Monday, November 26, 2012

Rule #29: Experiment with gardening...even if it may seem like a long shot!

So excited right now!!!!!!  So as many of you who read my blog know I was successful with forcing the Treviso radicchio last year and recently found out that I have to do the same to the Puntarelle type chicory in order for it to form the pods.  I really didn't think it was going to work, but a few days ago my first pod started forming.  I don't know if it will get as big and full of pods as the ones I have seen from Italy but I will keep the blog updated.

This is what my set up in the garage.  It's nice and cold now for them.  To the right is the Treviso and to the left is the Puntarelle

First pod forming...almost 2 weeks in.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rule #28: Update a design that doesn't work!

So the hoop house may look very much like the one last year, but John has made some important updates.  The end frames for last years hoop house were way to big to store (at least store without notice!).  This year the end frames are made of three pieces so that when we take it down and store it easily.  Each of those pieces is wrapped in the plastic so we shall see how that works since there will be some more air that can probably leak in this way, but the radicchio love the cold so I think they will be fine.  The door will be put on this week as well...we did a lot of family time this weekend so John ran out of time! I still have some endive, lettuce, broccoli rabe, a tiny bit of spinach and maché in one of the bed under the hoop house so we will see how they do.  Ugh...must learn from my neighbor Heather and sow MORE.  I ran out way too fast.  I am hoping they come up a bit under there, but they will for sure in the spring.

In other garden news the forcing of the Treviso (did this last year) and the Puntarella variety chicory (new this year) has begun.  I am so excited to see if the Puntarella form the "pods".  I really hope so.  My mom has told me all about them and I know it will be so yummy!  I did cook and freeze a bunch of the greens when I thinned them a while back so we have that!  Here are the results after about a week of forcing.  Both types have already begun their second growth and the centers look tender.  Happy Harvest Monday!  I've got to get out in the garden and pick more jalapeños!

Puntarella Type Variety before taking off some of the outer leaves

After taking off the outer leaves that had started to die off

Here you can see the root that sits in the cold water

New and improved hoop house!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rule #27: Don't get rid of your tomato plants until the bitter end!

Well...finally back for Harvest Monday after about a month.  I am sad not to have time to keep up with what is going on in many of the gardens around the world that I have become very fond of!!!!  It is just busy and frankly when it isn't I just want a few minutes to myself.  Just keeping up with the garden is a task that doesn't get taken care of as much as I would like.  This past month we have eaten more tomatoes that the whole summer!  We finally netted some of the tomatoes a while back and without the squirrels to devastate them and some TLC from some lack of water they have been pretty fruitful!  Ah... I guess there is next year.  John has plans to expand the garden again.  Perhaps a bit more room for more tomato plants will give us a good result! As you will see from the pictures we have been very successful with the lettuces, radicchio, arugula, beets and to this day we are giving away pounds and pounds of jalapeños. We have also continued to get a good bit of eggplant and a few heads of fennel. I am also very excited to announce our very first soft ball size head of red radicchio from the Palla Rosa variety.  My aunt tells me I may also be successful with the Chioggia variety as well.  The Verona just never made large heads for us.  Tonight I was able to get into the garden and clean it up a bit.  I picked some Treviso Radicchio to force (Yay). After reading up on what little information they have online about the Puntarella variety chicory I found that these too may have to be forced to create to "pods".  Another year, another experiment!
Salad with our lettuces, beets, steamed Tatsoi and a couple of the last green beans

Broccoli Rabe and Radicchio
Another view
And here she is!  LOL.