Asparagus Season is Here

This week has certainly been cause for celebration, what with asparagus
season finally arriving just in time for Mother’s Day. We are probably
a week and a half behind a normal year, but it looks to be a very good
year for asparagus. We have already roasted, stir fried and sauteed.
We have had asparagus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The party’s
started.

 

Final harvest of Mache and Red Kitten Spinach

Mache season is now officially over.  I harvested the last of the
Mache this week and celebrated with one of my favorite breakfasts
this time of year; two fried eggs on top of a mound of Mache, yokes
punctured with a knife to allow them to ooze into the Mache.

TOTALLY FRESH BREAKFAST

THIS MORNING’S BREAKFAST, FRESHLY HARVESTED MACHE WITH TWO FRESHLY GATHERED EGGS FROM OUR OWN CHICKENS WITH A FRESHLY BACKED BLUEBERRY SCONE

“Red Kitten” spinach has been a real treat. I love the texture, taste and versatility of this variety. Seeds were started in one of my low tunnels last October. When I opened the tunnel in March, I was happy to find that the Red Kitten spinach made it through Winter just fine. We’ve had nearly two months of harvesting from a 2′ x 4′ sowing.

RED KITTEN SPINACH
THE LAST “RED KITTEN” SPINACH OF THE SEASON

Transplanting Tomato, Pepper and Eggplant Seedlings

I love spending time in my sun shed potting up seedlings. With some good music on the MP3 player and the chickens occasionally stopping in to keep me company I find this time peaceful and productive. So far, I have potted up eighty one main season tomato seedlings to 4″ pots. Most of them will be given away to friends and family. I love sharing and staying connected with people I care about through gardening.

Transplanting tomato seedlings to 4" pots

Tomato Seedlings in 4" pots

Tomato Seedlings being hardened off prior to planting in the garden

Recently transplanted Pepper Seedlings staying warm and cozy in the sunshed

Recently transplanted Pepper Seedlings staying warm and cozy in the sun shed

“Glacier” and “Golden Treasure” Tomatoes

Living in zone 6A has it’s challenges.  One of them is the relatively short tomato season.  I have begun growing two varieties of tomato that help extend the season in both directions; “Glacier Ultra Early” on the front end and “Golden Harvest” storage tomato on the back end. “Glacier” seeds were planted indoors in March and and the seedlings are  now well over 14″ tall. The last frost date for my town was this week, so I transplanted them to the garden.  I will keep an eye on the weather forecast, just in case.

I also started “Golden Treasure” seeds indoors. Because these tomatoes ripen in storage, it is my practice to start them later in the season.  We have enjoyed our “Golden Treasure” tomatoes as late  as Christmas Day.

GLACIER TOMATOES

RECENTLY TRANSPLANTED GLACIER ULTRA EARLY TOMATOES

Transplanting Leeks to the Garden

It was over two months ago that I started leek seeds indoors.  The
day has finally arrived to transplant them out to the garden.  I use a dibble to make a 1 1/2″ by 6″ deep hole in the ground, trim some of the roots off of the seedling and drop it into the hole. It’s as simple as that. Like their cousins, onions, garlic and shallots, I space them 6″ apart in rows 6″ apart. “Bandit” is the variety that I grow. I love the blue/green
foliage and this variety’s ability to overwinter in the ground for Spring
harvest. About one third of the crop will spend the Winter in the garden.
I like to celebrate the coming of Spring by making a foccacia topped with
sauteed leeks freshly harvested from the garden.

PLANTING LEEK SEEDLINGS TO THE GARDEN

PLANTING LEEK SEEDLINGS TO THE GARDEN

Planting Potatoes

My favorite gardening supplier let me down this year.  I ordered seed
potatoes back in February and they never arrived. When I called to
inquire about my order, I was told that they had run out of stock. I
was more than a little disappointed. You could say that I was righteously
pissed. Luckily, I discovered THE MAINE POTATO LADY. Because I was
in a bit of a rush, I made a phone call to see if they had what I wanted.
Fortunately, they had my favorite potato “French Fingerling” and told
me that they would ship at the end of the following week. The seed
potatoes arrived on the promised date and I was impressed with the quality of the product. In addition to potatoes, The Maine Potato Lady also carries onion sets, shallots and garlic. I almost forgot to mention
that the pricing was quite reasonable. I’m a happy man.
Check them out at www.mainepotatolady.com

 

OK, enough about getting the potatoes. So why do I grow French Fingerlings? First of all, they are delicious. They are great roasted, boiled, in potato salad, etc. They are not readily available at local markets, farmer’s or otherwise. Lastly, they are awesomely productive. My little one pound bag of seed potatoes should net somewhere around fifty pounds of potatoes. I know that this sounds too good to be true. Trust me, these spuds are very productive.

 

As for planting, I break out my little one horsepower tiller and loosen
the soil in my 3′ x 25′ long bed. I then make a furrow with a hoe about
8″ deep. I sprinkle a bit of sulfur into the furrow and I am ready to
plant.

Before planting, I cut the seed potatoes into smaller pieces, making sure
that there are at least 2 or 3 eyes in each piece. I dip the pieces in
sulfur powder to prevent rot. The trick here is to cut my one pound bag
of seed potatoes into 25 pieces with 2 to 3 eyes apiece. This year, I
was able to make 23 pieces. I planted the pieces about 12″ apart and covered them with soil. I then watered and will continue to water every day until plants emerge. When the plants are about 6″ tall I will add a thick layer of compost on each side of the row. I will repeat this
about a month later. The compost will protect the potatoes from the
sun.

CUTTING SEED POTATOES AND DIPPING THEM IN SULFUR

CUTTING SEED POTATOES AND DIPPING THEM IN SULFUR

Well, that about covers it.  As you can see, it’s been a very busy
week here at “Greg’s Garden Party”.  What can I say?  I love it.
I’d love to hear from you, especially some of you new subscribers. What are you growing? What are you harvesting? Let’s start a conversation.
All the best,

Greg Garnache
gcgarnache@gmail.com