Reading this blog, you’d barely realize we grew vegetables, much less that produce is the core of what we do. Certainly, recents events have drawn us away from the garden and field, but we’re getting back on track. Here’s an update on our status as we stand on the doorstep of summer.
Though the cold, wet spring really set us back on early-season items, we were able to go to market twice in May with lettuce, green onions, herbs, and mixed radishes. The latter, a colorful blend of four heirloom varieties (red, yellow, purple, and white) were a big hit and we could have sold many more than we had available. We’ll have a lot more growing space available next year and will increase our offerings of these for sure. The lettuce was difficult, because it grew so slowly in those conditions that much was not marketable; too old and bitter by the time it got big enough to harvest. We took to market a fraction of what we grew, but that’s the way of it.
Our garlic and peas are looking lush and happy. The first pea flowers are showing up, and the garlic scapes are here, meaning bulb harvest is coming soon. Garlic scapes are the young flower stem of the plant, and they are a treat. Pulling or cutting them can increase bulb size, as the plant puts its energy into the bulb rather than a flowerhead, and the scape itself is like a tender green onion but with a wonderful garlic flavor. We’ll be taking a load of garlic scapes to market tomorrow.
We are making progress on building and preparing beds for summer produce like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and more. A few early transplants are in, with more coming soon. These are a little late this year, but we’ve been cautious due to the weather. I’d rather get things in a little late and healthy than attempt to beat the lingering cold and have stunted plants. The first beans are coming up and looking good.
Other currently thriving items include potatoes, tat soi, kohlrabi, beets, and spinach. Perhaps the biggest recent addition is convenient water. Through last year, we had to run hundreds of feet of hose down from the house to irrigate everything, which wasted untold amounts of time and water. This spring, we took advantage of a rare dry spell to have a water line run down from the house, below frost line, with a series of hydrants installed along the garden and out to the goat paddock. I swear this has already paid for itself in time efficiency and water savings. Produce quality also benefits from water on demand, as we can instantly chill lettuce, greens, and other temperature-sensitive crops in a water bath upon harvesting.
Out in the field, of which I have no current photos, we’ve built and planted the majority of the raised beds we planned for this year. These are mostly in drying beans and squash, with the corn beds still to be built and planted (so far those have been a casualty of the last few weeks). This area needs a lot of work soon, including getting it fenced off from deer before the bean shoots come up, and mowing the grass down as its borders are approaching jungle status. One of these days…
Overall, we’re in decent shape for the start of summer. The next few weeks will likely be a whirlwind of fencing, bed building, transplanting, and earth moving. Hopefully we’ve put most of the disasters and unexpected time sinks behind us and can get back to our core purpose, growing and selling worthwhile fresh produce.