11 August Weekly Update

One garden pass

One garden pass

Garden goodness

Garden goodness

First bell pepper, eggplant, and more

First bell pepper, eggplant, and more

Another harvest

Another harvest

And yet again

And yet again

Another day

Another day

This week we picked:  blueberries; a small eggplant (finally!); Serrano, jalapeno, and cayenne peppers; the first bell pepper (an orange one); tomatoes; cucumbers; field peas; butter beans; tomatillos; three types of green beans; basil (for both drying and a caprese salad); all of the celery that was left in the garden; and all of the Spring planted carrots.  Our raspberries have also started to produce and we picked a small handful which we enjoyed in the garden upon picking, so no picture.

Blueberries

Blueberries

Basil

Basil

Washing carrots in the kitchen sink

Washing carrots in the kitchen sink

Trimmed carrots

Trimmed carrots

Last Sunday evening, we canned 5 pints of tomato sauce and 2 pints of green beans.  On Saturday, we canned an additional 3 pints of tomato sauce, 4 pints of green beans, and 2 pints of carrots.  We also made 5 quarts of our taqueria style pickled carrots, jalapenos, and onions (all from our garden!) – see the recipe list on the front page for the recipe.  These get stored in the refrigerator, not canned, although I suppose we could pressure can them…

The carrot box had some vole predation problems, especially in one part of it.  We’ll be laying down hardware cloth when we replace the boxes so hopefully we’ll have far fewer vole problems in future years.

Since some readers recently asked about the purple hull field peas, we went ahead and took a picture of some of the shelled peas:

Shelled purple hull field peas

Shelled purple hull field peas

On Thursday, we had wood delivered to do the first two new garden boxes.  These are the two boxes at the “bottom” of the garden (furthest from the house and lowest down the slope).  We decided to go with 4”x4” treated lumber (10 feet long) after much research and contemplation about using treated lumber and the feasibility of using other potential materials.  Given the layout of our property and the cost involved in replacing the existing boxes (not cheap for the number of boxes we have!), we decided that treated 4x4s would be our best choice.  Arsenic has not been used to treat lumber for several years (a copper-based solution is used now) and, frankly, we’re a bit dubious as to a) if leaching of the chemicals into the soil in any significant amount actually occurs, and b) if it does occur, whether it’s taken up by the plants in any type of significant amount.  It seemed like all garden box materials we researched had “someone” saying something negative about it (including concrete block leeching lime).

Two new boxes - bases set.

Two new boxes – bases set.

New box with hardware cloth

New box with hardware cloth

On Friday and Saturday, we cut the eight 6-foot lengths into 3-foot lengths (the width of the replacement boxes – which is about a foot wider than our existing boxes), drilled precise holes in all of the lumber so we could place them over rebar, and tilled the area the boxes will be placed so that we could more easily level them out.  On Sunday, we moved plenty of dirt in order to get the bases reasonably level, put down a double layer of weed fabric and a layer of hardware cloth (to hopefully stop voles!), and placed the wood base.  We’ll come back after work this week and stack the timbers 4 high over the rebar.  When we go to replace the large majority of boxes after the first frost, we’ll hire a person or two to help us so we can get it done in a reasonable amount of time (and with a bit less physical effort on our part…).  Five yards of compost is being delivered this upcoming Friday so, if all goes as planned, by the end of next weekend, the first two new boxes will be ready for Fall planting!

Celery!

Celery!

Butternut Rogosa Violina gioia Squash - a great tasting winter squash

Butternut Rogosa Violina gioia Squash – a great tasting winter squash

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12 Responses to “11 August Weekly Update”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Gorgeous harvest! Very pretty beans and berries, colorful peppers, tomatoes and cucurbits! and those tomatoes look so nice and uniform.

  2. Stoney Acres Says:

    Great looking harvest! Sounds like your caner is very busy! Our tomato “glut” is still a week or two off, but we are braising our selves!!

  3. Barbie Says:

    WOW! More planting space. You are a brave soul. I have to pick my tomatoes as soon as they blush, too. Otherswise they get eaten or dissapear.

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      Actually, there won’t be too much of an increase in planting space once all of the existing boxes are removed and replaced this Fall. We’re going with wider aisle spaces and slightly wider boxes, so we’re actually going to have only five rows whereas we now have 6 rows.

  4. Sharon Says:

    Wonderful harvest. Those peas look fascinating, I saw them listed when I was ordering my seed for the coming summer.

  5. Patsy Says:

    Everything’s looking good! Such a nice load of carrots you have there!

  6. Mike R Says:

    I’m a retired organic chemist and also was a little dubious about the newer copper treated wood. There’s not much information out there but some of it is useful. The leaching studies I read indicate that most leaching occurs shortly after the wood contacts the ground. Since the copper doesn’t migrate outward all that well the copper below the surface of the wood tends to stay in place. I concluded that the amount of copper that can plausibly leach into the soil would have little effect on the levels of copper already in the soil. Other papers showed that for a plant to take up enough copper to be of concern would require extremely large concentrations of copper in the soil – very unlikely that it would come from the treated wood. The other concern is the co-agent, either an azole or a quaternary ammonium compound. Quats are relatively benign and are added to the rinse water to wash glassware in bars. They decompose slowly. Azoles may have more issues but likely degrade in the soil. I would recommend that when the timbers begin to rot that you remove them and landfill them. I know this is a lengthy comment but thought this information would be helpful to you

  7. Ben Czajkowski Says:

    Absolutely stunning harves! Love the beans that you’re growing (might have to check them out, just on looks) and I’m jealous of those blueberries and waxiness of yout peppers ‘;-)

  8. Shawn Ann Says:

    Great harvest! How exciting to be growing your garden space. I did this past winter and I still filled every bit and then some! Just can’t get enough! 😉

  9. Dave's SFG Says:

    What a beautiful harvest. And quite an ambitious project to replace all those beds. That’s a lot of soil to mix and move.

  10. Bee Girl (AKA Melissa) Says:

    I imagine that, if I had a few raspberries to harvest, they wouldn’t make it far enough to take a picture either 😉 Good luck with your project!

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