The Harvest Begins

On July 5th, we returned from ten days in the Bush. The robins had fledged, and the harvest season was upon us.

The kale bed on June 5th after our freaky June 2nd snow:

Kale and other seedlings

The kale bed (with kale, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, bok choi, fennel, leeks, and cauliflower) doesn’t look so good, but these hardy little seedlings survived eight inches of snow on June 2nd, having just been planted.

The kale bed on July 8th:

Kale, collards, mustard greens, cabbage, cauliflower, and more.

And now they thrive.

The first harvest, July 8th:

Harvested kale, mustard greens, arugula

The first harvest of greens yielded a week of salads and ten 2-serving containers of winter greens. Second harvest: fourteen containers. Yes, I measure by 2-serving containers.

Aside from the bok choi bolting, the plants are doing well. I harvested greens a second time last weekend and will harvest chard and more greens this weekend. Greens are either dried as chips or blanched and frozen for use in the coming year. Of course, we also eat fresh greens daily, raw and cooked.

Good Things in 2014

  • I’m doing a better job stagger planting. We’ve had a continuous supply of spinach, radishes, arugula, and other lettuces.
Radishes at different stages of development.

Continuous radish production.

  • Rain. I’ve had to do little watering.
  • Breakfast radishes. Yum!
  • Spinach planted with strawberries. I read that they’re good companions. I can only do this on newly turned beds because old beds are jam-packed with strawberry plants—because I hate to cut runners.
Spinach and strawberry plants.

These strawberry beds were turned, fortified, and replanted this spring. While there’s room, I planted spinach between the berries. It’s time for another wilted spinach salad, I see.

  • I finally cut strawberry runners.
  • Instead of mixing them all together, I organized the kale bed plants by type, so I know what’s what.
  • Tons of strawberry and raspberry flowers.
  • Broccoli. Lots of plants this year.
  • Aphids. None on the basil (yet), and none on the cabbages (yet). Yay!
  • Garden feeding. I’ve done some—more than usual and almost according to vague instructions. You can forget detailed, per-species feeding instructions. Blood meal, bone meal, fish fertilizer, and worm juice (liquid from the worm bin).

Not-so-good Things in 2014

  • Mustard greens. I’m not sure I like these much. Anyone have tips for using these?
  • While I organized the primary kale bed, I didn’t organize two overflow beds, and I didn’t write down the second string plants that replaced things that died. As a result, I’m not sure if some plants are collards or cabbage or brussels sprouts or maybe even cauliflower. Note to self: It’s time to admit you can’t ID collards and friends until they’re old and bitter. Plant them together or write down everything you plant on your map. Quit thinking you’ll remember. You won’t.
  • I didn’t cut enough strawberry runners.
  • Raspberry jungle. Technically a bad thing, I suppose, but I couldn’t be happier about it! There will be a price to pay at some point.
Overgrown raspberries

The raspberry jungle. See the rows in the raspberries? Yeah, me neither.

  • Not a lot of heat and sun, so the zucs, squash, pumpkins, cucs, and beans are slow. We may not get much from them this year.
  • Peas. In an effort to give their usual beds a break to boost the soil and prevent disease, I planted the peas in different beds. They don’t yet have trellises to climb on, and there are way-yonder fewer of them, especially snow peas, which are usually a winter staple. I’m not sure why there are so few plants. Somehow, I thought I planted a bed that was, in fact, not planted. Unless some critter or person came along and stole all the planted peas just after they were planted, which seems unlikely.
  • Rhubarb. Still don’t have enough despite having tons of plants. They’re either not planted in good places, or they’re not getting enough food, or something else. We have some, though, and we’re enjoying it.

It’s a good year for the gardens.

Categories: Alaska, Gardening

4 replies »

  1. Wow! Looks like you are a great gardener. I don’t have that special talent, perhaps the one I’m lacking is patience. Enjoy the fruits of your labour!

  2. Thanks, Alice! We’re definitely enjoying the fruits (and veggies) of my labor. However, I think the vast majority of credit for my gardening success goes to the plants themselves.