Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011 August 9-10 harvests and work

On Tuesday, 2011 August 9, Bruce, Judy, and Lance (alphabetical)
harvested 21 medium-size red tomatoes, 1-2 quarts of tiny tomatoes
("sungold" cherry tomatoes and "yellow pear" tomatoes), 15 cucumbers,
15 summer squash, less than a tub of kale, and 22 onions.

We performed an enlightening "taste test" with summer squash.
Four squash were tasted by the three gardeners present and some kitchen
workers: a 3.25 pound squash suspected to be a "Costata Romanesco"
from another garden, and these three from our garden: a Raven
zucchini considerably larger than the suspected Costata, a
warty yellow-crookneck-appearing squash grown from a seed packet
with label "Golden Hubbard" which has been a strange plant, and
a rather large green pattypan squash.  All seemed tasty to me.
I think several people liked the "Costata" the best, I think I
liked the "hubbard" best, and I lost track of some people's
favorites.  The reader who suspects that we don't actually know
what three of the tested squash were is correct.  (We got the
green pattypan from a friend who is vague on exactly which variety
it is; and we're unsure of the "hubbard" and "Costata".)

The most important result of the test is that kitchen staff now
know that, at least for Raven and the alleged Costata, big is
acceptable.  They have experienced many oversized undesirable
summer squashes and don't use them in the kitchen.  Without this
test, they would probably have discarded the Raven and Costata.

The big Raven had grown in less than a week.  We harvest on
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for the kitchen, so the squash
have 6 days from Wednesday to next Tuesday to grow, and we
deliver quite a few that are bigger than we would prefer.  What
is important about Raven is that it does not lose flavor or
texture, nor develop big seeds and hard skin, until it's larger
than what we've been growing.  Costata probably has this same
good attribute though to a lesser degree than Raven.  (Three pounds
may be bigger than we want Costata to get, assuming we grow it
in the future.)

One more taste-test remark: on July 19 a taste test putting a
suspected Costata (about 9 ounces) against a Raven (size probably
not recorded) resulted in a unanimous vote: Costata tasted better
than Raven.  For now, though, Raven seems to be the most valuable
summer squash grown in our garden.

Two more rows of carrots were seeded in bed A2, south of carrots
planted in A2 about three weeks ago.  The new carrots are Touchon
Deluxe and Royal Chantenay.  The carrots planted a few days
earlier in bed A4 are about equivalent to one full-length row,
so we have about 3 rows planted within the past few days.

Some Raven zucchini in bed B3 have suffered serious powdery mildew
for a few weeks.  The mildew has spread to most other squash in
that bed.  We sprayed with "Serenade", a biological fungicide
comprised of some bacteria commonly in the environment that are
presumed to be harmless.  We also trimmed the most-infected leaves
of many of the squash plants.

Other work included transplanting two donated basil plants into bed
E2, and weeding.

On Wednesday, 2011 August 10, Bruce and Lance harvested
and delivered to Open Heart Kitchen 26 summer squash (none from
the sprayed bed B3), 10 medium size red tomatoes, again 1-2
quarts of tiny tomatoes, about 3/4 tub of swiss chard leaves,
26 cucumbers, 155 sweet yellow banana peppers, two peppers
that were hot and similar in appearance to the sweet yellow peppers,
and a few quarts of basil greens.

Similar to last week, kitchen workers raved about the basil.  One
of them has been donating basil plants to the garden regularly.
That might be a hint.  They also thanked the garden for the tiny
sungold and yellow pear tomatoes.

Other work included watering newly seeded carrots and parsnips,
putting up cylindrical supports for some determinate tomatoes
in bed AB8, finding more bindweed in tomato beds (but not finding
time to get rid of them), and transplanting two more basil plants
and a thyme/oregano pot of plants.

Bed AB7 map

Bed B2 map

Bed A1 map

Saturday, August 6, 2011

2011 August 5-6 garden work

On the evening of Friday August 5, and in an impromptu session Saturday
morning, August 6, Bruce and Lance worked on various tasks.

The main effort on Friday was to plant carrots and parsnips in the
west end of bed B4.  We are attempting succession-planting with carrots,
planting every three weeks or so in order to have a more continuous
harvest.  The only crop previously grown here was radishes,
so the soil should be fertile.  This is the only area prepared
for carrots and similar crops (deeply double dug, rocks removed, clods
broken up) and not already used for carrots.  Five rows of seeds were
planted, one variety per row (except for the north row).  From south
to north: "New Kuroda" carrots in the southern row, "All American"
heirloom parsnips in the second row, "Babette" carrots in the third
row, "Gladiator" parsnips in the fourth row.  In the fifth (north)
row, "King Midas" carrots were planted starting at the west end
until we ran out of seed, then "Long Imperator" carrots finished the row.
The parsnips are in middle rows to reduce exposure, their greens can cause
irritating rashes.  This is the first time the garden has grown parsnips.

Most of the summer squash planted on July 16 looked unhealthy, so
they were given some compost tea.  More bindweed was pulled from
tomato beds.  This is difficult because many tomato vines are still
partly sprawled on the ground, making it hard to find and reach the
bindweed stems and roots.  Some of the weeded areas were given more
mulch, to make it harder for more weeds to sprout.

The first female butternut winter squash blossoms were observed Thursday,
August 4.  On Saturday, 10 were seen.  It begins to appear that we will
have some to harvest.

More tomatoes were tied to their trellises.

We observed lodging (falling over) of the Painted Mountain corn.
This corn variety has lodged in a private garden also.  We are
hoping that this is not a serious problem.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2011 August 2-3 harvests and work

On Tuesday, 2011 August 2, Bruce, new volunteer Kathleen, Lance, and
Terri (grandmother of Kathleen) harvested 18 summer squash, 8
cucumbers, tomatoes (22 cherry-size, 23 small yellow pear, 13
larger red), about 7 pounds kale, about 4 sweet yellow banana
peppers, 11 weedy purslane plants, and some collard greens.

All of the collard plants (which were in bed B3) were pulled
after the harvest because they had many aphids.  The only
ordinary greens still growing in the garden are chard (half
of bed E2) and the Vates blue curled kale (in most of bed A6),
which has been productive much longer than expected.  Purslane,
usually regarded as a weed, is edible and can be used in salads
or cooked, so we took some to Open Heart Kitchen.  Some of the
kitchen staff have eaten the purslane, but we are told that the
customers object to it.

Other work included removing gravel from four planned raised beds,
removing weeds from a pile of dirt that is planned to fill those
raised beds, pulling some particularly unpleasant weeds near
the garden area (puncture weed and star thistle; both can be
painful), noticing more damage to lettuce (blamed on wild turkeys),
observed and attacked bindweed flowering within tomato beds,
and other weeding.

Open Heart Kitchen is the single important customer of the garden.
In an informal talk with Open Heart Kitchen, we learned (or re-learned)
that they can always use lettuce, garlic, red and green peppers,
tomatoes, summer squash, winter squash, and other greens like
kale.  We have begun to think about forecasting harvests to help
the kitchen with planning and were told that one-week forecasts
will help a lot, since menus are planned about a week in advance.

On Wednesday, 2011 August 3, Bruce, Diana, Lance, and Ruth (listed
alphabetically) harvested 13 summer squash, a tub of chard,
16 onions, 138 sweet yellow banana peppers (these are small),
8 cucumbers, 3 red tomatoes, 7 small yellow pear tomatoes,
a couple gallons of basil greens, and about 10 squash blossoms.

The onions are large but some are starting to rot at the bottoms
(they share a bed with tomatoes and are receiving too much water),
and will be finished within a few weeks.  The banana peppers are
probably starting to produce in large quantity.  Other pepper
varieties do not yet seem ready for harvest.  We could, but do not yet
plan to, harvest immature fruit; first we want to learn how large
the fruits of various varieties grow.  This was the first time we
picked much basil; several people in the kitchen were ecstatic.
Some of the people in the kitchen want squash blossoms; we picked
them after the rest of the harvest, by which time they were already
quite limp.

Other work included weeding and tying many tomato vines to their trellises.