Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Garden so far.... and some of the first fruits

Today was a harvest day. I harvested the first of the broccoli and am excited to have it in the freezer. I'll tell you my process... but first, this is how my garden grows. (:

The corn is already almost knee high! Yippee!
My grandfather used to say of corn...
"knee high by the 4th of July... to get a good crop in" ...
Well, mine is almost knee high on April 25.
He would be proud...
however, he lived and farmed in Ohio,
and I grow mine in a milder climate.

Potatoes are planted between the corn stalks... they like eachother
and as you can see, I have a few helpers too... ladybugs!

The onions and shallots are doing marvelously well! Look how tall!

...and my treasured leeks! They're lookin good!

The Fennel is amazing! I only have one good recipe for fennel tho...
I'm on the hunt for many more... any ideas from anyone?

Artichokes! Hubby's babies are almost ready to harvest!

And now to today's harvest... BROCCOLI!

Don't they look great?
I'll tell you my secret for organic insect free broccoli.
I used no sprays, good rich compost,
and lots of peeking to see how they're doing.

Here's the secret...
Crop covers! This is very thin fabric used in commercial fields for many purposes.
We buy it in a 10ft x 500ft rolls from the commercial farm supplier.
We put arched metal frames along the row,
cover them with the fabric, and pin it down.

Another thing I do is lay black landscape fabric. The reason is
that since we live right up off the beach and have lots of fog in the summer, the soil
can stay a little cool... so the black fabric solves several problems:
1. It keeps the soil warmer by soaking up the heat
2. It keeps the weeds out... who wants to weed for hours?
3. It keep the little varmints that dig underground
from being able to come up and chew on my food.

And below:
Cumin ( a new addition to my garden this year)
and green bean starts

Meanwhile in the greenhouse...
Tomatoes are ready to start being tied to the rafters and
lower leaves stripped off to keep the white flies down to a dull roar.

Tomatoes are helped by spearmint...
and this plant seems to like being in the GH

Thyme and sage

cilantro... or coriander (whichever you prefer to call it)
We had hubby's super duper salsa using it for supper

And finally to the broccoli harvest! (:

1. Uncover it! ...NO BUGS!... Yippee!

2. Hubby does the harvesting
(by the way, once the main head is cut,
the plant keeps producing side shoots,
which also get harvested)

3. Put it in a bowl to wash

4. Chop it up!

5. Drop it into boiling water to blanch for 3-4 minutes

6. Take it out of the hot water and immediately dump it into
ice cold water to stop the cooking process.

7. Once its totally chilled,
spin it in the salad spinner to get rid of excess water.

8. label the freezer bags. I used the best little super sucker I've ever found (at Nobhill Market).
Its made by Reynolds, is called the Handi-Vac, and only cost $9.95!

9. Put em in there and suck em up!

10. Ready for the freezer! Easy as 1-2-3 (well ok, ...10 steps)

and the final image... the garden border.
The flags add a lovely purple dash of color.

So that's Vicki's Bit-O-Earth on April 25, 2009. I'm looking forward to harvesting
new potatoes, lettuce, and fennel soon.

Then later, other crops to put up...
corn, tomatoes, beans, onions, leeks, shallots.... Can't wait!


  1. Wow!
    I cannot believe that you have all that in and growing so big already! That is soooo amazing!
    Here, the danger of frost doesn't pass until after the 1st week of May.
    You have inspired me! I am going to gamble and begin to plant.

  2. Wow Vicki this is an amazing garden ,I'll have to show hubby your garden and the way you store your broccoli....wonder if Walmart has the Handi-Vac? We are going to try growing a tiny garden this year and I'll be relying on some of this info you have shared with us this morning....Thanks a Bunch!!!
    Hugs Annabelle

  3. Hi Vicki...I showed my hubby your garden just like Annabelle showed hers yours!!! Wow...I needed you for my recipe, I had to improvise on a couple of things...I needed thyme and ended up using parsely...a great post!!!
    And wow...I love that you could say my name...over here not so much like that...must be your heritage!!! One reason my Parents used Ingrid...Dzintra ♥x

  4. Love the new header. The iris' are beautiful too!
    Broccoli sounds yummy fresh picked from the garden, I like it raw.
    Looking forward to your cooking with D and the delectable fare you'll be sharing with us.

  5. Wowie! Here in Western Oregon, we're still at the edge freezing most nights.