Monday, December 27, 2010

My 2010 Organic Garden Harvest Total is 1,424 Pounds!

I have sincerely enjoyed the Harvest Monday postings since I joined in on the fun earlier this year. Thanks to everyone who helped me get my blog fine tuned in order to participate!

I will prepare a complete final report on my 2010 crops in the next couple of weeks. It will have individual vegetable yields, market value, annual costs and crop failures as well.




Here is my last collard harvest for the year, picked just before the snow began falling. Young, tender collard greens that weighed in at one and a half pounds.


As we sit here with 13 inches of snow today, the weatherman just said we can expect temperatures in the 60's on Sunday. Good ole' unpredictable Hampton Roads weather!  Bring it on!

I wish all of you a very Happy New Year!
Veggie PAK

A Very White Christmas!

I wanted to share some snowy weather pictures with all my blogging friends. I haven't seen snow like this here since the blizzard of 1980 when we got 16 inches of snow. Since then, I had been enjoying three harvest seasons per year for several years. Perhaps that good fortune has come to an end.


The weatherman got this one right! They predicted heavy snow and wind, and we got it. All 12 inches of it delivered with gusts up to 35 mph!  Now they're calling for two more inches during the night!




This is a definite casualty of the heavy snow. My wax myrtle that I planted three years ago for the birds to feed on, was snapped off clean at the height of the top of the fence. I'm not sure how it will survive that damage.







During the early part of the day today, the snow was really piling up on the garden. I must admit though, that it does look pretty.







If there was any chance of the broccoli and Brussels sprouts surviving the sustained colder than normal temperatures and previous snows, I think this snowfall put that hope right on top of the compost pile.







Critter tracks. Probably a neighborhood cat on the prowl. He picked the wrong night for that!








My chayote really took a licking this year with all this white stuff! And I thought I was doing bad with the first frost? Little did I know that so many snowfalls were on the way!

Try to stay warm, and keep the hot chocolate flowing.

Take care, and thanks for visiting!
Veggie PAK

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To All!

Have a blessed Christmas and remember, Jesus is the reason for the season!

Veggie PAK

Monday, December 20, 2010

Harvest Monday 20 December 2010.

We're almost to the end of the calendar year, which means this is close to the last harvest for the year. I will be picking collards for Christmas dinner this week, so I still have that to look forward to. Slim pickin's this week!


Here are the last of the leeks for this year. They weighed in at 12 ounces. I'll take these and the carrots with some other vegetables and make some homemade vegetable soup.









Here are the last of the carrots. I had to bring the container into the house for it to thaw some so I could pull the carrots without damaging them.








This is what the carrots looked like cleaned up. They weighed 9 ounces. Better than nothing, as they taste pretty good. Nice and sweet!



That does it for another Harvest Monday from my organic vegetable garden.

Thanks for visiting!
Veggie PAK

Monday, December 13, 2010

Harvest Monday, 13 December 2010

We have had a time already this year with the weather! It's like Mother Nature is trying to go back to the winters of years past, when the river would freeze and people drove their cars across to the other side! Hopefully, that's not the case.




I was able to pick one three pound sugar pumpkin after the cold nights had killed the vines. It should ripen up nicely out in my garage.








Only a small amount of scallions (1 ounce) had grown enough to be harvested while unprotected from the cold. They can be used in cooking or will be tasty in a salad.







After pulling a few leeks that weighed 3/4 pound, there are still transplanted leeks "growing" in the garden. However, the seedlings from the seeds that I planted on August 26th, remain hardly as big in diameter as a ballpoint pen refill, and have been that way for, actually, months. Do any of you know about how long leeks take to grow to full size? Was August too late to plant leek seeds? We still have reasonably warm weather to the middle of October. I would have thought they would have grown to medium size by now. They won't be in my garden next year.








Carrots are stubby, but sweet! Not sure if I will try them again, as I have to consider the yield of productive crops.









After washing and trimming, those carrots weighed in at 6 ounces. That's better than the last two years!



If the frost, snow and sustained cold weather wasn't enough, we got this the first thing this morning!

video

Brrr!

(It would seem that Blogger has upgraded itself to allow video posting.)

That's all for this week's harvest. I'm expecting some additional carrots by the end of the month since I only picked a few of the bigger ones for this harvest. Additionally, there will be Swiss chard, buttercrunch lettuce and collard greens that will be harvested for the last Harvest Monday of the year.

Everybody stay warm and we'll see you next time on Harvest Monday!

Thanks for visiting!
Veggie PAK

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Old Man Winter Takes His Toll!

I decided it might be interesting to do a post about the results of sustained colder than normal temps on the garden. Even if we're not busy harvesting vegetables, gardens are still interesting to look at.

It started out with the first frost of the season a few days ago.


After the frost came the snow...






then the constant unseasonable cold temperatures...






 
and this was the result.
This is what the chayote looked like after our unseasonable cold snap into the 20's for several nights.






 
My fig tree survived the snow...








but the cold took it's toll. It will grow out in the spring.





 
This is my pumpkin row, or should I say this was my pumpkin row.








Only a handful of pumpkins will be picked and stored to mature.








Here's another little one.








Here's a smaller one, and that's the crop.








Here is a shot of the snap bean vines as they look now. I'm happy to say that this year I have not had the first problem with Mexican Bean Beetles! I don't know why that is, but it works for me!








Here's another view of the snap beans. They're finished.








These are/were my butternut squash vines on the fence.








These are my buttercrunch lettuce plants. Surprisingly, they are doing very well after all this. I really expected them to be gone from the snow and bitter cold.







 
The salsify and beets got their share of snow.






This is how my salsify plants look. Even though they're a cool weather crop, they laid down but they will pick back up. They won't be ready to harvest until early spring.






 
Here are some Detroit Dark Red beets. They're surviving, and I expect to harvest them in late spring.







My Ruby Queen beets were planted on August 17th, and are taking forever to bulb up, but I'm not giving in. I'll wait them out!






Maybe these are snow carrots!







My carrots are in a state of shock. They look worse than when the snow was on them.








The fennel and dill are slumped over, but they are coming back as the day goes along. I'll have to put them in my shop for protection from the cold. These are going to be transplanted to serve as a butterfly food source for next year.







 
The Swiss chard fared pretty well. It survived under several inches of snow several times last year.






Here is a shot of the whole chilly garden. Although the beans are finished, it was time for them to be. Now the cold weather crops have to carry us through the winter to spring.

Thanks for taking the time to visit and for sharing your comments with me! Now it's time for hot chocolate!

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Harvest Monday for 6 December 2010.


After the first fall frost, the butter beans were finished. The leaves were very frost burned and almost all of the buds that were growing were now dead. I decided to go ahead and pull each and every butter bean plant and harvest all the pods that appeared to have any formed beans inside them. I ended up with five and a half pounds of butter beans for their last harvest.








The tops of the rows of snap beans were hit hard by the frost. However, they appeared to offer some protection to the foliage below them as those leaves and buds were not damaged. There are many snap beans that are between three to five inches in length that I allowed to remain on the vines. I went through and picked the beans that were of sufficient size for harvesting, and got a total of two pounds, six ounces. If there are no more frosts for the next ten days, I should be able to get a final picking from the snap beans.








The constant strong southwest wind we had for a couple of days snapped off two broccoli plants at their base. I picked the available broccoli sprouts from them and they only weighed two ounces. The rest of the broccoli plants are looking pretty good.








The butternut squash vines were killed by the frost. I was only able to harvest five fruits that weighed a total of a little over three pounds. I have them set aside in a dark place so they will hopefully turn to the tan color that they are supposed to be when mature.








This is a picture of my compost area. I am proud of the design of this area. I started out on open ground, then went to an area enclosed with some cinder blocks, then went to the three bin style, then I created this style of compost area, and I think it is the best and most functional design that I have ever seen. I will do a posting during the winter showing the many stages of evolution to this design. At that time, I will explain the reason for abandoning each of those popular styles of compost bins. Normally, the bin on the left is used for cooling off the hot compost that is produced in the bin on the right side of the picture. However, a few days ago an opportunity came along. Two houses down the street, the homeowner was paying a man to rake and bag the leaves. I went and told the man that I would take the leaves for my garden, and he said that was fine. Since the cooling off bin had been emptied previously, I dumped 34 bags of leaves into the left area, wetting them down as I deposited them. Now, that bin is packed tight with maple leaves, and I'll have to wait until they settle more before I can add any more leaves to that bin.








I was fortunate enough to pick up already bagged leaves that had been removed from the lawn of a nearby church, as I have done for the previous two years. This is the accumulation of bags of leaves from this year that I will be using in my garden this fall and winter. I now have all the leaves that I need for this year.








This portion of my post isn't so much harvesting as it is foraging. During one of our trips to the grocery store, I drove by this huge pumpkin that was put out for collection the next day. The first thing I thought of was the seeds! I wanted those seeds for planting and sharing next year! I went over there the following morning and picked it up and worked it into the back of my truck. It was so heavy that I could hardly manage to get it into my truck! I took these pictures to document the size of it for future use.








From this angle, you can see that the monster pumpkin was larger in diameter than the depth of the bed of my truck!








This standard size pen is dwarfed by the cavernous interior of this pumpkin. Imagine your hand holding that pen, and you can better realize the size of the pumpkin.








Even at first sight, the seeds seemed much larger than the common size of pumpkin seeds.








Here are those pumpkin seeds with a penny for size comparison.








This is a size comparison between the shelled edible portion of the seed and a penny.


That concludes my posting for this week. I hope you found it interesting, and thank you for visiting my blog once more.



One more picture before I go. My son just came in the door and asked if I had looked outside tonight...

...the Virginia weather is always full of surprises!



Have a great vegetable gardening day!

Veggie PAK

Monday, November 29, 2010

FIRST FROST HITS!


The broccoli looks sad this morning as I stand out in the garden in the dark taking pictures.








The Swiss chard doesn't look bad though. It will take frost and even a few inches of snow without damage. See what looks like white brush strokes on the right? Those are my baby leeks trying to grow. The frost really attaches to those!








The Brussels sprouts look chilly, but they'll bounce back when the sun reaches them.








As for the snap beans and the butter beans, what I pick today is all I'll get from what's left of these vines. They're done for this year, but it's just about time too. They've done well for us.








On the bottom left corner you can see Swiss chard. The two rows of collards are happy as can be with the frost. That will take care of a few caterpillars that like to nibble on the leaves. The butternut squash growing on the fence fabric is finished. I'll pick the fruits and let them finish maturing in my shop. Squash vine borers really hit them hard this year.








Here in the "west field", the Brussels sprouts plants on the left are good sized and healthy, but I really haven't seen any actual sprouts yet. The collard "candles" are leafing out very well for having just been picked a few days ago. I watered my entire garden yesterday, so maybe that helps. The two rows of broccoli on the right are doing well. A couple of them may have broccoli ready to pick later this week.








Here are my sugar pumpkin vines. Just a little frosty, but not too bad. They will take a light frost or two, so they're not down for the count yet.








Here is another shot of the "east field" showing the frosty leaves. To the center right, you can see the remaining large leek plants covered with frost.








The chayote vines took a hit from this frost. I'm not sure what their reaction will be, but I'm sure there will be substantial damage. I'll be preparing the soil around the vines by placing about six inches of cured compost around them. The vines may come back next year by themselves if the winter is mild enough. If they do, I should have no problem harvesting many fruits from the vines.








Here's one tiny chayote fruit that jumped off the plant when the frost hit it!








I took this pic to document the degree of frostiness. It was a frost, but not really a heavy one.


That's it for our first frost encounter for this fall.

It's time for hot chocolate and seed catalogs!

Have a great vegetable gardening day!

Veggie PAK