Friday, June 4, 2010

Garden Update + Chicken Sitting


In February I sat down with a piece of paper and sketched out my spring garden and summer garden.

I decided to plant everything in mid-March and expected to harvest the spring crops around June 1st. It looks like I will be harvesting a little later than that, but not by much.

It's not too late to start a summer garden if you've been thinking about it. You'll just have to buy started seedlings instead of growing from seed. Squash, tomatoes, hot peppers, eggplants, okra, and more are appearing all over the Remington garden.

Pictured above is part of Wednesday night's dinner from the spring veggies. A lot of times I'll just eat the produce fresh from the garden without any cooking. Freshness is the flavor!

Since this is my first year really gardening, I've been learning more and more about the details that go along with each part of the season. The key to happy plants has been visiting the garden frequently and getting to know it.

This time of year requires mostly waiting eagerly for the beets and carrots to poke the tops of their roots out of the soil, and for the pea pods to become fat and happy. I'm really glad I planted kale since that provides a constant source of vegetables without waiting for a specific harvest time.

A few weeks ago the main task was thinning out the many seedlings so that the best crops had room to thrive. As we approach the early June harvest time for spring crops, my main tasks have been ripping off any older leaves that are drooping onto the soil since those often become vectors for disease.

Remember the mention of my beet leaf disease:


My friend Matt advised me to check out the undersides of the leaves. There are often little white egg sacs in clusters (very tiny, just a few millimeters or so). I've been wiping them off when I see them to prevent my beet leaves from getting destroyed.

So what's the garden status so far?

Radishes & Baby Bok Choy

Harvested a month ago. Made about two salads worth. Saved a few of the best plants to collect their seeds. Put a small section of black and white beans in their empty place.

Beets, Peas, & Carrots

Ready for harvesting in the next week or so. Planning on pickling the beets and most of the carrots. Probably won't save some for seed, although I am tempted. Would rather have the garden space.

Tomatoes & Pumpkins

A few tomato seedlings have gone into the ground already, along with a few basil plants. Once I harvest the spring crops I'll put in some compost and put more tomato seedlings in the empty spaces. Wish I had already started the pumpkins but looks like I'm going to have to start them from seed a little late.

Kale

My favorite part of the garden because they are super good for you, can be added to almost any dish, and most importantly they can be harvested at any time. So while I'm twiddling my fingers for months waiting for the root veggies or squash to grow, at least I've got kale. Roasted with oil, steamed, chopped up with beans for tortillas or to put in pasta, even juiced if you have the equipment, kale is really versatile in the kitchen.

And for an added update: this past week I've been chicken sitting!



There are three different breeds in the coop: Americanas, Rhode Island Reds, and White Orpingtons.

It's been fun seeing the way the different breeds interact. The Reds are the littlest and tend to stick together as a group. They hang out with the White Orpingtons in the lower part of the coops. The Whites are bigger and are a little more independent than the Reds.

The Americans are big and black, almost vulture looking.


They rule the roost in the upper part of the coop, and the other chickens pretty much steer clear of them.


Mostly I've been cleaning out the water dishes since the chickens won't drink their water if it's dirty. It's been fun chicken sitting (I got to kitten sit last weekend, so it's been a lot of fun with animals lately!). But I'm still excited for the Chicken Man to come back home.

New livestock posts to come? And stay tuned for gardening updates! And of course, I don't want this to just become about food, so activism is going to pop up somewhere... Happy June everyone!

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