Squash invasion: imminent

That’s right: attached to this beautiful, innocent-looking Romanesco squash flower is the first in a legion of zucchini that will soon overwhelm our fair garden.  At least we hope so.  Thankfully we have a cadre of volunteers from the community to help us take care of the garden now that school is out.  Zucchini equates to summer in my mind, and I’ve personally had experiences with the things running wild and growing to the size of caveman-clubs, but these ones will be better tended, i’m sure.  Incidentally, Romanesco squash are often praised as the most delicious of all squash – who knew?

The peas are growing very nicely, too – We should have our first harvest next week – a bit later than we would’ve liked due to rabbits and possibly the weather, but a pea is a pea.  Two out of the five kinds we planted are producing pods presently; once the others kick in we’ll have ourselves a taste test.

This is Vicki Robin, one of our harvesters for this first week on the summer schedule.  She and Nancy Snow grabbed six bags of lettuce, some broccoli and cabbage thinnings, and beet greens (ours are purple and delicious, from our Bull’s Blood Beets) for the food bank.

One last picture of the garden, from the inside looking towards the gate.  On the left is our swiss chard, beyond that the newly planted carrots under a row cover.  On the right, the billowing mass is actually a horde of broccoli – I snuck a look underneath today and found that several of them have set their flowers.  Beyond them are onions, then in the distance are the cabbages, more broccoli, and some peas crawling up the fence.  The hoophouse and our big manure pile are beyond all that.  Next time i’ll get some pictures of all our tomatos in the hoophouse and talk about the technique we used to support them.

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Some catching up to do

The blog has been semi-dormant for the past two weeks, while the garden has been entering into some crazy growth patterns.  This week saw our first harvest by community members, our 10th weekly harvest overall, and much else – all will be revealed after i get through what’s gone on the past couple weeks.

Harvest from June 4th, and Alex and Marcus, who harvested it:

If those carrots look pretty lame, they were – the first thinnings from our carrot row.  We planted them as thickly as possible and are slowly spacing them out as they grow.  This week we got some fairly nice-sized ones, but three weeks ago they were in their infancy.

Two weeks later, the last of the radishes came out.  And I also harvested six bags of lettuce – this was our 5th week harvesting lettuce from what we planted, using the same ultra-thick planting technique.  They should still be producing for a couple weeks!

Summer Housekeeping

School gets out on Wednesday here in South Whidbey. It was a great first school year for us here at the garden, and we hope to get even more student involvement next year. Now comes the hard part: gardens and schools are a little incompatible, in that when the garden needs the most attention, the school is sitting empty for the summer.

We’re putting together a summer schedule of students, community members, and anyone interested in helping water and harvest from June to September. We’ve had a lot of success already and have filled in many of the weeks; if you feel able to help, check out the schedule at the link in the sidebar (or here) and see when you can help. E-mail Micah at the address listed to be added to the list! Note that we can use up to three harvesters per week to make the process go faster.

Thanks as always to everyone for their support! So as not to post two pictureless entries in a row, here’s what the garden looked like at one of our last Wednesday work parties (we’re enjoying Anza’s bread):

Veggie tales and laundry lists

To go along with our fantastic new garden map (see it here), here’s a list of everything we’ve planted to date by month with the varieties:

March

Peas – Sugar Star, Sugar Sprint, Sugar Pod II

April

Peas – Oregon Giant, Alaska Early Bush

Onions – Mars Red (storage)

Carrots

Lettuce – Mesher, Romaine

Mizuna

Broccoli

Cabbage – Derby Day

Mustard – India

Pak choi

Radishes

May

Carrots – Bolero Hybrid, Royal Chantenay, Danvers Half Long

Swiss chard

Squash – Hubbard, Crookneck, Romanesque

Pumpkins – Jack B Little

Beets – Bull’s Blood

Tomatos – Legend, Sweet Baby Girl, Celebrity, Big beef

Peppers – California Wonder, Hungarian Hot

Melons – Earlidew

June

Cucumbers – Green Slam


Since the summer can be an uncertain time at school gardens, Anza chose to plant crops that aren’t too demanding at harvest time – no beans or zucchini in here. The proliferation of peas was purposefully planned for a pea taste-test; a horde of rabbits have kept that from happening yet.

A few of our most successful crops are growing from seeds provided by the wonderful people at the Organic Seed Alliance, located across the inlet in Port Townsend. Through their World Seed Fund, they donate seeds for nonprofit groups tailored to our area’s climate, with a focus on heirloom varieties. The Mesher lettuce we got from them looks amazing and has been growing strong for over a month.