Thursday, July 2, 2009

Early July

It's been awhile since I've posted here so I thought I'd provide an update.

Plants:
  • We're still harvesting the greens - kale, collards, swiss chard, and lettuce - on a regular basis.
  • Last Wed. I handed out some onion blooms. Some people took them and some didn't so we had leftovers. Wow! I sauteed them in a few table spoons of oil and sprinkled a bit of salt on them and they tasted like onion rings. We just ate them as a snack but I know you can use them as you would an onion. We rarely have these so if you see them on the table again, I recommend trying them. They're seed pods that grow on the tip of the onion and need to be removed as the onions grow. All plants don't make them.
  • The mustard is still growing as well although it's starting to go to seed. If you'd still like some mustard, I'm happy to pick a bunch. It's still really good for pesto and you can stock your freezer with a few batches until the next batch in the fall is harvested. The blooms are really strong and add a lot of zip to your pesto.
  • The peas have been in for a few weeks now! The snap peas and shelling peas are excellent and are still growing well due to the cold weather. There aren't as many blooms on the plants as in weeks past so they may be slowing but the taste is outstanding! We pick these 1 - 2 times per day and save them in the fridge until distribution day. Enjoy!
  • The rutabaga, turnips and beets are small but we're picking them if they reach any usable size. As soon as the temps turn upward, they'll probably be bitter. So, we hope you're enjoying them as well.
  • We just started picking a few carrots. Woo hoo! They're also small but will keep growing. If you use them soon after you receive them (1 or 2 days) you may find that all you need to do to "skin" them is wash with a green scrubbie to rub off the outer layer. If I use them the same day as I pick them, this is all I do. But, if they're in the fridge for awhile, the skins get a little tougher. Also, I'm sending them with the greens on. You may want to cut off the greens the day you receive them so that they don't pull moisture out of your carrot.
  • The broccoli is starting to head up. I cut one head on Wed. and have 3 or 4 to cut for tomorrow. So, I think I'm going to hand these out on the honor system - take a head if there is one. If you get one this week, don't take one next week, unless I have a ton that matures. There are about 30 plants of broccoli out there but they're not all maturing at once and I don't want to cut the heads prematurely. After we get the main harvest, we'll continue to get shoots of broccoli which are good but aren't the head form that you usually buy. Again, this is our summer crop and we'll have another crop in the fall.
  • The kohl rabi is almost done (I have 4 more plants to pick) but we'll have more in September.
  • The tomatoes, beans, zucchini, peppers, cukes and melons are all coming along. There are blooms on some of the plants and some small tomatoes and peppers. With a little heat, these plants should move along and we should have new veggies in the box soon.
  • Let me know if you still are enjoying the lettuce. Some of the plants are nearing the end as well.
  • I said I wasn't going to plant corn this year but we planted a little anyway. It's only about 3" tall so let's keep our fingers crossed for a few ears of corn in September.
Bugs:
  • There are some cabbage worms on the collards. I haven't noticed them on the kale yet but I'm sure there are some. Occasionally there will be bugs on other plants. I've had some people wonder whether you need to wash your veggies before you put them in the fridge. I don't and haven't had a problem with them going crazy and crawling all over. I think they probably go close to dormant in there because it's so cold. I just wash them before we make dinner.
  • I stated that there were aphids on the dill but I think these were lacewing eggs. The lacewing is a beneficial insect.
  • We've seen quite a few lady bug larvae along with adult lady beetles. We're also now noticing the brachanoid wasp which is very exciting! I think we actually had some parasitized potato beetle larvae but I wasn't sure so we still put the buggers in soapy water when we found them. They say if you find a parasitized worm (horn worm or cabbage worm) you should leave them alone so that the wasp eggs will hatch.
  • The Nicotiana plant is working as a trap plant for the potato beetle! Those of you who planted the little seeds by the potatoes will be happy to see this.
  • The row covers are still in place and I hope they'll keep the cucumber beetles away. Again, these beetles transmit a bacteria that causes the plants to wilt and die. We're uncovering the plants every few days so that the pollinators can move in and then we're re-covering them a few hours later.
  • I just saw our first praying mantid yesterday. It was in the thyme. Yeah! To encourage these in your garden, don't use pesticides, don't buy non-native species and leave some plants from year to year (don't till everything up). Our herb garden is a good place for them to place their egg sacks.
  • In general, we've been fortunate to see many many more beneficial insects in the garden then pests. Go bugs, Go!
General notes:
  • If you're finding things wilted at all, you can generally rehydrate by placing a moist paper towel in with your greens.
  • Generally I refridgerate the veggies after I pick although I'm finding that this can dehydrate things a little faster than if I just cover them with a damp sheet. So, I'll continue to experiment with the best way to keep it looking as if it were just picked (which it probably was). Please let us know if you have any comments.
  • We've been using the tops of the turnips, rutabaga and beets as our vegetables in chicken stock. It's pretty tasty.
  • Apparently you can eat the carrot tops. I haven't tried this but plan to throw them in the next time I make stock. Let me know if you've eaten them before and how you used them.
  • We're keeping close to even with the weeds. Cyntha, Mike and Carla came out last week to help with weeding and planting of pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. Kathy came out Wed. and helped me prepare the distribution. Thank you all for your help! We also bought more mulch so we're getting ready to weed a bit more and spread the mulch.
  • If you have any questions about the veggies, you can always refer to the veggie list which is posted on our website. Sometimes there's some good info. there that I copied off of the seed pack.
  • I'm still trying to figure out how to blog about recipes. I haven't figured out how to get the posting to list alphabetically instead of chronologically. If anyone know about this, please help.
  • If anyone has access to moldy hay, please let me know. I'm not looking for manure as I find that sometimes if we bring manure here from another farm it contains stuff that I don't want. But, moldy hay or hay that's been sitting around too long is good for mulch.
We hope you have a safe and fun 4th of July!