Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Garden Update - 22 August 2011

Most plants in the  garden is pretty mature now, and some are history. I removed the snap and snow peas, the mesclun and lettuces, and harvested all the baby bok choi. I reseeded the lettuce, mesclun and sugar snaps, and set out some Romaine, chard and bok choi seedlings I started at home. Also put in more Icicle radishes. Given how long they take to germinate, I decided not to try a second planting of beets, given my first planting is still golf ball size or less.

I removed the last floating row cover from the collards/kale bed. The collards were ready for a second harvest and were starting to crowd the kale. The collards looked beautiful (front of the box, lower left) and the row cover kept the cabbage caterpillars off them so there were almost no holes in the leaves. They are a lot more appetizing that way!  The Beedy’s Camden kale (on right, lower right photo) is coming along and I might get a cutting in a week or two. The leaves are thinner and less curled than Winterbor and are supposedly more tender. Each year I make a batch or two of Portuguese kale soup (I use the Victory Garden Cookbook recipe). which uses up some of the tomatoes and kale from the garden. Last year I tried shredding the kale and sautéing it, which turned out great. I think Beedy’s Camden might be even better for that.

I got about three pounds of collard leaves ( see here) which I processed and froze into four plastic bags. Apparently you can freeze collards without blanching, although the standard advice is to blanch before freezing. Since the leaves have to be thoroughly washed to get any grit off them, I used the technique I read in one article and just threw them dripping wet into a pot with a lid and heated them until they wilted. Then into an ice bath, drain and freeze.

The cucumbers are almost dead from bacterial wilt, with a few plants still struggling. I inter-planted them with pole beans and when a cuke plant died I pulled it out and shoved in more bean seeds. The bean plants are at the top of the 5 foot trellis now and look like they could go another 15 feet. They are flowering but no beans are set yet.
I uncovered the broccoli/Brussels sprout bed at least a week ago because the sprouts were crowding the top of the cover. The sprouts (on the left) look great but aren’t budding much right now. I think last year at this time I had sprouts forming on the stalks. In the past I have had this problem, great plants but no sprouts. Last year with 6 plants I was buried in sprouts and harvested them up to hard freeze. With the raised beds this year I am going with 2 plants. There are five Broccoli plants on the right which are putting out a few side shoots, enough to throw in the occasional stir fry.In the back you can see the pepper bed, which looks good but isn’t setting fruit with all the heat.
A Garter snake in the compost pile at the community garden.
This is my Mr. Stripey tomato, first time I have grown it. I tried to find a German Striped or German Pink plant  (which I grew last year) but Mr. Stripey is all I could find. Fruits are not as large, nor the plant as robust as my German Pink from last year. I have picked the fruit shown in the picture and it is starting to ripen like a German Pink (picture in next Harvest Monday). The flesh and skin is yellow, with a pink blush at the bottom. With the German Pink, the pink color is swirled around in the yellow flesh. It is a beautiful tomato and the taste is wonderful. Unfortunately, in this picture you can see the blight which is affecting most of the tomatoes in the community garden, despite my pruning and spraying.

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