I was Lettuce Man the past couple of months. For our Sonata Camps I’m in high gear with providing as much fresh produce as I can get from the garden. For the April camp we supplied a small amount of lettuce mainly because much of it wasn’t ready due to a cooler season so it ended up only being about 6 pounds. But we kicked in higher gear for the May Intermezzo (a 4-day camp) with 11.3 pounds of lettuce. The May Sonata (a 10-day camp) we harvested 36.4 pounds of lettuce, and the recent June Sonata we pulled 30.1 pounds, for a total so far of 83.8 pounds. When you add all this up and price organic lettuce at the supermarket at $3.84 per head, or about $8 per pound for the pre-packaged stuff, it’s a big savings (there’s an interesting price comparison site to look at here). All of the 90 heads that you saw from my last post were eaten. All of this was grown in our 24×13 foot hoop house. Beets, scallions, spinach, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley and carrots are also in there sharing the space. However, most of the garden space is not under any protection.
While we’re in quiet mode until the kids’ camp arrives June 23rd, the hoop house is preparing for another full swing harvest. One hundred heads are getting ready. Succession planting is key of course. I’ve got to make sure I’m planting new seeds in the soil blocks every 10 days or so.
It’s been cooler this year so as I mentioned earlier things are a little behind, but not by a lot. We had a 37F frost on May 26 that hit some of the outside tomatoes. Some got hit harder than others but nothing was devastating.
The first ripe tomato came in from the Sun Golds (as usual). They are the star of the early tomatoes. And, as usual, I’m the first one on the experience. The Sun Gold tomato never disappoints. Sweet beyond comparison.
I’m especially excited this year because this is the first year the peach trees are producing. The two trees we have, a New Haven and an Elberta, put out a lot of blossoms this year.
Another new feature of the garden this year are mason bees. In all honesty, I had them a few years ago but I believe some wasps got to their cocooned eggs. This time I’m keeping a close eye on them and they’re looking good. I’ve already got 10 filled tubes (and counting) with eggs that I will keep in the nester until the fall, and at that point I keep them in the refrigerator until next year. The female will usually lay 7 or 8 eggs per tube. These bees are really important in the early part of the spring when the peaches are in bloom.
Louise Riotte wrote a book called Carrots Love Tomatoes. I haven’t read it, but it’s about companion planting. So, taking her obvious advice, I planted the row of carrots along the tomato bed. They seem to be doing well. We hope to have over a hundred carrots in a a couple of months.
The basil is looking great and hope to get a large amount of pesto made to freeze for storage and use over the year. Basil grown at home is leaps and bounds better than the sorry excuse for basil you find at the market. That hydroponic stuff is just awful; it looks like it was half starved all its life. Oh, and I have a secret for you. If your basil is looking a little peaked and not as vigorous as it should, compost tea will make the difference. It is the magic elixir in the garden, and basil will respond to it like nothing else. As a gardener, you know all about compost tea. It’s made differently by many people and there’s no one way of preparing it. I have my way and it’s somewhat common. My next blog post I’ll try and post about that. I’ll also post more about my composting since I get asked questions about it.
Until next time…