Garden Snapshot, May 4, 2015

It seems that we've gone from Winter (2 weeks ago) to Spring (last week) to Summer (this week)! This hot sunny weather is making everything pop! We are excited to be harvesting the first asparagus of the season, and cooked up an Asparagus-Nettle Stir-fry. We always eagerly anticipate the first few harvests of this spring treat, and hope to have lots to share next year.

150504 asparagus I'd like to offer a a wide range of Spring vegetables next year, and the 500 asparagus crowns I planted last year should be ready to harvest by then. Baby asparagus is very thin and takes a couple years to reach harvestable size... the asparagus above is from a patch that is several years old.

This is prime swarm season for honeybees, and we're hoping to catch some swarms this year. It would be great to have some honey to share! Here's what a swarm looks like that has landed:

140623 swarm

If anyone sees a swarm of honeybees, give us a call! (Especially if you live relatively close to here...) There is a very short window of time for a beekeeper to catch them. Before the bees come together in a 'ball', there will be thousands of bees filling the air. They gradually come together in a mass and fly off together.

A close-up of the swarm; layers and layers of honeybees. They are very gentle when they swarm, so don't be afraid! They are just looking for a new home, and rarely sting at this time. I've handled swarms before with no gloves / veil / suit, although I usually suit up, just in case.

140623 swarm closeup

In the greenhouse, the tomatoes are in full bloom and starting to set fruit. Most of the plants are over 3 feet tall now, and looking great! They are definitely on track for providing tomatoes for the Vegetable Share boxes in June.

They were all pruned a couple days ago to channel more of the growing energy into the fruit, reduce the likelihood of disease, and make the tomatoes easier to pick. The tomatoes are all trellised on strings so they will grow upwards instead of sprawling over the entire greenhouse.

150503 tomatoes in bloom

The peppers are hiding behind the tomatoes in the photo above. Amazingly, they are also starting to set blossoms! Super-early for peppers! I'm tracking the time from setting blossoms to picking peppers so that it will be easier to predict harvest dates in the future.

In the house... the sweet potatoes have suddenly sprouted many leaves. They grew lots of roots into the water for a couple weeks, and now the leaves are crowding out of the tops. Soon, the leaf shoots will be broken off and rooted separately. Then, those rooted shoots will be planted around the first of June with sweet poatoes being ready to harvest in September. Each shoot will produce 5-10 sweet potatoes! 

150403 sweet potatoes in window

Lots of carrots, radishes, and other cool-tolerant seeds were planted this past week. 50 pounds of seed potatoes went into the ground. Flower transplants were set out. We're taking full advantage of this perfect planting weather!