Monday, May 16, 2011

Our Harvest Monday for May 16th, 2011, and, A Pictorial Garden Visit.

Thanks for all the well wishes and I'm happy to say that I'm fully recovered from my recent surgery and I've been hard at work in the garden. We had a small harvest this week, but we're thankful for it.

We picked 3/4 of a pound of green beauty snow peas, and they were delicious! They're good enough for me to consider letting the remainder of the pods ripen for seed saving.

We also picked 5 ounces of schav (or sorrel) to make homemade soup. This was a pretty good picking from just four plants.

Here's my grandson Noah checking the bait in the raccoon trap next to our garden. In the past, the raccoons have damaged or destroyed a lot of our crops. Hopefully we'll catch them and relocate them somewhere miles away.

It's hard to catch a raccoon when a mocking bird eats the bait which consists of a peanut butter sandwich.

This pic is from when Noah was watering the freshly sown fortex green bean rows. He's a great help in the garden and he remembers what I tell him about raising certain vegetables. His little sister Keira told him to "look at the white butterfly" and Noah told her it wasn't a butterfly, it was a cabbage moth. I told Noah last year about what the cabbage moths do to your garden.

A load of nine bags of fresh grass clippings for the compost pile. This should really get it cooking!

And there it is, all blended in. I'll be turning this every two or three days to keep it aerated sufficiently.

Here are some schav or sorrel plants that my mom saved from the tiller in her garden in upstate New York. Mom and my sister sent them to me by the next day via express mail. The plants have already grown larger than what they were when they arrived.

Still growing the scallions on the green onions I planted last year. I'll probably pick these next week for use in a dip with crackers.

The bouquet dill is growing nicely in this container. I may transplant it later to an area protected from the wind.

Raspberries are forming already. It won't be long before they'll be ready for picking.

The blueberries are doing very well, but still have a few weeks to go before they're ready for me to begin harvesting them.

I planted some Henderson baby butter beans in one of the half barrels this year to see how they produce in there. They will be easier to pick this way instead of being on my hands and knees trying to find them.

The Straight 8 cucumbers are sprouting very well. I keep the soil moist to help them along.

The California Wonder Sweet Peppers are showing new growth since being transplanted.

The two caged rows of tomatoes on the left are Burpee's Big Boys and the two rows on the right are Park's Whoppers. I bought some of the green metal fence posts five years ago and they are still in great condition. That saves the time and trouble of looking for cage staking material every year. When I figure in my annual garden costs, whatever was purchased in the current year is calculated in full against the total value of the crops for that year. I don't prorate things based on the life of the material for my garden.

This is the Whiteout corn a couple days after the first ones started popping up. We're looking forward to some great sweet corn!

The Fortex green beans are looking great! I planted two additional rows plus parallel seeded the rows for twice the harvest. One interesting thing about the beans at this point is that up close, the leaves all look like little hearts. That must mean it's a vegetable to love.

From this angle you can better see the parallel seeding pattern that I used. Basically one row on each side of each fence with space in between for the next seeding. As soon as these plants have attached themselves to the fence material and start climbing it unassisted, I will sow the next planting of seeds in between the two established rows. That way, each of the two established "rows" of each main row will guide the new beans to the fence material to grow up onto.

Remember the previous post about the Swiss chard seed that my little grandaughter sowed in the container in our kitchen? Well these are the plants from that seed sowing. Some in the foreground are smaller but most are about 4 inches high. I was able to transplant 156 Ruby Red Swiss Chard plants through the help of her sowing the seed for it.

Here are my two rows of San Marzano tomato plants compliments of Norfolk County Feed and Seed. These are reputed to be great sauce tomatoes. In the right side of the pic you can see the Giant Marconi green pepper plants. I had three plants last year that produced 182 peppers that weighed a total of 21.75 pounds. This year we have 15 plants, so the harvest should be substantial!

The two center rows are La Roma II sauce tomatoes. I plan to use those as a backup sauce tomato. On the far right edge of the tilled area you can see my 7 sweet banana pepper plants. These sweet banana peppers are supposed to be especially good when pickled. Pickling will be a new experience for me, but I have a large assortment of my grandmother's crocks to use for it.

These are my Petaluma Gold Rush beans compliments of Michelle in California. They look like strong plants at this stage. I can't wait to see how they produce!

The Reliance grapes are slower growing than the others at this point. Odd, but the opposite was true last year.

The Himrod grapes have several very nice clusters of grapes forming on the vines.

The Glenora grape vines have gone berserk with grape clusters! There are wonderful long clusters of grapes forming all over the vines!

The Schav is responding excellently to a dose of dried blood. These four plants were picked down to a couple of little leaves apiece just earlier this week and most of what you saw in the pot was soil. Now look at them!

Looking out for the pollinators, here is a larkspur for them to enjoy...

and a Bachelor Button as well!



These are the Brussels sprouts plants that I let go to seed. It's so top heavy that it's fallen over. You can see that it is loaded with seed pods.

Here are the Brussels sprouts plants hanging upside down to finish drying in my shop.

Now for the perplexing part of the seed saving process. Everything I have read about saving seeds from Brussels sprouts or broccoli says that you absolutely MUST let the seed pods dry on the plant before you pull the plant. Now I'm no expert, but look at the following pics of the conditions of the stalks of the plants that I pulled. I fail to see how any nutrients can be going to the seed pods through these stalks. They are completely dry. Even the green skin just cracked away when squeezed. Consequently, what is the need for keeping the plants in the ground until the pods are browning?

Look at how the rope just crushed this stalk by the weight of the plant.

Arouses one's curiosity doesn't it?

This is what the gathered broccoli seed pods look like while still on the plants. They are also hanging in my shop to dry. One thing that I noticed while in the yard working is that the birds started eating the seeds like there was no tomorrow! They were even going to these two bundles and eating them while I was still there working. They bite the bulge in the pods where the seed is. Is that an indication that these seeds are viable and now ready to be dried and stored? I don't know, but nature does have a way about things.

This is a pic of one piece of a branch of broccoli that had dried on a plant in the garden.

Now if you look close, you can still see debris in with the seeds. Some seeds are also green. Does that mean that they are not viable seed or just not dried completely? I don't know. I do know that if all the seed in this pic came from that little branch and I have two heavy bundles of broccoli seed pods hanging up drying... I'm going to have a LOT of broccoli seed! That's a good thing since it lasts for five years.

That's it! Thanks for visiting and reading about our garden adventures. Any comments or suggestions are always welcome!

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK


  1. I enjoyed the tour and your garden is looking great, very well organized. That's a lot of broccoli seed...good for you. I'll have to look up sorrel soup as we have lots of sorrel this year.

  2. I don't have much experience seed saving, and especially not the plants you saved, but I'm impressed by the number of broccoli seeds yielded from the plants you had! Your garden is looking great - you must *really* like swiss chard to plant 156 plants!

  3. Those peas look delicious. And wow that was a huge pepper harvest from a few plants last year. My peppers never get that big.

  4. Yum! Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to sow any peas this spring... or any other spring veggies besides some lettuce varieties that are taunting me with how tiny they are.

    The broccoli seeds will be good for that long? That's crazy. Good thing you still have some after fending off the hungry birds.

  5. I am happy to hear that you are feeling better. Wow, you have a lot going on in your garden right now! Everything looks great as usual. I don't have any answers to the questions that you asked about the seeds. I have never saved seeds from asparagus or broccoli.

    Keep up the good work and stop out working all of us younger gardeners!!

  6. Mr. H, thanks for the compliments! I'll find my copy of the recipe and send it to you by email.

    foodgardenkitchen, saving broccoli seeds is a new experience for me this year. I have two small Rubbermaid totes filled with broccoli seed pods that are almost ready to begin popping open. We really do like Swiss chard. I grow it for my kid's families as well as me and my wife. We love stuffed Swiss chard leaves! They're similar to stuffed grape leaves. Small but delicious.

    Daphne, the peas were very delicious! I'll be saving some seed and planting those again for sure! I never had good luck with green bell pepper types until I tried the Giant Marconi Green Peppers. They're like elongated green bell peppers. They don't get a large enough diameter to stuff, but they are delicious raw or any way you prepare them.

    Prarie Cat, I read that the broccoli seeds are good for five years, but even when five years is up that doesn't mean that all of a sudden they're all no good. I guess that's why they recommend planting more seed than you need and then thinning them out. If they don't germinate, you don't have to thin them.

    Robin, I'm happy to be busy in the garden with keeping everything growing nicely. When I saw the condition of the broccoli stalks I knew it was time to pull them, no matter what the books said. I couldn't see any benefit of letting them stay any longer, plus, I needed the space for new vegetable plants to go in. I believe I will have a surplus of broccoli seed when this is done. Being retired really helps with time needed for the garden. I love it!

    Thanks to everyone for visiting and thanks to those that shared comments with me. I really enjoy them.

    Have a great gardening day!
    Veggie PAK

  7. WOW!! You've got a lot going on in your garden! I'm jealous...PEAS! I'm still waiting for flowers on my plants. LOL!!

  8. The peas are delicious! I'm saving the rest of them for seeds for next year when I hope to have enough seed for a 20 foot row of them.

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Veggie PAK