Tag Archives: lettuce

August Harvest

Cleaning Up the Small Garden

Both the big garden in the back of the yard, and this small garden are all out of sorts. I have taken on a couple of extra consulting jobs to save a little extra money before school starts, and the garden got the short end of the stick.

This morning I started working on catching up. Here’s the small garden as of this morning. The grass in the front-right is where Sophie threw a handfull of grass seed into the carrot plot.  The bare spot front-left is where the onions were supposed to be growing.

Small garden before
Small garden before

We have been eating carrots for the last two weeks and they don’t seem to be growing any more, so I decided to pick them all, clean out the weeds, and plant a new crop of spinach.

Here’s the carrots, we also found a few tiny onions that were struggling to live.

Bowl full of carrots
Bowl full of carrots
Small bowl of small onions
Small bowl of small onions

Our initial crop of spinach went to seed really quickly, probably because of how hot it was earlier in the summer. We only got a couple of small salads out of it. I cut some of the dried seed stalks and put them in the basement near the dehumidifier where it would be relatively cool and relatively dry.

Today when I went to use them they were nice and crispy. It was and simple task to rub them off the stalks into a bowl.

Dried Spinach Seeds
Dried Spinach Seeds

I rubbed them off into a bowl, winnowed them a little bit so that it was mostly seeds, then planted them. I also planted a new crop of lettuce and swiss chard (someone gave me the seeds) along the path to the spigot.

Spinach seeds ready to be winnowed
Spinach seeds ready to be winnowed

The little garden looks pretty respectable again.

Small garden all cleaned up
Small garden all cleaned up

 

Other Harvests

Despite the lack of attention, the garden has been doing pretty well. We have been eating as many beets as our kids can stand — about once a week. Here’s the final harvest. There’s no more in the big garden now.

 

The final beets
The final beets

We have had a couple small bowls of green beans (and purple beans), but today was the first big harvest.

First big bowl of green beans
First big bowl of green beans

We have been picking the cherry tomatoes every 3 or 4 days for the last two weeks and end up with a bowl about this full each time.

Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes

The two big sunflower in our garden were volunteers, and they were doing great at first — they grew to about 8 feet tall. The minute the seeds got ripe enough for birds to eat, the birds attacked them, and now they look like this.

The birds ate all the sunflower seeds
The birds ate all the sunflower seeds

I’ve still got a little bit of extra contract work to finish up next week, so I won’t even pretend that I’ll have lots of garden news. After those two gigs are done, I should have a short reprieve before school starts in September.

Happy gardening!

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Tomatoes and Peppers Finally Planted

The packages say to plant tomatoes and peppers indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date. Fridley’s average last frost date is about May 21st, so I’m late this year. Better late than never though, and I’m happy to say that my tomatoes and peppers are finally planted. They’ll have about 4.5 weeks inside before transplanting this year instead of the 6, but maybe we’ll get a warm fall that will still give them the needed time to mature.

Planting Tomatoes and Peppers

I picked up a bag of dirt from Home Depot. This year it was Scotts Moisture Advantage. I don’t have a favorite, this one was just one of the cheaper ones in the size I wanted.

Potting Soil
Potting Soil

A few years ago I read on a blog about mixing the dirt with water in a bucket and filling the pots with already damp soil. It seemed like a good idea and so I’ve been using it. The soil being damp makes this less of a messy project for the kids (no dusty dirt on the table) and means I don’t have to water 36 little pots full of water.

The trick is to get the dirt wet enough that it stick together, but not so wet that it drips out the bottom of the pot when you fill it up.

Mix up the dirt with water in a bucket, then fill the cups
Mix up the dirt with water in a bucket, then fill the cups

I used to use the black plastic multi-cell planter pots, but they were pretty flimsy, tore easily and my plants always grew out of the small ones. It was much cheaper to just buy a big pack of party cups and drill a hole through the bottom of them.  You can wash and re-use the cups. They’re not black, so it’s easier to write on them with a sharpie, and they’re a good size for 6-week old tomato and pepper plants.

This year we’re doing more beets, peas and basil, and less tomatoes and peppers. We planted 9 Sweet Million tomatoes, 9 Beefsteak tomatoes, 6 Sweet Banana Peppers, 6 Hot Peppers and 6 California Wonder bell peppers.

Tomato and Pepper Seeds
Tomato and Pepper Seeds

What’s Growing?

The carrots are coming up.

Carrot Hairs!
Carrot Hairs!

Lettuce Lane is our name for the path that goes between the garden and the trees, up to the spigot. On either side we’ve got a 6-8 inch strip of dirt where we fill with lettuce. Here it is popping up already.

Lettuce Lane
Lettuce Lane

The Rhubarb and Chives have awoken from their winter slumber. Hopefully this will be the year I get my strawberry rhubarb pie.

Rhubarb and Chives
Rhubarb and Chives

Lastly, the cherry blossoms have started cracking open. I would love to get cherries this year, but I know it’ll take a few years before this tree really kicks it into gear.

Cheery Cherry Blossoms Popping Out
Cheery Cherry Blossoms Popping Out

Happy Gardening!

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Planting 2012, Round One

I did it! I started planting. I put in the peas, onions, carrots, spinach, lettuce, corn and beets. I put them in on Wednesday (the 4th) but I just haven’t had a chance to write it up.

Calvin planting peas
Calvin planting peas

Calvin, my almost 4-year-old was my helper buddy. He was very deliberate with planting, and put the seeds just as far apart as I told him to. With the beets he would just take 2 seeds from the tin at a time. He was excited to be helping because he had taken a nap, and got to stay up later than his older brother.

My happy helper
My happy helper

While we were planting I noticed that our apple trees are budding. I have high hopes for our apple trees this year. This will be their 3rd summer and the general consensus is that they take till their third year to start producing. We had a couple apples their first year, but nothing substantial. Last year the birds ate all the flowers. This year we’re not putting out bird seed in the feeder till the apples have set and have been bagged for protection. With the extra care and a little bit of luck I think we’ll have a decent crop.

Apple buds starting to come out
Apple buds starting to come out

Happy gardening!

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