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

Gustatory hallucinations

Cucumber plant

Have you ever been wandering through the garden, and for a split second you can actually taste that cucumber that hasn't even bloomed yet?  Okay, maybe I just have a very vivid imagination....

Ripening strawberries

Gustatory hallucinations aside, the actual garden produce is starting to expand out into summer bounty.  Tuesday officially began strawberry week, when we stopped rationing those delectable fruits and started gorging.  Tuesday also would have been the first tasting of sugar snap peas in 2013, but Mark was at an inventor's conference and I didn't want to partake without him, so I saved the first crunchy duo for today.

Garlic scape

Baby fig
We're still eating asparagus, although I've let each plant unfurl one stalk to recharge their root batteries, and that's slowed production down.  Kale raab is also slowing down, but it looks like garlic scapes will be joining our menu this week, and we're already eating the spring planting of Swiss chard.  There's still plenty of lettuce, although it's going a bit bitter and will probably be off the menu soon.  And, look!, the Chicago Hardy fig has already set its first fruit!

Pollarded mulberry

And then there are my thrice-daily pickings of mulberry leaves.  Oh, wait, those are for our silkworms, not for us....

Our chicken waterer provides POOP-free water for our flock so they can feed us healthy eggs and meat.

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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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We are harvesting our asparagas for the second year. How do you know when you should let them go and stop harvesting. This year I think that we stopped to early out of fear of hurting the plants. Do you have any suggestions on this . Henry

Comment by Henry Wed May 29 08:25:02 2013
Henry --- The books say not to harvest at all the first year and maybe the second year, then to harvest for one week only, then two weeks the next year, then normally from there on out. There was at least one study that showed that harvesting too much early in an asparagus plant's life decreases its overall yield, so you were probably on the right track to stop.
Comment by anna Wed May 29 08:53:36 2013
Hi, Anna. My question is about silkworms. How often do you raise worms? Is it year round or is it once a year in spring like silk produces raise them? I think I read where you are raising them to feed chickens, but I may be wrong. Please tell me how and why you are raising silkworms and if it is for chicken feed, please explain your system. Thanks!
Comment by Theresa Wed May 29 09:40:33 2013

I have 4 large barrels over planted with asparagus roots that are 3 years old. I have seen my first few spears in the barrels and have debated taking a few spears since the root are "older". So far I have not taken the 1 or 2 spears that are large enough. I think I'll just let them grow out.

How long does it take for a spear to grow into the fan-leaf version of itself?

Comment by Gerry Wed May 29 10:13:01 2013

Theresa --- This is our first experiment with silkworms, so I'm reporting everything over on our chicken blog as we figure it out. Currently, our goal is to raise several batches (probably 3 or 4) over the course of the growing season, then to feed the caterpillars to chickens. This post links to the posts I've made so far, which will catch you up.

Gerry --- If you let the spears go past eating stage, I'd say it takes two or three weeks for them to fully fan out. If you can handle waiting, it does seem to be a good idea to let the roots grow for as long as possible before you harvest. Don't forget to stake the fronds so they don't fall over and snap off!

Comment by anna Wed May 29 12:36:11 2013

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