The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Broccoli bounty

Head of broccoliI started to write that this is the year of the broccoli, then stopped myself.  After all, it's only May.  Who knows what bounty the garden year will bring?

Plenty of broccoli, that's for sure.  We've eaten three medium heads, and I'm eying this huge one as it continues to swell larger and larger every day.  Six and a half beds are devoted purely to broccoli this spring, and I also slipped in a few plants amid the peas and garlic.

The varied planting dates this spring due to frost damage mean that our broccoli will ripen over a few weeks rather than all at once, which is all to the good.  But already I'm considering packing some away in the freezer, along with the greens that have finally outgrown our appetites.  We're eating sugar snap and snow peas too, and I spent the whole week working in the upper garden so that I could lean down and nab a juicy strawberry whenever the fancy struck.
Beds of broccoli
On the other hand, the last of the lettuce is turning bitter, slated to be torn out and replaced with summer crops shortly.  The first set of beans is nearly ready to bloom, a few tomato plants sport flower buds, and cucurbits seem to double in size every day.  The garden wheel has turned from spring to summer and our stomachs are full.

Share the bounty with your chickens.  Our homemade chicken waterer keeps chickens healthy and happy.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Perhaps you should hold some garden work shops on your property, that way people like me can learn how to garden the correct way, and you would get a lot of your garden work done for you. My lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard is already turning bitter, it grew so fast and it seems like I haven't eaten much of it.

When I bought this property I spent most of my time on clearing wooded areas, home and building construction, alternative energy projects, and working at my regular job for 28 years. What I didn't do was start my orchard and garden. But now that I'm retired I have a lot more time on my hands, and even though I got a late start on my garden and orchard, they are looking pretty good.

Comment by zimmy Fri May 28 11:49:03 2010
Nice broccoli. I am wondering what you use to control the cabbage moth and her little green babies. We can grow nice broccoli here but I gave up after blending up a few worms in a soup :). I tried BT and it worked but was constant work to keep up with it if it rained.
Comment by id [] Fri May 28 12:23:07 2010

Zimmy --- I consider having folks over for events like that now and then, and then I come to my senses. :-) I'm just not a very social person, and spending a whole weekend playing hostess to strangers gives me the heebie jeebies!

About your lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard going bitter: There are a bunch of tricks to eating lettuce in the summer, but I don't think that any of them are worth it. Instead, I consider lettuce a limited time opportunity. As soon as one bed starts bearing, I start another. In about a month, the first bed is bitter and I tear it out, just when the second bed is ready to eat. Then, once the weather gets hot, I just move on to summer crops.

Our spinach and swiss chard don't go bitter, though --- it's odd that yours do. Our spinach is starting to bolt already, and I'll soon tear it out just like the lettuce. Swiss chard, on the other hand, is our easy summer green. I keep cutting the leaves a time or two per week, and it just keeps growing until the frost, never getting bitter or tough. The only thing I can think that you might be doing differently is not cutting it often enough?

id [] --- I just handpick our cabbage worms. It really doesn't take long, maybe half an hour per week, and the chickens love them. I've noticed that if you steam broccoli, any caterpillars you miss come off the plants and are easy to pick out. (I don't mind pushing them to the edge of my plate now and then.)

Comment by anna Fri May 28 18:14:49 2010
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