Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer Starting Well

One spring planting goal is to get major crops in the ground by the first day of summer. We have three staggered plantings of sweet corn, more than 100 each of tomatoes and peppers, Swiss chard, onions, basil, cucumbers, beans, winter and summer squash, kale sugar snap peas, cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, okra and salad items. So far only one tragedy: over 100 basil plants were eaten by some critter the day after they were transplanted! Luckily we have two additional beds with better fences that are growing well. Deer browse our tomatoes and peas, but we have more than enough for sharing.
Asparagus Sprouting

Asparagus are our first vegetable harvest in spring and lasts through early June. Our next harvest is rhubarb that we make into pies. At this time our Guinea fowl also start to lay eggs so we have lots to for custard to incorporate the rhubarb chunks. 
Rhubarb Pie
One trick I use to prompt judicious planting is to soak seeds for 24 hours and then moisten them a few times a day until they sprout. This gives them leg up since they don't have to absorb moisture from the soil. It also insures that only viable seeds get planted. And planted in the order they sprout! Keeping the array of cups with a moistened seeds by the coffee machine, prompts me to check them at least three times a day when I brew cups. Most of our favorite Zucchino Rampicante seeds we saved from last summer's crop didn't sprout. Luckily we still had a few mature fruit in the cellar so we processed the largest one and its seeds grew! We also had to make lots of pies and squash meals.

Cups of Seeds Waiting to Sprout

The Seed Cavity of the Above Squash

One Zucchini Pie
Another sign of spring: when it gets hot, our dog melts and hides deep in the garage, lying on the cool concrete floor. We then know it's time to shave her. Though she reluctantly puts up with the noise of the clipper, she's overjoyed when it's over and she zips around, rolling over and over in the cool grass. She now follows me around but takes advantage of shade when I work in sunny gardens.
Belle, Half-shaved

Our Dog, Belle, Happily Sporting Her "Lion" Cut

Some of Belle's Hair to be Made into Yarn One Day
Shiitake mushrooms are another sign of spring: after a heavy rain, they bolt out of the oak logs we inoculated the year before.
Shiitake Mushrooms Growing out of Oak Logs

Many Pounds of Harvested Shiitake Mushrooms
A few weeks later, oyster mushrooms begin sprouting out of their ash-leaved maple logs.
Oyster Mushrooms 1

Oyster Mushrooms 2
As soon as summer begins, garlic scapes pop out the top of each plant. We incorporate them into many meals, chop them for freezing but donate most to a homeless shelter. We have so many garlic bulbs on the way that store well without taking room in the freezer so we don't need to preserve many scapes.
Broccoli and Garlic Scapes for Dinner!

Broccoli and Scape Curry With Rice

First Garlic Scape Harvest: 15 Pounds, 10 to a Homeless Shelter