Thursday, December 6, 2012

Not Dead Yet

We had some very warm days earlier this week. I was able to get out to the garden yesterday to see what was going on. Since some of our nights have been in the teens, I assumed all the greens were finished for the winter.

I was surprised to see some Kale that was still struggling against the cold temperatures. I harvested some beautiful kale leaves for dinner:

Kale harvest

While I was at it, I trimmed off the withered foliage, pulled the other plants in the bed that succumbed to cold damage, and added a row cover to offer some protection from the increasingly cold nights.

Kale before harvest and trimming. Fencing protects it from deer.

Kale after cleanup.

The promise of another harvest.


I am hopeful that I may get another harvest out of these plants.

Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Catching Up

It has been a while since I have blogged about the garden. I've been tied up with some graphic design projects that ate up all my time. I was very thankful for the work, but it did have an effect on the rest of my life for a while including fall gardening and blogging.

Back to the garden....The first frost hit in mid-October. At that point, most of the garden had been cleaned up for winter. Still producing were leeks, green onions, carrots, kale, spinach, pak choi, celery, and herbs oregano, chives, sage, parsley and thyme. These continued to produce unprotected until mid-November when nighttime temperatures reached the 20s for several nights in a row.

I pulled the fall carrots just before the ground froze. I wish I had planted more. For me, fall carrots seem to grow much better than spring. They taste better too. Note for next year.....plant more fall carrots!!!



I enjoyed some pest free Kale until it eventually was affected by the freezing temperatures. I am sure the Kale would still be alive if I had provided some protection:



Green onions and a few small leeks are still being harvested as needed:



I managed to dig most of the remaining potatoes. When I dug potatoes for Thanksgiving's meal, most of the ground was frozen except for the area in the potato bed that was mulched with hay. I had to lift off a sheet of several inches of frozen soil to reach the potatoes:



I did find time to plant garlic in one of the 4x4-raised beds and mulch with shredded leaves:



Thanksgiving dinner included many vegetables from the garden including carrots, celery, potatoes, squash, garlic, onions, leeks, and herbs such as sage, parsley, chives, and thyme.

The garden still has some leeks, green onions, and about a two foot patch of undug potatoes in the ground. It may be too late to dig these up before winter. Today the ground is covered by a light dusting of snow. Overall yield for potatoes was good. I will post an update at a later time once I tally up the harvests.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving


I am thankful for so many things this year. Among them are a bountiful harvest the garden produced, a freelance graphic design business that is drawing in enough income to pay the bills, our health, and a beautiful day to travel to New Hampshire to be with family.

I am also very thankful for the readers of this blog and the on-line friends I have made here. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fortunate

Sandy ripped through our area overnight leaving behind torn up trees, power outages, and flooding. We experienced some heavy rain and strong wind gusts, but it was mild in comparison to those south of us. Luckily, we only lost power for about an hour and there was no major damage to our home or property.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Sandy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Earthquake

We were watching a movie when a quiver began then exceeded into a rumble. The house shook. At first I thought maybe the bass was vibrating on our surround sound system and I reached for the remote both to turn down the volume and pause the movie. Then I realized that there was no bass on the show at the time. "Hun?" I said. "What was that?" K says.

I know probably only moments passed, but time seemed to stand still as everything around us seemed to shake and rumble for quite a long time. Enough time for my mind to flip through some possible reasons that we were experiencing this phenomenon. First I thought loud bass from the surround sound system, then I thought furnace in trouble, but the furnace wasn't on. Then I wondered if there was an explosion nearby. My next thought was spoken out loud as the house vibrated, "It's still going on.....Earthquake!"


I had experienced a small New England earthquake once before. It was a short burst and shook the building enough to make me unsteady on my feet. Once this was over, I thought someone hit the building with a truck. This was similar, but longer and more rolling.

I jumped to my MacBook and visited Facebook first and immediately saw comments from friends relaying that they also felt something. I googled "earthquake map" and found Real-time Earthquake Map that showed a 4.5 reading located nearby (it has since been downgraded to 4.0).

Earthquakes are rare here in New England. I can't imagine living in an area where they are more severe or more common. I'll think I'll take my snowy winters.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

First Frost: October 13, 2012

Frost covered oregano

I heeded the freeze warnings yesterday and harvested a few of the remaining peppers and tomatoes that looked like they may ripen. I also cut some basil sprigs and brought them inside. They will last for a little while in a glass of water. The rest of the garden is mostly cleaned up.

We lit the wood stove for the first time this season and remained nice and cozy inside during the night while the frost covered all surfaces outside.

Frosty Pepper Plants

Frost covered green tomato

Monday, October 8, 2012

Harvest Monday: October 8, 2012

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

Rain, rain, and more rain with little breaks in between kept me from digging the rest of the potatoes and cleaning up the garden this past week. I did venture out to harvest the rest of the Chile de árbol peppers:




A few were turning red but there is little chance of most of them ripening with our first frost expected any time now. I don't know what I will do with all the green chilies. Any suggestions?

Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Harvest Monday: October 1, 2012

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

The garden has been lucky to escape frost so far. Garden cleanup is happening at a slow pace. We've had a lot of rain the past few days. Dryer and cooler days earlier this week were perfect for digging some of the potatoes. So far the yield is promising to be great:

Dark Red Norland Potatoes

The Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans have bounced back from the Japanese beetle and deer damage and continue to produce and provide some beans for fresh eating:

Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans

My attempt at growing some fall crops yielded a small harvest of Kale and some New Zealand Spinach:

Kale and New Zealand Spinach

Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fall Greens

I am not very organized or successful at fall planting. Transplants usually suffer from heat and bolt early or get eaten by hungry deer. My attempt at fall gardening this year was to fill the former 4x4 garlic bed with some fall seeds, protect it from cabbage butterflies and deer, and see what happens.

It has been a while since I peeked under the row cover, but I could see some green was growing through the cover. I was hoping it wasn't weeds.


I was surprised when I lifted the cover that the plants spilled out. There is a bit of a slug party going on. I will have to remember to put down some sluggo once the rain stops.


Growing very well is Kale, Kolabri, Carrots, Pak Choi, and Spinach. I even spotted a tomato plant growing among the greens. The seed probably came from the compost. Lettuce is a no show. The seeds are old and will be tossed.


I thinned out the Kale and enjoyed some with dinner simply sautéed with olive oil and garlic. Yum! I am looking forward to more greens soon.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Potato Dig: A Nice Beginning

I began digging up the potatoes this week. I am very impressed so far. These are Dark Red Norland potatoes and most are pretty good sized.



Much better looking potatoes than last year. I can't wait to see what else is beneath the soil.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Harvest Monday: September 24, 2012

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

A frost advisory was predicted for a few nights this week. I harvested a lot of the remaining peppers just in case. We didn't end up having a frost, but it was close for several nights in a row:

Yolo Wonder, Horizon Orange, and a few Quadrato Rosso D'Asti

Maybe Cubanelle Peppers?
Maybe Cubanelle Pepper?

The seed package for the above peppers say Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers and it took most of the summer before I realized that these were actually something else. The peppers are more light green than yellow, there is no heat, and they didn't grow upright like Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers. It's a nice pepper, just not what was expected.

The Chile de árbol have about a hundred peppers on the plants but are ripening very slowly. I may need to harvest them green but should still add spice to Tex-mex and Asian dishes:

Chile de árbol

The last of the Concord Grapes were harvested:

Concord Grapes

A few handfulls of raspberries are enjoyed every few days:

Raspberries

I tried growing Back Valentine Bush Beans for the first time this year because of it's versatility as both a snap bean and a dried bean. The deer reduced overall yield but I did get enough for some fresh eating and some seed for next year:

4 oz. Back Valentine Beans 

I attempted to sprout a sweet potato from the grocery store as an experiment. I think my potato was treated with sprout inhibitor because I was only able to get one slip from the whole potato. I planted it and hoped for the best. It began to grow and vine out but then the deer continued to munch on the foliage. Even with the challenges, this pant produced 6 oz. of sweet potatoes:

6 oz Sweet Potatoes

Some tomatoes are still ripening on the kitchen counter but after last week most of my tomato processing is finished. Once ripe, the tomatoes are now washed and frozen to be used later. There are a few good-sized green tomatoes in the garden. I am hoping they start to ripen before frost.

Started fall garden cleanup this past week. It was nice to dig in the dirt again. There is still so much to be done to put the garden to bed for the winter.

Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wicked Windy Wednesday

The degrading wood combined with the top-heavy bean vines was no match for the whipping wind Wednesday night.


Thursday morning found two of the bean trellises on the ground. Up until then the beans were still producing, but I wasn't too upset since we have enough canned and frozen beans for the winter months. I did salvage some beans for fresh eating.


Luckily nothing IN the bed was damaged either. I only had some bush beans in this bed that I was allowing to go to seed. The second bed still has New Zealand spinach, but the trellis didn't harm that either.

K helped me wrestle the trellises to the side of the garden. I will wait for the vines to die back then clean up and try to salvage the nylon trellis netting. The wood will be allowed to dry then burned in our woodstove this winter.

The 4x4 raised beds will need to be rebuilt next year along with new trellis structures. I used pine for the current beds and it only lasted three years. I may invest in cedar instead of pine this time. Especially for the north side of the bed where the trellis structure is screwed in. When I first built the beds, I wasn't sure if raised gardening would work for me. I have found that I like some of the features of growing crops in a raised bed so these will remain in the garden spot.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Harvest Monday: September 17, 2012

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

I am amazed at how quickly the seasons have changed this year from summer to fall. We held on to warm temperatures into early September as remnants of a hurricane and a tropical storm brought some humid weather and rain. Since then the temperatures have been lowering rapidly and are much more fall-like.

The nights are getting colder and some parts of Maine are beginning to experience frost. I harvested most of the larger peppers this week:

Quadrato Rosso D'Asti Sweet Peppers

Marconi Rosso Sweet Peppers

Chile de árbol

Anaheim Peppers

Some of the larger bell peppers were reserved to make stuffed peppers this week and some went into another batch of canned Zesty salsa. However, most were sliced into strips and frozen. The strips are easy to use for fajitas and can be chopped down further for other recipes.

Still producing are pole beans, New Zealand spinach, peppers, herbs, leeks, bunching onions, and a few tomatoes still ripening on the vines. Many tomatoes are still ripening on the kitchen counter and a sink full is ready to be processed today into a batch of salsa. Some bush beans that escaped deer damage have produced some dried pods for next year's seed.

The garden has been neglected lately and it shows. Between hot temperatures, preserving the harvest, and graphic design projects there hasn't been time. The majority of the garden is begging to be cleaned up and the grass paths between the beds are in need of trimming. Hopefully I will be able to do some much-needed cleanup this week.

I still need to decide where to plant the garlic and the potatoes are in need of digging. The grapes are in need of harvesting. Although yield will be lower than last year, there should still be enough for some grape jelly.

I did start some fall crops in a 4x4 raised bed. Growing under protection is some kale, kolabri, spinach, carrots, and pak choi. I sprinkled some lettuce seed in this bed, but none germinated. I don't look under the floating row cover much, but the last time I did most of these crops are growing but are showing slug damage. I will take a look again this week.

Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fox

We've been sharing the grapes, raspberries, and apples with fox this year.  I spotted this one out the kitchen window either taking a nap in the long grass under the grapevines or stalking prey.




I was lucky to get a few pictures. Almost as soon as I zoomed and focused my camera, she calmly and silently got up and slipped into the woods.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Harvest Monday: September 10, 2012

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

Cooler nights, reduced sunlight, disease, insects, deer damage, and diminishing nutrients, are all taking its toll in the garden spot. Most of the plants are slowing down and are looking very tattered and tired.

Peppers are still going strong thanks to some really warm weather. Last time I showed peppers for Harvest Monday I mentioned that it is very rare for my peppers to ripen. Within only a few days of posting this I was thrilled to see some color:



Powdery mildew and squash bugs killed the squash, cucumbers, and melons early. I have never had much of a problem with squash bugs until this year. I rescued the last of the Sweet Dumpling squash, and Delicata:



Deer walk through the garden often now munching on random foliage along the way. They ate my bush beans early in the season and continue to feed on the foliage of the pole beans every now and then. Luckily the tops of the pole beans continue to produce and provided me with enough beans for fresh eating and I have canned several cases of pint jars to enjoy over the winter:



Early blight affected the Roma tomatoes near the beginning of the season reducing overall yield. Luckily the first wave of tomatoes that formed was numerous and most of these ripened before the plants completely succumbed. Early blight eventually affected the other tomatoes in the garden as it does every year but there are some fruit hanging in there and ripening every day. The kitchen counter is still piled high with ripening tomatoes. I have several more weeks of tomato processing ahead of me but I know the end is near:




We picked the first small batch of Concord Grapes this week. These were washed and frozen for now but will be used for either jelly or wine.


The last of the corn was harvested. There are a few small ears left on the stalks but they don't seem to be growing. We enjoyed about a dozen freshly harvested ears of corn this year and froze some for later:



Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.