Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Weighty New Year's Resolution

It's that time of year to reflect on the past year and decide how to improve the coming year.  2011 has been a busy year in my garden.

I went from my garden looking like this in 2010:

To this in 2011:

You can read about the transformation here.  2011 was a good and productive year in the garden.  Productive for building and structures, but for actual veggies and harvest the truth is I do not know.  There was a ton of cucumbers and not a lot of peppers.  This lack of data has led me to make my 2012 garden resolution: WEIGH HARVESTS.  In comparison to building retaining walls, trellises, and raised beds, this should be a manageable resolution.  Currently I have a simple little scale:

However, I would like a digital scale, especially for weighing light crops like lettuce.   I have my eye on this Ozeri scale.  Not expensive, and would make my resolution more accurate.

I would also love to have a hanging produce scale like this Detecto one:


However, it is a bit more expensive.  It'll have to go on my garden wish list for the time being.  Hopefully by this time next year, I will be able to tell you how many pounds of veggies I harvested!  

Do you have any resolutions for your garden this year?

Dreaming of Blueberries

I'm imagining going into the garden with my morning cereal and plucking plump blueberries off a bush and plopping them into my bowl.  Blueberries on ice cream on a hot summer day sounds scrumptous too or blueberry pie.  Yes, I know it is the middle of winter and even if I had blueberry bushes they would not be decorating my cereal right now, but this is one of my garden dreams.

I plan to plant some blueberry bushes this spring.  I've been researching different varieties and its a bit overwhelming.  I do know I want to have early, mid, and late bearing varieties.  Here's my list at the moment Early: Becky blue, Bonita, Brightwell, Climax, Premier; Mid: Bluebelle, Brite blue, Chaucer, Powderblue, Tiflue; Late: Baldwin, Centurion, Choice, Delite.  The only problem is that I only have room for a maximum of six bushes and realistically I should only plant four bushes.  Decisions, decisions.  There's an organic blueberry bush vendor at the farmer's market, so I will probably end up choosing based on what varieties they have available.  Now I've got to check on when the farmer's market opens... guess I have about three months to ponder my blueberry selections.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Home to the Garden

I traveled to Tennessee for the Holidays and its wonderful to spend time with family, but its always nice to come home.  It's also nice to have a fresh salad from my garden after all the not-so-healthy, but very yummy holiday food.  I was sent home with a grocery bag full of chocolate candy.  I had to put it in a large tin, under a stack of other tins in the cabinets over the fridge that require a chair to reach!  Much easier to roam through the garden and pick a salad now!  The lettuce is growing well despite the cold.  I clipped a few young pac choi leaves and baby beet leaves to add to my salad.  I topped it with broccoli, radishes, and a tiny white carrot.  My carrots have been incredibly slow growing and my curiosity led me to pull one.  They definitely need more time.  

It also seems that the cabbage has stopped growing.  I had one decent sized head at 1.5 lbs and a smaller 0.5 lb one.  I'm probably going to have to harvest the rest this weekend.

There's a cold front coming Tuesday night with temps getting down to the low 20s.  I think I will actually use my row covers!  Maybe winter is finally arriving. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Canning Supplies Deal

Yesterday was errand day.  I'm done with Christmas shopping, but I had a list of stuff that still need to be done... oil change, hair cut, and vet.  While I was waiting on the oil change, I walked over to Lowes.  I was searching for peg board hooks and they were not where I expected.  Next to the actual peg boards.. nope.  In the hardware section... nope.  I finally found them in the very back of the store and stumbled upon clearance canning supplies.  Twelve pack of lids and bands for $1.26 and kosher dill pickle mix for 60 cents!  I make pickles by the pint and it comes out to two cents a jar!!!  (Well, not including vinegar, but that's not very expensive either.)  This definitely made my errand day worth while.  Now I just wish I had something to can!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Better Late Than Never Harvest Monday

My winter garden dream has come true.  I wanted to have fresh salad in December and that has become a reality.  I harvested a nice bowl of lettuce:

Some radishes:

Add my first fall broccoli harvest:

This head of broccoli weighed 4 oz.  I'm very sporadic about what I weigh.  It seems the crops that I'm the most excited about or those that I have waited a very long time for get the honor of being weighed.  This broccoli has been so slow.  I planted transplants at the beginning of September and I'm just now harvesting at the end of December.  Hopefully the next few weeks will bring more broccoli- its one of my favorite veggies!

To see what others are harvesting check out Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Harvest Monday

Not much harvest to report this week.  I pulled a couple of turnips to cook and mash with some stored potatoes to go with meatloaf (and lentil loaf for me, the vegetarian). 

There's more to harvest in the garden, but I just don't have time this week to cook. This is a nice thing about fall/ winter gardening- there is no hurry.  My lettuce, broccoli, radishes, and cabbage that could be harvested today will not bolt if I leave them for another day.  I'm enjoying the slow pace of cold weather gardening.  I don't get overwhelmed by produce that needs to be picked and put away now.  It's not a race to harvest before bolting or before veggies grow to overripe sizes.  Slow and steady is more my speed!

To see what others are harvesting check out Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Procrastinating, I mean planning...

I wrote out my weekend to-do list: holiday shopping, cooking, wrapping, holiday gifts to make, a neglected pile of laundry, another neglected pile of recyclables that needs to be sorted and taken off, and as always.. grading.  With that list staring at me, what did I do first?  Well, my mind began wandering past the holidays, through the winter and landed in the middle of spring. So obviously I started planning my spring garden! 

I want to add some new crops to the 2012 garden: asparagus, leeks, parsnips, grapes, sweet potatoes, some different varieties of squash, and some heat tolerant tomato varieties.  The one that's going to require its own bed is asparagus, which is going to require some rearrangement and possibly cutting back on some veggies.. eek! Here's my first draft of my spring garden, in December.  I'm sure there will be many changes in the many months before spring and the many to-do lists I will want to procrastinate!