Rethinking the Garden Year

I made the choice not long ago to set the start/end date of my garden year to coincide with Summer Solstice. I’m going to explain why in this first installment of a new series of occasional posts on garden planning.

The Taste of Home

Wine connoisseurs love to talk about the “terroir” of a wine. What they mean, is that the unique mineral profile of the soil where grapes are grown imparts a unique flavor to the wine that a taster can identify, and that distinguishes it from other wines of the exact same variety grown in a different…

Harvest Update No. 4

Our harvests are slowly morphing into real summer feasts now, with summer squash, cucumbers, and beets taking new roles in the kitchen. We harvested the last of the “new” potatoes today, as well as other goodies totaling up to just under 20 pounds. Our season-to-date total is now well over 60 pounds. We’ve harvested small…

Tools

My spade and garden fork took quite a beating this year as I worked out in the wet weather of early spring and right on into the heat of mid May. They were exposed to hot and cold, wet and dry, conditions, and they showed it. The handles were rough and dried out. The fork…

Garden Companions

I’m blessed to have a couple of friends who turn up rather regularly to help with the garden project. This week’s garden photos were taken on Saturday, July 1st. Thank you, Diane and Adrienne!

Cutting Greens: the Heart of the Garden

When I started thinking seriously about planning this garden around the main objective of maximizing food security, I knew right away that I would be focusing on cutting greens. Urban market farmers around the world have demonstrated that cutting greens consistently yield some of the highest returns on an income-per-square-foot basis. Two factors figure into…

Harvest Update No. 3

This morning’s harvest included a new-to-me crop called Perpetual Spinach. I had a really big harvest of greens a few days ago, so I had delayed cutting the perpetual spinach. Under normal circumstances we should have harvested it when the plants were about 9-inches tall, and would have cut the top 6-inches straight across, instead…

Harvest Update No. 2

Another lovely early morning harvest today, which weighed out at 11.3 pounds, total. Highlights included four pounds of sugar snap peas, over 2.5 pounds of kale, a pound plus of premium Italian parsley, radishes, and a first harvest of lavender buds to hang upside down in the dark pantry to dry. This harvest brings our…

Finding a Home Composting System that Works

I took time to harvest compost this week, just in time to augment the beds I was getting ready to plant Fall crops into, and to side dress some of the more hungry summer crops — such as tomatoes and summer squash — as they start to put energy into setting fruit. The product I…

Managing Perennial Herbs

I harvested chervil, oregano, French tarragon, and sage earlier this week, and I thought I’d share a little about how we’re managing the perennial herb crops today. From a space efficiency perspective, herbs need extra thought and management both in terms of accommodating their growth habits, and to make sure their product is fully captured…

The Joy of Early Morning Harvests

If you haven’t discovered the difference in quality that can be experienced by doing your harvesting early in the morning, you have a real treat ahead of you. Plants, just like humans, have a cycle of activity and rest. During the day, especially when the temperatures are warm, plants put most of their energy into…

Nut Grass: A Deceptive Weed

There are two weeds in my plot that resist my technique of using black tarp to cover the beds for several weeks after preparing the soil. They are Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) and Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis—which I’ll talk about another day), and both  have strong nutrient storage mechanisms that can keep them alive for…