Veggie Tales: sharing the harvest

Heading out to check on my garden is a daily activity I do more out of enjoyment than necessity. Mel’s claim that Square Foot Gardening is a low-maintenance technique has certainly rung true in my yard. There is no weeding nor tilling nor thinning to do. And while part of me is cursing the cool, wet weather of this Spring-that-never-really-was, I haven’t had to water my garden yet either.

I’ve been enjoying salads and chard for several weeks now. And as the plants grow bigger I have begun to notice that I’m not the only one reaping the benefits of this convenient food source. Last week while rinsing chard leaves I noticed clusters of small, oval shaped white eggs about 1 mm long. They rinsed off easily and I was reassured by the fact that I’d be sauteeing these greens – a little cooked protein wouldn’t hurt me.

More recently I’ve noticed holes in some of my lettuce greens. I don’t mind them. Green Bean wrote that perhaps it would be nice if we could lessen our standards of perfection when it comes to our food. I heartily agree. Raised on a diet of perfectly symmetrical tomatoes, uniformly coloured apples, and pristine pre-washed packaged greens it might be disconcerting to find that some little critter has snacked on your snack before you get to it. Surprisingly, I haven’t minded at all. I think a big part of that is due to the effort – both physical and emotional – I’ve put into my garden. Waste a perfectly good salad leaf because of a 0.5 cm hole? No way! OTOH, I think if I’d bought the lettuce at the store I would be a bit peeved to find holes in the leaves. Yet still, the leaf from my garden tasted far sweeter than any bought elsewhere!

Here’s how things are looking these days in my garden. The Gai Lan plant is amazing me with its height – watching it grow is a true adventure because I have never seen a Gai Lan plant, I have no idea what to expect of it (the white flowers are a nice surprise) and I don’t even know when I’m supposed to harvest it (I’ll have to Google that one soon).

At least I know broccoli when I see it so the Gai Lan plant’s neighbour (behind it in the photo above), while also impressive in its spread, is still obviously in the pre-harvest stage. The sugar snap peas are reaching new heights, overgrowing the trellis but showing signs of flowering that I’m guessing means we’ll have fruit there eventually.

I’m still waiting for the carrots (centre right plot in the photo above), but the onion tops (centre left) are developing bulbous…things…(flower?) on their tops and I understand that this is the last stage before they begin to topple over and die (meaning the onions will be ready to harvest).

Mostly, I’m just enjoying the lush greens of my garden. I can’t even describe how satisfying it all is, how mystifying (all this from a handful of tiny seeds?), how rewarding it is to grow one’s own food. This little garden of mine is just an experiment, a wonderful addition to our table but not yet a significant source of food for us. I want to learn as much as I can, expand the operation next year, and move towards eventually providing some serious stores of food for our family. In the meantime, Green is my favorite colour.


6 responses to this post.

  1. I’m encouraged to read that SFG is working for you. We borrowed the book from one of my hubby’s co-workers and have been trying to decide if we should get one ourselves and try it. This would be our first garden here in Texas. So you would totally recommend it? It seems to easy to be true…


  2. Posted by ruralaspirations on June 19, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Heather: if you read through my Veggie Tales posts you can get an idea for the process (click on “gardening” under the Post Categories heading). It was a bit of hard work getting the soil mixed up, etc. And a bit expensive to do all at once (you can visit A Posse ad Esse’s blog – link on my sidebar – for some tips on how to do it more economically) but now that the initial setup is done it is truly super easy. I’m brand new at this myself so it’s been a nice introduction to organic gardening.


  3. I think your gai lan has gone too far 😦 It should be harvested with buds but not blooms. It will still be edible, but possibly quite bitter. You can blanch it in salted water briefly before stir-frying or steaming, that will probably help.

    You garden does look very lovely though! Peas go quite quickly from blooms to pods, you should get something off them soon.


  4. The garden looks great. What did you end up useing for the pea trellising?


  5. Posted by ruralaspirations on June 20, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Spughy: thanks, sadly you are correct. I waited too long to Google! I found today on the UBC Farm website (university farm in my area): that they rated it as “poor” in terms of suitability to our growing area. On another site it mentions that you are supposed to cut the main stem to produce lots of harvestable stems….Oh well, live and learn right? 😉

    P~ I ended up using pea netting with 6″ holes. I actually think that smaller ones would have been better for the sugar snap peas (more for them to grab onto). We’ll see if it holds the buttercup squash. Next time I’m definitely going to use some of your ideas!


  6. Great post RA! I wish my garden looked as lovely. Unfortunately, the rain here in Indiana delayed our planting until LAST WEEK! We didn’t use beds and I now wonder if we should have – but, we already have some veggies poking through the ground!

    This is our first garden so we are new at this too – and learning more everyday! Hopefully we will have something to harvest soon!


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