On the harvest

Of all the years, this was not the best one to start a CSA to sell my surplus vegetables.

It wasn’t a bad year, weather-wise.  In point of fact, this year was fairly normal…being just a touch hotter and drier than what I have come to expect.  So I can’t blame the weather for my lack of planning.  Indeed, this lack of planning?  It is 100% on me.  I have been a GARDEN SLACKER.

You see, normally I am a succession-planting fool.  “No Earth Unplanted, Ever” is the m.o. that I have worked under for years.  Likewise, I rapidly pull and replant areas where harvests wind down (lettuce out, bush beans in; beans out, broccoli in is the pattern for a typical bed).  But this year, because of my goat-y and oven-based distractions, the garden has suffered an amazing lack of attention by yours truly.

One of two.  Last year, I think I had 4 wheelbarrows’ worth.

That’s not to say it hasn’t been productive.  Nope.  Exhibit A:  This year’s winter squash harvest.

I did not plant one seed of this.  These are all volunteers from the compost.  And yes:  I was lucky:  the Queensland Blue squash at the bottom left seems to have not been crossed with anything else; same too with a couple of kabochas buried in the ‘barrow.  The monster pink banana squash though?  They’re a bit…bigger than normal, so obviously there was some cucurbita hanky-panky going on.  Not seen?  Pumpkins, and zucchini, even more butternuts and more than a few mutts that did cross.

It’s not to say that harvesting has been, exactly, easy this year.  Witness my poor hori-hori, whose handle was a victim of our tough clay soil while unearthing the sweet potatoes.   Crack!

I do scratch my head and wonder what the point was to my spring plantings.  I believe I had a notion that I should grow as many starch crops as possible, because, frankly, you plant potatoes in March and harvest them in October with nary a care in the months between.  So I hope my CSA folks like potatoes and sweet potatoes as well as winter squash…there’ll be plenty to eat.  There’s also a lot of leeks out there.  I think I misread a label and planted out, instead of a flat of onion seedlings, one of leeks:  I must need glasses.  The seedlings aren’t THAT similar had I been paying attention.

Well.  It will all work out in the end methinks, but if I am going to have paying customers, I probably should get more serious about this venture.  Eeeks.  This means I need to…plan.

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12 responses to “On the harvest

  1. Maybe it was because you weren’t writing about it as much. That’s the time, writing, to think — Oh, it’s time to do this. — or — Now wouldn’t it be interesting if I did That?
    Or maybe I just miss your more frequent posts.
    Maybe it’s that!

  2. Well since you started the CSA pretty late in the season it makes sense as you didn’t start the year planting for multiple families. And it seems reasonable with all the new stuff on your plate (ooh, bad pun) that you’d be a little off your succession schedule a little bit. And really having your products diversified with cheese etc, it’s going to work out fine 🙂

    Handy that the self-seeding squash is pitching in on the workload for you. I just found my first volunteer celery this weekend, yay for one more thing never to plant again!

    But yeah, planning, it can be fun, right?

  3. deliciously beautiful!

  4. I am kind of relieved to discover that you are human like the rest of us!!!
    Seriously though, I think that it is a natural adjustment period as you up the quantities involved. But then winter is all about sitting indoors with the seed catalogues and planning. I am sure your plan will be well and truly refined come next sowing season. And heck – you can do pretty much anything with a leek that you would do with an onion!

  5. Looks like someone needs a little Claybusters. Do you do anything to improve your tilth (I assume you must, but…)? I’m sad for your hori-hori.

  6. Hey El, I grew Queensland Blue squash also, but my seeds were packaged from Seed Saver’s. The one you grew verses the one I grew are definitely different, I think yours might have crossed. But I am glad to hear that I am not the only one to use volunteer squash plants from the compost. I ended up getting three nice Sweet Dumplings that i did not intentionally plant. Awesome!

  7. I can’t believe you let your squash have sex like that. What would Christine O’Donnell think? She’s out in her garden every day yelling at and berating her libidinous gourds and casting guilt and sterility spells all over the place when it would be so much easier to cop out and just put condoms on them all. It’s all about dedication. Sure, you have lots of excuses, but do it for the children.

  8. You’ll have to let us know how the hybrid squash tastes so we can guess on its parentage.

    I am starch fan too but that is because it is the basis of most meals so I figure that I should focus on that and add the greens as garnish though the greens do so well, normally, in repoducing themselves that I could go the reverse as well. If I were a CSA customer of yours, I’d have no problems with a surplus of squash and sweet potatoes.

  9. Congratulations, I didn’t think a Hori-Hori could ever be broken. I picked one up this spring and find myself applying it in all sorts of unplanned ways. For your replacement check out http://www.hidatool.com/index.html ; warning, if you look around some you’ll end up buying all sorts of interesting tools. (I like the sickle weeders myself)

  10. Dang, you really do have some tough soil there. Your winter squash looks great…big. I think I am going to try to plant sweet potatoes next year, perhaps under a covered row or something. I can’t stand seeing every one else eating one of my favorite veggies while I watch with envy.

  11. Dear heavens. I hate to think what my category is, if you are a slacker.

  12. Sharon, thanks for missing me 🙂 ! Actually the one thing this distinct lack of blogging has done is make me horrible at keeping records. Like, when where those bunnies born again? The blog doesn’t say. Sigh. But yes there is a certain deliberation that goes along with writing, and that deliberation makes things stick to one’s frontal cortex a bit more readily…

    Sara, there is a whole flotilla of never-plant-em-again plants that I am heretofore planning on just leaving to do their thing. Celery is, like, #2. But indeed, I do need to consider my customers a bit more…they don’t ALL love swiss chard every week!

    Hi Lesa, well, merci!

    So true, Ms J, what you say about leeks. My plan is never to be without them; luckily they like to grow for me. But I am beyond mortal. You should see the sad state of our laundry and the general untidiness of the pantry…I think I could do more if I had another 5 hours in the day. (Or 5 hours less things to do. Hmm.)

    Andy, that’s plain weird. The ones I gave you were straight out of the package…and yeah the one and only squash I grew looked just like the one in the pic above. Unless this is a Sweet Meat squash on steroids like the pink bananas…which did grow from the randy seeds in the compost…who knows!

    Heather, the truth of the matter is…this is an IMPROVED bed wherein the hori-hori snapped! My soil is SO not for sissies. But if there were a number I could call…

    Peter, can you believe anyone in all seriousness can even come up with an anti-masturbation campaign? Like, what? did I hear you correctly? But yeah. If you don’t want miscegenation in your squash plants, plant only one of each family…the butternuts always come true. And I haven’t planted them for years. Gotta wonder though. Naughty little bees.

    OG, hi! Yeah, I think there’s a bit of that in my kooky planning this spring: like, I was on a Campaign To Grow Calories. Not a bad plan though in truth it can be a bit boring. I will have you know I stuck one of those pink bananas in the masonry oven last night (cut in half, put cut-side down on two of the biggest roasting pans I own with about an inch of water) and this morning I pulled out a good 12 pounds of roasted squash! Tasted nice and sweet too, not at all pulpy/stringy. I got lucky is all.

    Cohutt, see, I have been on a campaign to NOT look at and be tempted by things like more hand tools. Sigh. I may need to reconsider. Tom plans on making me another handle, but who knows when that will be. As it is now I have a nice blister/stigmatum where the handle hits my palm.

    Mike, it’s my experience that if you get the best sweet potato starts you’ll get the best tubers. I recommend Steele Plant Company. They need sun and a place to sprawl…you should have great luck in the fact that your soil is so loose. Me, I need a chisel to get ’em out, or maybe dynamite. Maybe do a raised bed to warm them up first. But really, there’s nothing to compare with freshly-harvested sweet potatoes, they’re THAT good.

    Pamela, well, see what I said about the laundry…and a whole bunch of other things. I am just glad Tom likes to clean house and pay bills or we’d be in big trouble.

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