Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Notes to Self on Garden

This afternoon I came down from the garden with a bag of baby carrots, broccoli, zucchini and basil. I steamed some garlic whistles and the broccoli. Sauteed carrots, onions and the zucchini in olive oil and butter (not all at the same time), and then tossed everything together along with some goat cheese, lemon zest and fresh basil and shredded parmesan. I relish the days where the garden inspires and provides the next meal.

Today I threw out (to the chickens) several bags of greens that had been in the fridge too long. Feeling guilty I forced myself to try and salvage a couple heads of napa cabbage that some sort of fly larvae got the best of. I grated up several beat up zucchini to make into bread. And I pulled a large jar (think vase covered with a bag) of swiss chard front and center in the fridge so that I will include into tomorrow nights meal. Another batch of greens soup for the freezer is in order so that I may gain in the battle against the overtaking greens. Planting more greens needs to move to the top of the list on my garden chore list. I've recently sowed a late batch of dill, cilantro, radishes, beets and swiss chard. But no greens of late, but I hear the clock ticking. Escarole, endive, mache and arugula, tatsoi, spinach, lettuce and mizuna - your time to thrive in the coolness of fall is coming.

This week I harvested several bundles of mint and oregano to dry. There are still some more garlic whistles to snip. Basil is ready to harvest. Beans are flowering and growing little beans. Radishes are all done, a few of the cauliflower bolted in the heat. Some of the beets are getting to be nice size and some aren't. I planted several varieties all mixed together. The yellow and white beets seem to be less tolerant of the soil. Note to self: next year plant beets in better soil with lots of compost. (I recently have seen the light in regards to roasted and lightly dressed beets)

While I'm at it here are a few more notes to self:
  1. Don't plant anything in straight soil! Add compost and goodies, turn well, then plant!!!
  2. Plant more onions (shallots and leeks too) and make sure they are not day sensitive!!
  3. Plant more cauliflower (there are maybe a dozen plants growing now-not enough) !
  4. Plant less kale and more variety! (think a dozen and not four dozen!)
  5. Plant less Swiss Chard (two dozen or so, not five dozen)
  6. Start more cucumbers (I started six and now have four, only one is growing well)
  7. Succession plant radishes and cilantro more frequently, June fifteenth maybe for second planting.
  8. Plant more peas, can never have enough peas!
  9. Keep beans and squash covered until they are big and bushy
  10. Cover napa cabbage, radishes and onions with row covers to keep insects off, lettuce too.
That's all for now, I should do that a few more times during the season as I think of new things. Today I was looking over my notes from last year's berry harvest. When I came home from picking blueberries I measured and kept track of each cup. The raspberries I had weighed when I picked them at a Upick place. Last year I picked roughly fourty four cups of blueberries (not nearly enough), and about twenty-seven pounds, roughly eighty-four cups of raspberries. Fifteen pints of blueberry jam and three pints of blueberry topping and thirteen pints of raspberry jam made it to the shelves and several bags of whole berries into the freezer. In addition a good friend of ours brought over bags of raspberries on a couple different occassions that I did not keep track of. As of now I still have four gallon ziplocks full of frozen raspberries in the freezer and several jars of raspberry jam, but only a small bag of frozen blueberries and no blueberry jam. So, this year I would like to harvest as many raspberries as last year and hopefully more blueberries. Something new and exciting (for me) that I am looking forward to doing is making syrups with the berries. I often stir jam into Noah's milk, kefir or yogurt, and the clumps are straw cloggers- (ha! straw cloggers). A friend recently gave me a jar of raspberry syrup that she had made and it is devine. I am hoping to make more blueberry jam so instead of hoarding it we can give it as gifts.

For the last week we've been picking wild raspberries that grow along our driveway. They are looking good this year, large and free of bugs and mold - so far. Some years the wild raspberries are hardly worth picking but they sure seem to like the sun and heat we have been having and don't seem to have sufferred due to the drought. On the otherhand, we walked up our hill to the blueberry patch and while there are plenty they are small. Ergh! I had a feeling that it wasn't going to be a very good blueberry year, they do best with more moisture early on in the summer and we've hardly had any. I count two days of rain so far this summer, and a few sprinkles, makes for little blueberries. I'm wondering if we look low down in the valleys where there is more moisture the berries might be bigger than on our hill that seems to avoid the passing showers. The berries are just beginning to ripen and there were a lot of green berries still, so maybe if we get some good rain they will be looking better next week...but then the raspberries will start to

I have stayed up too late, and tomorrow I have no farm help. I can do it! I'm leaving the goat kids with their moms tonight so that I don't feel so rushed in the morning. Getting Noah and Avery out of the house and up the hill can be challenging because the more urgent I am with Noah the more he protests. The longer it takes to get out of the house the closer Avery gets to her morning nap. The keys to success are a good breakfast for all and then snacks, smoothie for Noah and blueberries for Avery once we get up the hill. Then I just try to relax and enjoy being in a lovely garden with my kids and some hungry goats, one day I'll look back and think "ah, those were the days."

1 comment:

NATALIA said...

I totally resonated with this post. I have four four and under and getting chores done in reasonable amounts of time is definitely a skilled task best accomplished with patience and food.