Monday, July 24, 2017

Fruit Salad. Plums and mulberries. Yum. 7.24.17


Raised bed changes. Planting Summer Seeds for Fall Crops. 7.24.17

 I decided to make some changes in the raised bed kitchen garden, for easier gardening.    I added another level of 2 X 6, so the bed is 6 inches higher, then added a 2 X 6 edge to each side to support me.  I can lean or sit on that edge.  This bed contained bearded irises that never did well.  I moved them to a sink-or-swim out of the way border, where they will either grow, or not.  That gave me a new bed to plant seeds that grow for fall kitchen crops.

I used old seeds, turnips, Chinese radish, Chinese cabbage, Daikon.

That was last week.  They do need daily watering, but otherwise no special care.  Some rows have germinated nicely.  It's possible that some seeds were too old, and I intend to replant today.

I didn't label the rows.  I think some of the Chinese cabbage did not germinate, and one of the two rows of turnips.  Those seeds were 5 years old.

The current raised bed arrangement is 12 4 X 8 foot raised beds, 1 foot high, separated by mowed grass paths about 3 feet wide.  Those paths are too narrow for a riding mower.  The plan, which will develop as crops mature and are gone in the fall, is to replace the 2 middle rows with 1 middle row.  That will make paths wide enough for riding mower, which really reduces maintenance.  The sides will be higher, with edge as described for this bed.  Most of the wood will be reused from either the old beds, or from a deck that I tore apart this Spring. 

KItchen Garden and Home Orchard. 7.24.17

Red Norland and Yukon Gold Potatoes.  7.24.17
 Lots of productivity in the Kitchen garden, and starting to get fruit from the home orchard.

I had not watered the Methley plum tree, so the plums are smaller, sweeter, and more flavorful.  Almost like moist candy.  This tree is about 6 years old.  When we bought the Battleground place, I moved it from the old yard, at about 1 year old at the time.  This is the first year with more than a couple of fruits.
Methley Plums.  7.24.17
Illinois Everbearing Mulberry.  7.24.17

Illinois Everbearing Mulberries.  7.24.17

Red German Garlic.  7.24.17
The potato crop is about half dug now.  The Yukon Gold is great for hash browns, every day for breakfast.  The Red Norland makes the best potato salad.  The Russets are not at harvesting stage yet, which is good.  Too many to dig all at once.

I thought birds would get all of the mulberries this year, but yesterday the tree was loaded.  We picked a big bowl of them.

I did not nurture the garlic as well this year.  Less water and less fertilizer.  The bulbs of most of the plants are smaller, but the Red German turned out nice.

Summer squashes coming on line now.   Some great fritters!

Zucchinis and Summer Squashes.  7.24.17

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Kitchen Garden. Summer Harvest Begins. 7.13.17

 I've been harvesting collar greens for a couple of weeks.  Nicest plants that I have grown. 

Started digging potatoes last week.  Had some hash browns and likely potato salad tomorrow.  Red Norland and Yukon Gold plants are turning brown, and getting some nice potatoes.

Some of the slicer onions are bending over.  I've dug some of those for use fairly quickly.  Tasty in all colors, red, white, yellow.

The absolute largest of the onions are the Ailsa Craig, that I started from seeds.  Those are huge, but not falling over yet.

 Based on my results this year, planting as early as possible is giving the largest onions, but even the later ones are sizing up.  Just not as huge.  Seedlings started indoors are as big or bigger than those started from sets or plants bought at the nursery.

Nice time of year in the kitchen garden.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Persimmon Progress. 7.10.17

Developing Yates American Persimmon.  7.10.17

Developing Nikita's Gift Hybrid Asian:American Persimmon.  7.10.17
 Persimmons are developing nicely.  If the Yates continue to grow and produce fruit, they will be my first for this tree and for any American Persimmon.  Yates apparently does not need a male pollenizer, and will therefore be seedless.  This is a 4 year old tree.

Nikita's Gift and Saijo have a couple of dozen fruits each, fine for 5 year old trees.
Developing Saijo Persimmons.  7.10 17

I'm excited to see persimmons forming.   I'm trying to decide if some need thinning, due to several fruits on the same twigs.  They might do better if they are further apart.

I've tried tying some persimmon branches to guide them, but they are so brittle they break off.  One of the Chocolate Persimmon grafts also did that.  I had tied the little branch to another one to guide it, and the wind broke it.  Fortunately, there is a second Chocolate persimmon graft that is OK.

Prairie Star Persimmon Sapling.  7.10.17
Prairie Star American Persimmon has had a series of unfortunate events over it's young life, now in its 3rd leaf.  It was eaten off by rabbits, twice.  It was bombarded with hail, killing most of the branches.  Now it looks OK, with a good leader and a secondary in case something happens to the main one.  Based on Yates, and assuming no more unfortunate events, it could bear in 3 more years.

Kitchen Garden. 7.10.17

Georgia Collard Greens and  Squashes.  7.10.17

Chili Peppers and Scallions.  7.10.17
 The kitchen garden is doing pretty well.  Collard greens got  mixes with squashes, when I had extra starts and didn't know where to put them.  They seem to be getting along together just fine.  Others are among blackberry plants and volunteer potatoes.  Big, beautiful leaves.

Chili pepper plants are small, but starting to take off.  Some are blooming. 
Vates Collard Greens.  7.10.17

Squashes.  7.10.17

Ripening Onions.  7.10.17
 Zucchini and summer squashes are looking good.  They are starting to bloom.

Sweet corn seems further behind this year.  The first two batches had poor germination, and I transplanted seedlings together in groups.  The later ones did better, even with rabbits eating off many of the plants.  There is still a good chance for some nice sweet corn later this year.

Both potatoes and onions are almost ready for harvest.  I dug some potatoes yesterday, and there are some nice ones.  I have also been using some of the onions, on an as-needed basis.

Tomatoes and beans are making good progress.  There are small tomatoes on some of the plants.  The pole beans are starting to climb.  I gave them some bamboo poles to climb on.
Sweet Corn, Various Start Times and Sizes.  7.10.17

Overwintered Geraniums. 7.10.17

 I don't buy geranium starts any more.  I grow them in containers.  In the fall, I move the containers to dry locations where they won't get rain. and let them dry out.  Them I move them to the garage for the winter.   No water, no added light, just dry and frost-free.  These are 3 or 4 years old.  They get better each year.

The one disadvantage is the plants don't get growing as fast as new starts.  But when they do, they are much bigger and more floriferous.

When there is one with nice form and color, it is worth keeping it going.

I have a couple that don't look as good, and will not keep them this winter. 

Container Lilies. 7.10.17

Late this Spring, I dug up these lilies from the old place, but didn't have a spot for them in the new place.  So I put them in a big plant container, gave some attention, and they bloomed the best they've ever done.

I don't know what I will do with them during the winter.  Maybe put the container in a shed.