Saturday, August 23, 2008

One plus one equals three!

As most of you know, Dave and I tied the knot a month ago. The thinking was, together we are stronger than we are separately. So, we've known from the start that one plus one equals more than two, we just weren't expecting physical proof of that quite so soon. :-D
I am happy to announce Dave and I are expecting a child.
I am sadly still traveling for work, and it's very hard to be away from him and the rest of my support network right now, but the money will come in handy. If we are counting on our fingers right, we overwhelmed the birthcontrol sometime during our honeymoon and our new addition will be born at the end of March, 2009. Just in time to greet new spring plantings.

We are both really excited, and frantically trying to figure out how to make all this work. It's frustrating knowing that the most my company currently offers for maternal leave is 3 months unpaid leave. I really don't feel that's long enough for me and baby, but with me being the primary income in the family, and my student loans breathing down my neck, I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to stay away from work. But, we'll figure it out I'm sure.

We're both in agreement we don't need to make this more complicated than it needs to be. I'm not sure when a new baby went from "clean out a dresser drawer for baby to sleep" to "get a bigger house, baby needs a room" but I'm not interested in following that trend. Baby can join us in our bid for austerity and living lightly and I'm positive she'll be no worse off for it. (In case you're wondering, I'm hoping for a girl, and Dave is mostly ambivalent.) We are also both in agreement that this is the only child we want to conceive. The human population needs to contract if it's to have any hope of living sustainably on this planet. That means if at some point we want another little bundle, we will seek to adopt. So, we will enjoy this experience, as poorly timed as it is. :-D We've put out the call to our respective families to help find a stash of cloth diapers and used baby clothes. I'm planning baby food into the garden for next year. And we're both really happy.

Not sure what else to write today, I've been away from the gardens for over 2 weeks now. Dave is bravely taking charge of them. We're getting lots of tomatoes and squash and beans. He's keeping up on the weigh ins and hopefully sometime soon we'll get together and I'll get this blog updated with some of those numbers. So, tune in next week for actual garden blogging and more my usual fare.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

July totals and the garden handoff

Ok, time to tally things up for the month of July.

Produce pulled out of the Boone garden last week:
Stupice tomatoes: 190g
eggplant: 250g
Purple green beans: 190g
Green beans: 130 g
Pole beans: 320

Produce pulled out of the Des Moines garden last week:
Kohlrabi: 390
Basil (dried): 13g

And... Drum roll please...

July Totals
Peas: 30g
Onions: 42 onions
Bush Green Beans: 1267g
Purples: 720g
Pole Beans: 593g
Carrots: 2528g or 2.5 Kg!
Garlic: 31 harvested
Kohlrabi: 1045g
Basil: 13g
Stupice tomatoes: 190g
eggplant: 250g
Green Sage (dried): 6g
Stevia (dried): 7g

Total produce: 6649 grams, plus the onions and garlic which weren't weighed. The average garlic head should weigh around 70g and mine were all good size, so we'll run with this number for now. That adds another 2170g bringing the total to 8819 g plus onions. If I convert it all to pounds it's 19.4 pounds plus onions. I have 5-10 lbs of onions. So, 24.4-29.4 pounds of produce out of the garden for the month of July. Not too shabby. :-D

I'm pretty proud of how well the garden was planned this year. The entire North row was harvested in the space of one week. The entire center row is going to seed. The South row is all still in production. This is going to make it very easy to hand the garden off to Dave this weekend. Instead of being overwhelmed by the care of all 950 square feet, all he has to worry about is the South row.

Yes, the gardens will be in Dave's care until October. We were planning on me having very limited time to garden in the months of August and September due to my job's busy time. "Very limited" has officially been downgraded to none. Due to a team member being unable to fulfill his travel requirements, I've had to pick up his travel. I've been told I'm leaving August 11th and I shouldn't expect a day off or home time until October 1st. Super. So, Dave is in charge of tomato, eggplant, squash and pepper harvest. I know he'll do fine. I honestly don't know what I would do without him.

We went out to the Boone garden yesterday. There was some slight hail damage to some of the tomatoes and one of my two pepper plants was broken off close to the base of the plant. Sadness. But, plenty of tomatoes for harvesting. We spent time going over the row and talking about what he'll need to look for and what he'll need to do. We tied tomato vines up and harvested giant piles of mint and mustard so I can try and process them before I leave. The mint is being dried and the mustard needs the seeds gathered out of their many pods. We harvested a pile of Stupice tomatoes. I'm really pleased with this variety. It's a strain out of Czechoslovakia and has hands down won the "Early" prize for my garden this year. I want to say I have 3 vines of it in the garden, and I've pulled out over a dozen ripe tomatoes this past week. The Moonglow variety had a ripe one, and the hybrid had a couple. My squash hills finally have one fruit set. Woot. Oh and the watermelon vine I thought was dead is actually still alive. Hee hee.. not sure if it'll get it's act together in time to put on a watermelon, but there's always hope. *Still* waiting on the Romanesco Broccolis to head. These things take forever! It's supposed to be worth the wait though. If they head while I'm away and I don't get to eat any of it I'm going to be pissed. I harvested the cabbage head and the pretty purple kale. I found a recipe for a soup with Kale in it, but I don't think we'll have time to fix it before I leave, I'm planning on just drying it and powdering it to make it into a healthy additive for soups. The cabbage head I'm completely in the dark on. I still need to research whether it's better to freeze it or leave it in my root cellar.

Anyway, there's the progress report. Hopefully Dave keeps up with the tomatoes and remembers to record data on how much he harvests. If not we'll just have to make up numbers. :-D

Monday, August 4, 2008


Lots of busy-ness this last week. So, this post is going to be a little long.

The onions and garlic bulbs are curing nicely. They've been in the living room for most of the curing, our weather has been too unpredictable to leave them outside while Dave and I are away at work.

I harvested the second round of green beans last week. (yes, some are purple) I have harvest totals for the week, but they are... somewhere not here. The beans were wonderful, tasty and prolific. What more can a girl ask? I was eating them straight off the vine while I was picking them. My wonderful mother came over yesterday and helped me can. Even brought a few beans from her fridge and Daddy's garden. We ended up with 4 full quarts of green beans. Not too shabby. My first canning experience went well. Except for picking the hottest day in weeks to do it. :-P We got all four burners on the stove going and that kitchen got warmish. :-P But, we survived and I learned the basics of canning. I think I'm going to practice again soon with some corn. Not out of my garden, as all my corn was a bust this spring, but fresh and local corn is relatively easy to find right now.

My Stupice tomatoes (Stupice is the variety) fulfilled their promise of earliness. I have 3 little round tomatoes from those vines. I also harvested an eggplant. I'm going to combine those into a pasta sauce tonight with some mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Mmmm... :-D

Mustard is very close to harvestable. I'm hoping to gather the seed pods this week and take them on my business trip next week. I expect long hours in a hotel room that would be perfect for the task of opening seed pods and collecting mustard seeds. It possible I'll have lettuces seeds to do also. They are surprising me with how long they are taking to set seed. Oh well.

A couple of my container garden basils are setting seed. I didn't get much harvested from them in terms of seasoning, but the seeds will be valuable and I can possibly harvest more leaves this fall if they bounce back from the seed removal. We'll see. I'll have plenty of herbs to keep me busy. Mint has taken over my kaput corn patch. Literally knee high bushes of mint. I'm going to harvest some to make into tea. I have a really healthy Stevia plant that I'll also dry and make into a sweetener. I'll get some Thyme, green sage and a bit of chives too if I can figure out how to dry them. If I'm on my game and have a bit of luck I'll get the first round of all those harvested and started drying before I leave.

I'm starting to think I'll need to hand pollinate my squashes. Still no fruit set. Not sure what their problems is. I wonder if I put too much compost in their hills and they are soo busy putting leaves they are just uninterested in procreating. :-) Lots of male flowers, so I could harvest those and fry 'em if I wanted. Not sure I want to though. I saw someone selling squash blossoms at the farmers market Saturday. She had a shallow bin with water in the bottom and the blossoms packed in tight with their stems in the water. They looked pretty. One of these days I'll get around to frying some. I want squash first though!

I think I'll harvest my cabbage when I'm out next. It's nice and big and the outer leaves appear to be very mature. I've almost got my root cellar area finished in the basement, so hopefully it can go down there.

We are starting to get bills for the first month of utilities in the new house. Hopefully we'll sit down tonight and look them over and I'll have some usage totals for my Riot 4 Austerity pledge.

I'll end with a picture of some of my farmers market tasty goodness for the week.