October 25, 2010

A Brief Update

written by Yvonne

Tom and I have been quite busy the last few weeks, although not with the garden.  Luckily there hasn't been much to tend to - just mindful watering in the dark mornings, waiting for the seeds to germinate and watch what happens.  Here's a brief showing of what things look like at the moment.

Tom planted five different varieties of lettuce.  Here is one itty bitty seed that has broken ground.

This is another variety of lettuce popping up as well.

Collards are doing well.  Tom thinned them out this weekend so they aren't so clumped together.


Sweet peas working their way up the cages.


We planted a bunch of kale, but only 3 or 4 have come up so far. Tom bought some NC kale seed from Asheville over the weekend, so maybe we'll have more than these few throughout the winter.

Garlic, which will take its time over the fall and winter, and (according to our sources) be ready to yield in late spring.

Leeks (or possibly grass). No, it's leeks.

Carrots. We have two big ones, and Tom's replanting under the mulch was successful, so little baby carrots can be seen coming up in the background.

Collards close-up!

Bull's blood beets (an heirloom variety).

Turnip patch #2, ready to be thinned out!

Parsley left over from this summer.

Turnip patch numero uno.  Boy are these guys fast growing.  These are in box #3 and we planted about this many more at a later time in box #1.

Here is the actually turnip peeking out of the ground.  It's a good thing Food Network Magazine had several recipes that included turnips this month! This variety is a small, smooth all-white Japanese variety that's quite delicious.

Here I'm cutting some turnip greens to cook for dinner last Friday night.  Back in the Spring I bought a cook book called "Greens, Glorious Greens!" After consulting it, Tom found a recipe for turnip greens and potatoes. You start by blanching the turnip greens to get rid of the bitterness, then toss them with cooked, diced potatoes and garlic in olive oil and let all that cook for about 20 minutes.  Neither of us had ever eaten turnip greens so we didn't know what to expect.  We thought they would be bitter but boy were we wrong.  They are DELICIOUS!  The closest thing to compare them to is spinach. Yum.

October 4, 2010

Is Beekeeping in TY's Future?

written by Yvonne

When TYs Veggie Patch started back at the rental house, Tom mentioned that someday he wanted to have bee hives to help pollinate our garden and for honey.  We bought our house and started our big vegetable garden and he again mentioned that someday he might want to have bee hives.  (He also mentioned chickens and a tractor but I think I've convinced him that those two will probably not happen at this house.)  As it turns out, Tom's brother Tim is an ex-beekeeper and has all of the needed equipment to begin beekeeping and has offered to loan it to us.  It also turns out that one of my students is a beekeeper and he invited us to come take a look at his bees.  Saturday we did just that and here is Tom and Hernan checking in on Hernan's bees. (I think Tom is the one on the right.)

Hernan let Tom borrow this book and he's been reading it all weekend.  The more he reads and talks to his brother Tim, the more excited he gets about having bees.  We've already started a conversation with one neighbor (see photo at end of blog) so he knows what we're up to.  He doesn't seem to mind the fact that we are considering keeping bees.... he just can't IMAGINE why we'd want to go to the trouble.  Tim is coming by this weekend to drop off the equipment and give Tom lots of advice on how to get started.

As for the garden, some things are going well and some things are not.  You may recall - these were collards, broccoli, and cauliflower. It's been three weeks and there's not a single sign of life from any of them. Not sure why we started these in pots except that our gardening mentor said to in his book. So we'll start with new seeds and sow directly into the beds.  Tom actually put the broccoli seed down this morning during his morning garden time.  He spends about 20 minutes each weekday morning doing work in the garden before he goes to work.

Progress on the rest of what we planted three weeks ago is as follows:
Peas are coming up and looking good.

We put cages up around the peas for them to take hold of once they get big enough.

Turnips are doing fantastic.  Tom evened out the plantings so they all have plenty of room.

The leeks, beets, and spinach have done nothing.  Each area we planted looks like this.  The green item pictured here is actually a volunteer melon of some kind. I went through and pulled all those out. Throughout the week we'll replant these items to see if we can get them going.

Carrots are doing OK.  We planted a TON of seeds and only see about three or four carrot tops.  But when we look really closely, there are more coming up.  We planted the seeds and then spread the compost over the top.  This likely made it difficult for the seeds to break through but they are managing so we're going to leave things alone and see what happens.

We planted garlic three weeks ago as well and are a few have shot up. We wanted more so we planted another batch.

There was unfinished compost on the top of bed #1. We decided to pull it up so we can plant seeds directly in dirt.  I pulled up the top layer of compost and moved it to bed #4. Tom will bring home a load of dirt tonight which we'll put on top of that the compost and then we'll plant rye seed as a cover crop for winter.

We harvested the majority of the parsley that's been growing in late summer and got it drying in the dehydrator.  The white salad spinner on the left is full of thyme.  Once the parsley is done drying, the thyme will be next.  (We grew all this thyme but still never seem to have enough.  Ya know, not enough "time".)  ;)

Herem Tom talks to our neighbor Milton about the bees.  He thinks we're crazy for putting so much effort into our vegetable garden and such.

And this is one of Milton's two dogs.  This one is BoBo.  He comes to visit a lot.