Friday, May 30, 2008

Sunny Day Roots, Shoots and Fruits

More Big Beautiful Radishes ~ picked today

Would you look at those big radishes above! They are French Breakfast radishes. I don't think I've ever grown such big and tasty ones before. And I don't even intentionally "thin" my crops either. It must be our extended cool Spring weather this year. Usually our Springtime lasts only about 2 weeks and it is already hot by May. This year it rained and was very cold over Memorial Day weekend when it is usually hot and sunny. Well, my cold crops liked it anyway.

Today was a sunny and mild day. A perfect day to work in my garden. So I did. I weeded and weeded and weeded! Had to hand pull many intrusive weeds from in between my lettuce plants and beets. Annoying and prolific weeds. That's what I get for using my own homemade compost and not making sure all the weed seeds are dead before I apply the compost to my garden soil. Well, at least I know that the soil is very fertile. Lots of nitrogen by the looks of the greenery growing in between my intended crops.

Mesclun Salad Greens (with weeds in the background)

My baby mesclun mixed salad greens are ready to harvest a little at a time, but first I had to get all of the weeds out of the way. I don't like to find weeds in my salad. I will plant more lettuce and mesclun in the empty row next to this one in a few days to keep the greens coming.

China Choy Cabbage ~ a new crop for me

Above you can see a new crop for me, China Choy Cabbage. It is not ready to harvest yet, but the baby leaves would probably taste good added to salads. I usually grow regular green and red cabbage during the fall and winter, but since my soil is so loose, I never get actual tight cabbage heads, just leaves. So I decided to try a different kind of cabbage this year. I thought it would be good in stir fries this summer.

Bright Lights Swiss Chard ~ a rainbow of taste

Hanging in my porch produce scale is 3/4 pound of Bright Lights Swiss Chard. I cut several outer leaves off of of my largest plants and brought them inside for my dinner tonight (if I ever quit playing on the computer and go make myself dinner!). I thought I might serve them sauteed in a little olive oil, garlic and green onion and over some nice hot rice. Maybe add a few pine nuts for garnish. A light vegetarian meal. These colorful chard plants I bought at the local nursury last March. That's why they are so big now compared to the plain green chard plants that I started from seed. I will harvest those in a month or two.

Young Green Bean plants opening their "solar panels" to the sun

My green beans finally broke through the surface of the soil yesterday! They will grow fast now that the weather is warming up. I love fresh green beans. These are Provider Snap bush beans. They don't need staking or a pole to climb. Very tasty. Each year I let a few plants keep their seed pods until they mature and dry out. Then I save them and plant them next year. Works out great and saves me money. I find that the seeds adapt themselves to my garden environment and actually seem to grow and produce better each successive year. Mother Nature is so cool!

Dual Graft Cherry Tree ~ Bing and Van cherries

My cherry tree is almost ready to harvest. I need to get out there and beat the birds, squirrels and deer to my sweet cherries. You can see the protective bird netting in the photo above. Having the cherry tree be a dual graft tree, two types of cherries grafted together, was a really good choice for me. The two types pollinate each other and it saved me from having to buy two trees to get cherries. We dug one hole, planted one tree, prune and net one tree, and get two kinds of cherries. Good deal.

Airing my Clean Laundry

A sunny day demands laundry be hung on the line. I try to use my clothesline whenever the weather is nice and warm. It saves money and propane, is good for the environment ("green" is in), doesn't heat up the house in the summer, gives me some exercise and I think it just looks kind of homey to see clothes hanging on the line. I guess I am pretty easily entertained...

So that was pretty much my day today. I need to go make my dinner now.

© Copyright 2008 Mountain Harvest Basket


Hardware Bob said...

You were very busy yesterday doing what you love most, except maybe the laundry.

Your garden looks great and is obviously already very bountiful this year. And that cheery tree already producing yummy plump cherries is absolutely incredible.

Perhaps this will be a record breaking year for you and your fabulous gardening talents.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

That is one beautiful garden. I've never had swiss chard before, and wouldn't have had a clue what to do with it, but after reading your light veggie meal description (olive oil, garlic and pine nuts, Mmmmmm....), I definitely will give it a try.
I can't believe your cherry tree! Seems so early in the season, but yours look like they are about to burst with sweetness.
Oh, and I'm glad you were only airing your clean laundry. :-)

Farmgirl_dk: said...

One more thing...what are those little green produce baskets protecting in the back of your very first salad greens picture?

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Bob,
Yes, I was busy weeding. Actually, I overdid it a bit and paid for it physically the next day, as you already know. Thanks for the garden compliments and support!

Hi Danni,
Thank you for the compliments too! I don't have that much experience with Swiss Chard either, but have been eating more of it since I moved to the mountains. I sometimes buy it from our local organic farmer, but I do like to grow it in my garden along with other greens. I like to add the chopped up chard to my stir fry mixtures. The stems cook up just like celery, and the leaves cook like spinach or beet greens, turnip greens, collard greens etc. The dark green leafy vegetables (DGLVs) are very nutritious and healthy for us. I add lots of fresh garlic and onion and other spices that please me at the moment.

My cherry tree has two kinds of cherries on it, Van and Bing. One ripens a few days earlier than the other (I forget which one is first), usually in late May or early June. So these are right on time this year. I still need to go pick them. One side of the tree is completely ripe and ready, the other will be ready soon.

The green berry baskets are my attempt to protect my tiny cucumber seedlings from being eaten by birds as soon as they emerge from the soil. Something is still eating them though. Maybe bugs. Some years I have a good crop of cukes. Other years, not so much. I like to have a lot so I can make pickles. I haven't done that for a few years. Need to.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I've read your comments on Critter Farm blog and wanted to see who Farmer Jen is. And was I surprised to see we are almost neighbors. My husband and I are fulltime RVers but have a home base in Coarsegold. My daughter, Jen, has moved her from So. California with her family and we're loving having her nearby. We miss having a garden (we leave for Oregon in a week and will spend five months there) so I've been envious of your beautiful garden shots. Thanks!

Farmer Jen said...

Hi CA Grammy,
Thank you for visiting my blog and for the nice comments about my garden. It's nice to know that there is another "Jen" in the mountain area. I peaked at your blog to see if I recognized anybody in your photos, but didn't see anyone I knew. Enjoy your time in Oregon. You will be close to Farmgirl DK of Critter Farm.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Hey Farmer Jen,
Glad you had a chance to see the chicken coop. It's actually not ours but we are building it for our daughter, Jen . . . she's the one with the big house and three acres and she loves animals, being a home-schooling mom to three kids, and loves living in the country after living 39 years in the city. I know Danni lives in Oregon somewhere, but I really don't know where . . . somewhere near Portland? Our summer place is 45 miles northeast of Eugene.