Market Garden Update: Pride And Heirlooms

I decided to do a bit of bragging in my latest newsletter because I’m still astonished at the idea that I can grow organic, heirloom veggies. Really, the only thing that stopped me in the past is that we’re told by the gardening magazines how difficult heirlooms are to grow, and the TV commercials would convince us to buy bags and bags of soil amending products and bug killers – as if there is no hope for your garden without them. But in reality, my garden never looked better. Everything is boomin’, bloomin’ and beautiful… I am quite proud.

Well, it’s only May and we have scapes popping out already. I should have a small basket ready for the farmers market this weekend. Scapes are one of our all-time favorite discoveries so far… how I went most of my life not knowing about them is a mystery. Check out this post on how to harvest and pickle them.

Yep, the garlic is doing very well. I decided to grow Polish hardneck again. It’s our absolute favorite. But this time I went from Georgian Crystal to Music hardneck. Music is a very popular variety and I was curious to see what all the hoopla was about. Check out this post on how to grow, harvest and store hardneck garlic.

And speaking of new crops, this will be my first year growing snap beans for the market and I have to admit that I’m a bit nervous. I’m growing a LOT and made all kinds of promises, so if they don’t do well then I’m toast! Okay, that was a bit dramatic, but it feels that serious. It’s my own fault really, because I’ve been bragging so much I have people asking about them already. Purple Podded, Cantare, Tongues of Fire; some of the most beautiful beans I’ve ever seen have me at their mercy hoping they produce well. Trying not to hold my breath until the next post…

look, it's a rainbow

This is a picture of the chard coming up in the kitchen garden. It shows what I expect to see in the market garden soon. As you know, all trials start here, so when these babies popped up in record time, I got ta sowing for the market in record time. They taste amazing and I can’t wait to offer them to everyone else too. Along with Rainbow, I have Oriole Orange and Flamingo Pink.

And let’s not forget the Fordhook Giant chard! Love, love, love this very reliable crop. And giant it is with leaves up to a foot long; a foot and a half with the stem. Yummy!

just a barrel o' fun

The gopher wars continue so the potatoes have new digs. I carefully followed instructions for growing them in these plastic, food-grade barrels: Drill holes in the bottom and add rock for drainage, filled them a third of the way with compost and plant the seed potatoes, and hill them as the grow. And now will ya look at that! The plants are not only thriving but flowering already. I’m bringing back the All-Blue and Butte varieties, and introducing Mountain Rose, Nicola, Cranberry Red and Purple Sun. Heirloom pride indeed.

we're talkin' pak choi baby!

Here’s the last of the pak choi. It’s hard to grow for a summertime market since the heat causes it to flower before it has a chance to grow full size. I’ll either be selling or eating it I suppose.

Our first year harvesting peaches and apples won’t be a disappointment as you can see. I have to learn how to thin these (is it too late?) so the fruit grows nice and big. The pears and plums are also doing great and I think I’ll be able to offer both this year too. I might even go so far as to add some of the quince to the list. Why not? You only live once!

this is my flower, go get your own

And lastly, for my soap making adventures… calendula flowers! This wondrous and medicinal plant flowers like crazy, and all I have to do is harvest the petals and dry them for a facial soap recipe I created for my Etsy shop. Check it off the list baby, that’s one less thing to buy.

Lovin’ this homesteading gig. It’s so very satisfying. Y’all should get in on it… 🙂