August 2013 week 1

June July has gone and we’re into August now, we are left with month and half of warm weather. Around Pacific NW, first frost usually arrives late October, I have been tracking it last 4-5 years and most years it was Oct last week. Plants grow well into September but go into semi-dormant mode after.

So the growing season is in full swing early August. Other things in life (camping, hiking and summering) are taking over life, leaving less time to spend in garden. (It shouldn’t be this way really). Its slow time now, but soon I have to gear up planting for fall/winter.

There’s none planting going on. Here’s what’s harvested:
 

potato harvest 
Red Sails Lettuce and red potatoes

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Potatoes dug out and early carrots

 

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This is how potatoes look like upon harvest
 

 

 

 

Methi is almost ready to be harvested…

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May 2013 Week 3: Mid Spring update

Seattle has returned to its gray pattern over last week and it’ll stay for another 1-2 weeks. Gray pattern translates to mild weather – highs into 50s or 60s, abundant rain gray clouds, few sun breaks here and there. Not exactly ‘setting out tomato’ weather. Cool crops are loving it though.

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Raspberries along the fence

 

I noticed raspberries are flowering and bees were busy around them. I never trim biennial canes in fall, I have to admit – I have not learned which ones are done producing for 2 years. I always do this chore in spring. I weeded this patch a little bit and removed dead canes.

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Incidentally, peas are in need of support (I am too lazy to build a trellis, I had planned it for this year but it’s too late now). In spirit of re-using, old canes were immediately repurposed to support peas.

 

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Pea supports – Raspberry canes

Around the garden, spring crops are taking shape. Lettuce mix, spinach, pak choi are beyond 4-5 leaf stage. I can expect few young leaves harvested next week. Some of the overwintered chard plants are setting out seed stalks, I’ll harvest leaves and pull them out.

Sorrel is loving this cool weather, warm sun and bursts of rain is helping. I can see much of the sorrel is sending out seed stalks. I have promptly removed the seed stalks so plant can re-focus on new leaf growth.

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cupful of methi

This week, I got a bowlful of fenugreek that was growing in container. It got burned a little in scorching heat we has 2 weeks back. Fenugreek was used in methi thepalas made on Friday.

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Also, got a bunch of chives, used in making chives pesto.

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More sorrel was harvested, again shared with friends.

Next week brings more rain and less sun. I expect to spend little time in garden except for some harvest.

Here’s what sown this week:
Marigold

What’s harvested last week? 
Methi – 1 bunch – made into Thepalas
Chives – 1 bunch – made into pesto
Sorrel – 1 bunch – shared with friends

Happy Gardening!

May Garden Tour – II

Garden is filling up fast, new sprouts and seedlings are emerging. Empty spots of couple weeks back are filling up fast. This warrants for quick garden tour.

I have 2 beds along wall side of the house, they get morning sun, shaded rest of the day.

This is bed 1 – Walla Walla onions, Red Sais Lettuce, Red Choi, some spinach, Parsely, chard, kale and mostly Sorrel. I harvested 4-5 big bunches of sorrel 2 days back, given to neighbor and friends.

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Walla Walla onions, Red Sais Lettuce, Red Choi, some spinach, Parsely, chard, kale and mostly Sorrel

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Lettuce blend in shoebox containers


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Bed 2 – Broccoli (packman), redbor and lacinto kale, buttercrunch lettuce, chard and sugar anne peas

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Potato growing in gallon buckets, this is red potato variety. Potatoes in black buckets are growing at incredible speed than those in terracotta pots or ground
Inside the box on right are various spinach, arugula, kale, lettuce seedlings.

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Fenugreek growing in bucket, this soon to be harvested as leaves are turning color.

Enjoy! 

Harvest Monday: 8/20/2012 Peas and Greens

We are enjoying 2 weeks of summer here in NW. Temperatures are moving to 80s for past several days and everyone’s loving the warmth of the bright sun.

Blueberries and Strawberries


On Monday, I picked very last of the strawberries. Everything in the patch is picked over, there are few left for the critters. Every year, last of the strawberries look smaller, more angular. I am thinking that few of the strawberry plants are of the wild or alpine types, which yield late smaller berries. No complains here, it’s always nice to get strawberry harvest extended over many weeks.

Along with strawberries, few of the plump blueberries were picked. Berries got used in shake the same week.

 

Dill Greens – Shepu


This Wednesday I picked lots of greens, dill greens and Methi. I made shepu bhaji (dill greens) with moong daal.

Fenugreek – Methi

Methi leaves were used in Methi Thepala. No pictures here.. I’ll remember to take some pictures of the prepared meals, what fun it’ll be to see harvests into use.


Alaska Peas and Radish 

Peas and radish were picked too along with the greens.

Vine Dried Peas (shall use as seeds next year) and Shelled Alaska Peas

On Saturday, came the big harvest of peas. I picked a basket full of peas. Took me an hour to shell the peas, my kids and husband took no time eating raw peas as I was shelling them. This above photo is what’s left of it. Few of the peas were dried by the time I picked them, I’ll re-plant these next year. Not sure if it’ll germinate. We’ll see…

Harvest Summary for this week: 
Strawberries, alpine/wild: 24
Blueberries: 34
Peas: 1 bowl full
Methi (Fenugreek): 2 bunches
Shepu (dill): 1 bunch


Happy Gardening!!

Summer Garden Tour

Tour of Fenugreek Love’s garden, this is how garden looks in early August.

Below is BED 1, growing from left to right – Lettuce, Turnips, last of bunching onions, French Breakfast Radish, Marigolds, baby Beets and Swiss ChardDSC_0016

Below is Bed 2, towards back are 4 tomato plants which are recovered from yellowing due to constant rain. I am growing tomato varieties – Celebrity, Tumbling Tom, Lemon Boy and Early Girl. All are store bought plants.  Towards the front are 3 Zucchini plants.

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Container garden: Ornamentals, Muncher Cucumbers, Golden Oregano, Marigolds, Cosmos, Chicks&Hens,  Beaverlodge Tomato and 1 Ichiban Eggplant. 

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BED 3: This sits in partly sunny space. From back to Front: Blue Lake bush beans – 2 types, 1 Jalapeno, 1 sweet pepper and few bell pepper plants. Front row is Cabbage. There’s also one tomato plant hiding somewhere – Kimberly.

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Bed 4 is completely dedicated to fenugreek, I do succession planting and harvest here. Right now, I have planted Dill and fenugreek in back part (still yet to germinate), front methi is ready to harvest.

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Below is my pea patch. Not much action here, it is completely under-utilized (well, I think that for every other bed too). Tacoma bush peas, few pole peas and trailing cucumber vines are planted here.

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Weekly Update: Methi and more…

Sun came out of hiding over the weekend, it warmed to low 70s and it felt so good. I am sure plants got a good dose of sunshine for 2 days and us too 🙂

Week was all about fenugreek, I began harvesting spring sown methi and everyday brought in loads of it. It is time consuming – picking, washing, separating leaves but well worth it.  Methi seeds were sown on 20th April, germinated on 26th and I harvested beginning 7th June = 47 days. Total I got 3.6 lbs from this sowing (yes, it’s a lot) – about 10 bunches.

Sown: None
Transplanted: Wax beans 
Harvested: Methi 3.6 lbs, Salad Mix – Lettuce, Spinach and beet greens 3 oz, first few broccoli raab 2 oz, tiny cherry belle radishes and few springs of green onion.
Consumed: Consuming 10 bunches is not that challenge in my household, we made methi thepela ( keeps good for 2 weeks), methi curry, daal methi.  Radishes and spring onions were made into salad with greens. Brocolli raab was used in bowtie pasta dish.

Harvest Photos:
Cherry Belle Radishes and spring onions. Cherry Belles are not top heavy, there’s very little foliage so I snipped it off. I was too impatient with Spring onions, pulled first few of the season.

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Left: Salad Mix – outer leaves of lettuce (black seeded simpson), Spinach (Olympia hybrid, ed hume seeds) and beet greens.
Right: Broccoli Raab or Rapini, delicious bitter pungent greens with tiny brocolli heads. I sauted these with olive oil and mixed with bowtie pasta dish. Good taste.

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and finally Methi weighing at 3.6 lbs or about 10 bunches!! I got 4 basketfulls (I’ll spare you with photos, all look the same). I still have more to be harvested from the same bed….

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  Happy Growing.

Weekly Update: Week 24, first week of June

A mix week, good and bad – harvests are picking up, I am able to cook and eat from the yard. Weather is improving, after torrential rains and floods from first few days, sun came out on Thursday briefly. Weatherman promises good weather for next week – partly sunny with few showers – I’ll take that happily. On the sad part, I continue to have poor germination and slug damage. Just few days after Iron Phosphate based application, slugs are low. I still have to venture out at dusk with chopsticks and big rock to eliminate slugs.
Heavy rains earlier in the week washed away Basil and Tomato seedlings.  Cutworms ripped 2 yellow squash seedlings that I transplanted this week. Is it cutworms or stem boarers? I found both squash seedlings had 100% cuts and damage at the soil level. I’ll remember to take pictures next time. so now on, I’ll protect them with cut paper cups, next squash seedling batch is almost ready to be transplanted.
Also, few other seeds failed to germinate, washed away with rains or rotted in this soggy weather – Cilantro, Guar beans, Begonia flowers, lemon grass complete the list. Also sad to report that 3 bitter gourd transplants did not take cool weather and rains, they have wilted beyond resurrection.

Harvests are picking up, I picked something almost all days last week, that feels good. I made some good compost tea last week and fed all plants. Did second application of sluggo near strawberry bed, I have to get to slugs before they get to my strawberries. Strawberries are flowering and it’s just weeks before these June-bearing plants will start producing fruits.

Saturday brought sun, we had wonderful sunny day (mixed with some clouds) after 3-4 weeks, temps were in upper 60s and the sun felt wonderful. Day started off with Victory Garden Veggie swap, I managed to swap many of my seedlings and surplus seeds for some nice tomato, peppers and basil. Back home, I did weeding for good one hour, cleared overgrown bamboo, helped husband clean the pond, planted dahlia tubers and transplanted some of the acquired seedlings.

Sown: Second planting of yard long beans, Bitter gourd, Musclan Mix and Swiss chard. I am replacing everything that was destroyed during the week. Sown more cucumber, daikon and wax beans.
Transplanted: Red Swiss chard, lettuce, Italian softneck garlic, butternut squash, zucchini
Harvested: Chives 6 oz, Oregano 7 oz, Salad Mix – baby leaves of Lettuce, Spinach and beets
Consumed: All Chives were added to Beet-Peanut salad. I made Spaghetti on Thursday, added oregano into making sauce. Salad mix was used as lunch on Friday. 

Harvest Photos:
Salad Mix (Lettuce, Spinach) 4 Oz
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Lots of Oregano 7Oz
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Chives   6Oz
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and lastly, first crop of fenugreek from container 8 oz
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Happy Growing.

FROST

Western Washington is experiencing record breaking cold this week, we are in 20s during the day and teens at night. Ground is frozen solid, I still have carrots, beets and Brussels sprouts, don’t know how these fare against this frost.

For records, my backyard had first killer frost on 2nd December this year.DSC_0372 
Frozen Pea vines
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4 days of hard frost killed young methi leaves
Below: Frozen Pond 
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How to Series: Growing Methi (Fenugreek)

When I first started out experimenting with growing vegetables, Methi was my first garden attempt. What I found was It works no matter you have green thumb or not. Methi is easiest to grow, ready to harvest in as little as 30 days. I was delighted to taste tender fresh methi from my own garden very first time I harvested, yield is far better and bigger than what you get at your neighborhood Indian store.

Most of the Indian stores sell methi wilted, about to make seed pods and sometimes it tastes like grass. And I used to pay 99cents for few twigs of methi. Well, not anymore. From early spring till late fall, I grow my own methi and buy frozen packs for rest of the year. Methi is semi-cold hardy so light frost doesn’t kill it. Methi makes it the perfect crop for those who just can’t wait to get the garden going, just open the pantry and soak some methi seeds in water.

How to grow fenugreek (Step by Step):

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1 – Methi (fenugreek) seeds are sold in Indian grocery stores, $1.99 packet will get you more than 500 seeds. Store bought seeds work beautifully.

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2 – Soak seeds in tap water for 12-24 hours

3 – Prepare ground by working soil, adding some compost. Methi can be planted in containers as well. Methi seeds are seeded densely (not in rows). Scatter methi seeds dense in desired growing area.

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5 – Germination is expected in 1-3 days, methi seeds upon germination look something like above.

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6 – Ready to harvest in 30-35 days.

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Some harvest methi as micro-greens, just before first true leaves appear. Fleshy first leaves are bitter and are used extensively in daal or with fish preparation in Mumbai cuisine. If harvesting for micro greens (samudri methi), it is ready in 5-7 days after germination.

Also, I found that methi develops it’s trademark bitter pungent taste in warmer, hot weather. Methi grown in spring and fall has mild taste.

More about Methi: for those with botanical interest, methi belongs to legume family(Fabaceae) – flowering plants that produce edible seeds. Fenugreek is termed as Trigonella foenum-graecum.

medicinal properties: In West, fenugreek is widely used by lactating women to boost milk supply. Tablespoon of fenugreek powder 3 times a day is the trick. Fenugreek is natural remedy to control diabetes.

Garden Planning 2010: growing Indian vegetables

Year 2009 gave me good learning and more encouragement to grow my own vegetables. I grew lots of lettuce, peas – western vegetables. I did better with fenugreek (methi), dill (shepu), cilantro, mint and peppers. Next year my total focus will be growing Indian vegetables – that I love to eat every single day.

Here’s the 2010 plan –
Greens: Fenugreek (methi), Chinese Spinach (math), Spinach
Squash: Dudhi/Lauki/Bottle Gourd, Cucumbers
Beans: Green beans, Snap Peas, Long beans, Okra
Alliums: Spring onion
Fruit Vegetables: Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers
Root Vegetables: Potatoes – Yukon gold and fingerlings

I’ll grow below veggies just because I have free leftover seeds from this year
Greens: Basil, Lettuce, Brussels Sprouts
Squash: Zucchini , Butternut Squash
Alliums: Spring onion 
Root Vegetables: Beets, Radishes 

Fun veggies:
I am planning to grow Kala vatana and Rajma just for fun, ever inquisitive mind wants to know how seedlings look like, are flowers beautiful? I also want to grow just 2 of each – cabbage and cauliflower. Just for fun.

Apart from leftover seeds from this year, I am planning to order few Indian veggie seeds from these seed stores, I checked their websites. Time to order for catalog 🙂
Johnny’s Selected Seeds – got good selection with bottle gourd and greens
Evergreen Seeds – Specialized company with Asian vegetables, good selection
SeedsofIndia – everything and anything from India. I usually tend to buy seeds from local area suppliers as these seeds are developed suitable to environment. I suspect success rate with seedsofindia as it seems these seeds are imported from India?