Harvest Monday [ 04-24-2017 ]

The asparagus continues.

 

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to harvest as much asparagus as I could have considering that we’ve had several hard frosts in between warm weather, so I’ve lost a decent amount of spears.

Nonetheless, this is my first year harvesting asparagus and I am delighted with it.

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Despite the fluctuating weather, the rest of the garden is doing well.

This year, I’ve decided to experiment with using tomato cages for the snap peas. We’ll see how that goes.

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Here is the broccoli.

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And the potato leaves are starting to emerge.

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Here is my little helper enjoying himself in one of my carrot beds. I haven’t been at all concerned about him wreaking havoc in my garden because I love that he enjoys digging in the dirt. Of course, I would prefer he play in his sandbox rather than my garden beds, but I would also prefer he play in my garden beds rather than watch tv and play video games all day. So I absolutely want to encourage him to play outside and cultivate his love of dirt.

Anyway, for the rest of my spring garden that is not photographed, I have one bed dedicated to beets, and one bed with chard and spinach. I’m about to begin harvesting rhubarb (seen in the background of the above video).

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

Harvest Monday (March 20, 2017) and Official Spring Garden Update

Spring came to us early this weekend, with glorious temperatures and sunshine. I was fortunate to spend time in the garden AND harvested my first batch of asparagus, both for the year and in my lifetime! This weighed in at 181 grams and I sauteed the spears in butter, with pepper and the juice from half a lemon. DELICIOUS!

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I also wanted to provide an update on the garden.

But first, a follow-up about the weather. Previously, I described how we received record-breaking snow this year. So did the mountains all over Idaho and it’s starting to melt. What happens with record-breaking snowfall… record-breaking snowmelt. Currently, the Boise River is (literally) overflowing with water, as evidenced in the below photo where the walking path, which is normally about 20 feet away from the river (and 5 feet higher), is completely flooded.

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Anyway, we have continued to receive higher than average snow and rain this past month. About a week ago, I rode my bike to work with the trailer hitched on, thinking it was nice enough that I could pick up Milo from daycare on the bike. Instead, I had to dash home after work to get the car because a snowstorm hit and it was FREEZING.

However, it looks like spring is finally on its way in! The snow is melted, temps are rising, forsythias are blooming…

The asparagus is coming in strong!

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The rhubarb is coming up nicely.

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And the peas I sowed in early February are finally emerging. No photo, but I also noticed that the carrots and beets are also coming up (also direct sowed in early February).

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In between the storms, Milo has been helping me in the garden and I love it. He has a mini set of garden tools and last weekend we were clearing off the last of my beds together. I pointed out worms when I found them and he was fascinated. If you look closely, there is a worm he is observing.

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After we cleared off the beds, he helped me plant the broccoli I started whenever ago (end of January?). He loves moving dirt around, so he was thrilled to help with this. Although, he also loves continuing to move the dirt around, so there’s that. But, a week later, the broccoli has settled in nicely. This is Acadia and Atlantic broccoli.

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Not garden related, but I had decided to get Milo a sandbox so that he could move dirt around to his heart’s content and not disrupt my veggie beds. And just this past Thursday on our neighborhood’s NextDoor social network, a family in my neighborhood  was giving away (for free) their well loved sandbox and two new bags of play sand. The timing was amazing because on my list for the very next day was to obtain a sandbox and play sand. Score!

Also, in that garden bed with the volunteer tulip, I planted potatoes – – this year I’m growing Epicure and Red Gold. Normally, I plant potatoes directly in the ground, but I always have a hard time finding all of the potatoes in our rocky riverbed soil (it’s so weird how Idaho is an agricultural state but we have terrible soil).

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Anyway, this past Friday, I took the day off work so I could get some work done in the garden. The weather was GLORIOUS and I had a blast! Of course, the list of things I wanted to accomplish stretched across two pages of legal sized paper and I was barely able to make a dent on the first page.

The main thing I wanted to accomplish was to build new strawberry beds. Last year, I pulled up all of my strawberries because they were no longer performing and their runners never produced a single blossom, so decided to start from fresh stock. I also decided to change the location of my strawberries and to significantly expand them.

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I was able to complete two new strawberry beds (I’m hoping to have one more). This one above is home to ten Fort Laramie strawberries and below is home to ten Tristar strawberries. I was able to use boards we’ve had laying around for years, from an old mini-pergola that someone gave us. So it was nice to use up material that’s been taking up space.

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That’s it for this garden update. I expect to harvest more asparagus this week and accomplish a few more things on my list.

I’m linking my post today to Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

How My Garden Grows, 2017

It’s been a few years since I had much of a garden. Two years ago I was heavily pregnant during prime gardening season and last year I was a sleep deprived new mama, which are not ideal states for cultivating the soil successfully.

This year, I finally feel ready to once again dig deep into the soil, renew my spirit with compost and summer rain, and fill my lungs with the earthy smell of… earth.

This year, I have a helper. Someone who is stubborn as he is cute, resilient as he is finicky, and determined as he is wobbly. Together, we will experience trowel and error, peas and kindness, and lettuce be thankful for his patience with me. Here is my helper, enjoying his morning cereal.

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Before I describe the exciting happenings in the February garden, I first must summarize what befell the garden in the past few months.

Snow.

Lots and lots of snow.

So much snow, that our neighbors constructed an igloo.

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This is what my garden looked like after most of the snow had melted. When the snow was at its height, it almost covered the tops of the hoops over the beds.

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Sadly, after all the snow melted, the garden looked a bit worse for wear…

For fear of flooding, we had to dig drainage paths in our ornamental areas.

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Many of the ornamentals had been smooshed by the weight of the snow.

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Even stupid things like our solar garden lights were broken. It was truly so.much.snow.

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Below is what this ornamental area looked like a few months ago. There has been a lot of damage.

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Fortunately, even though there is still a lot of work to do, the garden, the yard, and the house are in their best state since before we moved in.

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So, what about the veggie garden?

I had every intention to do a comprehensive cleanup last fall. But I got busy and then the snow hit and I continued to be busy. Excuses, excuses.

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Last week, I took a day off work to spend time in the garden. I was able to clean up six of my eight raised beds. I also direct sowed seeds for sugar snap peas, carrots, beets, chard, and spinach.

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While I was puttering along, I discovered several carrots that had overwintered. Perhaps past their ideal plucking stage, I nonetheless considered them my first harvest of the year and tossed them into a DELICIOUS beef stew that my family enjoyed.

This is 1.3 pounds of carrots, BTW.

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Another point of interest is that, while I was cleaning up the beets that I should have pulled, I found a number of beets that seemed to be growing strong. Granted, most of them had gone mushy or were otherwise ready for the compost pile, but some of them seemed like they might yield a nice beet in the near future.

 

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I also indoor sowed broccoli. This year, I’m growing Atlantic and Arcadia. A week later, I’m excited to see Arcadia seedlings poking their heads up!

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I am intending to be realistic this year about how much garden I can handle. Gone are the days when I planted 40 tomato plants. And I’m not bothering with crops that don’t do well in my garden. I’ve spent years trying to be successful with cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. They just take up a lot of space. I’m also ditching kale in favor of chard. It’s time to face reality; I love chard. I don’t love kale.

The last thing I’d like to write about is a list of the projects I’m hoping to accomplish this year, in addition to managing the existing spaces.

  • Install irrigation system for the edible zones.
  • Mulch the blackberry space.
  • Install a raspberry space.
  • Plant LOTS of strawberries.
  • New shade structure.
  • Install tall ornamentals in the front.
  • Install more flower beds in the back:
  • Install a trellis system for grapes.
  • Clean up & prep future chicken run.