Thursday, October 23, 2014

The End

Before you start digging, you'll need some place to put your harvest because you won't be putting it away right off. I recommend you build a large wooden box in a warm, dry corner of your house. Yeah, I know. This will be a dirty project. If you planted the full three rows, it is possible you might have a couple hundred pounds of potatoes.

If not this week then one day real soon, frost will knock the potato plants down and then it will be time to bring your crop in. Don't feel too guilty about leaving the smallest potatoes out there. Even what with spring row preparations, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many will come up next year. However, don't count on these leave-behinds to be enough to make your next crop. Always plan to plant full rows every year. These extras are just bonus.

After you've brought your potatoes in. Don't plan to do anything else with them for several days. They need to harden a might before they can endure much handling. During this time, you'll have to decide what you are going to do with them. Once again, a cold room or root cellar would be nice. My option is to can them.

In the mean time, go back out there and take a look at your garden. It's all done. Nothing else to do there. You are ready for winter to settle in. Now is the time to reflect on your summer bounty. What was too much? What wasn't enough? What wasn't so popular? From this information, you'll want to adjust your seed purchase and how many of those little six-packs you want to plant. Oh, and by the way, in case you like to buy those flats and things every year, I hope you saved them. They hold up just fine for a long time; they're plastic, after all. So just replace the ones that break. Cheaper that way.

I have canned potatoes with some success. Keep some for fresh use. Plan your canning for things like stews and pot roasts and other such dishes. I've also just heated them for mashed potatoes. To that end, it might not be a bad idea to have some canned up in pint jars and some in quart jars - maybe 2/3 pint and 1/3 quart.

  • Wash, peal, and cut up however you like (I don't recommend whole unless they are small)
  • Add 1t salt per quart to the water you will add to the jars. This will prevent darkening.
  • Fill jars to within 1 inch of the top
Cook pints for 35 minutes at 10 pounds
Cook quarts for 40 minutes at 10 pounds
> Always follow the directions for your canner.

I have added onions to the potatoes, but I will not do this again. It was okay but I wasn't impressed.

So how does it feel? 
All done until next year
The best preserving book I've ever seen


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Has it Frosted Yet

If it has dipped down into the 20s at all, that means it is the end of the garden. Even your covering won't protect your plants if it's getting that cold. If you're lucky though, you might be able to squeak out another week, but for the most part all your second crop of beets and carrots, and all of your parsnips and salsify should be done now. Get them in. Get them canned up, and then plan on coming back out here and putting this row to bed for the winter.

If it hasn't frosted yet, the potatoes can still keep going. They're pretty durable. If it has, and you find yourself a little swamped, lay sheets of plastic over these rows and get them dug up as soon as possible.

My trusty preserving book says that parsnips are not recommended for pressure canning. It says it's better to keep them is cold storage. However, it does give canning instructions. I really wish I had a root cellar.

Parsnips:
Pressure Canning:
  • Wash and peel.
  • Cube or slice.
  • Cover with boiling water and boil for 3 minutes
  • Drain, reserving liquid.
  • Pack into jars and cover with the hot liquid, leaving 1 inch at the top.
Cook for 25 minutes at 10 pounds
Remember what I said about following canner directions.

Freezing:
  • Choose smooth and tender roots
  • Remove tops, peel and wash
  • Chop or slice
  • Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes or in steam for 3 minutes
Salsify:
Pressure Canning:
  • Scrub and slice
  • Immediately drop into 1/2 gal water with 1T of vinegar and 1T salt
  • As soon as harvest has been added to the water solution, rinse quickly and place in a pot
  • Cover with boiling water, boil for 2 minutes
  • Drain and reserve liquid
  • Pack in jars to within 1 inch of the top
  • Cover with reserved liquid
Cook for 30 minutes at 10 pounds

My trusty preserving book did not have directions for freezing. Might not be a good idea.

It's almost over

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Second Planting Plunder

If you planted a second crop of beets, now would be the time to start looking for something to can up.

Refer to July 17 post for the canning and freezing directions.

Is this a long post or what
You know the drill

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Another Light Day

In case you were wondering, I did not miss a post. Nothing of note happened last week.

I'm pretty sure by now that the nights have been hard on the Zucchini so I would be surprised if there was anything new there. So, time to put another row to sleep for the year.

You might want to start thinking about covering your beets, carrots, parsnips, and salsify (or just the parsnips and salsify if that's all that's in that row. Cover them at night if the temps are getting below 40 degrees, but be sure to uncover them during the day.

Don't worry about the potatoes. Let them go until frost takes them down. I'm sure it will happen soon enough.

The end is almost here

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Don't work too hard

All that is scheduled for today is to turn over that Spinach row, unless you didn't plant that second crop, in which case this task could have been done weeks ago. It's good to do it late though. keeps the weeds down.

Enjoy the Fall Weather
Hope the sun is shining

Thursday, September 11, 2014

And Another One Bites the Dust

I would be utterly surprised if there was anything left in that row of Broccoli, Cabbage, and Cauliflower, so it is time to turn that row over and put it to bed.

You still have the row with your beets and Carrots (if you decided to plant a second crop), and the Parsnips and Salsify to take care of, and those potato plants should be lush and thick long since.

If you're lucky, there's still some zucchini to grace your plate. You never know.

And that maybe second crop of spinach, yeah, it's probably all done by now.

Are your shelves getting full of jars yet?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Colors of September

Yep, it's that time of year, or almost. Broccoli should be about done by now, but there might still be some Cabbage left. Peas should be done too, and if they are, go ahead and turn that row over and put it to bed for the year.

There's still the potatoes to look after, and the zucchini might still have something to offer.

Don't forget to look after those long-winded parsnips and salsify.

Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor
You earned it

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Beginning of the End

Well almost. There should still be some Broccoli, Cabbage, and Peas out there, but Cauliflower might be about done now.

Also, you should have all of the Rutabaga in by now too, and with that achievement, that whole row can be turned over in preparation for next year.

If you decided on a second planting of Spinach, now would be the time to collect on that task. If not, this row should have been turned over by now; if not, there's no point in putting it off any longer.

Have a nice day in the garden
Just think of next year

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Harvest, Harvest, and still more Harvest

Do you feel rich yet? It's not too late to order more jars. Make sure you have plenty. You might want to have 20 maybe 30 cases of Pint jars, depending on how many things you're able to store in a cold room and how many things you need to can. There's still potatoes to consider. I need to can mine if I have very many.

So today is more of the same. Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Rutabaga, and Peas. Zucchini might be winding down now, and if you planted any other kind of summer squash, you might start thinking of pinching off any new blooms. You want the plant to concentrate it's energy on ripening what it has more than producing new. Judge this move by the temperature of the day and night though. As long as nights are staying comfortably above 40 degrees, let them do whatever they want.

Happy Harvesting
Happy Puting By too

Thursday, August 14, 2014

More Gardening Plunder

Are you weeding too? Don't let them get away from you. Not even in those places that are becoming empty. Remember, there is always next year.

So put by (or serve for supper) more Broccoli, Cabbage, and Cauliflower, Zucchini, Rutabaga, and Peas. Busy, busy, busy.

If you're feeling really brave, as brave (or braver) than last week, there might be time for another crop of carrots. They won't be ready until the 23rd of October at the earliest, so you'll be seriously racing frost. You might want to look into ways to cover these crops with plastic during those later days. We'll be talking more about that when we get closer to those possible frosty days.

Other than that, nothing new.

Happy Harvesting

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What Does August Mean to You

August is the beginning of the end of summer, but it is only the beginning. You should still have Broccoli, Cabbage, and Cauliflower. Are you enjoying the wealth of what you have reaped? You should be incredibly proud of yourself.

If you really like beets, and since that area is now empty, there is time to plant another crop. It will be close though. They won't be ready until into October. If you're still harvesting there, you better not plan on another crop.

Carrots should be done now, but now you can start looking for those nice fat pea pods. That is depending on what kind of peas you planted. I don't like the kind where you eat the pods; I find them tough. I like the kind where you sit at the table and split those pods, going after those tender peas inside. Yum

Peas:
Pressure Canning:
  • Shell and wash
  • Pack loosely into jars leaving 1 inch at the top
  • Cover with boiling water
Cook for 40 minutes at 10 pounds
Remember what I said about following canner directions.

Freezing: (same day as harvesting)
  •  blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water. 3 minutes in steam
  • freeze immediately


A New Delight
Happy Harvesting

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Harvest Smart

Thanks to staggered planting, we have extended harvest for some crops. So, keep up with harvesting Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower. You should still find plenty of Zucchini and Carrots too.

By now, your Turnips, Kohlrabi, and Beets should be safely tucked away, but just in case, you should collect the last of them now. If you let them get too big, they just get tough.

The new thing to watch for though is Rutabaga.

My trusty preserving book says that Rutabagas are not recommended for pressure canning. It says it's better to keep them is cold storage. However, it does give canning instructions. Once again, I wish I had a root cellar.

Rutabagas:
Pressure Canning: (I use pints)
  • Wash and peel.
  • Cube or slice.
  • Cover with boiling water and boil for 3 minutes
  • Drain, reserving liquid.
  • Pack into jars and cover with the hot liquid, leaving 1 inch at the top.
Cook for 25 minutes at 10 pounds
Remember what I said about following canner directions.

To Freeze:
  • Harvest while tender. Avoid any that are too big
  • Wash and Trim
  • Peel and slice or dice into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller
  • Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes or in steam for 4 minutes
It's kind of exciting to be accumulating so many goodies, isn't it
Happy harvesting

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Harvest, Harvest, Harvest

Yep, that's the name of the game for this time of year, but don't neglect the weeding. The more weeds you can keep out of your garden, the less, ultimately you will have to fight with. Really. Take my word for it. Sorry it's such a huge project.

Today, like before, check for Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Turnips, Kohlrabi, and Beets.

Carrots should also start showing something big enough to harvest. poke a finger down around them to see if they're big enough, just remember to cover up that root again if you leave it. The less green in the root, the less you'll waste when you are canning them up.

The best part about today is that you should start finding some Zucchini big enough to take. You'll want to pick these when they are about as long as your hand, though some have gotten away from me and become much bigger. Zucchini doesn't can well, but you can do it. For us though it is mostly fried for the evening vegetable. If you like pickles, they make good sandwich pickles. My mom used to make the best zucchini pickles. I wish I had her recipe.

sigh
Happy Harvesting
See you next time

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer's Hump Day

Well sorta. At this point, summer is half over. Are you still weeding? You should be. But make time for harvest too. Today you should find some Broccoli, and of course there aught to be more cauliflower. If everything went well, there should be some cabbages too. And of course, lets not forget to look for turnips and kohlrabi. New to our search would be beets.

This is midsummer but if it happens to be cool enough, there is time enough for another crop of spinach. Think about this decision carefully because spinach is a cool crop, and if it's too hot it will spring straight to flowers and be too tough to harvest. It's better to leave an empty row than to waste all that time for nothing.

Freezing broccoli:

Rince, peel, and trim away any yellowing florets.
Split lengthwise into pieces not more the 1 1/2 inches across.
Soak in cold salt water for 10 to 15 minutes.
Rinse well and pick over.
Blanch in boiling water for 2 to 4 minutes or in steam for 3 to 5 minutes.

Canning Beets:

Cut off tops, leaving 1-inch stem and root to prevent bleeding.
Wash
Boil until skins slip.
Skin, trim, cut, and pack into jars to 1/2 inch of top
Cover with boiling water.
Cook at 10lb for 30 minutes if using pints.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Season of Harvest

Now that everything is planted, most of your attention should be given over to weeding. If you can manage to devote a couple hours every day to the task, so much the better; your harvest will reward you for your effort.

Today, you should also find some cauliflower ready to harvest. Be careful and cut only those heads that are ready. With luck the plant will continue to produce smaller heads that can perhaps go directly to the table.

Also keep an eye out for more turnips and kohlrabi. Only take the biggest ones and preferably no bigger than the palm of your hand.

Freezing cauliflower:

Wash and break into florets.
Peel and split stems.
Soak in salt water for 10 to 15 minutes.
Rinse well.
Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes, or in steam for 5 minutes.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

It's July

This is it. The last of your babies are due to be set out in the garden. That row should be all filled up now. How does that feel?

But now the other end of the spectrum has just begun. Now it's time to look for things to harvest. With luck, you should still be working on Spinach, that's probably about over. However you can start looking for Turnips and Kohlrabi.

My trusty preserving book says that turnips are not recommended for pressure canning. It says it's better to keep them is cold storage. However, it does give canning instructions. I'd probably have to go that route - I wish I had a root cellar.

Turnips:
Pressure Canning:
  • Wash and peel.
  • Cube or slice.
  • Cover with boiling water and boil for 3 minutes
  • Drain, reserving liquid.
  • Pack into jars and cover with the hot liquid, leaving 1 inch at the top.
Cook for 25 minutes at 10 pounds
Remember what I said about following canner directions.

Freezing:
  • Slice or cube
  • Blanch in boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes
Kohlrabi:
Freezing:
  • Slice or cube
  • Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes or in steam for 4 minutes
There were no canning instructions for kohlrabi. Now I really wish I had a root cellar.

See you next time. Are you having fun yet?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Have You Noticed Something

The summer months have reached their height, but regardless, it's time to plant the last 16 of broccoli and the last 4 cabbage. Yep, I did say the last of them. My does that shelf look empty now, especially now that the last of the cauliflower is going to start spending time outside now too. Do you miss the in and out of that flat, day after day, week after week. It's almost over.

We're going to start something new today though. Today, we're going to start harvesting the spinach. Just pick the outermost leaves by carefully pinching them off. Leave the center-most three or four leaves to help the plant maybe produce more. If it goes to flower, it's over. Might as well turn over the row. Harvest every day or at least every week. Hopefully you'll be out in the garden weeding often enough to keep up with it.

This afternoon is a good time to can up those spinach you've harvested. Save a few to saute for supper; figure a fistful per serving.

Pressure Canning:
  • Wash thoroughly. 
  • Trim away the tough stems and mid-ribs.
  • Place about 2 1/2 pounds of spinach in cheesecloth and steam for about 10 minutes or until well wilted.
  • Pack loosely to 1/2 inch of the top of the jar
  • Cover with boiling water, leaving 1/2 inch at the top of the jar.
for pints (what I'd use) 70 minutes at 10 pounds in a pressure cooker.
Follow pressure cooker instructions. There's more to the cooking than just those 70 minutes.

Freezing: (not for me)
  • Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes or in steam for 3 minutes.
  • Stir a few times while blanching to prevent leaves from matting.
  • Cool and chop, if desired, before freezing.
Have fun. See you next time.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Another Day In The Garden

Back to those babies that have been basking in the sunshine, liquid and otherwise. Time to introduce the best 20 cauliflower to their summer home in the garden.

It's also time to start introducing the broccoli and cabbage you planted on May 1 to some sunshine, liquid or otherwise. Remember, an hour today, 2 tomorrow and so on.

I'm sure I don't need to remind you about those pesky weeds. Don't let them get ahead of you. The whole point of having a garden is to harvest vegetables, though it may seem like you're harvesting more weeds than vegetables.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Easy Summer Day

Today is easy as far as planting is concerned. Set out the 16 broccoli and the 4 cabbage you've been hardening over the last week, and then start hardening off the 20 cauliflower you planted on May 1.

That's it for planting, but I'm sure you've discovered the incessant need to hunt out those energetic weeds.

Meet you right back here next week

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer is Here

Well, at least it's really summer now, here. Not necessarily by the calendar. Today you'll plant the Broccoli and cabbage you were hardening last week, and you will start hardening the Cauliflower you started on April 17th. Reading this it all sounds so confusing, but by now, with next to nothing left in your house, the sorting should be easy.

Remember, it's only 16 broccoli you'll be planting and only 4 cabbage. Pick the healthiest and discard the others. Shed a tear for them or better yet, rinse them off and munch them down. I do.

See you next week

PS - you might want to start hunting down weeds. I bet there are some.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Getting Easier

Today you will plant the broccoli and cabbage you planted on April 3 and harden the cauliflower you started on the 17th.

The biggest difference of today is that you will plant your zucchini (summer squash). 40 of them. One whole row. Bush zucchini take up quite a bit of room, so using your grid, you will plant where the lines cross two feet in from the edge and starting two feet in from the end as well, and then every two feet down the length of the row. These little guys don't take up much room now, but don't worry, they will. Now your garden is mostly full, leaving only the first row to continue to fill up.

Once again, just a reminder, don't let your babies stay outside too long the first day, and a little longer each day. You'll be planting them next week.

See you next week

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Day of Rest

Well at least it will seem like it.

Today you will start hardening off the broccoli and cabbage you planted on April 3. You will also start hardening off your zucchini (summer squash).

Once you get all that hauled outside somewhere safe, you can go plant the 20 cabbage plants that have been enjoying the sun while you've been laboring out in the garden this last week - the ones you started on April 3. Plant only the healthiest ones; with luck you'll have a few left over. Planting those few extra leaves room for some to not make it.

Once again, just a reminder, don't let your babies stay outside too long the first day, and a little longer each day. You'll be planting them next week.

Enjoy your break. See you next week

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Last Big Planting Day

Doesn't that sound good?

Today is for peas. I have a stretch of wide square wire fencing. I think it's called hog fence. I've bent it over so it's teepeed down the center of the row. The peas I pick are bush peas; they don't get but like two feet tall or so but like all peas, they climb, hence the fencing.

Plant your seeds along the foot of the fence on each side about an inch apart. That'll end up being 960 seeds. As the summer goes along keeping the plants clinging to the fence as opposed to leaning toward the sun is important. The wide square style of fencing is important so you can harvest your peas when they hang inside your teepee - you need to be able to reach through the fence.

Aside from filling up your first row, you will have only one more row to plant.

You're almost there. Keep up the good work

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Big Planting Day 6

In this row you will be planting directly into the ground the seeds for 360 beets, 360 carrots, 360 parsnips, 360 salsify. I know that sounds huge but it is only one row. This translates into planting 9 seeds in each square. That will use up 2.5 of your 4X4 grid moves for each thing. According to the book, you can put 16 seeds per square for carrots if you want to, but it's easier if everything is the same.

RESIST THE URGE to plant more than one seed per spot. Overcrowding diminishes your harvest. I know - tedious - but you only have to do it once.

Rest up; we'll be planting another row tomorrow

Monday, May 19, 2014

Big Planting Day 5

Today is a Spinach day

Today we will be devoting an entire row to spinach. That 1440 seeds planted 9 to a square. They are also a very short season crop, so if it isn't too hot, there will be a second crop for this row later on.

Have fun
See you tomorrow

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Big Planting Day 4

Today we'll be planting 192 rutabaga, 256 turnips, and 192 kohlrabi. These are all planted 4 plants to a square. I hope your back is surviving. Once again, it's important to plant only one seed per spot, though accidents happen.

Oh and I hope you haven't been forgetting to introduce your cauliflower to the sun a little more each day.

Rest up, there's another big day tomorrow

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Big Planting Days 1, 2, & 3

Since my rows are 4 feet wide, spacing along it's length is important for efficiency. I have created a 4X4 grid made out of string with 1-foot squares, the corners are pegged into place by some really big nails used for building log cabins, but any stick will do, or for that matter anything you can create that blocks off a 4X4 grid will do. String allows me to walk the grid along the row.

Today we are going to set out your first 16 broccoli and your first 4 cabbage. It might be easier if you started the broccoli on one end of your row and the cabbage on the other end. We'll be planting the cauliflower in this same row next week. Here comes the reason for the grid. Each of these plants will be planted in the center of each square. That's it for this row for today.

In the next row, we'll start planting potatoes. I hope you know what eyes are on a potato because you'll be dicing up your potatoes so you have at least one eye per. Sometimes they are really close together, but that's okay. Depending on the size of your potato, you should get 4 to 6 set and maybe more. You'll be planting one in the center of each of your squares.

Tomorrow you will plant another row of potatoes, and the next day another row. 160 sets per row.

That's not all. Don't forget to start indoors another 4 lettuce, and your last 16 cauliflower. And also today you'll start hardening the cauliflower you planted on April 3.

 Rest up; we'll be planting another row tomorrow

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Harden Your Babies

Yep, that's the task of the day, and for the duration of this week. Today, you'll need to take your very first plantings outside to enjoy the sunshine (and even if it happens to be raining). The only time you will avoid this task today is if the outside temperature is below 40 degrees.

Remember those dates. This week you'll be introducing what you planted on March 20 to the sunshine and other natural occurrences. Today it's an hour or so. Tomorrow - 2 hours. The next day - 3 hours, and so on. This is very important, because on the 15th these babies will be spending the rest of their lives out in the garden.

This week is important in another way too. This week you'll need to start getting your garden plot ready, because also next week, quite a few seeds will be being planted directly into the garden. At one row a day, you will need five rows ready to go by the 15th.

The basis for much of my planning is a very helpful book called Square Foot Gardening. The premise of the book was how to grow quite a few things in a very small space. Since my season is too short for much of that, I can't crunch things together like they do, but it's still very valuable. One thing I do is make my rows 4 feet wide. My rows happen to be 40 feet long. So when I say prepare one row a day, it's a pretty good task.

Happy Gardening
Enjoy the sun

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Nature Begins to Show Her Colors

May 1 - The ground is still frozen only a few inches down but most of the snow should be gone by now.

And of course, it's time to start some more seeds.

The last 16 broccoli and 4 cabbage today 20 cauliflower (there will be one more installment next time), 4 lettuce and today I will start 40 zucchini.

Once again, that's 3 six-packs of broccoli, 1 six-pack of cabbage, 4 six-packs of cauliflower, and another 1 for the lettuce. The zucchini, however is going to fill another tray with 7 six-packs. Like always, remember to date today's plantings.

See you next time

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Starting More Seeds


There's still some snow out there, but the not yet green ground is starting to show through. But it's time to start some more seeds.

16 broccoli 
4 cabbage
20 cauliflower
And today, we'll start 4 lettuce. Remember, leaf lettuce is different and handled more like spinach, so if you prefer leaf lettuce, just hold off and follow the same directions for spinach when it comes up.

Like last time, you'll need to find room for 3 more six-packs of broccoli, 1 of cabbage, 4 of cauliflower, and now 1 of lettuce. So this is the contents of another tray plus one. Remember to date them. This dating will become very important before too much longer.

How's that for an easy day?

See you next time

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Next Installment

Yep, it's still winter, but that's no reason not to keep spring planting in mind. My last post was enough of the cold feet. Today is another planting day, maybe not as easy as last time, but still not bad.

Today start 16 broccoli, 4 cabbage, 20 cauliflower, and 80 brussle sprouts. That means you need to find room for 3 more six-packs of broccoli, another 1 of cabbage, 4 for the cauliflower, and a whopping 14 for the brussle sprouts.

Those trays will hold eight six-packs, so you'll need to find room for 3 of them. Not all that bad really.

During the summer, I try to collect a bucket of dry silty sand from the river bank. I get the dry sifty stuff because once it's sealed in a bucket, it's not going to do any more drying. I keep that bucket somewhere accessible so I can get to it now. The first of April is usually my goal but today is a good reminder. Dig out that bucket and don your snowshoes, it's time to go make the garden all dirty so the snow melts faster. One bucket is more than enough; you don't want black lumps if possible. A clump of dirt will insulate almost as much as a shadow will, whereas a dusting will help the snow melt almost twice as fast as normal.

Ash works too but you don't want to use a lot of that either. Scatter what you have by tossing it to the breeze. Walk back and forth until the snow on your garden is dusted, and if you have any left over, scatter it wherever you like.

See you next time

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The First Day of Spring

This is the first day of spring and time to start thinking about your garden. It's also time to start planting something. Hopefully, what you ordered last month has arrived, or if you were lucky enough to be able to go to a store, I hope you found everything you needed.

Now, the plan is to stagger planting in order to extend harvest and smooth out at least some of the workload. Just to give you a feel of this mountain, let me give you a few numbers. This way you can get your feeling of intimidation out of the way right now. Please stay through to the end. That's when you'll find out what we will actually be doing today.

Keep in mind, in my experience, one plant produces roughly one meal, as in one plate, or one serving. This is not a fast and true finding, but if you count like that, it will help you decide how much you need to plant. Since I'm thinking of sustaining from harvest to harvest, more or less, my numbers will be high. I also consider my space and will plant more to fill space. This way, if anything fails, or doesn't have a good turnout, I'm not shorted. That's the theory anyway.

I plan to plant:
64 broccoli
16 cabbage
80 cauliflower
80 brussle sprouts
16 head lettuce
40 bush zucchini
480 potatos
960 peas
192 rutabaga
1440 spinach
256 kohlrabi
360 beets
640 carrots
360 parsnips
360 salsify
720 bush green beans

Yeah, I know, but take my word for it, it looks worse than it is. Stay with me here.

Today is just the beginning. Today, we start light. Today we're going to start 16 broccoli and 4 cabbage. Yep, that's it. However, since we are using those nifty little six-packs, go ahead and fill three of them with the broccoli and one with the cabbage. That will allow for some to fail or be puny. Just remember, when it comes to planting, try to resist planting those extras, even if they've done well. Also, resist planting any more than one seed per cell.

Now remember, find a way to date them. This will be very important later. Some of those little white marker sticks would work but it's up to you - whatever works.

Until next time

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Time to Order Those Seeds

It's February and the coldest part of winter, usually. However spring isn't so far away so it's time to order those seeds. After all I'll be starting some of my seeds indoors around the middle of March.

Since I first created my list of seeds, my list has grown shorter as I discovered things that either just don't do well here, or things no one is the slightest bit interested in eating.


Here's my list:
  • beets - two packages
  • broccoli - 1 package
  • brussel sprouts - 1 package
  • bush beans - 48 packages
  • cabbage - 1 package
  • carrots - 1 package
  • cauliflower - 1 package
  • kohlrabi - 3 packages
  • head lettuce - 1 package (I really don't care much for leaf lettuce)
  • parsnips - 1 package
  • bush-style peas - 5 packages
  • spinach - 8 packages
  • turnips - 1 package
  • potatoes - 480 sets (if you buy potato sets)
  • bush zucchini squash - 2 packages
In the event that some things can't be found:
  • rutabagas can be replaced by turnips
  • salsify can be replaced by parsnips
Don't forget to get enough planting flats for this project and enough potting soil. I'd recommend a big bag. And maybe about 20 flats with the small six-pack fillers. One year I kept all the planting flats and fillers from the lodge so that's one thing I won't have to worry about. You'll also want some means of dating your plantings since starting, hardening, and planting will be staggered to extend harvest and decrease the all-at-once work.

Did I forget anything? Probably. Oh and don't forget all those nifty tools you'll need. Mostly I use the potato fork for turning over the rows and a rake to smooth it out. I use a trowel for some of the deeper planting. Most everything else can be pocked in the ground with your finger; it's what I do.