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In the parents’ garden, most of the Asian greens, radishes and lettuce are out and have been replaced by the summer crops: hot peppers, beans, tomatoes of course, but also cape gooseberries and tomatillos, both of which I’m trying for the first time this year.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

Lavender

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.

New roommates
May 24, 2010

Once upon a time, two lady bugs found their way onto my balcony. One of them vanished the next day, but the other one stuck around quite a long time. I transferred it from one aphid infested plant to another, and trust me, it had some good meals out there. After some time this lady bug vanished as well.

Today I realized that my lavender in heavily infested by aphids. Who thought lavenders are resistent to aphids? Think again. They enjoyed it and must have been there for quite some time, but just on the back side of the plant (the side facing the wall), so I didn’t spot them earlier. After some brushing of I took the plant to the shower, where masses of aphids came off. I left the plant and did some cleaning on the balcony. As I sat by the table for a break, some gross black bug appeared on my leg. I panicked, of course. As I filled the watering can, I saw another of these bugs swimming there. And suddenly it hit me: lady bug larva! I rescued it and put it immeadiatly onto the lavender. Then I searched the balcony for the other larva, found it and put it on the lavender (showering only got part of the aphids) as well! There they are, munching happily.