My Edible Garden

I've been gardening for most of my life and have been a devoted fan of organic gardening the whole time. It just makes so much more sense to work in harmony with Mother Nature than to fight her. Besides which it is better for the planet and better for our bodies. Here you can see what I'm planting and harvesting, with gardening hints and resources thrown in for good measure.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Harvest Monday

7 out of 10 varieties of squash
I missed Harvest Monday last week so I will combine things this week. This is a really fun blog hop with participants from around the world. My daughter was visiting from Florida, plus 3 of my grand daughters came to stay and visit with her. Squash production last week was down to just around 20 pounds because the plants had gotten too dry. In fact I've lost about 3 of them. This week we were back up to about 50 pounds with a lot of tiny fruits coming on. The monsoon season has begun and the rain and cooler cloudy days have really revived a lot of plants.

Scarlet Kale

The Scarlet and Lancinato kale have really been producing. I average 5 or more pounds of kale a week. Most weeks I sell all of it, occasionally there will be one bag left over.

Hales cantaloupe
I did finally get some cantaloupe. They were totally ripe, but watery and not very sweet. I blame the rains, they took up too much water.

More Hales
On Sunday I picked more cantaloupe. I ate the smaller two for breakfast and they were much better than the first ones.

a bowl of herbs
I picked a lot of herbs both weeks. The rains are really helping the basil and parsley. Some of the parsley is trying to go to seed but I keep cutting the flower heads out, hoping to keep it going.  

Black Beauty and Black from Tula

Cherry tomatoes were down this week, there were a lot of splits and rots from the rain. Also I think the cooler cloudy days slowed down ripening. I did get some big tomatoes but of course never enough. I'm thinking I need about 100 plants of large tomatoes to satisfy the demand but can't figure out where to plant them all where they would be at least somewhat protected from birds and squirrels and without crowding out some other crops.

Market Moore cucumber
I got a couple of cucumbers. I hope there are a lot next week for the farmers market, people have been asking for them.
new potatoes and herbs

home grown chicken

#eatwhatyougrow  On Sunday I used the last of the new potatoes and some fresh herbs left over from market to go with a roast chicken which I cooked way too long. It was good any way. I used a bunch each of flat parsley, curly parsley, Thai basil and some garlic.

7-13 carrots 1#  0 oz
        squash 3#   2 oz
        Scarlet kale 4#  4oz
cherry tomatoes 5# 6oz
large tomatoes   3#  0oz
squash                19#  8oz
TOTAL FOR WEEK JULY 10-16  36# 4oz

cantaloupe  4# 8oz
cucumber         4oz
Scarlet kale   4# 4oz
lancinato kale 2#8oz
chard               2# 4oz
cherry tomatoes 2# 13oz
squash              6#  13oz
squash             51# 8oz
cherry tomatoes  2# 5oz
carrots               1#
beans                0#    1oz
cucumber                8oz
cantaloupe          9#  9oz


Friday, July 21, 2017

Farmer Friday

Cantaloupes! Finally!
Well I finally got to pick some cantaloupes. They were on the small side and a bit watery. I think because our rains have started. But they were ripe and still good eating.

more kale seedlings potted up
I potted up some more kale and chard seedlings. They are growing fine, but the grasshoppers and Japanese beetles are trying to eat them up. I really need a screened in place to start seedlings in the summer.

hot compost
I turned the compost piles and started a new one. These piles are mostly chicken litter from the pens at moms house. They are basically sawdust with some straw and shavings along with the manure. I add a little manure/alfalfa mix from my friends sheep and goat pens and whatever green waste I don't give to the birds. Because they are very fine textured they will not need sifting before I use them when they cool off.
semi wild garden

I planted more wild flower, pasture mix and a bee and butterfly flower mix in this area. I tossed seeds right over the wood chip mulch then covered with a thin layer of manure. The live oak trees I planted a couple of years ago are finally beginning to really put on some growth.

Can you find the fig tree?

Can you even find the fig tree in here?  I tromped the grass and wild asters down and put a little chicken litter around it. 

There is is
There it is.  This one is a Mission fig I planted last summer. 

building soil with chicken litter
I spread some more chicken litter around the old chicken yard.  To build up the soil here I'm just cleaning the coop to the outside. (The birds in this coop cannot come outside because there is not enough predator protection).  Eventually this space will be full of trees, herbs and shrubs and when the plants grow up I'll let the chickens out sometimes. 
Would love a tractor with a shovel and bucket!
I hauled sand and rocks from the creek to fill in a berm above the new garden where the rain washed it out. Shovel and bucket are slow going. 

assorted squash
More squash this week. 
Black Beauty and Black from Tula tomatoes
A few big tomatoes. 
bush beans
Green beans soon. 
bean flowers
Bean flowers are pretty
more bush beans sprouting
About a week ago I planted 100 sq ft in green and yellow beans. They are already sprouting. 
volunteer acorn squash is taking over
This is a monster volunteer squash. It seems to be an acorn squash. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Monsoon Starts and Summer Planting

rain at Top of the World
Well our monsoon rains seem to have started in earnest. Normally it rains all around my place in early July and my garden doesn't see any appreciable amount until about the 3rd week of the month, but this year it has come a little early. On Monday the 10th I got a good amount, probably about .5 to .75. (remember when the javalina tore up the potato bed? They broke my rain gauge. I just got a new one which I will put up today) On Friday when I was driving back from Superior it rained some at Top of the World.

downpour on the Pinals
It was dry coming into Miami, but I could see the rain on the Pinals.

I stopped at my house to collect eggs and close the gates. Then the rain hit and I was stuck in the chicken coop for a bit. A lot of wind and some hard rain, but I'm not sure how much. Amazingly we are in for 30-80% chance of rain almost every day for the next 10. Of course just because they are predicting it, doesn't mean we will actually get it. I just hope it doesn't come down too hard and fast and run off.

In the mean time temperatures have moderated a bit. With higher humidity things aren't drying out as fast so less watering is needed. Also the rain has kicked things into gear. I predict a good squash pick this week again, as well as a decent amount of greens.

bed prep
So I have added some composted manure to the top of the potato bed. Since the rains started I have planted the whole 100 sq ft to green and yellow bush beans and covered the bed with bird netting. This bed was the last of the compost piles I made last winter and is still pretty coarse with a lot of wood chips still, beans don't normally need the nitrogen in the manure, but the wood chips will take up a lot of it while they are breaking down.

planting seeds
In the creekside garden I planted an empty bed. A row of rainbow carrots sprinkled with radish, a row of turnips, the last row with mustard and dill. I covered the bed with old window screens to keep out the birds and I hope, the grasshoppers. The turnips and mustard were up in about 3 days.

turning compost
I spent some time turning compost. The older pile was still chugging along at about 130 degrees. After turning it dropped below 100 then came back up to about 120. It is almost finished. Probably one more turn and it will cool off enough to use.

Hot compost!
The day after turning the new pile it went almost to 140. These piles are mostly chicken litter from the barn at mom's house which is mostly sawdust with some straw and wood shavings. I also add a little ruminant manure with alfalfa from my friends pile and whatever green waste I don't give to the chickens, like potato plants and horse nettle. Because of the fine texture of the materials it won't need to be sifted before use and will be perfect as a planting medium once it cools down.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Farmer Friday

cleaning up
I cleaned up this bed in the creek side garden this week. I've been holding off planting a lot of stuff, waiting for rain. We got a good rain Monday night so time to get in gear. 

red wigglers
I was really happy to see s lot of earthworms in there. Worms are one of the biggest fertility boosters you have. 
planting seeds

 Later I planted a row of rainbow carrots, a row of turnips and half a row of red and green Mizuna mustard. I couldn't find the rest of my mustard seed so I planted the other half of the row to dill.  I sprinkled some radish seed in with the carrots. 

Scarlet kale
I planted out some Scarlet kale seedlings

And a few more collards. The ones that I planted before that got a little crispy are looking better. 
driveway bed with lime basil
The lime basil by the driveway has really taken off. I cut them all down to dry. 
bush beans under bird net
The green and yellow beans are doing well.  There weren't even a handful of pods to pick today but they are loaded with flowers and tiny beans. 

Scarlet kale
I picked lots of kale. Cherry tomatoes are way down this week. The plants are loaded with green fruit but there were a lot of splits in the ripe ones. 

erosion control
The storm Monday did some damage to the swale above the new garden so I worked in that a little bit. 

assorted summer squashes

The squash harvest was also down this week. But they are putting out new growth and I see a lot of tiny fruits coming on for next week. 

Market More cucumber

FINALLY!!! A little cucumber!

a bowl of herbs
Lots of herb orders this week. Thai and Italian basil, curly parsley, oregano and sage. 
new potatoes with herbs for roasting
I had some new potatoes set aside for us (sold all the rest already) and roasted them with fresh chopped parsley, sage, basil and oregano. So yummy!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Harvest Monday

Pandorino cherry tomatoes
Harvest Monday is a great blog hop to show case what you are harvesting and doing in your garden each week. Host by Dave over at Our Happy Acres it's a lot of fun to visit the other gardens, even if I can't go there in person.

I picked 11 pounds of cherry tomatoes last Friday. I am really enjoying the Pandorino, a grape tomato from Italy. They make large clusters which almost all ripen at once, making for very easy picking. They also taste good. Will be planting more of them for sure next year.

Lancinato Kale

Scarlet Kale

I picked  a good amount of  kale, which is  a staple seller at market.Some customers look for the Lancinato, aka Dinosaur kale and others like the Scarlet. I will probably try some new ones this fall. I also picked a small amount of chard, but didn't take a picture. I used to wait and let the chard grow large and put it up in bunches but most people like the smaller baby size leaves.

Albino, Golden and Ruby Queen Beets

green onions

I picked some beets, the Albino and Golden beets grow very slowly compared to Ruby Queen and Chioggio.  I also picked some green onions.
Straight neck, Gold Rush zucchini
I picked a lot of squash this week, this was just one crate full. I have 10 different kinds and pick the patches clean on Friday, so generally even the largest ones are only a week old. Even a lot of the large ones still have very thin and tender skins.

something eating the melons!

Still some good ones!

Until recently nothing had bothered the watermelons, but now something is eating them. There were still some good ones to pick though. I am really disgusted with things though. It looks like I won't get any cantaloupes. Now the birds and squirrels are eating them before they are hardly half grown. Seriously considering pulling all the melon vines out as soon as the last watermelons are ready to pick and planting something else.

Black Beauty and Black from Tula tomatoes
I picked some ripe and almost ripe large tomatoes. Bird pecks, squirrel bites, blossom end rot, growth cracks, they were sure ugly and only about half were edible. But they sure tasted wonderful. I'll be brainstorming over the winter how to protect them better next year from all the wild life.

herbs and flowers
Of course I picked herbs and flowers. I don't sell that many fresh herbs so bring them home and use them myself or dry them. I am still trying to figure out how to keep the flowers longer, especially the dahlias. By mid morning at market the stems are turning black and the flowers are wilting. I am wondering if it's because I tie the bunches together and maybe the stems are getting crushed. I think next week I'll try just making the bunches in individual containers and not tieing them up and see if that helps. I also think the heat in my house is not helping. I sure need a walk in cooler!

On Sunday I picked all the apples off a small tree because the birds were attacking them like crazy. Out of the 19 pounds about 2 pounds were half eaten. I saved them to make vinegar out of.

This weeks harvests:
7-5 Cherry tomatoes  1# 13 oz
      Large tomatoes     3#  6oz
7-6 carrots                  1#  2oz
      lancinata kale       2# 8oz
      green onion          4# 10oz
      scarlet kale           4# 7oz
      beets                     6# 0oz
7-7 curley parsley             8oz
      Italian basil                 4 oz
      Thai basil                    2oz
      Cherry tomatoes   11# 0oz
      Watermelon           20# 10oz
      squash                    67# 0oz
      chard                            12oz
7-9 apples                     19# 4oz

cherry tomatoes         12#  13oz
large tomatoes             3#    6oz
carrots                          1#     2oz
kale                               6#   15oz
green onion                    4#  10oz
beets                              6#     0oz
herbs                                       14oz
watermelon                   20#  10oz
squash                           67#   0oz
chard                                      12oz
apples                            19#  4oz

GRAND TOTAL    143 # 5oz