Friday, July 30, 2010

One Day's Harvest

All this came out of the garden today:

Assorted lettuces: Black Seeded Simpson, Red Sails, Endive
Cucumbers: Armenian (just one), Lemon
Zucchini: Green Bush
Tomatoes: one little Early Girl
Peppers: Ace
Beans: Kentucky Blue (pole beans)
Plums: yellow and red (don't know the varieties)
Chard: assorted volunteers

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mr. Potato Head: The Sequel

Ahhh, the best laid plans . . . .

The second Mr. Potato Head, it must be said, is disappointingly similar to his progenitor. What that means is that the whole crop of Russian Banana Fingerlings isn't dramatically bigger than what was put in ground to produce it!

And here is the entire crop of Yukon Gold potatoes.

What went wrong? It's hard to know for sure, but I did notice that in both potato containers the spuds grew only in the bottom layer of loose, rich dirt. Perhaps adding the layers of straw was not a good idea. The straw ended up getting packed in pretty tight and may have reduced air circulation. Next year I will try filling the containers only with soil and compost.

But there was still enough to bring to the table. Putting both crops together yielded just enough potatoes for our Fourth of July mini-feast of deviled eggs, fruit salad with yogurt, veggie burgers with garden lettuce and -- ta da! -- potato salad.

Looking back to April when I was calculating Days to Maturity and planning future menus, it's clear that nothing is guaranteed:

April 23: "So I'm anticipating a Yukon Gold potato salad in early June, ten weeks from planting time in late March, and, about five weeks later, in mid-July, one of B.'s fabulous potato pizzas made with Russian Banana Fingerlings."

Here's what really happened:

The early season Yukons (70 to 90 DTM) were harvested on July 3, 97 days after planting, a week longer than the maximum expected growing time.

The late season Fingerlings (105 to 135 DTM) were harvested earlier, on June 27, 91 days after planting, which is two weeks less than the minimum expected growing time.

I harvested when the plants were yellowed and falling over. There were hardly any immature potatoes in the containers, so waiting longer would not have made a difference.

As I said, the best laid plans . . . .

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Visualize Whirled Peas

Pictured above is my share of the entire pea harvest. Peas Alfredo is very easy to put together -- at least in my opinion, not having been the one to do it. I did cook the peas, though. They just need a minute or so in water that is boiling enough to move them around. Whirled peas -- get it?

Then cooked pasta is coated with the rich cheesy Alfredo sauce, the peas are ladled out on top, and voila -- a delicious concoction that truly could contribute to harmony among nations, if only there were more of it. Fortunately, there were only two of us at dinner.

The entire pea harvest consisted of one cup of nicely sized Caseload Shelling Peas. Well worth it, to my mind, especially since this is the first ever genuine pea harvest our garden has ever produced -- after years of trying. My half-cup share felt like a personal breakthrough. Next year: two cups!

Here's the pea patch on June 13. This is pretty much the whole show. There wasn't a lot, but each nice fat pod yielded five or six nice fat peas.

This seedling, a couple of inches tall, was photographed on April 14. The peas were planted on March 19 and harvested on June 14, so Days to Maturity was about three months or 90 days.

At the time of planting I remember thinking it was too late for peas but I was wrong because this crop -- if "crop" is not too grandiose a word for one cup of peas -- has been the most successful we've ever had.

Was it the unusually cool spring? Did planting late mean the ground was warmer and the seeds didn't rot? Were conditions just right to enable the little seedlings to grow fast enough to outpace the night critters that like to shear them off at ground level?

Whatever the magical convergence of variables happened to be, we are grateful.