Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Harvest Fever

After a full day of harvesting for our first Anchorage market of the year I should be exhausted, but to tell the truth I am too excited to be tired. I get that way about gardening sometimes. My daughters say I am possessed and perhaps they're right. But gardening doesn't seem to take my energy, it gives me energy.

Rachel and I started at 8:00 am with a list of what we wanted to harvest for the market. Sara, my niece who works with us, joined us about 9:30 and minus a twenty minute lunch break we worked as fast and furious as we could until 4:30. For me it was exciting to see how much produce was ready for harvest this final day of June! All three of us marveled at the great basket of broccoli which was overflowing with six in crowns! Never before has that happened for us in June! Then there was the green onions! We had decided to pick everything from the first planting, but when Sara came back to the wash rack with over 100 bunches I was astounded! They were beautiful, but needed cleaned so Rachel and Sara spent the next hour with their hands in the water but it was a lovely day and there was not a whisper of complaint. As they worked on washing the onions I kept coming back with something new I had harvested and raved about each new vegetable. The turnips were so gorgeous and worm free! I don't believe we've ever grown better turnips! The kohlrabi were so large and yet so good. I had to peel one of the largest on the spot and we all ate crisp wedges exclaiming at how good it was--our first taste of the season! The spinach too is the best I've ever grown! I usually have trouble with it bolting, but this was big and curly leafted and beautiful. Then there was the colorful chard and the bright red lettuces and even heads of iceberg lettuce.

I think the greatest record we broke with this harvest was the cabbage! The heads are already hard and I have never heard of cabbage in June!

One minor failure and disappointment is the pototoes. I really thought I'd have new potatoes to dig today. I certainly worked had enough on them. We planted them in small pots in the greenhous in early April. The first of May we transplanted them under IRT, green plastic mulch. That gave them a great head start and the plants are huge. I thought there would be potatoes under them, but after pulling three palnts and feeling around under numerous others I have to conclude that I did not accomplish potatoes in June! Oh well, with so many other garden successes, I am not going to let the lack of potatoes to get me down. It was a great day and I am looking forward to the market in the morning. If I wake up early enough I will cut some flowers and make a few boquets to brighten our booth, but with all the lovely produce they won't really be needed!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cabbage In June and 100 Rhubarb Plants

Today I spent planting a rhubarb patch. A friend and partner of mine, Bruce Bush offered to give me one of his old rhubarb plants. He planted it about 30 years ago and he warned me that it was huge and I would get alot of rhubarb starts from it. I picked it up on Tuesday morning. Lucky for me I took the pickup because he had to load the monster into the back with the front loader of his tractor! I kid you not, that plant was the size of a large table! Today was the first chance i had time to attack the chore of splitting and planting the starts. Did I say attack? Well, that is exactly what I had to do! I hacked those mammoth roots apart with a sharp shovel. Some of those rootes were three feet long and five inched wide at the top! By noon I had managed to get what I hope were viable starts divided and so I loaded them into my trailer and headed across the creed to plant them in a freshly plowed piece of ground. Two weeks ago I had planted my first 20 plants and they were all living, so I hope this will be a good location. I planted and planted and planted! I couldn't believe it, but there were over 80 starts from that one old rhubarb plant! With my first twenty, I now have 100 rhubarb plants in the ground! I feel like a big time rhubarb farmer now! I will have to be patient because these won't produce until next year and not really come into their own for two years.

I love to just walk through the gardens and look at everything. I spend way too much time just looking and marveling at how everything is growing, but it is one of the great joys of being a gardener. I never know what surprises I may find. Last Thursday there were surprise broccoli crowns--definitely the earliest I've ever grown. Today I found several hard heads of cabbage! That is even more unusual that the broccoli. I have never managed to get cabbage in June. Tomorrow I will cut my first head and see if it is indeed solid all the way through.

Our first Anchorage market is this Wednesday. Oh how I long to be able to take in new baby potatoes! I am not sure if they are done yeat and I will resist the temptation to go and pull one of those green plants up and check underneath until Tuesday. Wouldn't that be something--new potatoes on July 1?

My greenhouse is just about to give us our first slicing tomatoes. We are now eating our cherry Sugar Lumps, but I always count the first day we eat BLTs as the first tomato day. This year I am experimenting with growing the tomatoes and cucumbers with a semi-hydroponic system. I am having my ups and downs. experiencing some different nutritional problems in the plants, but the plants look fantastic and I have never had so many fruits made this early. Some plants already have seven hands of tomatoes set on! It is really unfortuante that I don't live green tomatoes I could eat all I wanted right now. I will have to be patient and wait for the ripe ones.

The corn is starting to tassel. i must get it suckered right away--good job for Monday. Speaking of Monday, it is rapidly approaching Sunday so this farm lady had better sign off. After all, I've had a busy day planting rhubarb and admiring my gardens.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Blog Re-vamp

Hey there,

Mom is in Boston this week visiting Melissa and the newest grandbaby, Elsie. So that means I've decided to take over this blog and make it more attractive. Oh, and write on it. That's been my goal for a while, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I find the art of blogging intriguing-- it's like journalism, but online. I'm going to start practicing so I can get the hang of it. I guess it will give me a taste of what an Ag Communications major would actually do.

So the gardens are all pretty well planted in. It's nice to have that done, and the first few weeks of June we're almost just waiting for the plants to grow! The garden gets greener every day. Tomorrow we're selling Bak Choi, Mizuna, and Radishes to Arthur Keyes and Alaska Root Cellars. We also have a little lettuce coming up.

This week I have to water the Greenhouse while Mom is gone. This is totally foreign to me- it's like a jungle in there and I have to be careful not to over-water the cucumbers, but not to under-water the tomatoes. I guess our cukes are being finicky and dying. It's too bad, because I'm dying to eat them! I'm dying for a fresh BLT as well, but I'll have to wait a while for that.

In other vegetable-related news, Mom, Dad, and I are headed to Washington D.C. in two weeks for a luncheon celebrating young entrepeneurship. I applied for the NFIB Young Entrepeneur Scholarship last December, but I didn't think much of it. I got a letter that I was a semi-finalist in March, which was exciting, but I still didn't think much of it because I knew they gave out only 50 awards (mostly for $1000, but the finalists got $5000). Then, just as school was ending, I got an email that I had been named as a finalist, so I receive $5000! But, even better than that, the winner receives an additional $5000, and NFIB and Visa are flying my parents and I to D.C. for a luncheon where the finalists will be honored and the winner will be announced. It's all very exciting, I had to be interviewed several times, and send pictures, and I bought a new dress to wear while we're there. It is funny that we'll only be there one day, we spend more time getting there and back than we do enjoying D.C.! But it's still going to be very fun. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to have this business, and I really want to thank Amy for starting the whole thing in the first place!

While that's about all I have for now. I'll update this more soon.