Wow! 2011 is shaping up to be *quite* the Gardening Year!
It's been so successful, in fact, that I am BRAZENLY feeling that I might actually be up to the task of planting a Cool Season Garden this year! (Nothing like setting myself up for failure - to offset a freaking fantastic Summer Gardening Season!!!)
P called me earlier this week and reminded me that the Santa Clara Master Gardeners were offering a free seminar on Cool Season Vegetable Gardening up at the Cupertino Community Center, so we headed up there and learned lots of cool stuff...
I've decided that I'll give my Straw-Bale Experiment one more chance before I compost it. Since my raised beds are utterly and completely out of control (see pictures below) and I can't find room to plant even a single seed (unless I wield a machete!) I'm going to toss some more compost on top (maybe improve it's water-rentention properties?), then start some of my Cool Season Veggies in that bed. Hopefully we'll get enough wintertime rains to sustain it...
This afternoon, I went through my "Cool Season" Veggie Seed Collection (many of which expired back in 2004!) (Yes, I tossed the oldest ones!).
PSA: Don't handle small seeds while your Netbook is open! Some of the packages *may not* be sealed and, well, teeny-tiny seeds jammed under your keyboard keys are a genuine pain in the @$$!
Anyway, I think I'm going to plant some "Big Stuff" in the straw-bale beds. Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage, maybe some spinach (not sure yet). I'll end up throwing lettuces and Mesclun mix in the upside-down planters - since they'll be closer to the back door and easier access for "cut and come again." Root veggies (carrots, beets, turnips) will go in the raised beds - after some of the summer-stuff has died back some. I'll also plant peas in the raised beds since they will enhance the nitrogen in those beds.
Haven't decided where I'll plant garlic and onions. I might attempt to grow those in containers since there's a "Stop Watering Them" period - so they really can't be commingled with other stuff...
So my mind has been racing with all these ideas! FWIW - I *have* attempted cool-season veggies in the past and had, well, "limited success." Unfortunately, most of my veggies either got drowned (b/c I planted them directly in our supremely muddy clay soil) or got hopelessly infested with insects (I'll throw floating row covers on them this year). We'll see....
Anyway... This morning I had an inexplicable burst of energy and went out to the garden to see what was going on. Armed with my Droid, I took the following pictures:
Oops! I skipped a couple of days of Plum Harvesting.
I think Plum Season is "done!"
(there're maybe half-a-dozen nearly-ripe plums left on the tree)
Peach Season is Starting!!!
These are my white peaches and they are DEEEE-LISH!
Juicy as hell, too. You, literally, have to stand over the sink to eat them!
There won't be a ton of white peaches this year.
But there will be a metric ton of yellow peaches, a little later on (sorry no pics!)
Raised Beds have gone completely, fucking insane!!!
I think there are 5 tomato plants that are threatening to take over!
(Threatening?? Hell, they've already taken over!!!)
Why yes, there *are* tomatoes!
Ripe ones, even!
And MORE tomatoes...
And still *more* tomatoes!
Did I mention that I'm gonna have a lot of tomatoes???
I *really* wish that I'd written down which variety of tomato was planted where!
Straw-Bale Fail. But I'm gonna give it a second chance!
This is Today's Harvest!
And this is the natural archway over the path leading to the tool-shed and compost bins.
Soooo... In addition to "planning" for my Cool-Season Veggie Bed (and YES I *will* write down what gets planted where!), I am also planning ahead for what to do with my upcoming harvests!
P has proposed a South-Bay Canning Club where several of her friends (myself included) will get together to "exchange" whatever we've put-up for the season. I've already got some Splenda Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam, and Splenda Plum Jam. I think I'll also buy a flat of strawberries to make up another batch of Splenda Strawberry Jam. I am also looking for ways to preserve my soon-to-be ABUNDANT harvest of tomatoes. Either plain-ol frozen tomatoes with minimal cooking (to be tossed in the freezer), or maybe some garlicy/oniony spaghetti sauce kinda stuff.
P has a Steamer-Canner thing that I might want to borrow (since I can't do water-bath canning on my stove). Although, to be perfectly honest, I really like the "fresher" flavor of frozen stuff...
If I stumble onto, or create any stupendously delicious recipes, I promise to post 'em here!
Anyway, I an SUPER HAPPY with how this Gardening Season is shaping up! It's *almost* made me forget about the last 2-3 years of failure!!!