Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Little Heat Does Wonders

Finally feels like summer out there and the plants are responding.  I do believe that in the majority of the garden the intended plants are bigger than the weeds.  It is true, of course, that we've managed to remove many of the biggest weeds.  But anyway, it's starting to look more like our garden should look and perhaps after this week I won't cringe quite as much every time I go down there.
The excitement of the week is that Shawn harvested the first garlic!  It's Thai Fire and it looks pretty good.  Wildfire is also ready and it's started to come out as well.
The peas are finally producing.  I'm not crazy about this variety, which we got from PGG.  Hard to know whether to blame the seed or the season, but I'm going with the seed.  Neither the flavor nor the size is particularly good.
Both the peppers and the tomatoes have had a good week.  This week I need to try to tie the tomatoes up again.
I can't remember if I reported that when I opened the tunnel, everything looked good (no flea beetles), except that spinach was COVERED with aphids.  I've been assiduously applying soap.  Last night I went to harvest some spinach--still plenty of aphids--when I saw that the leaves also had many lady bug larvae (also known as aphis lions).  I decided to go ahead and harvest and try to place all the larvae on the remaining leaves.  It seems to have worked, as when I washed the spinach this morning I found only larvae exoskeletons (and more aphids than I had imagined possible).  It's interesting to me that the aphids really don't seem to have done much damage to the plants.  Anyway, this morning I froze up the spinach, which involved several washings, then a quick blanch, and suck sealing (which is what we call vacuum sealing in our household). I tried to dry the blanched spinach in the lettuce spinner, but it really didn't work very well and so the suck sealing was problematic.  Anyway, problems were resolved and my giant colander of spinach became four cups of frozen spinach.  Apparently more of that in my future.
Some of the Colorado potato beetles got past us, so now their larvae are crawling around.  As noted earlier, these gross me out.  At least I've only found five or so at a time.

  The current all star serrano plant.
A garlic plant ready to harvest.  The bottom three leaves have dried.  Each leaf represents a paper around the head of the garlic.  You want to harvest while the majority of the papers are green; they will stay on.  The ones that are dead show you that the head is ready.

The somewhat endless process of washing spinach (this is about 1/3 of what I processed).

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