Rhubarb and Asparagus starting to come up!

Asparagus coming up!

I can’t wait! It’s been 4 years since I planted the asparagus and I hope I get enough to harvest this year. About 5 spears are already poking through the straw they hide under and that is just one of 4 plants.

Rhubarb coming up too!

Last year I read rhubarb is a good companion plant for asparagus so I got 2 that were already in gallon pots and transplanted them. I got lots of rhubarb last year because they were already 2 years old. They are now coming up like gangbusters. I have them covered with row cover on freezing nights but they seem fine with cold nights. Spring is here!

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Winterizing perennial vegetables

Strawberry patch shown here in July need protection now

We should winterized our perennial vegetables and fruits. I have rhubarb, asparagus and strawberries. I already winterized my rhubarb, covering it with some straw and the leaves have died back under it but the roots are protected under the straw. Next I’ve been waiting for the asparagus ferns to turn brown and they just started so now I can cut them back to 3-4 inches high and cover them with straw too. Lastly I have a pretty big strawberry patch (about 8 feet x 40 feet) and was most concerned with it as I almost lost it last year when I did NOTHING to winterize it. So after the -20°F we had last winter, I want to make sure I help it for this winter. I’m going to cover it with about 6-8 inches of straw this year. It’s leaves are still green with the underside of them red. This week I will cover them for the winter. DON’T FORGET TO WATER YOUR PERENNIALS THIS WINTER as well especially if we don’t get any snow.

My Garden Kicks Ass!

I think this is my best garden ever even though I don’t have a lot of produce yet-but it’s all coming! It’s gotten so lush with just a couple of days of rain. I don’t mean to brag but I must-it’s really hard to grow a garden like this in the high desert. I fight the pests and have problems too just like you but diligence and hard work has really help. Hope you enjoy these photos.

This is the same angle from the corner of the garden I’ve photographed  since the beginning of this year.  Wow what a difference 2.5 months makes.

55 tomatoes planted May 15th!

Here is the same corner in  the beginning of the season back on May 15, 2011

Here the view is looking towards the entry from inside. Zucchini, flowers, scarlet runner beans, rattlesnake beans tomatoes, corn, asparagus, sunflowers, rhubarb all stuffed in the entry!

These Emerite pole beans are hiding the teepee now.

Corn, asparagus, flowers, rhubarb and sunflower coming along.

Baby cucumbers- these are Boothsby Blonde variety. They will make great bread and butter pickles.

Caleb, my apprentice, gave me a gourd seed that someone had given him but he didn’t know what type it was, so I call it-Caleb’s mystery gourd. Notice the purslane in the left corner. I’m going to try some this year so I left it in..

Flower bed to the right of the entry-zinnias, cosmos nasturtiums, pole beans and sunflowers. I can only imagine this when they all bloom.

My one lone cosmos flower yet but what a beauty-Magenta cosmos flower

Here is Caleb’s baby mystery gourd-wonder what kind it’ll be. Kind of looks like a pear right now.

The tomatoes have really shot up-about 5 feet tall now. Now the Long Gourd tower in the background doesn’t look as tall.

Best tasting zucchini ever-Costata Romanesco

Pepperoncinis’ with eggplants behind them

The Long Gourd is stretching towards the top of that 10′ trellis tower I built! Never thought I’d see that!

Scarlet Runner bean flower-beautiful!

Here’s  one of Caleb’s bees doing it’s thing with the pumpkin flower.

Finally the Shishito peppers are kicking in.

View from the inside looking out towards the gate. The Rattlesnake pole beans are producing and growing over the arbor now. Way in the background inside the corral is the pumpkin patch.

Finally a baby ‘Greenie’ pumpkin-about 5 inches in circumference right now-small but I’ll take it!

Put my cell phone on top of the giant pumpkin today to give it some perspective. It put on 11.5 lbs yesterday— went from 56.5 lbs to 70 lbs.  Hope the squirrel doesn’t get it. Been hiding all the pumpkins under row cover and burlap to discourage the squirrel.

Today’s small harvest-slow but steady!

Vegetable Garden July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th! Here’s a look at the main garden so far this summer. This year is definitely slower than this time last year due to lack of precipitation but with the monsoons here, it should take off this month and kick butt. To see last year’s garden at this time, go here.

The cukes I’ve had to replant due to something eating the seedlings several times even though I’ve covered it with row cover..

I have 2 Costata Romanesco zucchini plants. The leaves are very delicate compared to other zucchini types. Hope we don’t get hail. I grow it because I  think this is the best tasting zuke ever. I read about this Costata Romanesco in one of Debra Madison’s vegetarian cook books-‘Local Flavors’. She lives in Santa Fe and  has several vegetarian cookbooks out. Great books on what tasty things you can create with your veggies. I’m not a vegetarian but am  always looking for new ways to use my vegggies so I don’t get bored.

We didn’t get ANY strawberries this year because I almost lost them all when we had that -25°F this winter. I have June bearing strawberries so I know the time has past. I had just a few plants this spring that survived but the strawberry patch is coming back nicely. Next year I will cover them with straw before winter to help insulate them.

This variety of pole bean is called ‘Emerite’ from John Scheepers. It is a new variety for me. I also have my favorite, ‘Rattlesnake’ beans and another new bush variety called, Verandon, which is a french fillet style of bean. I made a teepee out of bamboo. Notice the row cover in the background covering some of the cucumbers.

Here is the eggplant patches. They are doing well. The patch in the foreground has ‘Fairy’ eggplants in them, a variety that get 3″ long and are my favorite. Their skin is always tender and they are never bitter. You don’t have to soak them in salt water like some varieties-and they are beautiful-purple fading to white. I like to saute them in olive oil and throw them in a stir fry with noodles.

The patch in the back with me are a new variety of eggplant called ‘Rosa Bianca’ and next to it are 4 ‘Peperonchino’ peppers that are growing well.

This year I planted rhubarb among the asparagus plants. I found them this spring at one of the nurseries and they were the sorriest plants I’ve ever seen at that time. They say they grow well with asparagus. Now they are beautiful! Seem to like their location. On the left is row cover I use to help protect new flower seedlings. I take it off in the day and back on at night. Once they get a little bigger, I take it off completely.

The biggest disappointment of the garden so far. The ‘Shishito’ peppers are still slow but finally don’t look sick any more. Still small and something ate some of them so they are really small but they will come back. Some of them are producing buds. No wonder they are so expensive at the SF Farmers market-they are not so easy to grow..

Overall I am very pleased with the tomatoes this year. They are doing well. Everything is done except for my scheduled organic fungicide spraying every 10 days-especially now that the monsoons appear to be here. I’ve only lost 2 tomato plants and another 3 are suspicious. I will cover those with some row cover in case they have something contagious but if I think they are dying I will pull them pronto. Notice this picture taken from the some angle as on May 15th below-when I first planted them-they have come a long way!

It has proved to be a more challenging year what with the lack of rain for so many months but I feel confident  for all of us with some more rain we will have a good garden this year.

costoluto genevese tomato

Plant peas, spinach, and arugula on St. Patrick’s Day

Today is ST. PATRICK’S DAY- TIME TO PLANT PEAS, SPINACH AND ARUGULA. I always plant them right around now and use the holiday as a reminder. I stayed home today to recoup after putting Butch down. Getting my hands in the soil is always grounding for me. Lots of things to do right now regarding gardening. Here are some of the things I did today.

COLDFRAME-I inspected the rabbit damage to see if the spinach seedlings are salvageable. All but one of them are starting to grow back from the crown which were undamaged. I planted seeds of the following in the coldframe:

SPINACH-Bloomsdale-45 days in the other half of the coldframe.

CHARD-I didn’t know (or remember) that chard is a biennial (meaning two years) but spends it’s second year mostly growing to produce seed which is why they never seem to produce as big of leaves the second year. I will pull them and plant more chard seeds-white variety.

OUTSIDE RAISED BED-Checked the outside raised beds by the house. Last fall I I dug some old horse manure into one of them and it looks great. I planted the following seeds and covered them with row cover to keep the rabbits from them:

PEAS-Dwarf Grey peas and Oregon Sugar Pod II-60 days

SPINACH-Bloomsdale-45 days and a giant variety of spinach (there I go again!) called Monstrueux de Viroflay-50 days

BUTTERHEAD LETTUCE-Yugoslavian Red-40 days

MESCLUN-Provencal mix-40 days

CILANTRO

CUTTING LETTUCE-a new super red variety of  called Sea of Red-40 days

ROMAINE-Paris Island Cos-68 days

ARUGULA-Apollo-30 days

IN THE SECOND RAISED BED- Took out the last of the carrots from fall that overwintered. They should be extra sweet! The garlic I bought at SF Farmers Market last fall is coming up in it. Lightly dug in some Yum-Yum Mix in the remainder of the bed as I’m going to plant more carrots, beets and shallots which are heavy feeders and need some extra fertilizer especially if you are putting them back in the same area. I will plant:

CARROTS- Purple Haze and Danvers

BEETS-Detroit Dark Red-60 days, Bulls Red Beet-50 days and Early Wonder beet-48 days

DUTCH SHALLOTS-picked up some Dutch Red Shallots while I wait for the French shallots to arrive. Should be a good taste test at harvest time.

MAIN GARDEN-I hooked up the hose and watered the strawberries and the asparagus. Underneath the layer of dried leaves in the strawberry bed I see new leaves starting to grow from the crowns. The asparagus is either dead from our very cold winter or they haven’t started growing yet, we will see..