Thursday, May 20, 2010

May Garden Update

My garden has felt sadly neglected this year. Last year, I was home during the months of April and May with my new baby girl so I was able to spend hours in the garden each day. This year... not so much. This has also been a screwy year for weather, a very cold, slow winter followed by hot and dry much quicker than usual. Our last snow was on March ~20 and by the end of April it was already up into the 80s and has stayed there nearly continuously since. I've been picking stuff on and off for a few weeks, nothing spectacular in quantity or size, but always of wonderful flavor.

Bad weather, neglect, lack of time, new hobbies, still the garden grows on. Here is what was happening out there in late May.

Here are the veggies I picked on May 17th, beans, squash, broccoli and dill. It weighed just a bit under a pound. I blanched (plunge them in boiling water for 3 minutes, then cool water) the veggies and we had them with dinner that night.

One of our black berry bushes is growing like crazy and is covered in berries. This ripe one was the size of my thumb, huge. I may have picked it a little bit too soon though, it was kind of tough and not at all sweet. Too bad.

I harvested the turnips on May 20th (before work, heck before sunrise!) and it was pretty obvious that my attempted kindness by not thinning them was a mistake.

The turnips that grew uncrowded were perfect orbs the size of my fist... the ones that were crowded into the unthinned areas were as small as my finger. Too bad.

I have to remember this for next year, I HAVE TO THIN THE SEEDLINGS if I want to harvest anything worthwhile. Sigh, still, there are plenty of turnips for a few meals. I'm excited to try them out tonight. Store turnips are okay, and I've never had fresh.

I cleaned out the dying peas, spent broccoli and various weeds and fed the scraps to the chickens. They were pretty excited at this bounty and quickly picked off the bugs. I"m sure these girls will have the greens down to the nubs by the time I get home from work.

The peas were a disappointment this year. I like snow peas (edible pod) but I planted garden peas. Even when they were small, the pods were tough and bitter. I'm not much on shelled peas, so another lesson learned... no garden peas next year, spend my efforts on snow peas.

I included some pretties in the garden this year, this is an Alaskan Nasturtium, it is supposed to vine to 6 feet, but so far they are only about 6 inches tall. Perhaps planting something in Texas with 'Alaska' in the name was not the best choice. Nasturtiums are edible, flower, leafs and stems. The kids and I snacked on a flower petal each the other day. Girl looked at me like I was nuts when I put the flower in my mouth, she generally gets in trouble for putting things in her mouth. Boy did not like the taste, girl ate it just for the novelty of getting to eat a flower. The flowers have a light peppery after taste, sort of tangy and a nice flowery taste at first.

This is a volunteer squash that came up near the compost pile. My volunteer last year ended up being a pumpkin that took over 1/4 of the garden to grow a single 6 inch pumpkin. I'll be more ruthless this year if it turns out this one is not producing well.

My dill is host to caterpillars again

I believe these are swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, so I'm going to share the harvest with them in the interest of having pretty bugs around. Last year, I had two caterpillars, this year, it was more like 6.

Keep munching little buddy, I'm willing to share.

My one prickly baby artichoke has turned into SIX prickly baby artichokes. I'm so impressed. I still have not picked any, I;m not sure when they are ready.

My edamame soy beans are looking good.

They have finally sprouted tiny hairy pods along their hairy stems. I'm looking forward to a good harvest since the plants are nearly covered in pods.

My squash are coming along, we harvested a yellow straight neck on May 17th and this round ball squash will be ready in a day or two.

This is my first year of growing brussel sprouts. I planted a whole row, which after sprouting was then snowed on, thawed, and snowed on again. The seedlings never did well after sprouting. I bought a single plant from a nursery and despite Caterpillar attacks, it appears to be doing well.

I can see the baby brussel sprouts along the stem. So cool!

This is the black prince tomato, it was in the earliest and also in a good sunny spot.

The other tomatoes also have fruit, but not at this size or quantity.

All of my onions are blooming, this year they are blooming without falling over, which is nice, the blooms are very pretty, like fireworks shooting up out of the garden. The onions themselves have mostly bulbed only to about golf ball to racquetball size, so I'm fairly pleased with them. The reds have not done as well as the sweet yellow onions.

The green beans are beany, purple and yellow seem to be maturing faster than the true green ones. This photo was from May 9th, so I've had a few harvests off of these plants already.

My swiss chard from last year has gone to seed, too bad, we ate very well off of those plants this spring. I have a few new chard plants that started from seed this year and one of them is doing great, one is just okay.

Broccoli, pretty good! This is my first year for growing broccoli, I planted seeds (just did okay), bought a 9 pack from Home Depot (they did well), bought 1 large plant from NorthHaven (it had a tiny head and then bloomed quickly). I've probably only harvested a few small broccoli heads, by small, I mean it the whole head was the size of a shot glass. More like a single florete than a head of broccoli. OH well, it was still fun, and definitely something I'll try again next year.

This is what broccoli looks like when it blooms, and the bees visit. See the bee mooning the camera?

Stuff without pictures...
Peppers, ugh, these guys are doing TERRIBLE. On one side half of the 9 pack I planted is dead and gone, on the north side of the garden, they are doing a bit better, but not much. I know I'll love the peppers come the hot weather, but now they are just looking terrible.

Spinach, what a disappointment. It sprouted, was small for months, then immediately bolted. I have not eaten a single garden spinach salad this year. Since spinach tends to like it cold, but not too cold... like snow on my seedlings, I'm guessing the poor performance was due to the weather this year.

Lettuce, very poor germination, very spotty growth, already bolted. Blaming it on the weather. We have not had a single garden lettuce salad this year. boo

Cauliflower, barely sprouted, then died. Weather?

Beets, very poor showing this year. Not sure why.

Carrots, not so great. I have a few that are still growing despite planting rows upon rows of carrots. Maybe next year.

So there is what is growing in my garden this May.

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