Harvest & Market, 5/16-5/28

'Sparkler' radishes

This year I have been meaning to keep better track of my harvests so I have a better sense of what my garden produces. A couple of weeks ago, I did start weighing and measuring and recording those counts in my garden journal, but I have yet to post. Since that's what this blog is for, here's the rough count for the last two weeks:

10 oz 'Sparkler' radishes (with greens)
roughly 2 cups lettuce, chopped (a mix of 'Jericho' and 'Flashy Trouts Back')
2 small bunches of arugula
bunch of chive flowers
small bunch of yellow multiplier onion flower buds
8 oz 'Shandong' garlic greens and young bulbs

The radish greens were combined with the first batch of arugula for an arugula/radish pesto, while the radishes themselves ended up with the lettuce and chive flowers in a salad topped with sliced chicken. The second bunch of arugula was combined with another bunch I received from our CSA for more arugula pesto (a brilliant recipe from Serving Up the Harvest and my favorite way to enjoy it). The garlic greens ended up in a stir-fry, and I have been using the young bulbs in a variety of dishes.

This is Year 3 with the Fair Share Farm CSA, and we picked up our second week's worth of produce on Wednesday. We get too much to list here, but we've gotten plenty of radishes, lettuce, and greens. Along with the tasty hakurei turnips they offer each season, which are far sweeter than other turnips and are great eaten raw. I like to use them in stir-fries and salads as well.

Another habit I'd like to get back into is tracking our "take home" from the City Market, which we try to visit as often ass possible. Today we took home:

2 quarts blueberries
bunch of rhubarb
2 pints strawberries & a bunch of 'Chioggia' beets from Goode Acres (one of my favorite growers at the market)
bunch of large spring onions
appr. 1lb broccoli
honey from Busy Bee Acres in Odessa, MO

I'm planning on making some preserves from the blueberries, as well as making some rhubarb/strawberry preserves. The 'Chioggia' beets look like little bull's eyes and are far too pretty for pickling, so I am thinking about making some roasted beet chips (for which I will need a mandoline).

Right now, the garden is looking great, in spite of the wet/cool conditions of late. I am planning on harvests of spinach, chard, raab, and kale in the next week or two. And possibly an early harvest of some garlic to make way for the tomatoes. 'Shandong' is considered an early hardneck variety, so it's ready for harvest by June. I haven't seen any scapes yet, so I don't know. The radishes look great but aren't really producing bulbs. Some quick reading informed me that excess water may be the culprit. Guess we'll wait and see how things go!


What's going on in the garden?

Yesterday, after transplanting lots of plants and cleaning up a part of the herb border, I decided it would be nice to post some recent photos and do a virtual walk-through of the yard. The last couple weeks have been pretty tough. We had a good week or so of rain, during which time I twisted my ankle while at a bar with friends and ended up with a sprained foot. So once the rain cleared up, I was stuck on the couch reading, avoiding as much physical activity as I could. Thankfully, my condition in the last week has improved and due to a severe case of cabin fever, I've been trying to do as much in the garden as my foot will allow. A number of the photos I'm posting were taken prior to the rain and damaged foot, but I did manage to get a few great shots of the front garden, which I tend to neglect far too much.

And so, without further ado....


Here's one of the currant bushes I planted the first week or so of April. I can't recall the variety offhand, but I chose currant bushes for the backyard as they can tolerate partial shade and like mildly sloped locations for soil drainage (check and check). Much to my surprise, all three bushes are taking off and look even more fecund than in this photo. I won't be able to harvest until next year, however.

Solomon's Seal

Nearby, there's a Solomon's Seal I planted last year. This variety has variegated leaves, which I thought would be more eye-catching than the old-fashioned variety.

Unknown Flower

And some adorable unknown flower blooming beneath the serviceberry, also planted last year. The leaves and flowers looked very familiar, but I can't seem to place a name on it. Any guesses?


If you look closely up in this tree, you'll see one of our crows overseeing the backyard. I say "our crows" because we have (for the second year) a pair currently nesting in our spruce up front, which the other crows also gather in during the winter. It's a bit of serendipity that my favorite bird and the namesake of this blog sees fit to guard my little domain.

Vegetable Garden, West Side

Moving on to the vegetable garden, here's a shot I took way back on April 20th. You can see that a lot of plants weren't yet in the ground. I like to harden my plants off by setting them roughly in the spot where they're going to be planted, so they get acclimated to the conditions.

Raspberry Bush

A photo of the raspberries from yesterday. This year I've decided to drill some holes into the posts and create a proper wire trellis system, since the twine I've been using tends to buckle after a few good rains.

Lettuce, etc.

And here are some lettuce plants just after they've been planted, under a handmade trellis that will be used to support cucumbers and zucchini.

Volunteer Lettuce

Here's a volunteer lettuce I spotted early in the season, along with several others of the 'Flashy Trout's Back' and 'Winter Density' variety. I'm so happy that they've decided to self-seed and will be sure to let this year's lettuce go to seed. My little ecosystem is humming along.

Onions, Chard, Beets, and Spinach

Onions, chard, beets, and spinach. I space my seeds when planting to conserve them as much as possible, usually 2-3 seeds which I thin later. I don't always do this, but it is a useful trick I learned from square-foot gardening that works for me. Not as useful for small seeds like carrots, but works great for big seedsed brassicas and chenopods.

Onions and Lettuce

A close-up of one of the beds, with yellow multiplier onions, 'Jericho' lettuce in the pot, and arugula seedlings just sprouting. This is my second attempt at growing the yellow multipliers from bulbs in autumn. The last time I tried this in 2009, my bulbs ended up rotting. This year I'm taking the advice of Territorial Seeds and not clipping the leaves, which can draw water to the bulb. Live and learn, eh?

Vegetable Garden, East Side

A view of the same beds from the east. I'm impressed with how lush the radishes look, especially since they have been getting smooshed by squirrel and kitties.

Vegetable Garden, East Side

Full view with path, cold frame, and rain barrel. As you can see, things are a bit of a mess. We still haven't fixed the layout of the flagstones or gotten the mulch over all the landscape fabric. The farthest south path was also destroyed last autumn when our new neighbors had to repair a pipe running through the yard and will need to be redone.

Front Garden

But let's not talk of these things. Let us move on to the lovely front border. Again, a bit of a mess, as I've not cleared out all the violets and weeds. But I am happy with how everything's filling out. It looks like more of a thought-out garden than when we bought the house in 2006.


As I said, I have not cleared out all the weeds. At least they're pretty, though.

Heuchera and Tulips

I'm in love with the color combo here of the reddish violet tulips and burgundy/silver heuchera leaves. The tulips are the lily-flowered 'Ballade' variety, which starts out with more white on the tips.


Another shot of the 'Color Dream' heuchera. Despite their current ubiquity, I love these plants. The frilly leaves and soft little flowers. And so many colors to choose from. I might have to plant more.


I also love chive flowers. After dividing up some plants in the herb garden last year, I brought a few into the front border. The buds are almost as interesting as the globe-like flowerheads. They're edible, too.

Front Border

Back to the tulips! The 'Violet Beauty' cultivar looks especially gorgeous this year. I've noticed that these and the 'Ballade' are the more dependable than my 'Cum Laude' and 'Queen of Night' tulips in terms of perennializing. I've also noticed that 'Violet Beauty's has somewhat grayish leaves, which I find very attractive against the lime green sedum ground cover.


The flowers are even more gorgeous close-up. Look at that veining! Sigh...

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the tour. More to come soon!