An Easier Way to Harvest Mache

An Easier Way to Harvest Mache

We have been growing and enjoying Mache for the last three years. It was only recently that I figured out an easier way to harvest this early green. Kneeling and bending over for extended periods of time are not pleasant for an old codger such as myself. I recently had an “Ah Ha” moment as I was about to harvest some Mache. Instead of getting down on one knee and harvesting one stem at a time I opted to use my
straight bladed shovel and skimmed up a full shovel full of Mache in one swoop. I placed the shovel full of Mache in my potting tray and proceeded to pull the stems off while standing erect. By skimming just below the surface I was able to shear the roots half way, making it easier to pull the stems away from the dirt. I then pinched off the remaining root and any bottom leaves that didn’t look appetizing.

SKIMMING A SHOVEL FULL OF MACHE

SKIMMING A SHOVEL FULL
OF MACHE

THE MACHE DEPOSITED IN MY POTTING TRAY

THE MACHE DEPOSITED IN
MY POTTING TRAY

PINCHING OFF THE REMAINING ROOT AND BOTTOM LEAVES

PINCHING OFF THE REMAINING ROOT AND BOTTOM LEAVES

When I finished pinching off all of the roots I brought the Mache into the house and gave it a bath in the sink. The dirt sinks to the bottom and I run the mache through the salad spinner to get rid of excess moisture.

MACHE BATHING IN THE SINK

MACHE BATHING IN THE SINK

If you have an even better way of harvesting Mache please send it along so
I can share it.
All the best,
Greg Garnache

Garden Calendar – 3rd Week of April

1.  Start more lettuce and cabbage seeds indoors.

2.  Rake and clean up asparagus bed.  Spread compost,
green sand and lime.

3.  Transplant tomato and pepper seedlings to  4 packs.

4.  Prep carrot box and plant seeds.

5.  Plant two rows of radishes

6.  Plant three rows of beets.

7.  Plant scallion seeds.

8.  Plant shallots.

9.  Transplant broccoli, kale, cauliflower and lettuce seedlings
to the garden.

10.  Transplant flower seedlings to 6 packs.

Garden Journal – 2nd Week of April

Garden Journal – 2nd Week of April

After a very long and snowy winter, the vegetable garden is free of snow. I have been aching to get my hands dirty and I have done just that this week. The Spring birds are back and their various songs just add to the joy I feel working the soil.

 

Planting Peas

In my opinion, one of the best reasons to grow your own vegetables
is the unique advantage of harvesting peas and enjoying them fresh.
I love fresh peas.  Until you’ve grown your own, you really don’t know
how delicious they really are.  The old adage “fresh is best” applies
to peas more than any other vegetable I’ve ever grown.

This year, I am planting some left over seeds from last season, a variety known as KARINA. Aside from their great taste fresh, they also freeze well. For planting instructions, please use the search button on the homepage and type in “Planting
Peas’.

Planting Onions

My wife Catherine doesn’t spend much time working the vegetable
garden but she does help planting the onions every year. I purchase plants which arrive in late March/early April. We try to get them in the ground as soon as possible. Like garlic, I plant my onions in four foot rows, six inches apart, rows 6″ apart. We planted three varieties: Walla Walla, a sweet onion to enjoy in mid to late Summer; Red Zeppelin, a red onion to enjoy from mid Summer into early Winter; and Patterson, a yellow long storage onion for late fall/winter use. In all, we transplanted
240 seedlings.IMG_0623_1

I prepped the soil by addiing a layer of compost and some lime , tilling
and then raking smooth. We have been using a 6″ grid system for many years. My beds are mostly 48″ wide. We can plant 8 onion seedlings per row. Working from opposite sides of the row, we sprinkle in some all purpose natural fertilizer, set in our four seedlings, cover with soil and move on to the next row. I use a tape measure on each side of the
row so that we can insure even spacing of our rows. We use a sheetrock square with markings to help us space the seedlings across the row. The markings are set at 3″, 9″, 15″, 21″, 27″, 33″, 39″ and 45″. It works for us. When we’re through, I generally treat my wife to a meal at one of our favorite restaurants.

Transplanting Leaf  Crops to the Garden

Lettuce, kale, cabbage and frissee seedlings started indoors four
weeks ago were transplanted to the garden.  To protect them from
the weather and the chickens I set up some wire hoops and covered
the bed with fabric row cover.

TRANSPLANTED SEEDLINGS

BLACK SEEDED SIMPSON AND FRISSEE SEEDLINGS TRANSPLANTED TO THE GARDEN

All the best,
Greg

 

GARDEN JOURNAL – 1st Week of April 2015

GARDEN JOURNAL – 1st Week of April 2015

Starting Main Season Tomato Seeds

This has been a very busy week.  First of all, I started my main season tomato
seeds in a 20 row seed tray (see image above).  I used a commercial seed starting
mix, filled each row to the top and gently compacted the soil with my finger to
create a 1/4″ trough.  I watered each row with my favorite spray bottle and then
planted approximately 10 seeds in each row.  I then covered the seeds with more
seed starting mix and watered again with the spray bottle.

This year, I planted 14 different varieties;  8 heirlooms, 2 varieties of plum
tomato, one determinate hybrid (still looking for a tasty short hybrid), a stuffing
tomato, Green Zebra and Matt’s Wild Cherry (our favorite cherry tomato). The remaining rows were planted with marigold seeds.

Tomato seeds sprout best when warmed with some bottom heat. I immediately placed them on a heat mat where they will remain until all the seeds have sprouted. I also covered the tray with a clear plastic dome to help keep moisture in.  These seeds will live on my plant stand under the lights for the next six weeks.  When the first true leaves appear, I will transplant them to 4 packs with 2″ x 2″ cells.  When the seedlings reach 6″ in height, I will transplant them to 4″ diameter pots and move them out to my sun shed where they will stay for a week or so.  Then, they will be moved outside to harden off before planting.  I know that it looks like a lot of transplanting.  It is very important to keep tomato seedling from getting pot bound.  That will retard their growth and future performance.

 Why I Use a 20 Row Seeder

One of the most useful tools I have is the 20 row seed trays that I use to start
tomatoes, peppers, flowers and herbs.  I can fit at least 200 seeds in an 11″ x
22″ tray.  At this time of year, room on my plant stand is at a premium.  These
seed trays buy me some time until other seedlings started earlier can be moved
out to the sun shed or into the garden.

Starting Flower Seeds

My garden just wouldn’t be the same without flowers to add color.  We love zinnias.  This year, I have started seeds of seven different varieties as well as
three different varieties of marigold and some calendula.  Again, I’m using the
20 row seeder to get seeds started.  When the first full leaves appear, I will
transplant them into six packs and move them out to the sun shed.  Generally,
I transplant flowers to the vegetable garden on Memorial Day weekend here
in zone 6a.

Planting flower seeds

Some of the Zinnias we will enjoy this year

Starting Herb Seeds

Of the nearly 600 seeds started this week, one third were herb seeds.  Most of those were either basil or parsley.  I also started dill seeds.  These are easy to
grow, and annuals here in zone 6a.  We use a lot of basil.  We make pesto,
basil butter, use it in salads for flavor and add it to many cooked dishes.
We prefer the classic Italian Basil, and flat leaf parsley.  Seeds were started in
a 20 seeder and eventually will be moved to six packs.

The Chicken Report

The chickens are loving the fact that our property is now 80% snow free.  We let
them out for a while every day so that they can forage wherever they choose.
It’s what chickens want to do.  We had our first double yoker this week.  What
can I say, “My girls Rock”.

A DOUBLE YOKER

OUR FIRST DOUBLE YOKER

 

All the best,

Greg Garnache