Thursday, May 26, 2011

Brief bit of sunshine

We've had rain or heavy clouds almost non-stop since my last post. The broccoli has become leggy from lack of sun, even though it's in what should be the sunniest part of the garden. I cut back the main head on each of the plants, hoping to inspire some side shoots.

I'm a little worried that we're in for a repeat of the 2009 season -- rainy and wet, with tomato blight. I FINALLY picked up plants (another $18 spent) today, a couple weeks later than I would in a normal year. Decided to get kale (5 plants, one of which is a bit puny), since cool-weather crops may be the only ones that prosper this year!

Also got: 6 Corno di Toro sweet peppers (since the generic banana peppers were sold out), 24 Ace sweet peppers, 6 yellow pear tomatoes and 6 Jetstar tomatoes. And a thyme plant, because last year's plant is really thriving in a corner of a small whiskey barrel, and I like thyme a lot, so the plan is to fill that whiskey barrel completely with thyme.

I'd like perhaps 6 more tomatoes in a variety that's better for cooking, but I thought I'd experiment this year, perhaps with an oxheart, except I haven't found them. I've also got some Matt's Wild Cherry seedlings to add to the tomato collection.

Highest priority (except that I ran out of energy in the sudden heat) now is to prepare the bed for the sweet potatoes (dig up the weeds, lay down black plastic, heat up the soil) and get them planted by the end of the weekend.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I'm such a cheapskate

Shortly after I picked a couple pounds of asparagus this morning, I went to the local grocery store, and saw they had a special on asparagus. At TWO BUCKS A POUND.

It's not very nice of me, but I couldn't help gloating a bit. I'd just picked about four bucks' worth of asparagus. For free!

Okay, so it's not really free. We did spend twenty or thirty bucks on new plants to fill in some gaps in the asparagus bed last year, but the quality can't be beat, and we'll be harvesting from them indefinitely. After this year, at least; the new plants are a little scrawny still, so I'm letting them put all their energy back into the roots. We've got enough to pick from the pre-existing plants, which went into the ground something like twenty years ago!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Onions by the hundreds

We received and planted somewhere between 250 and 300 onions. Two-thirds of them red and a third of them yellow storage onions. I think the grower sent us extras, though, because we should have had 180 red and 60 yellow, and I'm pretty sure we have more than that. The birds are unplanting them in their search for breakfast, so we may end up with fewer than what we have now.

Asparagus is doing well. Ate several stalks with my neighbor a week ago, brought some to a friend at work a few days ago, and picked a whole bunch of them yesterday. At least some of the newly planted roots survived their first-year neglect and are coming back, albeit as scraggly little shoots, only visible if you know where to look.

Lettuces (green simpson and a red variety) and tatsoi are thriving on both my deck and my neighbor's. Hers are a bit further along, and I did some weeding and thinning yesterday. In the process, I got to eat the first lettuce of the season. Not exactly a whole salad. More like three one-inch-square leaves. But, hey, the first bites of the season are always the best.

I may be making rhubarb crisp tonight. I'd like to see if harvesting some branches now will, in fact, spur the plant into producing more branches than it would otherwise. I've already removed the flower stalks. I really want to make blueberry-rhubarb jam again this year, as soon as blueberries come into season.

Meanhile, I'm craving broccoli. I love broccoli, but mostly I love it raw. And I can't eat it raw any longer, because I have thyroiditis, and raw broccoli makes that problem worse. So I swore off broccoli. Until recently, when I decided that lightly cooked broccoli (which is okay for my thyroid) is better than no broccoli at all. I'm hoping to pick up the plants today and stick them in the ground today or tomorrow.

Basil seedlings have sprouted in duplicate. I thought I'd killed the first batch of seeds, and put the pots outdoors to be composted, but a week later (I tend to be slow about getting stuff out to the compost bin), there were sprouts in the pots. Both the outdoor pots and the follow-up pots indoors. So, lots of basil this year. Except I have no idea where to put it. I'm aiming to set new records for overly intensive planting this year.