Archive for June, 2011

June 20th 2011: Harvest Monday
June 20, 2011

Overall, the last two months were very stressful, because of personal, family, work and study issues… the gardens are a way for me to relax. And now I’m back to show off my harvest! Thank to Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelions for hosting Harvest Monday!

In the parents’ garden, most of the Asian greens, radishes and lettuce are out and have been replaced by the summer crops: hot peppers, beans, tomatoes of course, but also cape gooseberries and tomatillos, both of which I’m trying for the first time this year. The cape gooseberries are a little behind, but the tomatillos are starting to set fruits. Tomatoes look okay so far, the weather during the last ten days wasn’t ideal for them, but most are flowering, some started to set fruit. I’ll post some pictures soon. No harvest from the balcony this week, the parents’ garden provided more than enough.

Potatoes! approx. 1 kilo from one plant


4,3 kg strawberries from the strawberry field were mostly dehydrated or made into jam

Cherries from my parents' tree were dehydrated or canned

Radish pods. Lots of them, more than 0,5 kg (one pound). These plants are really, really productive, unfortunately I had to throw half of them out because they took up so much space. It seems like they are slowing down anyway

The snow peas are grown on a space of maybe 1-1,5m² and produce about 1-2 pounds per week - and that's only the pods that I find! I wasn't very careful with staking, so the plants are just a tangled mess, but productive anyway. And the taste? Wonderful!

Mizuna, already chopped up and packed for storing in the fridge. Unlike other Asian greens, it goes bad pretty quickly, so using it before it spoils is quite a challenge - especially if you harvested 5 kilos over the last 10 days! Mizuna grows on a 0,5-1m² plot and by now I harvested probably half of it.

I cut some arugula before we'll throw it out due to bolting

Overall, I feel like I’m spending a lot of time in the garden – about 8-10 hours per week – and with my food – maybe another 8 hours per week. The whole washing, chopping, cooking, canning, dehydrating is fun, but time consuming. Anyhow, I now understand a little better what it means to feel a connection to your food.


Review: Andrea Bellamy – Sugar Snaps and Strawberries
June 19, 2011

Sugar Snaps and StrawberriesSugar Snaps and Strawberries by Andrea Bellamy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries is a “How-to” for small-scale edible gardens, with small meaning anything from balcony to roof deck to tiny patio or allotment plot. Bellamy does a great job in giving basic information about soil, light, seeding, planting etc. Sometimes the information is more that just basic, most of the “info boxes” fall under that category. As far as I know, the information given is correct, but mostly nothing that you haven’t heard before. As somebody mentioned, the book is really similar to “Grow Great Grub”, down to the layout and format and heck, even the font type is the same! No offense, maybe Bellamy just had the bad luck of her book being published too late…

Anyway, I would have liked a bit more new and in depth information that is hard to find anywhere else, for example about designing small-space gardens, growing (pseudo-)grains and mushrooms (the two things that were really new to me) and – yes! – Bellamy’s very own garden.

Personally, I think the pictures are beautiful, but they are mainly macros that are decorative but often don’t deliver much additional ideas/inspiration or information (unless you don’t know what a particular plant looks like). What I really liked was the “Edible plants from A-Z” at the end, because it’s quite detailled.

Conclusion: This book is definitly a Beginners’ Guide and it’s really good for anyone who is totally new to gardening. More experienced gardeners will find only little new infos.