Friday, June 5, 2009

Strawberries are Right Around the Corner...

This 4x8 bed was quickly overrun by daughter plants who spilled out in all directions starting a couple of years ago. I completely cut back all the crowns inside the bed in the fall and removed all the old mothers. Cutting them back only makes them stronger - total hydra style thing. EEEEEEE!
A typical view from a bit closer up.
And another view, closer still. U-pick farms are opening this weekend or next and I'm guessing my first berries should be ready in a week or two, depending on if the weather gets warmer again. It's been cool having thunderstorms and lightning for the last few days though and I can only imagine what we're saving in water since it's been raining quite a bit.
We clearly missed this plant (and some on the others) when we were picking off the blossoms so the plant could concentrate on getting established and not on fruiting this year. Now that they're so big and yummy looking we've decided that producing a few berries is unlikely to do them harm, even this first year. :)

Aren't the lupines amazing? I think they're my favorite flowers and the foliage is pretty up in that front bed all year round.

The irises are in bloom and we've never had so many. (You can see them better in the bottom right of the next picture.) Isn't this weird? Ever bud gets absolutely covered with ants - they must eat the nectar?! It serves as a bit of a detractor in a beauty sense but from a freaky nature perspective it's totally cool.

So, it's been a while since the last sprout pictures, so here goes! It's rather exciting. I believe we've had some of everything we planted come up. This weekend, the corn is finally actually high enough for me to plant the climbers around it - 2 hills of Violet Podded Stringless Beans, 2 hills of Kentucky Wonder Beans, 1 hill of Bingo Beans, and 3 hills of Alderman Shelling Peas.
Golden Bantam sweet corn
The full planting list is...

For the bed to the east of the driveway (where kiwis/dwarf apple/pears will go next year) a scattering of seeds for a guild consisting of - Easter Egg Blend radishes, Long Island Mammoth Dill, Cobham Improved Marrow parsnips, Triangle Flashback calendula, Wild Garden Lettuce Mix, Perfection fennel, and Derby Day and Danish Ballhead cabbage.

Between the corn hills - 2 mounds of Wautoma cucumbers and one mound each of Small Sugar pumpkins, Casper eggplant (bought a start), Banana Pink Jumbo winter squash, California Blackeye beans, and acorn squash (from a start).
Blackeyed Peas
Banana Pink Jumbo Squash

Bed 1 - 1 Beefeater tomato, 5 Roma tomato, 1 Cherry tomato, and 1 green bell pepper (all starts)

Bed 2 - Easter Egg radishes, Little Marvel Bush peas, and a Giant Red Celery (from a start)
Peas, Radishes, Celery (in the upper right)

Bed 3 - 2 cauliflower and 1 yellow squash (starts), Cobham Improved Marrow parsnips, and Golden Ball turnips
Parsnips and Turnips (I need to thin)

Bed 4 - 2 broccoli and 1 zucchini (starts), Early Wonder Tall Top beets, Talon Hybrid onions, and Marian rutabagas

Bed 5 - Nantaise carrots, Talon Hybrid onions, Ballhead and Derby Day cabbage, Misono Green edamame


Bed 6 - Sweet Basil (my transplanted starts from seed are looking not so hot, I'll probably buy a couple of 6-packs of starts)

Bed 7 (the old one that will be moved forward after the growing season) - Bloomsdale Savoy spinach, green leaf lettuce, and Little Wonder Bush peas
These were all planted around March 21. I'm quite frustrated. My spinach got just a few inches tall and then bolted! I suspect not enough watering or it could have just been that hot spell we had I suppose. The peas have lots of blossoms now though so I'm optimistic about my first wave of them.

In harvest news, I gathered another 1 lb. 3 oz. of rhubarb (after trimming) today, bringing harvest so far in '09 up to 2:12

We agreed to go in with a friend to buy a cow's worth of beef. A family in the school raises grass-fed all natural cows. Q and I are getting a quarter, which equals about 140 lb. and figured it will run around $3/lb., a pretty good deal when you consider the supermarket cost for even conventional ground. It will even be all neatly packaged in separate packages of 2 steaks or 1 lb. ground beef or 1 roast bundles. After some quick math, we deduced that, as we want to also keep other foods in our freezer, we needed an upgrade from our "starter" 6.6 cubic foot chest. We went out and bought this one today. Now we'll be set for life and oh, the berries/peaches/corn/marinara/beans/peppers/etc. I can freeze! Pictures of bovine bounty and freezer fun next week.

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