Lunchtime Harvest

Today’s lunchtime harvest: spinach, lettuces, arugula, basil, green beans (& purple ones), & a snake skin. There’s more left in the garden, but this is what I picked. The green beans will go in my freezer tonight, starting my second freezer bag full of green beans from this season. I’m stocking up for later months. I found the little snake skin on the ground near some beans and spinach. It looks to be from a grass snake. So, no worries. Maybe he’ll keep some of the critters away from my plants. My kids will enjoy seeing the snake skin. They’ll think it is really cool.

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Random Earth Day Stuff

Today is Earth Day. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. I am very thankful He did that.

Just picked my salad from the garden.

Big list of Earth Day Instructables here. http://tinyurl.com/dc9wnx

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
~Greek proverb

Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God .
~Thomas Jefferson

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
~Marcus Tullius Cicero

Beans are coming!

Farming with Nature – Permaculture with Sepp Holzer

What can I eat from my garden today? What’s coming soon?

My garden started last Fall. I have some plants that still are doing well, in spite of the two freezes they went through. Now that it is Spring, I am replanting. There are many more plants in the ground now (or seeds at least). They won’t be up for a little while longer. Eventually, I hope to have a much larger selection always available to my kitchen, either in my garden ready to be picked or preserved from earlier harvests. However, here is what I have in my personal ‘produce store’ today. Everything but one or two items in all of the below three lists are organic, mostly heirloom too.

Red Russian Kale, Lacinto Kale, Even’ Star Champion Collards, Cardinale Lettuce, Deer Tongue Lettuce, Forellenschluss Lettuce, Red Velvet Lettuce, Grandpa Admire’s Butterhead Lettuce, Reine de Glaces Lettuce, Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage, Red Giant Mustard, & Moss Curled Parsley. (and five different green bean varieties in bags in the freezer, from last Fall’s harvest)

Planted but not ready to harvest yet, I have…Pac Choi, Carnival Blend Carrots, Danvers Carrots, Purple Pod Pole Beans, Hidatsa Shield Figure Beans, Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans, Provider Beans, Good Mother Stallard Beans, Arugula, Cherry Belle Radishes, Mizuna Mustard, Valencia Tomatoes, Brandywine Tomatoes, Ailsa Craig Onions, Bloomsdale Spinach, Detroit Dark Red Beets, Greek Yevani Basil, Granma Einck’s Dill, Common English Thyme, Cinnamon Basil, Common Oregano, Marjoram, Jolly Jester Marigolds (not to eat), English Lavender, Bouquet Dill, Common Chives, Sweet Marjoram, Garden Broadleaf Sage, Prairie Coneflower Echinacea, & Elves Blend Sunflowers.

Still to be planted…Rhubarb Swiss Chard, Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard, Red Burgandy Okra, Purple Top White Globe Turnip, Black Beauty Zucchini Summer Squash, Marketmore Cucumber, California Wonder Sweet Pepper, Sugar Snap Peas, Ace Bush Tomato, Calypso Beans, Listada de Gandia Eggplant, British Wonder Pea, Anna Swartz Hubbard Squash, Napolean Sweet Pepper, Sunberries, Sultan’s Green Crescent Bean, Galeux d’Eysines Squash, Ireland Creek Annie Beans, Bushy Cucumber, Aurora Pepper, Golden Midget Watermelon, Snow Fancy Pickling Cucumber, Black Mountain Watermelon, Ashworth Yellow Sweet Corn, Eden’s Gem Melons, Petit Gris Melons, Double Yield Cucumber.

I am behind on my planting, as usual. However, here in my part of Texas, we have very long growing seasons. So, as long as I protect my crops from the Summer heat down the road. I should be fine; though I may be a little sore before it’s all done.

The Big Garden is Mud and Weeds

Work to do.

Since I neglected the large garden plot over the winter, I have a nice groundcover of weeds. There is much work to be done this week, so we can start planting. I am blessed to have some helpers. Here are two of my three kids, helping out by pulling weeds. I planted in the smaller backyard garden to get some things in the ground right away. I need to stay on my planting schedule. I have at least fifty different varieties to plant this season.

Planted Today

Here’s what my wife and I planted today, in our small square foot garden in the back yard.

Ailsa Craig Onion, Bloomsdale Spinach, Carnival Blend Carrots, Parsley, Detroit Dark Red Beets, Greek Mini Yevani Basil, Common Oregano, Jolly Jester Marigolds, Grandma Einck’s Dill, Marjoram, Bouquet Dill, Sweet Marjoram (distinct from other variety), Common English Thyme, Common Chives, Cinnamon Basil, English Lavender, & Garden Broadleaf Sage.

New Seeds Spring 2010 & Garden Prep

I received both of my seed orders last week. With the exception of my potatoes order, I have everything in now. I’m in planting mode now.

Here’s what I bought to add to my leftovers from last year.

From SeedSaver’s Exchange…

  • Cinnamon Basil OG
  • Calypso Beans OG
  • Listada de Gandia Eggplant OG
  • British Wonder Pea OG
  • Anna Swartz Hubbard Squash OG
  • Ailsa Craig Onion
  • Grandma Einck’s Dill OG
  • Napoleon Sweet Pepper OG
  • Sunberry OG
  • Sultan’s Green Crescent Bean OG
  • Purple Pod Pole Bean OG
  • Sweet Marjoram OG
  • Galeux d’ Eysines Squash OG
  • Ireland Creek Annie Bean OG
  • Bushy Cucumber OG
  • Aurora Pepper OG
  • Golden Midget Watermelon OG
  • Arugula (aka Roquette) OG
  • Snow Fancy Pickling Cucumber OG
  • Black Mountain Watermelong OG
  • Hidatsa Shield Figure Bean OG
  • Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean OG

From FreedomSeeds…

  • Ashworth Yellow Sweet Corn OG
  • Provider Beans OG
  • Valencia Tomato OG
  • Brandywine Tomato OG
  • California Wonder Pepper OG
  • Eden’s Gem Melon OG
  • Petit Gris Melon OG
  • Prize Choy, Pac Choi OG
  • Double Yield Cucumber OG

I bought a nice little Moleskin-like notebook in which I am tracking, among other things, my seeds and planting schedule. I’m using the Texas A&M Extension recommended planting dates for our area of Texas. We are in an 8A zone. Today is February 28th. That means I need to get the following in the ground within the next day or two. Beets, Spinach, Carrots, Parsley, & Onions. I’ll also start putting my herbs and flowers in the ground this week. They include marjoram, sage, lavender, basil, oregano, dill, chives, thyme, marigolds, echinacea, & sunflowers. This year I again am planting in two different gardens. There is the small one in our backyard, 32 square feet, and the large one at the family acres, ~2900 square feet. I’ll be putting mostly herbs and flowers in at home. The bulk of the veggies and beans will be planting in the larger garden.

We just weeded the small garden. My wife and sons helped. The soil still is loose and rich. No problems there, with one exception. There are some ants living on the corner of each of the 4×4 square foot garden frames. As I growing everything organically, I’m limited in how I can deal with them. My first effort will be boiling water. That does fairly well, but doesn’t always keep them away. I may remove the corner soil, with the ants in it and replace it. Fortunately, they are not fire ants, so I am only a little concerned at this point. Still, I’d rather they be gone.

Taking Inventory from Fall 2009’s Garden

Here’s what I have left over from Fall 2009. (OG=organic), with some comments below.

From FreedomSeeds.org

  • 0 seeds, De Cicco Broccoli OG
  • 0, Cardinale Lettuce OG
  • 0, Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage
  • 0, Reine de Glaces Iceberg Lettuce OG
  • 0, Ashworth Yellow Sweet Corn OG
  • 225, Detroit Dark Red Beets OG
  • ~50, Deer Tongue Lettuce OG
  • ~75, Grandma Admire’s Butterhead Lettuce OG
  • ~100, Red Giant Mustard OG
  • ~60, Red Velvet Leaf Lettuce OG
  • ~100, Forellenschluss Lettuce OG
  • ~220, Bloomsdale Spinach OGF

From SeedSaver’s Exchange

  • 0, Red Russian Kale OG
  • 0, Blue Solaize Leek
  • 0, Lacinto Kale OG
  • 0, Ailsa Craig Onion
  • 0, Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans OG
  • 0, Calypso Beans OG
  • 0, Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts
  • 0, Early Snowball Cauliflower
  • 0, Agate Soybean OG
  • 26, Good Mother Stallard Beans OG
  • 26, Purple Pod Pole Beans OG
  • 37, Rhubarb Swiss Chard OG
  • 64, Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard OG
  • 81, Red Burgandy Okra
  • ~60, Jolly Jester Marigold
  • 250, English Lavender
  • 250, Common Chives OG
  • 250, Purple Top White Globe Turnip

From GreenMama’s Organic Garden Center

  • 0, Blue Lake Pole Bean OG
  • 0, Early Prolific Straightneck Summer Squash OG
  • 0, Contender Bush Bean OG
  • 16, Black Beauty Zucchini Summer Squash OG
  • 18, Marketmore Cucumber OG
  • ~80, Canival Blend Carrot OG
  • 34, Elves Blend Sunflower OG
  • 38, California Wonder Sweet Pepper OG
  • 17, Sugar Snap Peas OG
  • ~200, Cherry Belle Radish OG
  • ~200, Bouquet Dill OG
  • 4, Prairie Coneflower Echinacea OG
  • 32, Ace Bush Tomato OG
  • ~50, Common Oregano OG
  • ~200, Moss Curled Parsley OG
  • all (unopened packet), Moss Curled Parsley OG
  • all, Greek Yeveni Mini Basil OG
  • all, Marjoram OG
  • all, Mizuna Mustard, Siu Cai, Xiu Cai OG
  • all, Common English Thyme OG
  • all, Broadleaf Garden Sage OG

My biggest successes certainly were the beans and the lettuces. The kale and swiss chard came in well too, but they were not as well received by my family. I think the general consensus was that the flavors were too strong. I agree the flavors were strong, but I still like both vegetables. I’d choose swiss chard over kale, though. The beans were prolific enough to give us a fair supply in our freezer, from which we are still occasionally drawing. I mixed all of the varieties together, rather than store them separately. I enjoy the blend of flavors, colors, and shapes. In spite of two snows now, the lettuces I planted still are producing. I now know that I can grow produce year-round here. Wonderful.

Some of my failures for last Fall’s crop were: corn-it didn’t really come up to speak of, carrots-I really like carrots, but I managed to grow only a sparse crop of poor tasting ones, broccoli-another one I was looking forward to, but for lack of attention or poor pollination, it didn’t come in well enough.

The others were a mixed bag. I picked some squash, though only a few. We enjoyed them baked with brown sugar, my favorite way to have squash. I had a varment devour a few of my plants. I didn’t get around to planting a few. Many were not taken care of sufficiently.

However, I went into my Fall planting in a bit of a rush. I got to it late in the season. The soil was only prepped by tilling. I hadn’t done any soil amendments. I have yet to fence in the area. Regular watering last season consisted of relying on the rain. Much of the above is due to the fact that I, for the time being, am doing most of my gardening away from home, as it were. My large plot is on my parents’ land. Here at our house we garden around 20 square feet. So, considering the rough start. I was pleased with the outcome. I expected no more that first season.

Next…on to this Spring. My new seeds have arrived. The snow, hopefully, has done its worst ’til next year.

Fresh Homemade Butter from Raw Jersey Cow Milk

Yummy. Just made it ten minutes ago. Goes well with sourdough bread.

Thanks to Krampf and his how-to make butter video.

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