This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

fruit harvest - stolen pears

My fruit harvests this year, in addition to a couple cups of blueberries early this summer:
25 (wohoo!) apples, 2 peaches, 2-3 cups of red raspberries a week (they'll produce for about 4 weeks), and about 20 lbs of pears. (I'll post the photos soon.)

I was very disappointed that about half my pear harvest "disappeared this year. No signs of deer, raccoons or other wildlife. Since my two espaliered trees are in my plot at a busy community garden, I have to think they were stolen. All the pears from the lower two branches were missing. These branches are very easy to reach from outside my garden. I was left with only the ones 6-8 ft up on the top branch. Theft is pretty common at our Gardens. I have plans next year to put up chicken wire around the trees and hopefully keep all the pears I grow - I want to at least know who I share them with.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

wet weather harvest

Today I spent a hour or so at my community garden plot. Tasks:

Pick red raspberries
Harvest 4 big butternut squash
Pick ripe tomatoes, eggplant, peppers
Pull and compost dead tomatoes plants
Pull and compost spent summer squash vines
Weed escarole bed with my Dutch hoe
Sow seeds for Daikon, salad radish, and spinach to replace a row of escarole eaten by chipmunks

The good part was I didn't need to water the garden. Bad part, I got soaked by the rain (tropical storm Jose) that we've had a couple days now.

I am just now noticing that it's only 3 weeks til our average first frost date (Oct10). How can that be!  It's been in the 70-80s this week and not much below 50F at night. Crazy weather, but I won't complain about warmth.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

today's harvest

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That's a big head of Murdoc cabbage. Almost 5 lbs. Its the third I picked this year - and a first year for me trying this. It's an excellent variety. Tender and mild. Perfect for coleslaw, fried rice, and stir fries. I'm looking forward to making sauerkraut with it.

I dug a few small horseradish roots. I love the smell. So did Charley. He loves everything from the garden - even enjoyed eating a piece of the horseradish. I had to shoo him away from the harvest bucket after that.

I also picked a few well ripened bean pods of a variety I save year to year. It's a long white Chinese pole bean given to me at least 10 years ago now. I'm glad I got them before the chipmunks!

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Friday, September 08, 2017

today's harvest

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Saturday, September 02, 2017

pictures of my community garden plot

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I've been working in my plot a few hours today. It's very hot, but tomorrow nice rains are predicted so I'm planting fall seedlings and seeding a winter cover crop. I also dug my second of three rows of potatoes - the seedlings went in on top of this freshly dug soil. Escarole, radicchio, lettuce, arugula, broccoli, kailan (Chinese kale), and spinach. I pulled spent cucumber vines from my three tepees and planted pea seedlings around them. Oregon giant - a snow pea I love. I try planting fall peas every year and have never gotten a pod before frost kills the plants, but I keep trying. I started these seedlings inside several weeks ago. We'll see...

On my garlic bed, I planted a cover crop mix with spring oats, vetch, field peas, and rye grass. I also scattered crimson clover as a winter cover crop on the harvested onion bed, and under my tomatoes, summer squash, and peppers. I ended up with a big harvest of potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, raspberries, eggplants, cucumbers, my first ripe butternut squash, and a couple pears to test ripeness. I got home and dumped it all on the kitchen counter. It was a pretty picture with all the colors and shapes all mixed up. I had a photo but seems I lost it.

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Monday, August 07, 2017

today's harvest

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Friday, August 04, 2017

today's harvest

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Thursday, August 03, 2017

today's harvest

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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

fall and winter garden planning

I've finished planting most of my fall vagarables now. This week I'll plant a couple more. Fall vegetables are ones I harvest before they are killed by cold weather and don't use any cold protection.

I'm beginning to plan my winter bed now. I'll use the same double layered tunnel that's worked well for me the past couple years. I'll fill this bed with crops that are full grown by early November so I'll be able to harvest them all winter.

My fall vegetables: beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, arugula, spinach, escarole, and broccoli.

My winter vegetables: spinach, escarole, lettuce, and arugula.

I'm keeping record of my planting on my 2017 planning list.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

beets ready to roast

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Today's fresh beets, ready to cook my favorite way! Two deep red Merlin's and one pink Chiogga.

I love to roast them in foil. It's so simple and it keeps in all the flavor. Just clean and trim the beets, wrap them in foil and roast at about 400 F til tender, about 45 minutes depending on size of the beets. The skin peels off easy after roasting and they're ready to eat.

With these beets I made a beet salad with goat cheese, candied walnuts, a nice vinaigrette, and baby green lettuce. I used this recipe: Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, from AllRecipes.

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today's harvest

The last of my garlic, a couple cucumbers, and three very beautiful beets.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

garlic envy

I visited my Mom 's garden yesterday. I weeded her paths dense with purslane and grasses. I fertilized her tomatoes and squashes, pulled her spent pea vines, and gave Charley a bunch of old broccoli stems and a few last peas to eat.

I also pulled my Mom's ripe garlic. I had serious garlic envy last year. My heads were so small, hers were nice, and I vowed to work on my soil to get heads as big as hers. A week ago I finished pulling my garlic and it is much bigger than last year's. I was pleased. But yesterday, head after head, I pulled my Mom's and it's amazing. Even bigger than it was last year and definitely bigger than mine. ---- So I still have garlic envy. And will vow another year to work on my soil.

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sprouting fall seedlings and evading the chipmunk

My little fall greens seedlings are sprouting. No thanks to the chipmunk that dug up several of the pots. Maybe he didn't find much, maybe I had planted twice what I needed, as it seems I am getting a lot of sprouts anyway. Lettuce, escarole, arugula, bok choy. They will fill in the spaces left by spent spring vegetables. I moved the seedling tray to a safer location that chipmunks can't get to.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

donation

Today I donated a big box full of fresh vegetables to a local food pantry. Squash, cucumbers, broccoli, broccolini, bulb fennel, green onions, beets, radish, kale, peas, and parsley. It's a great feeling to grow enough food to give it away.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

today's harvest

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