Friday, September 02, 2011

The Harvest

I've been learning some great lessons this growing season (my first with raised beds) and enjoying the fruits of my labor...fennel (though I likely won't be trying this again unless I buy the florentine fennel seeds next time, mine didn't really "bulb-up"), beets (both red + golden), and carrots (note to self- it really does pay to thin them out no matter how much it pains you to pull the little starts out before they've had a chance to truly live. you do not want to end up with a tangled stunted mess...which is what I have).

I also harvested the last of our broccoli and have mixed feelings...I would LOVE to grow big crowns of broccoli but came up with only a a few handfuls of small trees and a ton of aphids and frankly not enough real estate in the box to have this crop be worth the effort. I have yet to harvest the cauliflower but this looks more promising, one crown is getting quite large and as long as I keep an eye on the bugs I think we're going to be ok.  I use soapy water to keep the pests away, in case you're wondering.  I learned the hard way after tossing ALL of our kale that was completely infested with aphids...yuck.

Rainbow chard is a plentiful (I've had it all season long and it keeps coming back) and versatile...raw as a salad, steamed as a green side, thrown in smoothies and juice.  And the only pests that seemed to enjoy them are the occasional caterpillar and my dang ol' chickens.

We delighted in 4 artichokes from our 3 artichoke plants, but frankly the $6 I paid for the starts just doesn't make it seem worth it and the size of the plants as well as the ouchy spikes also work against my decision to have it return to the garden next year. Yep, it's out. (Thanks for the tip Kari, looks like these babies are perennials and will be staying!  Besides, Jeff kind of loves them.)

The cucumbers have just begun to reach maturity and they are an easy staple, I just need to remember to give them WAY more room.

Both the corn and the potatoes are days away from harvest and I'm looking forward to making a delicious salad of corn, beets, and basil served by itself or over greens. And potato gratin for a neighborhood bbq next week.

Urban farming has been very rewarding this year, I only wish I had gotten the pumpkin seeds in the ground sooner so that we could have been carving our very own jack-o-lanterns this autumn...but there's always next year, Lord willing.

This weekend we are preparing for some fun at the water park {Wes filled his sticker chart (all 54 spots) and is getting his BIG PRIZE} and a Paella contest on Hood Canal- should be full.

Hope you have a fantastic Labor Day weekend!


Shauna said...

Those beets look good! It's good to hear other peoples adventures in gardening...I certainly failed at a few things this year (forgot to water the carrots...didn't harvest any of the chard because I didn't know what to do with it...heh).

Have a great weekend!!

Kari said...

You do know artichokes are a perrenial right? They will have even more chokes next year and will get bigger. They last about 5 years. Don't pull them out!!

It's hard to grow fennel that bulbs as good as the grocery store stuff, even our farmers market sells bulbs that look like yours. : ) I've bought the florence kind though and about half of them bulbed nicely.

Fun hearing about your garden!

kristen said...

so fun to read about your garden, jenny!

Casey Lee said...

Loved reading about your garden Jenny :) I'm learning over here too....every year I learn more and more what not to do, ha :)


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