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Seasonal Goodness

May 17th, 2017

It’s rhubarb season here in Maine, my six rhubarb plants are finally mature enough that I can harvest as much rhubarb as I want. Three of my plants are old fashioned rhubarb and three are ‘Glaskins Perpetual’ rhubarb (which means it’s supposed to be harvested all summer long).

I make a variety of rhubarb products, two of our favorites are rhubarb syrup to mix with soda water and rhubarb BBQ sauce. A decent amount of rhubarb finds its way into the freezer to make strawberry rhubarb semifreddo in the middle of winter. Rhubarb is one of those things that people seem to love or hate. I especially love the tartness of it and the unique flavor it imparts.

Do you love or hate rhubarb?

Transplanting Brassicas

May 10th, 2017

This year I’m trying to keep better track of how long things need under the grow lights. Brassicas are one of those things that germinates and grows very quickly, that means they are very efficient when it comes to grow light usage. Since they can take cold temperatures, they can be put outside very early on, sometimes they never need grow light space. These brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts), were ready in four weeks.

In fact, I could have transplanted them a week or two ago but I didn’t have the fence up around the garden (and those wild turkeys LOVE brassica seedlings). I’m hoping to build myself a cold frame this summer, which will allow me to not have to put any brassicas under the grow lights. I’m always looking to maximize the light real estate I have, any plants that can take the cold are moved to make way for tomatoes and flowers, which aren’t able to take any amount of frost.

What are you transplanting this week?

My Favorite Season

May 9th, 2017

Salads are one of my favorite meals, I can eat them every single day and never tire of them. I love that you can top lettuce with a wide variety of protein, fruit, and vegetables to have a different meal every day. In the spring, I plant enough seedlings so that I can harvest a leaf or two from each plant and have enough for at least a side salad for each of us at dinner.

That makes for a lot of lettuce plants, but they grow when nothing else needs garden space. As soon as the plants are growing more quickly and producing more leaves, some of the lettuce plants are removed to make way for other crops.

What’s your favorite vegetable to grow yourself?

Uncommon Pests

May 8th, 2017

This year I purchased onion plants for the first time. In the past, I’ve started onions from seed and have always been happy with the results. Since I’ve had a busy spring, I thought purchasing plants would save me time. Little did i know that the earthworms around here do not like onion plants from away. Every single morning I go out and 30-40% of the onion plants have been dug up, reburied, moved, or just are just slightly lifted from their spots. At first, I thought it was birds. Then I did some research and with observation, spotted the nightcrawlers digging up the onions. I thought about letting the chickens in the garden, but they dig holes and in general make such a mess I don’t want to do that.

My onion crop may be non-existant this year. For two days I’ve moved the dug up plants to different spots in the garden, those are getting dug up as well. It’s probably too late to direct seed onions, but I may pull all the plants and count the $40 a lesson learned. I may also just forgo onions this year, which will be very sad. It’s interesting that these plants are not liked by the worms where my homegrown seedlings are left alone (I have a few in the back in the same row as these plants, no unearthing of these). Makes you wonder what it is about these plants that the worms don’t like.

What strange pest problems do you have in the garden?

Salanova® Red Butter Lettuce

May 3rd, 2017

I order a lot of seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, they’re located right up the road from me. Supporting local businesses is important, as well as supporting businesses like Johnny’s that are employee owned. Johnny’s is a farm supply place, so their offerings are sometimes different than what most consumer market seed houses provide. One of the products I’ve been noticing in their catalogs the last few years is Salanova® lettuce. It’s designer lettuce seed to be sure and comes with the price to prove it. This year I finally took the plunge and ordered one pack of seed. One packet of seeds costs $5.45, it contains a minimum of 25 seeds. Yes you read that correctly, 25 seeds. Of course they overpack, so I ended up with roughly 40 pelleted seeds in my pack.

So far I’ve planted 12 of the seeds and had 100% germinate rate. The pelleted seeds are nice because it’s super easy to plant one seed per soil block. The result is that there is zero thinning. The plants are super uniform in size, which makes complete sense since they’re geared towards commercial production. I noticed that each plant grows at the same rate and is very consistent in shape and size.

Overall, I’m a fan of this type of lettuce. I’ll keep you posted on how well it continues to grow, what it looks like at harvest, and most importantly….how it tastes!

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.