Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Finally a new post!!!

Hi everyone, sorry for the long pause between posts ... I did not intend a 4 month gap, ... time flies. Well we had an unusually wet, cold spring, an exceedingly dry, intensely hot summer, and a very wet, warm autumn and early winter. My tomatoes performed very well. The tomato season concluded with 82 quarts of juice, 18 short of my projected goal of 100 quarts. Still very happy with the total, as the juice quality is 'Grade AAA'. Also more then enough tomatoes for fresh eating and cooking.


Since the Garlics were the last item to be planted this year in the Grateful Garden, lets talk about that first.
As most of you know, Garlic planting is done in late autumn. This year our autumn temperatures and rain were well above normal average, so garlic planting was delayed until Oct. 27 through Nov. 26. Overall it was a wet, very windy, and sometimes miserable during the planting process. There were several times I had to break out the trusty Butane Lantern and plant well into the night. As you may have seen in previous posts my 2011 garlic harvest was wonderful and this allowed me to greatly expand my crop for 2012. Here is how the numbers stack up for the 2011 autumn planting, and hopefully, a matching projected harvest in midsummer 2012.

Prime Stock
Wild River = 1440
Music = 612
Bavarian Purple = 270

** 3 Year Bulbil Project.**
Music - *2nd yr segmented starters*  = 981
2012 concludes this 3 year project.

Garlic Planting Video: A primer on my technique.

A look Back in Reverse
I guess we will now take a look at a few pictures of what was harvested in late December backwards to September. I really don't have many pictures through this time but a few anyway. The weather has been very mild temperature wise right up through December and the first two weeks of January so anything "Brasica", i.e. Kohlrabi, Mustard Greens etc., is still growing. Also Winter Radishes and Curled Parsley is doing well also.

01-10-12 Indonesian  Mustard Greens (Ho Mi Z), the whole mound is filled with it,  just revealed enough to show. I have cut it 4 times since late October.

A close up of the mustard greens new growth. Yummy. I just love this variety.

01-10-12 Double Curled Parsley. I pulled back just enough of the straw to show its growth, there is a  lot that is not shown.
Picked 12-26-11. Mustard, Kohlrabi, Winter Rose Radish, and Double Curled Parsley. So good to have fresh produce from the garden a day after Christmas.

Picked 12-26-11.  Baby Winter Rose Radish. I have picked several that were the size of a large russet potato. Crisp but tender, and lightly pungent.

Picked 12-26-11.  Another baby Winter Rose Radish.

Picked 12-26-11. A couple late crop Kohlrabi (Supershmelz), this heirloom can grow very large without becoming woody. Wonderful crisp mild flavor that to me is a cross between a cabbage and turnip. Just peel with a potato peeler and cut into vegi-sticks, or slice thin for addition to a sandwich, chunk and steam, or my favorite grind in food processor for the best Kohl-Slaw you have ever tasted.

LEAF FENNEL. I grew Leaf Fennel in the 2010 & 11 Grateful Garden. This plant if left in the garden till the second year becomes a perennial plant. In the 2nd year it produces long canes that resemble green bamboo. Though not as strong as bamboo, the canes can still be harvested and utilized for various purposes, such as garden markers/stakes, crafts, or whatever your imagination comes up with. Here is what my personal Christmas tree looked like made with Fennel Canes. The bulbs are my smaller Wild River garlic also harvested from the Grateful Garden.

Leaf Fennel. This is a close up showing the canes.

Leaf Fennel. This plant at the time of the picture is 5 1/2 feet tall in early August and topped out  at 7 feet.
Fennel Canes and Garlic Bulb Christmas Tree. Of course g-ma Iris had her regular Christmas tree up also.

All lit up. This was a big hit this year.

BASIL. Here is a Basil named "Serata" that is strong, fruity, with a somewhat citrus edge to it's flavor. Here is a single stand alone plant, notice how its leaf structure is serrated unlike most basil. I planted plenty in another patch (not pictured). This variety is no longer available from the vendor so I have kept plenty of seeds to continue its generation. Of course I planted Common Basil as well. Like all Basil it cannot survive the kill frost without protection.

Basil. This one is named "Serata" I really like this variety for it's strong unusual flavor with a hint of citrus.

Serata Basil. Notice how it's leaf is serrated, I would think its the origin of its name.

PARSNIPS. These parsnips were the first I have ever grown and so they were only tested in a small patch. As it turned out, I love em' and they will be planted from this point forward. Very good roasted or steamed,  or added to soups and stews, also good fresh grated into salad. A great versatile root crop. The variety is "Cobham Improved Marrow", They didn't get as big as expected but that is due to my Choice of planting time.

Cobham Improved Harrow parsnips. This was my surprise delight crop. I enjoyed this versatile root and the many ways in which it lends itself to the art of cooking.  

POPCORN. I like popcorn but the seed bracts (hulls) turn me off  when I spend as much time with a toothpick afterward as i did eating it. Thus, my choice in Popcorn is "Japanese White Hull-less". It has for the most part lived up to it's name and has a High Popping volume. The heavy intense drought and long term extreme heat greatly reduced my harvest.

Japanese White Hull-less Popcorn. 

Japanese White Hull-less Popcorn. What I like about this Popcorn is after eating it, there is very little need for a toothpick. 

OK that's it. There is no way to explain all that has occurred in the months since my last post, but I will sum up the entire 2011 Grateful Garden season as "the most enjoyable hard-ass work I have ever done." Get planting for yourself, family and friends to make 2012 your year of garden growing happiness ... 
Keep our seed heritage alive for generations to come by growing Heirloom and Open Pollinated plant varieties... and KEEP YOUR SEEDS. And please involve your kids in the garden by making it fun... it's how they learn.
 ... go play in the dirt, it's fun.

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