Monday, November 29, 2010


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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Harvest Monday for 29 November

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and realized all the blessings that are constantly bestowed upon us. I consider our wonderful vegetable gardens to be one of those blessings for each of us.

These are the 7.5 pounds of fresh collards that I picked to add to our family's Thanksgiving dinner.

The third picking of snap beans to be used for Thanksgiving dinner weighed in at 2 pounds. When combined with the previous two pickings, there was plenty to go around.

I picked 1.25 pounds of leeks to make potato and leek soup this week.

Two pounds of butter beans picked and shelled this week added to the previous two harvests helped add to the bounty.

This week's harvest combined with the previous ones brings the total harvest weight for this calendar year so far to be 1,408 pounds. That's the equivalent of 0.938 pounds per square foot from a 1,500 square foot garden.

There's six weeks left in the calendar year. I still have a 20 foot row of swiss chard that hasn't been picked yet, and a 26 foot row that is growing back fast from the first harvest where I just cut them all off at two inches high. Then there are 96 row feet of Brussels sprouts, and 76 row feet of broccoli that haven't been picked. Both of those are growing pretty slow though, so I doubt if they will make it into this year's total weight. But even if they don't, they will go into next year's total weight as they will be harvested during that calendar year. I will have one more harvest of snap beans, and one more harvest of butter beans before I pull them out in order to plant the rest of the cool weather crops this year. I also have just a few butternut squash ripening on the vines. They haven't done particularly well this year or last. They may face elimination from the garden next year. The buttercrunch lettuce is growing back from the first harvest, so there will be a second harvest of that, but it's lightweight so maybe I'll get 3/4 pound from that. I have 56 row feet of collards that haven't been harvested yet, and a 28 foot row that is growing back just fine after the first harvest. I have a container with chantenay carrots that are scheduled to be harvested this week. I have a 20 foot row of sugar pumpkins that are racing for maturity against the first killing frost. Our first frost was to have been on the 23rd, but that morning it was 56 degrees.

I have salsify (oyster plant) growing in two cut-off barrels, but that won't be ready until spring.


I have beets growing in cut-off barrels in commercially prepared potting soil that grow the same way in the ground. According to schedule, they are ready to harvest. However, as you can see, I have yet to find any developed root bulbs. I had the same problem when I planted them in the garden. No "beets". These are pics of two of the beets after growing for 68 days in one of the half-barrels. They were supposed to be ready for harvest in 58 days. It looks just like the ones from the garden last year, but the seeds were from a different supplier. This is certainly a recurring and perplexing problem. I reluctantly have to say, "It beets me!" I had my soil tested last year, and all the minerals were within range except that I had to add lime. That was it.

That about does it for this weeks harvest and "state of the garden" address.

Thanks for visiting and if you have any suggestions for that beet problem, please share them with me! I have the same problem trying to grow radishes. Radishes! Can you believe that?

Have a great gardening day!

Veggie PAK

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harvest Monday for 22 November

For the first time, I picked butter crunch lettuce from my garden. It weighed in at only 7 ounces. It tastes very good though!

After watching the butter beans for a few days after fertilizing them with blood meal and watering them thoroughly, I had to pick the plump pods. I didn't want them to begin shrinking and turning hard like seed beans. So, I ended up picking the plump ones and leaving the thin pods to fill out... again. I ended up with 3.25 pounds of butter beans.

I was able to pick 2 ounces of scallions from the green onions that I had planted. They will have to be sorted through as I prepare to chop them because the browning tips aren't edible.

I was able to pick 1 pound 5 ounces of snap beans this week. There are still a lot of blooms on the vines, but I know the first frost is coming and that will be the end of the beans. The leaves are looking stressed with the night time temperatures dipping into the low 40's.

The sorrel was able to provide another picking that weighed 4 ounces. I'll be using that to make soup in a few days. It keeps well in the refrigerator in a zip lock bag.

This is my first picking of parsley that weighed in at a whopping 1.25 ounces. I'll be using that for smoothies.

There was only a tiny harvest of French Tarragon at 3/4 of an ounce. That will be used for making flavored vinegar.

A small amount of chives was harvested this week. It weighed in at 2 ounces. I'll chop that up and mix it with cream cheese for a spread.

The Swiss chard was really pretty in the garden, but it also looks good on the table. The picked weight was 2.25 pounds, and was the first picking from this row.

That finishes up another week in the garden! The only other significant happening is that I resowed my Detroit Red Beets and my Salsify. Both are coming up in my 1/2 barrels and are looking good, but both are slow growers. That's why I chose to resow now.

Thanks for visiting!

Have a great vegetable gardening day!

Veggie PAK

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harvest Monday

Night time temperatures have been dipping down into the mid-forties here. As a result, the production from the second crop of warm weather vegetables is substantially slowing down. The first fall frost is supposed to occur here on November 23rd. Although the cool nights are slowing down bean pod growth quite a bit, the snap beans are still producing new flowers. Hopefully, the honey bees from the hives two yards away will come over to pollinate them in the warm mid-day temperatures. Today it was 70 degrees in our back yard garden.

The snap bean harvest is dwindling down now. This week, I was only able to pick one pound six ounces. Still, I'm grateful for it.

The butter beans surprised me with another good picking that weighed in at three and a half pounds. I felt sure that there was only going to be one more picking, but I'm glad I was wrong about that. It is remarkable that the butter beans as well as the snap beans are still producing flowers for additional beans. There are several hundred butter bean pods that I am hoping will fill out before the frost gets them. It has gotten to the point of us watching the evening weather report and looking for frost warnings. When we're expecting frost, I'm going to cover the row with old bed sheets in hopes of preventing damage.

I used the snap beans from last week and canned six pints of Dilled Green Beans, using a Mrs. Wages prepared recipe. I haven't canned them before, but I like dill and I like green beans, so they should be good.

I thought I would try my hand at dehydrating apples. Since I don't have an apple tree, I used store-bought apples. They came out pretty good. I pre-treated them with citric acid before dehydrating them, then after they cooled, I stored them in Ball canning jars to keep the air out so they would last longer.

By next week, I hope to be picking Swiss chard. It's just about ready.

Have a great vegetable gardening day!


Veggie PAK

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Annual Harvest To Date 1,383.81 Pounds

This is a list of the vegetables I grew/am growing and the actual pounds harvested since 1 January 2010. Those vegetables with no harvest to date are not included on this list. Vegetables still growing but not exhausted are on this list.

I track applicable individual units such as "each" tomato, cucumber, pepper, etc. One of the most productive plants was the Juliett tomato. It was a single plant of that type that came into my garden under the guise of a Park's Whopper. Although not what I intended, I was amazed by its productivity. From one single Juliett tomato plant, I harvested 744 tomatoes! To me, that's amazing, and they were delicious! I will absolutely plant a couple of those next year!

This is a picture of some of the Julietts after being blanched. They look like baby romas.

Beans, Butter----------------------16.3
Beans, Pole Green Snap Fortex------30.3
Collards, VATES-------------------256.5
Peppers, Giant Marconi Green-------21.95
Raspberries, Heritage---------------0.16
Squash, Butternut Waltham-----------0.69
Beans, Pole Green Snap Fortex------21.5
Blueberries, Climax-----------------0.016
Blueberries, Premier----------------0.594
Chard, Ruby Red Swiss--------------24.25
Corn, Whiteout---------------------24.5
Cucumbers, Burpless-----------------0.1
Cucumbers, Spring Crop, Slicing---289.5
Eggplant, Black Beauty-------------32.0
Grapes, Reliance Red----------------0.063
Herb, Dill, Boquet OG, Container----0.125
Herb, Sorrell or Schav--------------0.703
Herbs, French Tarragon--------------0.078
Herbs, Rosemary---------------------0.031
Herbs, Sage-------------------------0.039
Onion, Green------------------------0.313
Peanuts, Virginia Brand-------------0.001
Peppers, Mild Sweet Banana---------16.59
Potatoes, Yukon Gold----------------0.25
Raspberries, Heritage---------------0.58
Squash, Yellow/Green Zephyr---------5.25
Sunflowers, Giant Mammoth-----------1.75
Tomatoes, Brandywine--------------345.5
Tomatoes, Juliett------------------29.4
Tomatoes, Matt's Wild Cherry--------1.4
Tomatoes, Parks Whopper-----------246.4

Have a great vegetable gardening day!

Thanks for visiting.

Veggie PAK

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Harvest Monday

I really enjoy getting in extra harvests simply by planning the dates when the vegetable plants should be in the ground. In my Excel spreadsheets, when I put a projected date in one column, based on other data in the spreadsheet, the harvest date pops into the scheduled maturity date column. It is SO helpful! Doing it this way gives you so much more control of the potential harvests. Basically, you're scheduling them throughout the year based on previous seasonal performance.

There's still mother nature to deal with though. When it doesn't rain frequently enough, I'm sure thankful for my well. Our house is on city water service, but the previous owner was a nurseryman and had a well installed in 1945, when there was no city water here. Actually, back then there was no city here. It was all country. There was a field across the street with cows in it. I wish it was still that way!

These 18 giant marconi green peppers were picked this week. There's more to fill out, but I'm not sure there will be enough time before a frost hits. I'm looking for frost between the middle of November to the 15th of December. This morning at 6:30 it was 60 degrees outside. I hope that keeps up!

I went out and picked 3 and 1/2 pounds of Vates collards. That was half of my first row. While they grow back, I still have two and a half rows left for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are really starting to fill in and grow very well. I'm sure there will be another picking between the holidays since they're so far apart. A month is plenty of time for more collards.

I picked two and a half pounds of Henderson butter beans from my garden yesterday. I was only 1/3 of the way down the row when it got too dark to pick any more.

Eggplant are finished for this year. After picking the last two for the year, I pulled the plants in order for the pumpkins in an adjacent row to be able to get more morning sunlight.

Well, this is the second harvest of cucumbers. A single, one ounce cucumber. I guess we'll combine that with our few Juliett tomatoes in the fridge and have a "small" salad. Planning. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it works not as well. You have to think positive.

A couple days after I picked the green peppers in the first photo in this post, I decided to pick the rest. I ended up picking an additional 52 of the giant marconi green peppers before pulling the three plants today. I didn't count the peppers less than an inch and a half in length in that total. I counted all the others because there will always be smaller veggies during the harvesting process, and I wasn't going to waste them just because they were small. The pumpkins in the next row need the morning sun if they are going to have a chance to grow. They were in the shadows of the eggplant and the green peppers. Now they're not.

I still have more Henderson butter beans to pick. I'm not even halfway down the row, and there will still be another picking to come in a couple of weeks if the frost doesn't hit. Either a lot of pods aren't filled out yet, or the beans inside are still too small to pick. Actually, I'll probably wait to pick them until after the frost, since frost won't damage the beans inside the pods. Then I'll pull the plants out and pick off the beans. Since at this time of year it will be the last picking, we might as well go for maximum growing time, which ultimately will be determined by the arrival of the first frost.

Well, that's it for my first "Harvest Monday". If you have comments or questions, sign into Gmail and use the "comment" feature or send me an email at:

Thanks for visiting, and have a great gardening day!

Veggie PAK