Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Broc harvest - Peas planted

I am experimenting with my peas. They are always a pretty frustrating veggie for me. They never sprout early enough. They never produce enough. And they don't die off early enough for a variety of follow-up plantings. One of my favorite gardening books (Crocket's Victory Garden) talks about planting peas in the winter before the ground freezes over. The benefit of a winter sowing is that the peas shoot up at the first opportunity in the spring. No need to wait for the ground to thaw and dry enough to work. So I decided to give it a shot. I also changed the way I configured the pea climbing apparatus. Typically I try to do something natural for the peas to climb - something that looks kind of rustic - some combination of branches and twine. But the branches typically fall over in a spring storm and the twine breaks, and I am left with a big mess. This time I just went ahead and buried wire mesh for support for the peas. It isn't beautiful, but hopefully will be more functional.

As far as crop rotation goes, this planting isn't perfect. These peas were planted in a raised bed which in 2009 was half planted in brussel sprouts and green beans. My crop rotation chart says that peas should follow bracias, so the sprouts make sense. But peas and green beans are the same family, so half of this planting was not ideal.

This planting was approximately 25 linear feet and approximately doubled my spring planting of peas in 2009. I planted two varieties - A snow pea from Shumway called Goliath and a traditional pod pea from Shumway called Green Arrow. Both are supposed to be 60 days to harvest.

I also harvested 1 pound of broccoli today. The shoots are small, but very, very tasty.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

13 lb Mid-November Harvest

We had a beautiful weather weekend on the 14th and 15th of November, so we worked in the yard. We can still harvest a nice salad just about whenever we want. The current staples are lettuce, spinach, mustards, chinese choi, broc, radish, carrots and peas. This weekend we also harvested some quantity as we cleaned out the remaining carrots and beets from the large patio pots. We also harvested a nice 5 pound red cabbage to mix with the beets for some weekend borscht. We had two wonderful harvest surprises as well. I ran across a nice little red norland potato mixed in with the peas and I discovered a huge 3 pound zucchini (our only one this year). It was buried underneath the privite hedge beyond the garden fence. It still looks good, so I am hoping for some fried zucchini for the Steeler game today. All in all it was a 13 pound harvest. Not bad for mid-November.

The rest of our garden effort this weekend was focused on the compost cycle. We would load up the big huge blue garden bucket (1/2 a rain barrel) with leaves, spent veggies and flowers, and make a green compost deposit. Then we would fill the same bucket with the black gold for garden distribution. All in all we added about 10 huge buckets of compost to various garden plots. I just spread it on top pretty thick, and didn't even bother to till it into the soil. I am slowly moving to a no-till garden approach. I exhausted the black gold supply during this exercise. Now both compost piles are green. One is completely full. The other has 16 inches of fresh add-ins.

What a nice weekend.