Independence Days Update: The Marathon

Sharon May 24th, 2010

We are officially past our last frost date, and the great planting marathon has begun.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been planting for a month and a half (longer if you count indoor seed starting) but this is *it* – for the next three weeks, the gardens will be our whole and total focus (well, except for the 20 people coming to my house over Memorial Day weekend, I’ll probably pay a little attention to them too ;-) .

Everything needs to go into the ground, even as we’re building and rebuilding our garden beds, improving our soil and planting the last of the perennials and trees.  It all needs to be done yesterday, of course, but there’s a certain rhythym you get into when you are so far behind that it really doesn’t matter which of a thousand things you do next.

Meanwhile, Rosemary had 8 babies late last week, and is turning out to be a great Mom.  Sage has turned out yet again to be a really rotten Mom, and will be culled, I think.  We’re enjoying the milk flow before the inevitable drying up of the does (pre-kidding), and all is basically well.   Thankfully, since the garden is all right now.

Plant something: Apple trees, hazelnut trees, tomatoes, peppers, pennyroyal, nasturtiums, okra, corn, beans, beets, eggplant, onions, limas, sunflowers, gladioli, zinnias, cosmos, sweet peas, kale, broccoli, basil, various ornamental thingies.

Harvest something: Lettuce, chives, sorrel, bok choy, nettles, raspberry leaves, kale, beet greens, asparagus, rhubarb, milk, eggs.

Preserve something: Some rhubarb jam and some raspberry leaves.

Waste Not: Fully sorted out the kids winter clothes, gave away tons to goodwill and friends with younger children, also our winter wardrobes.  The usual, otherwise.

Want Not: Set aside some of the nicer ratty clothes for quilt making, made a bunch of new rags, patched sheets, ordered oatmeal.

Eat the Food: Asparagus and pesto risotto.

Build community food systems – donated some plant starts to a local plant sale.

17 Responses to “Independence Days Update: The Marathon”

  1. Plant something: spring onion roots, cut off from CSA bunch & replanted.

    Harvest something: lettuce (radiccio, cos, mizuna), parsley, basil, mint, spring onions.

    Preserved something: pickled silverbeet stems.

    Waste not: usual composting, worm-farming & recycling.

    Want not: Re-stocked supplies of mountain bread, bought bulk sultanas, and purchased lots of echinacea lozenges, gluten free vegan packet mixes (ie quick coeliac friendly junk food) on sale. Received copy of Linda Woodrow’s book _The Permaculture Home Garden_ for my birthday – great reading!

    Build Community Food Systems: Signed up for another month of CSA box.

    Eat the food: Chickpea & pumpkin curry with homemade chutney, silverbeet ’spinach’ pies, falafel with roast veg & homemade baba ganouj, pancakes with homemade cherry jam.

  2. Claire says:

    Went from highs in the low 60sF on the 20th to a record high of 92F on the 23rd. Typical Midwest weather … I’m glad I waited to plant the summer crops since they would not have liked the cool, wet conditions we had most of May. Now it’s time to get them in. Should have a good week for that, in between doing stream sampling and monitoring.

    Planted: nothing in the ground this past week, but I did prick-out a total of almost 100 seedlings of various native plants from a flat into separate cells of 6-paks. They’ll be grown on this summer until the ones I’m giving to the Zen Center get big enough to plant and until I get the garden space for the ones I’m keeping prepared.

    Harvested: lettuce, strawberries, the first few mulberries, lambsquarters, spearmint, green onions. I tested the Nanking cherries, but they aren’t quite ripe yet.

    Preserved: lambsquarters and spearmint, by drying in the solar dehydrator. I’m very pleased to see how well it works.

    Waste not: the usual.

    Want not: the 500 gallon tank to collect rainwater off the garage roof is supposed to arrive tomorrow, so I moved all of the storm windows we’ve collected over the years that were in the place where the tank will go (along the outside back wall of the garage) into the basement. I’d tell you how many windows I moved, but it took hours and I don’t want to know how many it was. ;-) At least it’s done, and now the DH gets to set up the downspouts to get the rainwater into the tank.

    Build community food systems: this is more in the line of general community … we gave our neighbor a short-term, no-interest loan so she could pay the company that cleaned out her septic tank. Now they can use their washing machine and bathtub again, and she’ll pay us back when she gets paid. (She and her daughter took baths at our house last week before the work was done.)

    Eat the food: we had the first stir-fry of the new garden season last week. We continued to eat strawberries and lettuce. And I took lettuce to our Zen Center’s potluck lunch a couple days ago.

  3. Sonrisa says:

    We woke up to snow this morning. It’s been a cold spring for us this year. We aren’t completely frost free till the first or second week of July, but usually we get our last frost the first week of June. I’ve been keeping detailed records for the 5 years we’ve been here and it seems that everything is at least two weeks behind this year. Which is one of the reasons I decided to put most of my beds into winter wheat, garlic, and Egyptian onions every fall. It keeps me from planting things too early and makes my garden productive in a season when even peas and cabbage refuse to grow. The winter wheat is planted as late as November and able to be cut for animal feed as early as march, then regrows to provide us with wheat and straw by the first week of July. The garlic is planted in October and harvested in late June (softneck). The Egyptian (walking) onions are planted sometime in the fall and are up producing something from Feb. to Aug. First scallions, then the top bulbs, last after the plants die back we harvest the bottom bulbs for winter storage (they range in size from a garlic clove to a baseball). It maintains my sanity in the spring and most of the beds are freed up by planting time.

    Enough rambling, on to business. This is for several weeks.

    Plant: Broccoli, cabbage, beets, lettuce, zucchini, watermelon, vine peach, cumin, potatoes, corn, beans, squash, indigo, mint, and our fourth batch of quail eggs in the incubator.

    Harvest: Oregano, thyme, sage, Egyptian onion greens, lettuce, broccoli, rhubarb, beet greens, mushrooms, pasture, alfalfa, comfrey, eggs, milk, and quail.

    Preserve: Canned quail.

    Waste not: Same as usual composting, saving feathers, feeding stuff to critters.

    Want not: Got a new buck for breeding the girls. More canning jars.

    Community: no

    Eat the food: Mushroom stroganoff, Mushroom everything, rhubarb pie :) , beef broccoli. Lots of good stuff coming out of the greenhouse and garden (and animals).

  4. Fern says:

    Planted – lots. Got the last of the spring greens in. Planted tomatoes, summer squash, cucs, basil, peppers, parsley.

    Harvested – lettuce, green onions, mint

    Community: potted and spread oregano.

    Preserved: canned meat product for the first time.

    Eat the food: ate everything in site, hungry week!

    Also – if son, home from college, doesn’t find job I’m thinking of sending him to be labor at CSA. Either he’ll get into farm work or he’ll agree to flip burgers at a fast food place, but he WILL work … so says Mom!

  5. Gina says:

    Yes, summer in the Great Lakes region…freezing one day and 90 degrees the next. Busy weekend and I accomplished Much.

    Planted: Tomatoes (Rutgers, German Johnson, Brandywine, yellow pear, Amish Paste)–too many to count and still trying to squeeze them in here and there. All of my flower beds have tomatoes mixed in (including volunteers from last year); the same goes for peppers (jalapeno, cayenne, serrano, bell); eggplant (black beauty); cilantro; summer squash (zucchini, crooked neck, scallop); cucumbers; marigolds; stevia (as an annual); basil; hens & chicks; garlic chives; lemon thyme; sage (almost have summer planting finished–hopefully by this weekend which is going to be a three days one).

    Harvested: O, the weeds! Thinned seedlings and ate some, gave some to rabbits; nettles; raspberry leaves; chives; scallions; oregano; eggs (turkey, chicken, duck)

    Preserved: Sunshine jam (made with cheap, ripe pineapple); froze rhubarb; dried raspberry leaves to make PMS tea ;)

    Want Not: Made super progress on vintage camper (may actually be functional this year!)–I think of it as our ultimate Bug-out Bag! Stored chicken and rabbit feed (chickens will need to be confined once plants start producing); fair-trade coffee bought on clearance; found a couple of pairs of jeans at thrift store (one fits good, the other slightly tight and will be used as motivation to lose final ten pounds back to ‘normal’ weight) and shirts; found a couple of Indiana wildlife watching books at the same thrift store; made a bit of progress on summer “To-Do” list; moved half-grown gosling and duckling to outdoor quarters; hatched out 6 chicks from our flock’s eggs (have one more batch of quail eggs and poultry is probably done for the year…Oh, i almost forgot that I still have broilers coming in next week); still eating from pantry and have not brought any major new stock (but we are seeing a clearing on the shelves so I will soon be rotating and restocking); back to doing yoga a few times a week

    The best news on the homesteading front is the apricot tree I planted last year has apricots on it!! Sadly, something has already nibbled said apricots…:(

    Waste Not: Mostly the usual stuff

    Eat the Food: potato salad using our eggs and stored potatoes; a lentil, tomato, onion, nettle stew (very good); chicken noodle soup (broth from freezer, leftover chicken, spice; soba noodles); ravioli with my canned tomato sauce; lots of boiled eggs (my ‘fast food’ breakfast item); hummus; salsa dip (using my salsa and cream cheese)

    Community: Gave away tomato and pepper seedlings to friends

  6. Michelle says:

    Most rabbiteers give a doe three tries before culling her. I’m surprised she’s being such a pill; that’s not her heredity at all. Still, let me know if you need a replacement for her – my treat :)

  7. MEA says:

    Offically (and IME) frost free. In went more peas and greens, and started beans, orka, artichokes (!), zukes.

    Nothing new, except in building communit. The people who live above the pizza place, whom I feared I have offended with the wee-a-torium, asked if they could put stuff on the compost as they were sick of throwing out so much garbage!

  8. Melissa says:

    I haven’t updated in weeks, just because I’ve been so very busy! Good stuff though, so I’m happy.

    planted: tomatoes, basil, nasturiums, anise hyssop, comfrey, angelica, thyme, strawberries, leeks

    harvested: last of last years leeks, mustard greens, chives, turnip greens, the arugula bolted before it even got big enough to harvest (darn it!)

    preserved: nothing yet, though I need to get started on my herbal medicine making

    want not: At a garage sale we picked up a bunch of rainspout tubing and pvc pipe to use with our newly made rain barrels. I also got a really great cobalt blue teapot at the same sale. Yay!

    waste not: we had a bunch of foamcore board from other projects. We wrapped them in aluminum foil and taped them in our south and west facing windows. We’re really working on not putting in our window air conditioning units this year. The kids are old enough that I feel comfortable with dealing with hotter temps in the house. If anyone has any ideas for cooling an old house, I’d love to hear it!

    eat the food: chopped mustard greens on tacos, cooked green with onions(the kids loved it!)

    community: I went to a plant swap, met a bunch of local gardeners and got some great perennials. Plus, I’ve started volunteering at a nonprofit community greenhouse in my city. I used to work harvesting greens at a couple of different farms around town and it’s nice to be doing that kind of work again.

  9. Sharon says:

    Hi Michelle – I’ll give her another shot, although I admit, I’m a little bummed to have to tell the kids “look, she had babies…look…ewww.” ;-) . Rosemary is awesome!

    Sharon

  10. Lynne says:

    I’m trying again to count the reasons why I love Environment Canada Weather. Too many reasons to count. Specifically, we just had 5 straight days of frost – a weird weather pattern with clouds and showers during the day and clearing at night. But, the weather people correctly predicted it and we covered everything (except the basil, whoops) and we didn’t even get any flower drop on the peppers and tomatoes, yay! They didn’t even turn purple from stress, double yay. My husband also gets a nod with the crazy tent-thing he constructed with a tarp over the 6-foot tomato stakes that we were able take on and off. Pretty great to have a partner in all this.

    Plant: corn, late potatoes, more basil from seed, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, cucs, pumpkins, butternut squash, zinnias, marigolds, nasturtiums, beans, broccoli, kohlrabi, bachelors buttons, daylilies, Jerusalem artichokes, late carrots (though I may have counted this last time)

    Harvest: broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, spinach, dill, parsley, eggs, leeks, radish, green onions

    Preserved: nope

    Waste not: the usual; also, developing flower beds by dividing saved perennials rather than buying them (my husband would like to point out that he saved these perennials from death and stashed them away last year so he gets credit as I would have composted them)

    Want not: does spring cleaning/organizing and discovering you have four giant cans of cocoa count?

    Community: Gave plants away to group home and neighbours

    Eat: salads galore; roasted squash with leeks and garlic, homemade spaghetti sauce, dehydrated strawberries and peaches on oatmeal, pickles, tiny bit of steamed broccoli and asparagus

  11. AnneT says:

    The heat (and the flurry of planting) definitely started this weekend (the Victoria Day weekend here in Canada, the traditional gardening start date here in southern Ontario).

    Planting: asparagus, wild plum, blueberry bush, Thai peppers, Amish paste tomatoes, Yellow Pear cherry tomatoes, dill, borage, summer savory, red potatoes, parsley. Started sweet corn in toilet paper tubes to transplant later — will see how that goes.

    Harvest: rhubarb, lambs quarters, parsley, onion greens, garlic chives, baby spinach and chard, dandelion greens, yellow oregano, spearmint, lemon thyme, regular thyme, sorrel, radishes.

    Preserve: dried mixed greens and herbs for soup greens, dried spearmint; both in the solar dryer. Canned some rhubarb juice concentrate and rhubarb pulp for fruit spreads.

    Waste not: gathering items together (de-cluttering) for pickup by the Canadian Diabetes Society. Reused some plastic corrugated board (box the greenhouse came in) for asparagus bed edging.

    Want not: made a couple of month’s supply of granola, “baking” it in the solar dryer. Stocked up on day-old spicy flour tortillas for making baked chips.

    Eat the food: salad with stuff from the garden, a BBQ sauce with various stuffs from the preservation pantry: nectarine puree, chili-garlic sauce, apple-rhubarb chutney, and cranberry mustard.

    Community food system: one of the workshops during a retreat program I lead focused on “seeds of change”, so we made seed tapes, seed packets (and filled them with seed I’d grown), and newspaper seed pots. A half-dozen participants went home with “starter” garden kits. Also shopped the farmer’s market.

  12. Anisa says:

    I was sort of late this week, but we built our bee hive! Here’s mine: http://anisaschell.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/independence-days-week-12-grapes-bee-hive/

  13. Jennie says:

    Here’s mine!
    http://myfreedompath.blogspot.com/2010/05/independence-days-5-27-2010.html

    I saved some local rhubarb from ending up in my neighbor’s trash! Finally have beans in the ground, still need to transplant my tomatoes though.

    -Jennie

  14. KC says:

    I am on a planting marathon, too….but it is taking its own time about it….the weather has a say in how quickly things will happen and we are still building the beds (terracing with oak boards) – Meanwhile, the garden is blooming (beans, calendula, cosmos, squash, peas and lots of buckwheat…) and we ate the first peas and summer squash this week. The cover crops (wheat and triticale )have headed up nicely, but I need to cut them down and plant the sweet potatoes soon. Fava beans are getting ready to bloom.

    planted: summer greens mix, transplanted basil, marigolds, and more

    harvested: summer squash, peas, lots of greens, lettuce, endive, kale, vitamin green , radishes,

    preserved: froze some greens . I also froze some mashed sweet potato – (hope it freezes ok.)

    waste not/want not: nothing new this week

    eat the food: grilled summer squash, grilled sweet potato, grilled onion. sweet potato waffles, mashed sweet potato (now that the squashes are gone, – I’m on to a sweet potato theme until the stores are gone) – I hope to do a better job with quantities this year. We’ve been eating lots of salads and potato salad (made with oil and vinegar, fresh dill and olives).

    building community food systems: went on a tour of a friend’s homestead. sharing greens from our garden with others.

  15. Gabrielle says:

    Forgot to post this earlier in the week. This is the update as of Monday.

    Late last week the weather was almost cold at night, making it more pleasant for gardening, sitting outside on the back porch for long talks, and lots of play and adventures for our daughter.

    I’ve written and rewritten a synopsis of this week almost 20 times, without exaggeration. I think I’ll sum it up to say that this last week has been emotionally draining for our family. With all of the upheaval, I took some solace in the garden. The rhythmic action of hoeing rows, the rote picking of peas, the methodical pulling of weeds enveloped me in a sense of calm and rest. In the garden my mind is finally peaceful enough to meditate and pray, and this week my garden vigils were restorative.

    Plant—heirloom red okra, emerite filet pole beans, butternut squash seeds saved from last year, cucumbers, watermelon. In the church garden I planted 2 rows—1 of Pawnee Shelling Beans and 1 with zucchini and crookneck squash.

    Harvest—Salad greens—beet greens, spinach, butterhead, iceberg, romaine; bok choi, the first of the Chinese cabbage, radishes, snow peas, sugar snap peas, spring onions, bulb onions (from last year), flower arrangements, herbs.

    Preserve—1 quart bag of chopped onion tops.

    Waste Not/Reduce Waste— I didn’t do so hot in this category this week. I wasn’t as good about composting everything last week as I could have been. I bought 2 pair of cheap shoes at Target instead of getting something of high quality that would last and could easily be repaired by the cobbler. I stained yet another shirt beyond redemption, but at least with that one, I can make it into a bag. On the other side of the coin, my dad’s home repairs are going well. Since we are reusing some of the things he had from old construction jobs, we have sold a few of the things in the home that needed removed. He is being careful in how he does the demo so that everything that can be reused will go to another home.

    With the weather being so warm, we haven’t drank as much milk as usual. Rather than freezing it, I made a few recipes that used a good deal of milk to avoid waste—milkshakes and soaked oatmeal.

    Want Not/Prep/Storage—I added a few toiletries and teas to storage from a Frontier co-op order. Since I haven’t had a need to go to the grocery, I only made a quick run to pick up coffee this week.

    Building Community Food Systems— Our daughter’s school had a brunch as an end of the year celebration. I brought a large salad from the garden, homemade vinaigrette, and boiled farm fresh eggs. I was so pleased to see how many people seemed to enjoy our contribution. I worked in the church garden this weekend, planting beans and squashes there. I shared some of our extra lettuces with our neighbors. I oriented the new church secretary to the food pantry distribution system. I picked up a few things for the food pantry at the store. Passed on information about Angel Food Ministry to a handful of people. I wrote to my city council representative to show my favor of the backyard hens initiative going before that council in June.

    I’ve been working on the menu for the children at VBS. They run an entire week, starting on June 7th, and because we never know how many children we’ll have until we actually have them arrive, it makes planning tricky. I’ll hope that by that time we might have a few easy finger foods (cucumbers, squash) ready to pick in the garden to use for the kids. One can hope!

    Eat the Food—I made a stir fry this week that was highly enjoyable because of how much of the food was grown by our hands. We added some locally grown beef and broccoli we bought from a farmer friend and a few store bought organic carrots we needed to use. Not that I needed justification, but having so much of the meal that was “free” better allowed us to buy good quality beef and organically grown broccoli to add to the dinner.

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