5.17.2012 Holy Cole Crops, Batman!

Thus far, it’s been a slow week farm wise.  Monday, being egg delivery day and band practice, . . . well, not much ever gets done on Mondays.  Tuesday was largely about shoving the eldest son a little farther from the nest.  Wednesday, I simply had to deal with the tremendous back log of laundry and the strawberries.

You see, back on Sunday, Michael and Eric paid a trip to the strawberry patch and returned with a colander full.  We nibbled on them for a few days and then I picked another quart on Wednesday.  I suddenly had enough to make a batch of jam and I did.  Michael and the kids love it as the J in PB&J.  Personally, I’d rather put it on biscuits.

Today started out normally except allergies were much worse than normal.  And, well, there was the dead mouse on the walk by the front steps.  Moose completely denied responsibility for it.  Could it be the cat really is starting to do his job?

By the time I was finishing up morning rounds, I was out of steam.  I turned out the horses without working them and came in for breakfast.  Maybe if I ate, I’d feel better.  Naw.  Michael suggested a nap.  Great idea, but I lost half the day to sleep and didn’t get the beehives inspected as planned.  When I finally woke, I collected eggs and harvested most of the cauliflower.  A week ago, the heads were small and rather pathetic looking.  Today, most were the size of dinner plates and more than a few of them were in the early stages of flowering.  The broccoli is ready for harvest too, but if I cross my fingers and hope really hard, maybe it’ll hold off for a couple of days until I get all the cauliflower dealt with.  Despite having two refrigerators, I am completely out of cold storage space in the veggie drawers.

The curious thing here is I’ve never been all that fond of cauliflower, but then my encounters with it have been almost exclusively confined to raw veggie plates at parties. I love broccoli and cabbage though, and I have been seeing some wonderful looking cauliflower concoctions on the cooking shows so I planted some and now the experimentation begins.

Michael wants me to pickle some (with a name like Simoni, are you surprised?) and I want to try it cooked and mashed like potatoes.  I’ll freeze a little bit of it, but freezer space is precious too, consumed as it is by chickens.

So I have loads of broccoli and cauliflower AND kale.  The strawberries are going gangbusters.  The blackberries are loaded for bear and in a few more weeks, I will be overrun.  Even the blueberries, in their “not acidic enough” soil, are going to produce this year, not much mind you, but they are trying.

The question is rapidly becoming is how do I get the rest of the garden planted and deal with the flush of brassicas and berries.  After two years of work with very little to show for it, I’ve rather come to expect less than spectacular results.  But the cole crops went in the ground and sort of hung out for weeks and then wham!  I’ve never had much luck growing broccoli and berries before and I am so dreadfully unprepared for all this success.

On a side note, while I was harvesting the cauliflower I did notice some damage to the leaves of the both the cauliflower and the broccoli.  I guess those cabbage moths found some aspirin and some shades and they got past the mirrored mulch.  Thus far, they seem to be leaving the cabbage alone but I shall have to start picking the worms off by hand since the cabbage hasn’t headed up yet and has a ways to go.  I didn’t plant as much cabbage as I did cauliflower or broccoli, but still there’s going to be quite a bit.  Perhaps it’s time I learned to make, and the family learns to eat, kimchi.


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