May 17, 2017
snow in March would have really set me back if there had been frost in the ground but when the snow melted it was only a few
days before I could start planting. Lettuce, arugula, radishes, carrots and spinach were planted April 13. Dribbly weather
has made things a little less pleasant than usual but all the onions and leeks are planted, three varieties of peas, a 200
foot expansion to the asparagus bed, herbs, chard, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi and fennel are in the ground and
my mini greenhouse has got tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn and Brussels sprouts sprouting. I've got a full time worker who
actually knows a lot and, most impressive, he thinks. Bruce Foley is hands down the best help I've had. I think Josh is trying
to retire me.
I am through planting this year, except
maybe garlic. Over 2,000 pounds of onions are in storage with about another 1,000 still getting bagged. Winter squash is curing
in the field to come in before frost and the kale and collards have finally found weather they like. Temperature went down
to 35 one night this week; that's scary, but the 15 varieties of tomatoes are doing fine.
Peas are flowering, beans are up, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, peppers, Brussels sprouts have
all been transplanted and are looking healthy. Harvesting lettuce, radishes, arugula, asparagus, dill, cilantro, beet greens,
chives, and spinach. All of the vegetables and herbs I haven't mentioned are doing just what they should be doing at
this time of year as are the weeds all of which is keeping me in good shape.
The first radishes from the garden went in salads last
week. The winter radishes (watermelon radishes) lasted through the winter. Imagine that, I supplied Josh with radishes for
the whole year!! Asparagus and arugula are also fresh from the garden now.
April 4, 2013
March 7, 2013
Josh still has carrots, parsnips, winter squash, watermelon radishes, frozen sugar snap peas,
frozen English peas and frozen green beans from last year’s garden. The frozen veggies are nearly as good as when they
were fresh from the garden. Some, if not all, of this bounty will last well into the spring, certainly until the asparagus
comes in in May.
ever producing over 9,000 pounds of vegetables for the restaurant. There are still carrots and parsnips in the ground covered
in the hope we will be able to dig them when the supply in the walk-in runs out. Some of the parsnips are uncovered as they
will survive and be wonderful in the spring. Arugula and parsley is still looking good in spite of temperatures hitting the
August 2 2012I’m proud that in spite
of 26 days without rain the crops on the knoll, too far from the house for me to provide water, were all doing well. We had
the best pea harvest ever (Josh froze some for winter plates), the potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions and Brussels sprouts
all came through without ever wilting or showing any signs of stress. Three cheers for organic matter. I was happy to get
some rain last week--just a little over an inch in showers over three days--now I’ll be able to plant some cover crops.
Overall I’m having a great year. Cutworms
plagued me wiping out the first planting of Brussels sprouts and my nemesis porcupines ate all the first planting of corn.
I’m sure there will be other interesting challenges yet to come but so far I’m very happy.
May 22, 2012
This time last year the fruit trees were in blossom. They bloomed a month earlier this year. The
blossoms were killed by a 23 degree (F) night April 30. There were a few flowers (maybe a couple of dozen) a week ago which
are my only hope for fruit. Other than that it has been a good spring. I was able to start planting the hardy vegetables March
21 this year, three weeks early and the asparagus also started producing three weeks early. The peas started blooming today.
One of our customers at the restaurant asked if she could come out to the farm and help weed.
I said sure and the next time she and her husband were in I asked her, before she had a cosmo, if she was serious about helping
out. Connie Brown came to the farm five mornings a week at 9am and worked until 1pm. What a wonderful help!! She not only
weeded she spread mulch, picked beans, became adept at wielding a hoe and was a tiger at chasing down potato beetles, cucumber
beetles and squash bugs. There is no doubt the potato yield was better because of her efforts and the gardens looked the best
they ever have. My gratitude knows no bounds. She also harvested the onions.
August 3, 2011
Josh was wondering
how many pounds of vegetables he got from our farm so here's the figure for last year--5,812 pounds, nearly 3 tons. This year
I'm having the best garden ever so the figure might be higher but, as with every garden, there are some disappointments. I
used old parsnip seeds and got poor germination so that crop will be smaller but the worst is the porcupine that learned how
to get under the electric fence that has worked so well the past couple of years. She has destroyed over 50 broccoli and cauliflower
plants. Unless I can eliminate her she will eat Brussels sprouts and corn. I have been working on this problem for nearly
a month. Wish me luck.
May 19, 2011
The apple and pear trees are
blooming which is nice but I'm worried that the four days of rain and drizzle may be a problem as it keeps the bees from doing
their job. Just before the rain started I was able to transplant corn, parsley and celeriac. They have enjoyed the water settling
the soil around their roots. All the crops that are in the ground (peas, lettuce, spinach, arugula, radishes, carrots, broccoli,
cauliflower, kohlrabi, dill, onions, leeks, shallots, scallions, mache, beets, chard, kale, collards) are doing just fine.
I also cultivated all the crops that needed it before the rain giving me a hand up with the weeds but they are coming again
and I will need to cultivate as soon as we get a little dry weather. I managed to control all the animals that eat my crops
with electric fencing up until last year when the turkeys decided they liked lettuce and arugula. I'm worried they will expand
their palet plus they fly over fencing. My current plan is to scare them away with firecrackers. It might be working but too
early to tell. Wish me luck. The cold rain has slowed the asparagus harvest considerably.
April 5, 2011
The April Fools Day northeaster dumped 8 inches on the gardens but I
was still smiling because I got in the first planting of peas and lettuce the day before. It is seldom the ground is dry enough
to plant in March but with the snow cover keeping the frost from getting very deep the ground dried early. Of course, if it
hadn't snowed, I'd still be planting. The new snow has melted but the ground is wet and old snow still lingers on several
sections of the gardens.
March 26, 2011
gardens have been under one to two feet of snow all winter which has kept the frost from getting very deep. I dug parsnips
last week. Now all I need is three or four days of sun and dry weather for the ground to dry enough for me to work it:
then peas, spinach, lettuce and arugula seed will go into the soil followed soon by beets, chard, kale, collards, salad greens,
radishes, carrots, onions, and leeks. I love to tell people this because inevitably someone will be amazed that I can plant
so early. I'm a magician! Of course, it is just knowing which seeds can germinate in cold soil and can withstand reasonable
When this planting is done, I'll prepare the soil for transplanting broccoli,
cauliflower, kohlrabi, beets, and lettuce. I'll start transplanting about May 1. Then I have the pleasure of watching the
transplanted beets and lettuce race to maturity with those planted by seed. The transplants will be set back while those directly
seeded in the garden may be set back by frosts. The race will be on and it will also be time to start harvesting asparagus
from the 30 year old bed. I'm going to plants some more aparagus crowns this year which should start producing for me in two
or three years. I have started peppers and eggplant indoors but they won't go our until about June 1 when the danger of frost
Can you tell I love this time of year?
November 11, 2010
Still from the garden: cauliflower,
broccoli, parsley, parsnips, carrots, radishes, beets.onions, wnter squash, leeks, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, chervil,
mach and kohlrabi. If the turkeys hadn't taken a liking to arugula and lettuce, those would also be available.
August 14, 2010
When people ask what's from the garden
I'm at a loss to answer because there is so much. Easier to tell what isn't coming in now. Sun gold tomatoes and Taxi, a yellow
heirloom, just started coming in. There are lots of big beautiful green tomatoes that should start turning red soon.
July 22, 2010
I try to
harvest the summer squash before the sun hits the patch so I'm not too hot in a long sleeve shirt and pants to protect my
arms and legs from the plant's defenses. Lots of beans coming in now as the peas wind down. Chives, radishes, arugula, lettuce,
beets, dill, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, chard, kale, collards, basil, celantro, eggplant, peppers and scallions
are all coming in now supplying the chef with about 80% of the vegetables he needs. I'd better get back to my hoe.
March 22, 2010
Frost is out of the ground 2 or 3 weeks early this year. I have lettuce, onions, leeks, parsley and celeric stated
indoors. I plan to start broccoli, cauliflowwer, kohlrabi and more lettuce tomorrow. I'm a little worried by this warm weather;
the asparagus may decide to pop up too early and get caught by frosts that I'm sure are still to come.
Everyone is asking
if I have put the garden to bed for the winter. Actually this is a fairly productive time with lettuce, two kinds of radishes,
kohlrabi and arugula for salads; along with beets, carrots, chard, kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,
dill, chervil and cilantro which are frost hardy. Incredibly the beans, summer squash, peppers, eggplant and corn have survived
three light frosts and are producing small amounts. The winter squash has been harvested and we are in the process of getting
the onions in—two vegetables that Josh will have to use through the winter. My work for the year won’t be finished
until after Thanksgiving.
|Bobby Andrus harvesting onions
June 15, 2009
Lettuce, arugula, chives, radishes and asparagus are coming from the garden now. In another week
I'll stop harvesting the asparagus so the ferns can grow and collect energy from the sun for next year's crop. I'll also fertilize
the bed with compost and cover with 6 inches of grass clipping mulch.
I was pleased to see the first planting of beans
break through yesterday. They need warm soil to germinate and we have had some pretty cool and drizzly days. There are some
incredibly cute Zepher summer squash less than an inch long. Two plantings of corn are looking good, there are blossoms on
the early peas and the tomato plants are beginning to take hold which means I'd better start snipping out the suckers.
better get back to work.
|Early corn, broccoli and kohlrabi, onions mulched with grass clippings, lettuce and helper Dani
September 10, 2008
I will plant arugula today, the sixth planting. It will mark the end of planting this year. Its been a great year, mostly.
Excellent squash, beans, onions, potatoes, corn, eggplant, arugula, lettuce, broccoli, kohlrabi and herbs. Every year has
its problems. This year the major problems were with peas and tomatoes. There has been an unusually high amount of damage
in the first planting of carrots and the first two plantings of lettuce were pretty much wiped out by cutworms. But I should
be focusing on the positive and it was certainly the best eggplant year I've ever had. Same for broccoli. Brussels sprouts
look good but are still growing. They should start filling out pretty fast soon.
June 26, 2008
It's raining so I'm not going back out in the field and Barbara has enough staff so I don't
have to be at the restaurant. That's why I have a minute to write this. Thanks to some help this year (Aaron Fortin, Kristin
Shaw, T.J. Holbrook and, starting tomorrow, Trevor whose last name escapes me) the garden looks great. The last of the asparagus
for this year will be harvested Saturday and the ferns will be allowed to grow and soak up the sun's energy for next year's
crop. Cutworms have wiped out my first two plantings of lettuce but I think the next two will make it. I'm harvesting peas
now but they also took a major hit from cutworms not to mention some germination problems.
I hope the problems
are behind me. The tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, cucumbers, beans, basil, onions, carrots and
radishes look good. In addition to the peas I'm harvesting arugula, chives, dill, and kohlrabi.
April 28, 2008
If only I hadn't had my confidence shaken last year, I would have amazed people in late March by telling them
I would be planting the peas in about two weeks. There was still a lot of snow on the garden April 1st yet I was able to plant
ten days later. The snow that covered the garden from mid December until April insulated it so there was no frost in the ground.
When the snow melted the water was able to percolate down and the garden dried in just a few days.
It is raining
today which is why I have time to update this. The beautiful dry days have made it possible for me to plant peas, lettuce,
spinach, onions, arugula, scallions, radishes, carrots, parsley and leeks. Today, before it started raining, I transplanted
some of the broccoli and kohlrabi that I started indoors. These tender seedlings may be killed by a frost if we get a fairly
hard frost before they get acclimated but all of the things I have planted will survive any frost we are likely to get.
I am two weeks ahead of last year and at least a week ahead of a normal year. I cut the first asparagus spears (only
3) yesterday. They will wait in water until I can add a few to make a meal for me. It will be a couple of more weeks before
I have enough for the restaurant.
Not only did the carrots I protected with bales of hay survive the winter (Josh
has been working through 40 pounds of them) but there were some that were protected only by the snow that also survived and
were good eating. There was no wait to dig the parsnips.
March 25, 2008
The garden is still under
at least a foot of snow. It is not looking good for planting the peas by April 15 which I have been able to do for every year
but one since I started gardening here in 1972. The exception was last year. Hmmm.
As soon as the snow clears
from around the hay bales out there I will roll the bales back and harvest the rest of last year's carrot crop. When the frost
leaves the ground, I'll harvest the parsnips that I left in the ground for that purpose. Along about mid May the asparagus
will come in and then the peas and lettuce and, oh boy, I can hardly wait.
I have started parsley, thyme,
eggplant, celeriac, lettuce and some flowers in the house under grow lights. It feels so good to have my hands in soil again
and to see things growing.
December 2, 2007
Garden work is finished for this year and I’m already looking at seed catalogues. My favorite is Johnny’s Selected
Seeds in Albion, Maine.
This year was my best so far due very much to Barbara and Josh releasing me from restaurant duties most nights. There are
enough onions and winter squash in the cellar to take Josh through the winter. Brussels sprouts and leeks should last another
week or two. I didn’t get all the winter storage radishes harvested before they got frozen in but he should be able
to get through the end of the year and carrots should last through January.
I’ve got some thoughts on doing even better next year. Instead of planting the peas in a block I’m going to plant
some other crops between the rows so they will get more sun and air in the hope of staving off the mildew. I noticed this
year that the east end of the rows where the sun hit first were healthier.
October 23, 2007
Frost came more than a month later than usual (“Usual”
being since 1972 when I started gardening in Maine.) I’m still harvesting
carrots, parsley, arugula, radishes, Brussels sprouts, kale, leeks and fennel. I have some lettuce that could be harvested
but I’m waiting to see if I can get it a bit larger. It is pretty hardy. Over the years I have been able to put lettuce
from the garden on our thanksgiving table. There are enough onions and winter squash (4 varieties) in the cellar to get us
through the winter.
I’m still planting but not vegetables. As I clean up areas like the squash patch I plant winter rye to hold the soil
over winter and add nutrients in the spring when I till it in
|The garden in early September
June 27 - Buttercrunch lettuce, garden cress and soon radishes for salads. Peas will be coming in soon also, just in
time as I need to stop harvesting asparagus to give the bed a rest for next year. Arugula, scallions and beet greens continue.
I had to put up the electric fence this week as a deer got into the first planting of carrots. I had to replant the beans
and cucumbers as the cool weather in early June didn't warm the soil enough for the seed to germinate. It is hot and humid
today which is why I'm inside in the middle of the day. Not good weather for the farmer but the plants are loving it.
|Enough onions to last through the winter.
June 2, 2007 Josh informed me he will use the last of my onions this
week. He has been serving my asparagus since mid May so my goal of having something from the garden in the restaurant year
round has been achieved. My arugula started coming in this week also. Next will be the peas which last year came in about
June 20. Last year I was able to plant earlier than ever and this year I planted the first peas April 22 which is the latest
ever—the first time in 34 years I wasn’t able to plant peas by April 15. Who knows, they may catch up.
the ground so far I have: peas, arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, radishes, summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant,
corn (the first planting broke ground yesterday), onions (lots of onions. I finished mulching them with grass clippings today.),
parsley, parsnips, fennel, coriander, beets, beans, dill and scallions.
There is so much to do at this time of year. The tomatoes and summer squash need to be mulched. The winter squash,
basil, 3rd planting of lettuce, 2nd planting of carrots, 3rd planting of dill, and 4th
planting of arugula are on my list to be planted. I’ve got some potatoes that need to be planted and the compost needs
to be turned.
I’d better stop here. I’m making myself tired. It’s a good thing I am doing what I love.
7, 2006. NOW I’m through for this year. The catalogues have already arrived and I’m planning next year’s
garden which will be started indoors in March.
October 21 Many people think my work in the garden is
over now that we have had a frost. Actually I’ll be harvesting for at least another month and there is even some planting
to be done. I’m still harvesting parsley, scallions, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, radishes, arugula and some
other greens. I have some very small lettuce growing that will probably not get big enough to harvest. I didn’t have
time to plant it when I wanted to so this was just an experiment. With the warming trend, who knows?
I think Josh will have enough onions to get him through the winter and
maybe enough winter squash, too.
Oh, what am I planting? Garlic which will get a start below ground now and be ready
to spring forth when the ground thaws next year.
Click here to see some of my garden columns
|Zepher summer squash
Zepher was a great hit in
the restaurant last year. Harvested at this size they look great on the plate and taste wonderful. They were also used as
a feature vegetable with the blossoms stuffed and deep fried.