Sunday, April 11, 2010
At the end of each season of vegetable gardening I like to put what I learned. My lessons this year tie in to my goal of being able to eat from my garden all year round.
For my birthday a month or so ago my husband bought me a freezer. This may sound strange to some, but I was so excited. I immediately envisioned freezing peppers, tomatoes, green beans and okra. I didn't think of spinach, carrots and onions. I didn't consider the winter garden as a source that I would draw from all year until now. I had to clean out the carrot bed to plant the peppers, and the onions to plant the green beans. Well, it was more than we could eat so I looked into how to freeze them. Onions are extremely easy, just chop and freeze. (I use my new Foodsaver, which I highly recommend). Carrots were a bit more work since you have to add blanching to the process. It still only took my an hour or so to do 4 batches. I plan on doing the spinach this week, so I don't know the details yet.
This leads back to what I learned ... I use carrots, onions, and spinach all year round and as plants go, they really don't take up too much room. Cauliflower and broccoli, on the other hand, take up huge amounts of space and aren't really a family favorite. Next winter I'll be changing my mentality to year round eating rather than trying to plant some of everything. I plan on having 2-3 beds of carrots 1-2 beds of spinach and other greens. Kohlrabi and radishes are also small, and would be great to freeze and add to all sorts of summer dishes. We love cabbage and brussel sprouts, so they'll make the cut, but in limited quantities.
I did a poor job of preserving my winter herbs as well. The cilantro has already bolted and been pulled. The parsley is just about finished. Next winter I really should pick and dry enough to use throughout the summer months.
Types of veggies I liked and didn't
- Purple Haze - Yum! My ultimate favorite and so pretty
- Carnival - Don't like the white ones, not great flavor, won't do again
- Golden - They don't stain and taste just like the red, need I say more? I will only be planting golden beets.
- Multicolored - Purple and Green are really pretty for Crudite, but not so great for mashing. They do taste just as good as the white.
- I've only had luck w/ leaf lettuce.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The pillbugs in my garden are completely out of control. There have to be millions of them. I tried the beer trick, but there are just way too many of them. I accidentally tried duct tape, which captured a few hundred, but didn't put a dent in the population. I questioned whether it was the straw mulch, but determined that wasn't the issue. I tried leaving the soil exposed for a few weeks to see if they would leave on their own, nope.
The issue with the pillbugs is that they chowdown on young seedlings as well as eating bean seedlings before they can even come up from the ground. I finally went to the Natural Gardener, since my home remedies have failed miserably. They recommended Sluggo. I'm giving it a try and will post on my results.
The citrus trees are varying in stages from a handful of shoots (due to barely escaping the winter), to ripening fruit, to sweet smelling buds.
I was about to give up on the fruit, but it does seem to be softening, so I'll give it more time, especially since the tree is producing buds even with the existing fruit.
I decided this winter that all citrus in the yard would have to survive the winter or they would be replaced. Even though the mexican lime is in a pot I decided not to cover it or bring it inside. I fully expected this tree to bite the dust, but instead it is doing better than any of the others.
I am very confused, but happy!
The meyer lemon and pineapple orange have a few new branches. The kumquat has new leaves, but no buds yet.