Monday, May 19, 2014

(Coz we gotta get) Back to the Garden

 This is the time of year when the winter crops are about to play out and the summer crops are just starting to flourish and so, I am posting a few shots of what we are harvesting at the moment.

Here are the winter carrots that took forever to germinate this winter. We planted them 4 times over the fall and only started seeing any green sprouting in March. BUT, the wait was worth it and they are so sweet! You are also looking at the first zuc of the year..... I love zucchini!  

And right in time for peas and carrots, you see a tidy saucer of peas and there on the lower left are French Shallots.

We grow shallots year-round and these little gems are NOT the California giants you might be accustomed to seeing and buying at the grosch.... these are from Louisiana, taste like a cross between garlic & onion and are so easy & fun to grow because once you get them going, they just don't stop.  

Now, what you are looking at below is how they appear when they are ready to harvest but you gotta help them get to that point, first. They look all spent and tired. But when they are young and growing, they look an awful lot like pencil onions or green onions and you can eat them like that, by snipping off the tender green shoots.....but....

......once you start seeing any little shoot that look like it's going to turn into a flower, like these do below  you need to cut that off down low. Why? well, all the energy that the plant needs to make that flowerhead could and should be used in the growing of the bulb down below the soil line. If you let the flower go to head, you will only end up with a little bulb no bigger than your fingertip. 

They're good too, and great for replanting, but the bigger ones make for good eating.
So, snip off those flower buds long before they start opening. Cut them as soon you see them start to form. You can also add fertilizer to the soil at this point to help plump up the bulb.

In about 6 weeks or so, you see that the plant looks half-dead but it isn't. All that growing is going on where you can't see until you take a spade and lift it up. It is easier to do if the soil is dry.

Grab hold of the stems to help ease the whole clump out and you will see beautiful green/white bulbs ready to wash and separate.

Once the soil is washed away, you can see how the bulb is growing attached to each of the stalks.... just pop them off , keep all the big ones for cooking and all or just a few of the little bulbs with roots still attached can now be replanted about 8 inches apart for your next crop. You really only need 6-10 for your next crop, unless you love to cook, a lot!

Just plunk them in a new hole and leave the tip sticking out.... water it well and frequently if the weather is hot and you should see new green leaves start showing up in about 3-4 weeks. It take about 5 months to get them to a good size, so try digging up a small clump halfway through it, separate them and replant.... this way you have a new batch to cook with every few months.

Here is a quick shot of the tomatoes we planted in the upper raised beds... these are romas.

And I have to show this shot, only because it drives John nuts. We planted a bed of zinnias last year and the seeds just went everywhere! John hates it that I won't let him spray the walk-path between the beds but, that's where all the flowers are!

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