleaned up, but there are three beds of strawberries still waiting their turn. It is rainy and cooler today, but tomorrow and the rest of the week look better. I will take a before and after picture of the strawberry area to let you see it when it is finished, like next week, ha-ha. It will be slow going, but I will get it done (with some help).
Monday, April 12, 2010
Bound(well in my mind, no shackles yet) and determined to finish cleaning up the rest of the berries today. The small patches of boysenberry and tayberry plants we have need a new fencing system as what is there isn't really doing anything about holding up berry canes. I am going to look at a couple books before I commit to the existing system. Maybe there is a a better way...Started hailing, which bothered the dog more than I, but decided to take a break for food and beverage and then back out there to finish the "old" red raspberries.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
My over-wintered Napa cabbages are bolting, so we have quite a bit to eat. It is much milder tasting than bok choy and not anything like a cabbage. I like it. My daughter taught me to make an oriental salad with the Napa leaves and the crunchy white stems as a base. To about 6 cups of chopped Napa, I have been adding different things, and especially in the peak of garden time it is delicious: tomato, cucumber, onion, green or mild, cilantro, and mandarin orange slices. Yeah, no tangerine trees in my garden.) One time I didn't have a can of mandarin oranges to add, so I just chopped one navel orange up and it was great, so now I am apt to do that rather than open a can of slices which is too many. To make the salad dressing, make a vinegrette with soy sauce 1/3 c. (or substitute Tamari and a little honey or amino liquids?) a little fish sauce 2tsp., and sesame oil 1/2 c., and lime juice 1tsp. These measurements are approximate, so take a taste to see if you like it more sour, more soyish or salty with fish sauce and of course make enough to cover your cabbage and stuff. Serve with crunchy oriental noodles as croutons or platform for salad. Serves 2 pigs or 4 light eaters.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Looks like another one of those days with all sorts of weather in one day. Right now the sun is shining, but five minutes ago, it was snowing. Might have to run the vacuum, clean the stove, and fun things like that. Some folks have not been visiting the other blog (the link to the right). I set this other site up for questions so that they wouldn't pop up in the middle of the diary. So far, I have only had 3 questions, but that's OK. I just didn't want blog posts to be too long, so the other site allows for questions or more specific looks at things. There is also "the weed of the month" and there will be "the pest of the month" at some point, hoping to start an available dictionary of weeds and pests accessible through a topic link. Here is a view of the "top" greenhouse, the longest and tallest of the three. Look at those prepared beds! (row cover is protecting spinach and cabbage leaf is to collect bugs...)
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
If you have strawberry plants from last year or years gone by, this is a good time to thin them. Those tight wads of strawberry plants that grew around the mother plant can be carefully coaxed away from the old plant which has the dead matter around it and often the old stems where it sent out shoots. It is good to simply remove this old growth out of the middle altogether. Then if there are several plantlets around it, take them off and plant them with space between of up to a foot or 6 inches apart at least. You can form a border with the new ones, continue your bed out further, or put them in a newly prepared bed for optimal success.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
It continues to be cool and showery. Remember those seeds I put in with the seeder? Well, except for the beets, no one has been brave enough to come up. Can't blame them really. There is a bunch of asparagus up, but short and purple, waiting for sun and warmth. I guess tomorrow is supposed to be nice, one out of seven ain't bad. Planted a few cucumbers in the upper greenhouse. I put sticky tape around them to slow down predators such as rodents which I haven't seen much of this year, and rolley polley sow bugs. I used to think they were so cute, now I have a much different opinion. Sticky tape comes in yellow and blue. Some bugs such as the leaf miners come to blue easier. I don't use it too much outdoors, but in the greenhouse it is just a little insurance.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I was turning another bed, getting ready to plant bush beans and lo and behold, here were some friends of mine, earthworms! So, seems like a good time to talk a little about these guys and what they mean for your soil. Earthworms are like mini rototillers. They wiggle around eating soil and making holes where roots and water can follow. They bring nutrients up from the depths and poop them towards the surface. They eat surface nutrients and mix them down where roots can find them. Their excrement, castings, are richer than the decayed matter or soil the worm ate originally. The castings actually chemically changed what was eaten out of the soil and turn it into something soluble and immediately available to plants. If you don't see any worms in your garden, bed, or box, buy some! They are available at some garden shops and all fishing stores.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I went ahead and planted some of those first tomatoes I started into the soil in the upper greenhouse. I planted SunGold cherries and Fourth of July's on the same fence I have peas on. The sun's angle is straight down, so I don't think the peas will shade them out. Then when the peas are done with the fence, the tomatoes will be climbing up from the other side. I hope. I stuck 8 SuperTasty plants in their own bed which was well fertilized last year. I added some compost and some sand to it for this year. It is the only tomato bed I am repeating tomatoes in that greenhouse this year. It has grown tomatoes too many times in a row and did a good job with beans and cucmbers last year, so will continue to rotate crops, a process of growing different families of plants so as to not deplete any one group of nutrients from the soil. There are heavy feeders such as tomatoes and corn, legumes such as beans and peas, and light feeders which includes root crops. Call me crazy, but the soil is temperate and the weather will stay at the middle of the road temperature wise for the next week. The baby plants didn't even know they switched places out of their little cells as they were so young and not rootbound where the roots are crowded out to the edges of the pot and the whole thing comes out compacted together. Sometimes plants don't fully recover. The salmon in the Rogue River have traveled past the Gold Rey Dam where they are seen by camera and counted. It is the earliest ever reported that they have been over the dam. So, I'm going with the salmon on this one. They know things I don't!
Friday, April 2, 2010
More snow! We have had more snow in the last week than we have had all winter, and it is spring. Will turn beds and admire the view, but not much outdoors until it dries out this next week. My chard and Kale are going crazy. This is their time, soon to flower, and be finished for this year until I plant more for fall. So, I have quite a bit of kale and a couple of suggestions of what to do with it. My usual recipe is Portugese sausage soup, which is basically, cooking sausage (we use elk often, but pork, kielbasa, or Italian work), add potatoes and sautee for a few minutes, then add water and after the potatoes have soften some , add as much kale as you are trying to use up! I can stretch this with more potatoes, or make super kaley if I want, but it varies slightly from time to time. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can use miso, or a vegetable soup base to make this just as tasty. My friend told me another recipe which I tried and liked though I cooked them a little too long. Take kale leaves, remove stems if tough, and place them around on a baking sheet. Drizzle or spray with olive oil or your favorite oil,(I put olive oil in asprayer for this type of thing) and then bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes depending on your oven. They should be crispy. Add sea salt or seasoning as desired. I couldn't believe how they kept together and formed crunchy little chips. Something different for sure.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I planted the money plants today. I have heard you must plant heads up, but that may just be an old wive's tale. I plan to thin them when they are about quarters. Last year I planted them too close together and I only got $5 dollar bills. This year, with thinning, I hope to get $10's or maybe $20's where there is better fertilizer.