Monthly Archives: May 2011

First Swiss Chard Harvest!

With some rain and warmer weather, things in the garden are growing like crazy. Especially that pesky Swiss Chard! We harvested two bunches today, and didn’t really make a dent in it. We also harvested a lot of lettuce, on the theory that if it gets hot this week, the lettuce may start getting bitter.

That’s a lot of leafy greens! (Not all of it is Family of 4 Garden, so we didn’t weigh all of it.) 2 bunches of chard, and at least4 pounds of lettuce.

There’s our two bunches of Swiss Chard. The colors aren’t all as dark as they will be later in the year, but still very beautiful. I must be making converts to the chard, because it all got taken home today! I do have a recipe in my head for chard that I want to try out at some point. Chard, mushrooms, bacon, garlic, maybe some cream – it has to be good with all that on it, doesn’t it?

Family of 4 Garden Harvest:

2 bunches of chard @ $2.99/bunch = $5.98

2 lbs of lettuces @ $7.00/lb = $14.00

Weekly Total: $19.98

Year to Date: $105.00


Friday PhotoEssay

I think we got about another 2.25 inches of rain this week. Hurray! Although, for the garden at least, we can hold off on more water for now.

The gooseberry bush is loaded again this year. (The thorny one, that is. The thornless one…not so much!)These will be a dark red color when they are ready to pick.

The black raspberries are also ripening as we speak. This first berry might be ripe by Monday (if someone doesn’t pick it this weekend, thinking it’s already ripe!). Any bets?

The red currant bush, on the other hand, is not looking so good. It was so loaded with fruit last year, and this year it has hardly any fruit. The fruit is also getting shriveled. I’m thinking there is some root damage here. Hard to say if it was the heat last summer, the cold last winter, the dry spring, or the heavy crop last year that hurt it. Probably some combination of the above. About half of the plant was dead to the base this spring, and what’s left isn’t very healthy in appearance. I doubt it will make it, if we don’t decide to put it out of its misery before it completely dies. It’s sad, because it was so nice last year!

A gratuitous Swiss Chard picture, because you know I can’t help myself. It’s already photogenic!

Our second planting of tomatoes is growing in my office. They will be planted in mid-June. They are all heat-set types, which means that they will be boring, round red tomatoes. Not that I’m at all prejudiced! It will be interesting to see how they do, though.

Hey, look what we’ve got! These are the first flowers on our tomato plants. These flowers are on the ‘Early Girl’, and we’re also seeing a few flowers on the ‘Margherita’ roma tomato.

Have a great (long) weekend!

Insect Issues

This spring is showing more than it’s fair share of insect issues, I think. In particular, we are seeing lots of flea beetles and other beetles coming in on the Master Gardener Hotline. I haven’t seen as many flea beetles here, but there are some.

Here’s one of those pesky flea beetles hanging out on the leaf of one of the leeks. It’s not causing that much damage, but it’s good to be aware that they are out there.

Our onion leaves, meanwhile, are showing very characteristic damage from thrips. To learn more about thrips, you can check out this webpage from the University of Minnesota. Basically, thrips are a tiny insect (about 1 mm in length) that feeds on the leaves down in the growing point. According to the UC-Davis entomology site, the best control for these guys is using spinosad, an organic pesticide. I guess we’ll have to give that a try!

On a positive note, there are also LOTS of ladybugs around the garden this spring. (I guess the bad news to that is that we must have a good food source for them.) I suspect that the reason we have so many so early is that they managed to overwinter under our row covers, just like the aphids did!

Squash Vine Borer Moth Sighting

I told you I would update you when we started catching Squash Vine Borer moths…and then I also said that I didn’t expect to see any quite yet, since it’s been cool. Boy was I wrong about that!

Yesterday morning, this guy was in the trap. I hope this SVB Moth was an anomaly, because our squash plants are barely up out of the ground yet! (This morning there was a second moth in the trap as well.)

Still…if you have squash plants, you might want to think about spraying them if you’ve had lots of trouble with squash vine borer in the past.

SVB Count:

5/24: 1 moth

5/25: 2 moths (1 new)

Harvest Report

We had a modest harvest from the Family of 4 Garden today, and a whole lot of strawberries.

DON’T try this at home! This is 5.25 pounds of strawberries. If you stack them up like this for too long, you will end up with strawberry mush. I always seem to underestimate our little strawberry patch. For some reason, the first berries are small and not very nice. Then we get this huge onslaught of fruit. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. I wish the berry size was better on this variety, ‘Eversweet’. It’s a nice enough variety, but there are much better varieties out there.

We harvested another head of the ‘Caraflex’ cabbage, as well as half a pound of lettuce from the Family of 4 Garden.

The lettuce is almost done, but there’s still a little bit. We harvested about 1/2 lb. of lettuce this week. We could also start harvesting the Swiss Chard soon, but we didn’t this week.

Family of 4 Harvest:

1/2 lb. lettuce @ $7.00/lb = $3.50

Weekly Total = $3.50

Year to Date = $85.02