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Friday Favorite: Brussels Sprouts

December 9th, 2016

I’ve been trying to grow brussels sprouts for year, they always seem to get eaten by something. This year, I planted them in the front corner of the main edible garden by Tara (our Anatolian Shepherd garden and livestock protector). That seems to have done the trick and my sprouts finally reached maturity.
brussels-sprouts-in-the-garden-1
brussels-sprouts-in-the-garden-2
Brussels sprouts are a favorite vegetable in the winter months and we are happy to have a very large harvest of them to enjoy for the next month or two.
brussels-sprout-harvest-2
brussels-sprout-harvest-1
This year I grew two different varieties of sprouts, ‘Diablo’ from Johnny’s Seeds and ‘Long Island Improved’ from Baker Creek. Both varieties did well, the ‘Diablo’ produced taller stalks with larger sprouts, but the sprouts weren’t as tight at the others. I will continue to grow a few varieties, next year I’d like to add a purple for a little variety. Stay tuned, next week I’ll share a favorite recipe for sprouts.

Do you like Brussels Sprouts?

Catching Up

August 8th, 2016

Last week I was in Vermont with a friend. We rented a little cottage on Lake Champlain and had a wonderful week relaxing and seeing a loads of interesting things (stay tuned this week for photos). I had plans to post photos of things we were seeing, but out internet connection was lacking.
Harvest
Now that I’m home, I’m madly catching up on all the work, both in the office and in the garden. This weekend was spent watering, harvesting, weeding, and enjoying all the new blooms.

Do you have any trips planned this summer?

Delicious Volunteers

July 7th, 2016

I always have a few volunteer potatoes, it’s hard to get every single little tuber out of the ground when you harvest them. They’re always welcome, I harvest them all as new potatoes since they grow up in areas of the garden where I have other things planted.
new potato harvest
We enjoyed these little lovelies for breakfast the other morning, browned in bacon great with a few onions. You just can’t beat the delicious flavor of new potatoes!

What are you harvesting from you garden this week?

Pop, Pop, Pop

October 21st, 2015

Last month, I harvest the popcorn. I would have liked to have left it in the garden to dry on the stalks, but there was tons of rain in the forecast. It sat in the top of the garage for a month and I shucked it yesterday.
popcorn 1
It isn’t as big as I would have liked, but it’s better than nothing. The lack of rain this summer was the most likely culprit. We will still have enough to get us through the year, it’s nice that we won’t have to buy popcorn this year. Homegrown popcorn is delicious, if can’t grow it yourself, find a local farm that does. You’ll be amazed at the flavor.
popcorn 2
Overall, I’m still happy with the harvest. I have already started planning which varieties I’m growing next year. I added a thick layer of compost to that section of the garden in preparation, since corn is a heavy feeder. Next year, the plan is to grow multicolored corn, black, red, and white.

Have you ever grown popcorn?

Beating the Rain

September 30th, 2015

We have rain in the forecast, lots of rain. Today we’re supposed to get 3-4 inches and then it’s supposed to rain every day for the next 10 days at least. That’s good, we really need the rain because it’s a super dry summer/fall so far. That means however that I spent yesterday madly harvesting everything from the garden. Ten days of rain is not good for crops right before harvest, especially things like popcorn!
harvesting early popcorn
The popcorn wasn’t really ready, technically you should wait until the husks have dried. With all the rain coming, I knew the risk of mold was high. As a result, it’s all laid out on shelves in the top of the garage with a fan on it. Along with the popcorn, I have loads of sunflowers drying in the top of the garage as well. These are grown for the flock.
sunflower harvest
I also grow loads of pumpkins and squash for both us and the birds. Not only do we eat lots of pumpkin and butternut squash, the birds love them. It’s nice to be able to give the birds healthy treats in the middle of winter. This year I grew ‘Connecticut Field Pumpkin’ for the flock. They produced very well, I’m very pleased with this variety. They are a carving and decorative pumpkin, pretty much your typical pumpkin.
heirloom pumpkin harvest 1
This is about 2/3 of the pumpkin harvest. It looks like I have 30 pumpkins for the birds and 8 large ‘Rouge Vif D’ Etampes’ pumpkins for us. This variety is my all-time favorite pumpkin because it makes the most wonderful pumpkin puree for pies and other goodies.
heirloom pumpkin harvest 2
The tomatoes also came in, anything that was ripe or slightly blushed was put in my basket. The photo below is about a fourth of what I harvested, I’m guessing I got about 2 bushels of tomatoes. I have plans to make another batch of soup and probably a batch or two of canned crushed tomatoes. The harvest was very good this year and that makes me very thankful. Last year I got the late blight and didn’t have much of a harvest to speak of. I like tucking as much as I can into the pantry during the good years. That way we can still enjoy tomato soup during the years of blight.
tomato harvest
This has probably been my most productive garden ever. I still have loads of things coming on, more on those tomorrow.

Do you grow pumpkins in your garden? What’s your favorite variety?

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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 just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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