The Beginning of the Harvest!
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Onions

 

‘Tis the time, (here anyways) to start harvesting produce from the garden. Sugar peas, lettuce and swiss chard are all very abundant and I am enjoying not having to buy all my veggies from the store.  The only thing is that when I planted the chard I didn’t expect it to do well and so I planted more than we can use easily.  Not to mention the fact that Grady doesn’t care for it.  Do you have any ways that you enjoy serving chard?

Swiss Chard

 

Living in Oklahoma for a few years has made me very thankful for all the rain and warm, (not hot) weather we get here in the Shenandoah Valley, and that means I can grow plants so much easier.  The only one I haven’t gotten to grow well is okra, but it still might come in once the weather becomes hot.

First zucchini blossom

 

Over the years that I have had a garden I’ve tried multiple methods, (a big garden with long rows, square foot, and raised beds) and am still learning.  It seems as with everything I learn to do there are many ways to get the same result and always something you can add to your knowledge reservoir.

What gardening method do you enjoy the most?

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About Erin Phelan

Born and raised in western Michigan, Erin came to Polyface first as an intern in the summer of 2009. While here she met and got to know Grady Phelan, an apprentice at the time. The next spring they were married and after a couple years in Oklahoma they are back, working as sub-contractors for Polyface. Erin keeps herself busy with the jobs of a wife and mother, as well as helping with the animals, gardening, sewing, cooking, baking, knitting and reading.
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11 Responses to The Beginning of the Harvest!

  1. Do you folks ever use any mycorrhizal inoculum on some of your vegetables ? Of course not all Veggies are mycorrhizal, but it would be great to illustrate to your readers just what differences can be found by way of control garden compared to inoculated one.

    Okra definitely wants HEAT. I tried growing it up in high mountains and it hated it. Mostly the plants didn’t grow, but stayed stuck in neutral. Did great one year with Crenshaw melons, one of my most flavourites.

    Those onions are heavy feeders and I’m surprized you have lettuce this time of year. Been watch your folks weather from over here in Europe and looks like you have quite a hot spell going on.

    Thanks for the pics –>> Kevin

    • Erin Phelan says:

      I didn’t know about mycorrhizal inoculum, thanks for letting me know. I will try to put that into practice.
      I guess we have had enough cool weather to keep the lettuce going, but I’m sure it will start bolting here soon.
      Thanks for all the info and encouragement!

  2. It is a wonderful feeling to harvest your own produce, I can relate to that! Judging by that picture, if only one of you likes chard, that IS quite a bit to be dealing with. We usually chop young leaves into a salad (lettuce plus chard = mixed greens, right?). We also stir fry it quite a bit with some garlic, sometimes add a bit of lemon juice at the end, sometimes sprinkle parmesan over it to serve. My Dad always froze a whole bunch of it (it freezes like spinach) – stems and leaves separate. That’s because he like eating it steamed – when it looks like a pile of Popeye mush on the plate. Jamie Oliver uses chard in some egg dishes – and I know you have eggs!

  3. Leilani says:

    I also have dabbled in a wide variety of gardening styles, raised beds, square foot, standard rows and most recently Paul Gautschi’s Back to Eden method. You can watch Paul’s movie here http://backtoedenfilm.com/

    Currently my gardens are a combination of all these methods and more. The main garden which we put in this spring is in the image of Paul’s method and is doing amazingly well for its first year. We have not bought veggie since February and with all the canning and freezing I am doing should not need to this winter.

    I think gardening is the ultimate research and development project, you are always learning and tweaking, and despite the failures it is fun and rewarding.

    I like Paul’s method and think we will maintain the main garden this way possibly evolving it into raised beds with perminent paths between them as the materials to do so permit. I love the layering and mulching but miss the benefits of the designated permanent beds. In the current garden there are a mixture of rows and intensive bed plantings ( I have trouble sticking with just one or the other because different plants do so much better in one or the other) this hodge podge does not lend itself easily to a drip watering system (Paul may not need to supplement water but here in Florida I still do) so we have two overhead sprinklers on timers for days it does not rain.

    My herbs beds are made from whatever presents itself but are all raised beds. Most are experiments. One was filled with last years composted hay and manure from around the horses winter hay area another is filled with straight compost front the kitchen compost pile, both have thrived. Yes, I even have an old toilet sitting outside my kitchen door with marsh plants in it, I am one of “those” people 🙂

  4. Annie says:

    Swiss chard is my most favorite vegetable, but so misunderstood. It’s like the red-headed-stepchild of the veggie world! So versatile, you can treat it just like spinach. We eat it as a salad, steamed, tossed with pasta, on tacos, as the lettuce in lettuce wraps, etc. The best part is it doesn’t bolt (it’s a biennial) so you can enjoy it all season long! (Unlike spinach, which we get here for approximately 1 week before it bolts.) A friend of mine pickles the stems and the jars positively glow! She uses the Bright Lights mix. I’m going to try it this year.

  5. I love swiss chard sauteed with garlic. If you have a lot of it, that is a great way to use it up because it cooks down quite a bit. We eat sauteed chard alone, on homemade pizza, mixed into lentil soup, and (in raw form) I add it to our salads, too.

  6. Erin Phelan says:

    Have you frozen or canned the leaves before?

  7. Margaret Schaefer says:

    Chard is my daughter’s favorite veggie. I slice up a strip or two of bacon and saute that until crisp, add sliced chard stems, and when they start to soften add the sliced leaves. Salt and pepper to taste.

    The other way that is popular is to heat olive oil and add chopped garlic. cook the stems first, then add leaves, and finish with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

    Chard is lovely in a bean and ham soup, add about 30 minutes before serving, or in a fritata. It mixes well with peppers, mushrooms, whatever.

    Any excess chard can be parboiled for a minute or less, then quickly chilled, and frozen in meal sized bags (3/4 filled quart bags are right for us) I always freeze all the chard available before going away for any period of time, and there is always plenty more when I get home.