A Work In Progress
Gardens, by their very nature, are constantly changing and growing. Weeds fill in between rows and plants. Seeds germinate. Seedlings grow and begin to produce flowers and food for the gardener. In my area spring is a short season and is overwhelmed by heat and humidity far too quickly. I have to plant my cool weather crops very early in order to harvest before summer suffocates these delicate plants.
The heat is setting in now, making the rutabagas roots tough and woody. I’ll harvest a few more and the rest will go to the chickens. Another row will go in the ground at the end of July for a fall crop, along with turnips, peas, lettuce, spinach, and radishes. But for now, our cool season crops are almost done.
My early potatoes are starting to flower, a sign that baby spuds will be ready to dig in a couple of weeks. The storage onions are forming bulbs and need to be thinned out. I use a few for dinner every day. Stir fry with pea pods are a regular dish for our family this time of year. The lettuce is just about gone…between the naughty bunnies and the early heat wave, our lettuce and spinach were gone pretty quickly. There is plenty of kale for salads and cooked greens. I planted Scarlet kale, Red Russian Kale, and Dwarf Blue Scotch kale this year. Red Russian is my favorite.
I have lots of weeds competing for space in the garden. Thistles are coming up everywhere. I think some of the straw I bought had thistle seeds and now I am having such a fun time trying to clean them out of my rows.
My beans are sprouting now and the newly planted zucchini, beets and Swiss chard should be sprouting any day. I have beds ready for a late planting of storage potatoes. Now I just need the potato sets. This year I am passing on cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts…they take up so much space and I’ve had limited success growing them here in my Midwestern garden. I did start some indoors this spring, but those darn rabbits ate them while I was hardening them off.
Before long, the beans, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants will be in full swing. That’s when I have little time for anything other than picking, preparing, freezing and canning. It’s a good feeling to put up all those delicious vegetables for the winter!
Other Homesteading News…
Soon there will be a half dozen or so young roosters to ‘harvest’ for our table. I’d rather pick peas, quite honestly. But one of the trade offs of hatching your own chicks is the batch of extra roosters that aren’t needed. When I get a cooler day, I’ll process them and freeze or pressure can the meat.
I also have 16 turkey eggs in my incubator at present. They should hatch in a couple of weeks. Raising our own heritage turkeys has been one of my goals for several years and it looks like I should have a good hatch. The downside is keeping, and feeding, the breeding stock year round. They may very well end up in the freezer this fall. They are Black Slate turkeys and seem to be much more aggressive to my other birds that the Narragansetts I’ve had in the past. Live and learn!
What are you picking from your garden?
In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.
The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.