June 2010

Dear Gentle Reader,

We returned home last night, just in time for me to run outside and water.  We had a wonderful, relaxing time visiting with relatives.  I look forward to another visit next year. 

When I went outside, I was amazed by how much my garden had grown.  I have to take more photos tonight and get busy blogging.  I had taken several photos, and had planned to blog while away, but I just never had the time.  So, I think I will be pretty busy catching up with a mammoth-sized entry (over the next few evenings).   I may not get too much done, however, as I have relatives coming in this weekend, and then the weekend after that we are going to a family reunion. 

I guess that’s all for today.  I hope that you all are having a great summer.


Dear Gentle Reader,

Tomorrow morning my family and I are off to visit one of my DH’s older sisters (and her family) up in Minneapolis Saint Paul.   Here is the general route.

We will be back early next week. While we are gone, I won’t be able to blog. So, I’ll see you next week. Hope you all have a good weekend! 🙂

Dear Gentle Reader,

I have to tell you how great the service is at Territorial Seed Co.  It is Fabulous!  Yesterday morning, I e-mailed them about the chocolate spot on my Fava beans, since I wasn’t sure what to do with it or if it was safe to eat them.  I got an answer later that very same day, from a nice person named Lori!  I was really surprised.  I hadn’t expected to hear back for at least a week.  Lori said that I need to remove and destroy the diseased plants, and that you can spray the remaining plants with carbendazim, which is a broad spectrum fungicide.  Unfortunately, all of my plants are diseased, so I need to get rid of them all.  I think I will put the plants in a clear plastic bag, in the sun, for about a week or so, to kill the fungus before I compost them. 

To prevent future outbreaks of chocolate spot, Lori recommended to fertilize before planting, don’t plant too closely together, keep the leaves dry, and practice a 4-year crop rotation.   Well, I planted the plants too closely together, since I have been doing the square-foot gardening, and the leaves have been wet quite a bit, due to the constant rain and/or my watering.   BTW, I also read up on Fava beans, and apparently they stop forming beans when it gets too hot (e.g., about 70-degrees).  No wonder they stopped making beans.  It has been very hot here the last several weeks.  I should have planted them as soon as the ground was workable (e.g., February).  Live and learn.

So, I am going to pull the plants out and replace them with zinnias.  They will grow well  during the summer, and at least I will have some flowers to cut.

Next year, I am going to try out a smaller/shorter version of Fava beans, and plant much earlier, in the next garden box over.  I will give them more room, and maybe spray them with copper on a weekly basis.  Also, I will do some more reading up on them before then.

Update 7-1-10: The Fava beans got torn out.  Still need to plant.

By, By Favas. You were fun while you lasted.

Dear Gentle Reader,

I haven’t been able to do much gardening lately, as I am still having back problems.  Anything requiring bending over is difficult.  I’m hoping that I overcome this problem soon.

I went out to check the garden this morning, and noticed that some of the bean pods have black spots on them.  In some cases, it is very severe.

It is very hard.  Not slimy.  I did a little searching on the web, and found that it is called Chocolate Spot (Botrytis fabae).  But I haven’t found any information about what to do about it.  Any suggestions?

Dear Gentle Reader,

I checked out my garden this evening, after I got home from work.  It rained once again.  So it’s hot and humid.  It looks like there is a lawn in the back yard, but it is a trick.  When you walk around, your shoes squelch in the mud, leaving sloppy foot prints.  Hippy Skippy. 🙂

The leeks are growing well.  I should have harvested them a couple of months ago, but they started making scapes, and that was interesting.  So I left them, and now some of them are 3-4 feet tall.  The flower buds are huge and starting to open.
The fava beans are coming along.  Some are getting pretty big.
The tomatoes are even making tiny little fruits.
And the corn is standing tall.

Dear Gentle Reader,

1. Plant Something:  It has been raining at least every other day.  On top of that, it has been in the upper ’80s.  So, I haven’t gotten to do too much in the way of planting.  I did do a lot of weeding.  And every time we had a big storm, the winds knocked everything down, and I tied it back up.  So, the fava beans have been tied up several times.  Saturday I staked off the corn.  Yesterday I staked up the cherry tomatoes.  This morning I staked up the slicer tomatoes. 

I planted four pots of H-19 Little Leaf Cukes (from Highmowing Seeds).  They are pickling cucumbers.  I picked them because they are resistant to Angular Leaf Spot, Anthracnose, Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew, and Scab.  I am hoping that they do well, but I have only one in the garden.  I planted some others, but they got eaten by Bambi.  I also transplanted a Mexican Sour gherkin into a large pot.  I found that you can get all kinds of FREE growers pots at the nursery.  They have a huge bin where people drop their used pots off for recycling.  So, I picked up a bunch on Sunday.  Yay! 🙂

2. Harvest Something:  Garlic scapes.  A bunch of mint and a bunch of thyme.  It was great on pan-seared lamb chops.

3. Preserve Something:  nothing

4. Waste Not: Picked up growers pots for free from recycling at my local nursery.

5. Want Not: Still working on my sourdough bread baking skills.  I started adapting the sourdough recipe to oatmeal.  The first try was ok, but it needs work.

6. Build Community Food Systems:  Investigated which orchards and farms are actually near me (within the surrounding counties).  I e-mailed an orchard not too far away from here, and they still have PYO cherries for only $2.50/lb.  Is that a good price?  I’m not sure.  They also have apples, blueberries, raspberries, and asian pears.  So, I need to get my family geared up for some picking.

7. Eat the Food:  More sourdough bread; mint and thyme

Dear Gentle Reader, 

Finally, I harvested something today… garlic scapes!   Check out this cool bouquet! 

2010 Garlic Scape Harvest


An entire 1-pound and 1.25-ounces worth.   You probably already know that only hardneck garlic makes the scapes.  I planted two kinds last fall (I forget which ones).  I got them from Seeds of Change.   To get good hardneck garlic heads, you remove the scapes.  Otherwise, the garlic puts it energy into making a flower.  The flower makes baby garlic cloves that fall to the ground and grow to a new head (in two hears).   There is a lot of wild garlic all over the place here.  I have been told that this area used to grow a lot of the garlic for the US in the 1800’s.  I’m not sure if that is true or not.  Couldn’t find anything on the internet about it.  But it is everywhere.  So, I picked all of the scapes from the wild garlic on our yard, in addition to the scapes from the garlic that I planted. 

So, what the heck do you do with all of that?  A quick check of the web produced recipies for various dishes with scapes instead of garlic bulbs.  I could even make pickled scapes.  Apparently, the most tender part is the stem.  The flower part isn’t so great.  The most popular use is in pesto.  So, maybe I’ll make that tomorrow.  Also, I will chop up what I don’t use for pesto and put it in the freezer for later.  Maybe next year I’ll try out the pickles. 

What do you do with your scapes?

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