We were delighted to see the broccoli we planted in late summer finally growing crowns of broccoli florets. My first broccoli harvest! After I cut off four broccoli bunches, my son stopped my harvesting. “Let’s do an experiment and see if the florets really turn into tiny flowers”, he said. For science, I left a few of the small bunches on the stalk.
We also harvested lettuce, arugula, radishes, beets and turnips (4.5 pounds) from our garden plot this week. The brussel sprouts are not ready to harvest. We planted them late. We may not get a mature sprout. Anyway, I am thankful my family likes salads and our garden plot is still producing!
Only in winter can we enjoy last year’s harvest while starting this year’s garden. We still have about 2 bags each of frozen peppers and cherry tomatoes from our garden plot harvest 2010. We use the frozen cherry tomatoes and peppers on homemade pizza and in soups, chili and tomato sauce.
Last summer, we had an abundance of tomatoes and peppers in our garden plot. Along with canning, we tried freezing these veggies for the first time. The frozen veggies still taste sweet and fresh. I will use the same freezing method for this year’s harvest. To freeze the peppers… chop, blanch in boiling water for one minute, soak in ice cold water, drain, dry, freeze individual pieces on a cookie sheet then toss all the frozen pieces into a freezer bag. To freeze the cherry tomatoes…. cut in half, roast on cookie sheet for several hours in a 150 degree fahrenheit oven, cool, freeze on a cookie sheet then place in freezer bag.
While enjoying last year’s harvest, we started planting seeds for this year’s garden. This week we planted King Richard Leek, Genovese Basil, Italian Parsley, and Hybrid Shallot seeds in starter containers. In a few weeks we will plant our tomato, pepper, eggplant, swiss chard, escarole and lettuce seeds.
My husband, my son and I share our garden dreams before we start planning and ordering seeds for the new growing season. Every year our son dreams of growing tall gigantic sunflowers. This year he also wants cucumbers, tomatoes, bugs and more visits to the goats and the snowball stand near our community garden at the Howard County Conservancy.
My husband dreams of installing a drip system so we can work in the garden (and visit the goats and snowball stand) while the plants are being watered. He also wants to combine the garden beds, reduce the walking paths and cover more plants with row covers so the plot has intensive plantings thus more produce and less bug damage.
I dream of a longer growing season so I can cook from our garden harvest all year. I want to plant new types of veggies and make a cold frame. For additional crops in early summer and late fall I would like to try planting leeks, shallots and peas and Asian greens, broccoli and kohlrabi along with our regular crops of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, zucchini, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, carrots, beans, spinach, turnips, greens and herbs. But, my biggest garden dream for 2011 is that our family has fun together with each other and other gardener friends in our community garden.
A couple weeks ago, we covered our garden plot with one more blanket of mulched leaves and made our last harvest of 2010. We harvested spinach and carrots. The carrots still tasted fresh and crisp even though we had to pry them out of the slightly frozen earth. We loosened the ground with a garden fork and pulled out about 12 medium-sized carrots.
One stubborn carrot would not separate from its block of earth so my strong husband pressed down hard on the garden fork until its wooden shaft snapped in half. My husband sighed at the loss of his faithful garden tool. But he smiled after I announced, “we now have a dibber for the leeks we want to plant in early spring!” A broken off shovel or garden fork with an intact handle makes an effective hole digger for planting seedlings.
A garden blunder can be a gem to the gardener who dreams about next year’s garden.