Tag Archives: Kale

Between the Rain Drops… Mid April At The Toy Box Suburban Farm

Spring at The Toy Box Suburban Farm

Spring at The Toy Box Suburban Farm

Fits and starts, I think that is what it is called when nothing happens then everything happens then nothing again. Such is April. Every day I peek at the progress. It seems like nothing changes, until all of a sudden I see something new.

Parsley and Peas (Green Arrow)

Parsley and Peas (Green Arrow)

The trouble with daily peeks is not noticing the change. At first I had to get down on ground level to see the graceful arched stems of the peas pushing out of the ground. I have no idea how they got so large all of a sudden. These are Green Arrow shelling peas. We also have a short row of Canoe, Cascadia Snap, old fashioned Sugar Snap, an Italian snow pea and Tall Telephone (more per square foot then my favorite Maestro). Out front in the Back to Eden area there are some Dakota peas. I know, crazy, but I wanted to plant stuff and peas are ok with the cold of Saint Patricks Day.

Green Garlic

Green Garlic

All my garlic this year is volunteer. I took a chance, dug them up and seperated them. Then trimmed the leaves and roots like you would with leeks and replanted them. So far, so good but I am keeping my fingers crossed. I’ve never done this before. Looks good so far!

Kale Buds

Kale Buds

I have been plucking kale buds and tiny leaves from this plant all winter long. The poor thing is getting desperate to make seeds. The buds are starting to ripen up faster then I can tuck them into my lunches. The larger leaves have made some fantastic soups. My Bento’s get some of the tiny leaves with the spinach and radishes from the green house for the sweetest early salad that only gardeners in the Pacific North West get. One of the perks for putting up with all the rain.

Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossoms

One nice thing about the rain, it does make the air smell sweet! April 12, 2015 in Everett, Washington, it seems a little chilly. High 53, low 43. Even though there is only a 10% chance of rain, that 10% added a half inch of water to the rain gauge. Sunrise at 6:25, sunset at 7:54 giving us 13 hours and 29 minutes of a pretty spring day.

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What’s a farmer supposed to do on Rainy Days?

I’ve be waiting for a rainy day to get my starts going.

2014 in the greenhouse

2014 in the greenhouse

Late February, and I’m starting….

  • Artichokes (usually winter sown, so I’m crossing my fingers)
  • Parsley, both curly and Italian
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Onions, Italian Torpedo, Cipollini (need to buy more yellow storage: New York Early)
  • Salad, (we have a lot to choose from!)
  • Leeks and Shallots
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Maybe a few peas in soil blocks instead of pots.

That’s what springs to my mind, what are you planing to start indoors this month?

Robins have returned to Everett, WA

Robins have returned to Everett, WA

Every grove of trees in Everett is alive with returning robins arguing over the best camping spot until they can get a permanent nest built. They will be building those nests in the rain today, Friday, February 20, 2015. The chill in the air probably means the rain will soon be replaced by blue sky, but today the forecast is at 70% chance of rain, 51/39 Sunrise at 7:06, Sunset at 5:39 giving us 10 hours and 33 minutes of wet daylight!

 

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Monster Kale

Just when we thought it was finished it puts out new growth.

Just when we thought it was finished it puts out new growth.

Honestly, we do not eat a lot of kale, but we have still been impressed. Another box holds our favorite, Red Russian kale. I was fixen to chop this one down (really, I think I need a hatchet) but decided to leave it for a while. The box it is in is tentatively scheduled to grow tomatoes this season so I have some time before it has to go.

Huge

Huge

It will take some work to get this giant out of the box. I almost hate to do it but I suspect there isn’t much left in the soil to feed it. Fennel is coming up under the monster. The fennel parent plants did not do well in the shade of the kale last season. Does anyone know? Seems like I have heard that if I let the kale go to seed I will be able to harvest broccoli like heads.

Red Russian Kale on a frosty morning

Red Russian Kale on a frosty morning

The Russian did not get as large as the Italian but it is a bit sweeter.  After a spring tease the PNW is back to the daily drip. 50:50 chance that it will be raining all day long. 46/37; Sunrise at 6:39, 11 hours and 22 minutes later it sets at 6:01. It is the 24th day of the Snow Moon (3rd qtr) so there is still time to plant your carrots in the PNW.

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The Snow Moon

Dull day, bright crocus. The yellows are already done.

Dull day, bright crocus. The yellows are already done.

Known as Adar in Hebrew, this last moon cycle allows impatient souls like me to begin the transition into the coming growing season. It is the time to be thankful for what was tucked into the pantry and freezer last season, a time for fresh appreciation of hardy vegetables that overwinter in the garden. The hens lay their eggs again. The grass is growing but the rain is too constant to mow. Daffodils and crocus renew my hope that spring will come again.

Top shelf veggies. Spring greens and 4 kinds of onions.

Top shelf veggies. Spring greens and 4 kinds of onions.

In the new greenhouse skinny little onions are just starting to get stocky. Water from the fish tank is all they need to grow straight and strong. My spring potatoes are chitting on a lower shelf. I have noticed that the tray of greens growing by the onions has a few no-shows. My favorite lettuce, Flashy Trout’s Back, did not sprout. Neither did the Australian Yellow. Both are from seed packets that were bought in the first season of the Toy Box. Only a few spinach, red and fordhook, have sprouted but spinach is always slow. But the Flashy Trout’s Back! Insisting that Ray take me downtown (Everett) to the Natural Food Co-op, the only local place I know of for Uprising Seed, I bought a fresh packet of Flashy Trout, but there was no Australian Yellow to be found on that small rack. Instead I bought a packet of butter head with a seductive description of silky leaves wrapped around a buttery, crisp heart. If I follow the moon phases then these will get a start when the next moon, The Worm Moon, is still dark.

Potatoes Just when I begin to wonder if I bought potatoes that have been treated to not sprout, I notice the first bit of tiny green swellings in the eyes. I need to remind myself that even old farmers don’t know everything. Patience is called for. It is still too early to plant even though this new practice of chitting starts so early in the season. Maybe it is just to give me something to do while I wait for spring to properly arrive.

Winter Sown purple cone flower

Winter Sown purple cone flower

No progress in the winter-sown containers. Even the sweet peas are still asleep.

In the garden the first 4×8 box has been planted with an abundance of all kinds of peas, fava beans too. They went in under the increasing light of the 2nd quarter of the moon before it became full. There is a row of squares that I plan to plant with carrots in this 3rd quarter, while the moonlight is still strong but daily waning.

Leeks, Celeraic, parsley, chard, kale and a bit of fennel.

Leeks, Celeraic, parsley, chard, kale and a bit of fennel.

Spring eggs are here! They smell amazing in the morning. Just in time for spring eggs, parsley and chives put out tender green shoots. Winter food gets a fresh taste with hardy kale, fat leeks, celeriac and the last of the winter carrots growing in the garden. Occasionally a bit of precious green garlic finds its way to the table. Tiny baby fennel adds a sweet licorice flavor when there isn’t any basil. There are even a few small potatoes volunteering in the old potato patch.

-I want to start a batch of wild yeast for biscuits. I have so much jelly to use before summer. Should be perfect with green omelets (from all the spring herbs!) Sourdough starter is one of those low maintenance, high return projects that should be perfect for a farmer with a day job.

Fixen what the wind blew down.

Fixen what the wind blew down.

March came roaring in on the South Wind. Had a few repairs to make in the morning. Saturday, March 2; how can the sky be as gray as Rays sweater but the sun still be shinning through? It is a blustery day, rain, shine and back to rain again. 55 to 60 degrees today and back down to the upper 30’s tonight. Sunrise at 6:47, setting 11 hours and 8 minutes later at 5:55. Fantastic!

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Under the fading Wolf Moon

The last two weeks of January and the first two weeks of February tend to be the most winter like in Everett, Washington. I read about snow in Robe Valley, home to us for nearly 25 years. Everett proves to be more wet than cold in 2013. We have not said good-by to the fading Wolf Moon, it could still get cold.

Still dreaming and planing

Still dreaming and planing

The Toy Box is keeping winter food ready for us. Celeriac, leeks, and kale. The hens have been resting, molting, but the occasional egg can be found in the nest box. Spring is coming but the pile of blankets on the bed tell me it is too early to plant or bring home chicks. Even so, I hear bird song on dog walks. My soul is ready to leap into farm girl life but my head tells me to rest a while longer. Maybe that is my right brain and left brain interacting. The flat of onions in the kitchen window smooths the gardening itch. Their spring green and black crowns give me something to fuss over while the days are still short and the school day is so long.

Seed from 2010, looks like the crisper drawer is a good place to store seed.

Seed from 2010, looks like the crisper drawer is a good place to store seed.

Peas will be the first seed into the garden, but not under this moon. That does not let me off the hook. The box they will live in is still full of leeks and celeriac that I hope to harvest this weekend. If I can get one of the boys to help me I’ll move the chicken tractor to that box so that the girls can work their magic. They will eat the weeds and grubs while turning and fertilizing the soil. Chickens are amazing. City birds connect me back to my roots.  Maybe while the girls do their work I’ll find the strength to turn that compost or make soil blocks for salad greens.

Anticipation

Anticipation

Season 4 coming soon. Today (February 1, 2013) at the Toy Box: Clouds still wintering overhead but not weeping. 50/36. Sunrise at 7:35, nine hours and 34 minutes later comes sunset and Sabbath at 5:09

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Cold, cold July (until today)

The Toy Box

Suburban Farm Episode #25 (Season 3)

I have no idea why or how you-tube chooses a cover picture. This looks liked my pumpkin vine growing outside of the fence. By the way, I did finally get my lawn mown. Sorry about the mess.

Is that a dragon fly sitting on my corn?

Today was warmer outside than it was inside, we have not had many days like that. Blue sky, 75/57 sunrise at 5:37, 15 hours and 15 minutes later the sun set at 8:52. I am missing my late walks with the dogs.

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First Green Bean of 2012

First Green Bean of 2012: Provider from Uprising Seeds

The Garden seems to be in a transition. Not many peas are left, salad greens are bolting, and the mustards are long gone. The first tomato has arrived (See, Tomato Taste Test 2012), but it is too cold for the tomatoes that have colored out to have flavor.

I was just out looking for ingredients to add to Sumgullian (I have no idea how to spell or even pronounce that dish). Ray’s mom used to make it with cubed bologna, potatoes and whatever else was in the pantry as far as I can tell. Ray always makes it a couple of times in winter and at deer or elk camp with the boys. I don’t like hot bologna. Just the smell of it makes me gage. The boys always thought dad was secretly feeding them junk food that mom would not approve of BUT I actually kind of like it if it is made with smoked sausage, fresh veggies and if the potatoes are fried until they are golden.

Gold Nugget Cherry Tomatoes, still coloring out, still too cold to have flavor.

I found plenty of snap peas, broccoli side shoots, parsley, kale (Italian, Russian and Chinese). All of these will be good in tonight’s dish. But the prize was the lone green bean. I like it, I love it, I want more of it!

Blueberries

61/52….how is that for a high and low today? The weather is coming out of the south, usually that warms things up but not this time. Overcast with 50% chance of rain. All together gloomy.

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