Monday, March 19, 2012

Harvest Monday for March 19th, 2012.

As the weather continues to get more unseasonably warm it causes some vegetables to bolt and begin to go to seed. Our broccoli has already been harvested due to this situation, and now we have harvested our Vates collards. We had many rows and it was doing well through the winter months until now. We needed to harvest it before it bolted and went into seed production.

On Saturday, my son Jonathan began pulling the plants and laying them across a plank on top of two sawhorses, and I began picking off the leaves.

He made light work of this job. He was picking them by the fistfulls. 

We had a steady flow of collard plants coming from the garden to our "picking" area. After a few short hours, we had completed the process.

We ended up with 56 1/2 pounds of fresh organic collards! What do we do with that much collards? Look out for our fellow man, of course. We were blessed to be able to take 35 pounds of fresh collards to the Oasis Social Ministry in Portsmouth, Virginia, so they can cook them in their kitchen to serve to people less fortunate than ourselves. They do a great job there and can use all the help they can get to perform their mission.

After that was completed, I picked the Swiss chard so my son could use it in a dish he was preparing for his family. The Swiss chard yield was 2 1/4 pounds, and it looked beautiful.

Next to be harvested was the scallions from the green onions I planted in the flower pot. We got 2 1/4 ounces of scallions.

It seems as if the days continue to be warmer and warmer for this time of year. March 15th broke a record with a daytime high temperature of 86 degrees.

I decided at this point that I should be checking the soil temperature for overnight readings. I prefer to not put any seeds in the ground until the soil temperature stays at least 60 degrees overnight. I went out early one morning before the sun shone on the soil in this area and took a reading with my probe thermometer. It is a rapid change thermometer, but I still left it in the shaded ground for a full two minutes. 60 degrees. It's time to plant!

As a point of interest, the weeds were kept down to a minimum by the cross-mini-tilling that I did until the plants were too large for the tiller's tines to get through without tearing up the large leaves. At that point, I didn't mini-till anymore this season. You can see in the center of the picture the seaweedy type of weed that grew in between the plants. It really wasn't that bad. I don't feel their presence affected the harvest at all.

The day after we finished picking the collards, we did the tilling. Here my son is going over the west plot for the fourth time. The soil looks great! You can barely see the marconi pepper stalks still in place between the tiller and the camera.

Here is a view of the west plot in the top left corner of the picture, and the east plot, in the center. Since the Swiss chard is doing so well in its current place, I decided to leave it there until the end of the summer. The lettuce, when finished going to seed, will come out and be replaced by another vegetable type.

Here is a treat for the tomatoes when I go to plant them. Pulverized egg shells. Since last fall, I have been drying them and crushing them up in a pot each time we use them in order to sow the shell fragments in the holes for my tomato plants for a calcium boost. I ended up with about 34 ounces of pulverized shells.

Finally, here is one of our garden helpers. A baby toad. We are fortunate to have a good population of them in our back yard and garden. We watch out for them when tilling or doing other work that might injure them. We just relocate them out of harm's way when we find them. Our yard used to be overrun with slugs, but for two or three years now, we don't see any. That's because these critters are feasting on them.

That concludes this week's Harvest Monday Report. Thanks for visiting and I hope you found it informative.

Have a great vegetable gardening day.
Veggie PAK


  1. Wow, what a harvest! So nice of you to give those collard greens to that kitchen, I'm sure they were very appreciated!

  2. 56 1/2 pounds of collards, that's an impressive amount. I am sure it was enjoyed by all the people. I should remember the eggshell tips for the tomatoes and start saving my egg shells.

  3. wow that's a lot of collard greens! I'm going to plant some collards both for greens for me and for some chickens!

  4. Too bad about the collards! I felt the same way when our arugula flowered too soon. Warms my heart to know yours is going somewhere it will be need and appreciated. Keep up the impressive work! - Cullen