Trying Leeks

The first of the 2013 seed catalogs arrived Saturday. In my opinion the best of these is sent out by Johnny’s. It’s loaded with interesting planting and growing tidbits that, if I remember them, help bring in a successful crop. For example, I focused more on green beans since the current batch is doing so well and learned that with pole beans I should be picking every 36-48 hours. I didn’t do that with the first round of plants and waited until there was enough for a major pick. Consequently, many of them turned out really tough. I didn’t appreciate how quickly they go from tender to woody and really didn’t appreciate how quickly the plants put out more beans if you don’t let them stay on the vine too long. Another tip is that 7 seeds is the optimum number to plant around each pole. I can’t say I did it wrong since I never paid any attention to just how many I was planting but it’s not likely that I hit the optimum just by accident. The pictures show the remaining two pole bean towers and a typical cluster of beans. The towers are being held up by supports but are drooping down at a 60 degree angle so you can imagine how tall it would be if upright. That cluster of beans gives you some idea just how thickly the beans are being produced. The beans you see are about 6” long. This is one very small area within one section of planting. They’ve been producing like this for a month and if anything, there are more new blossoms now than a month ago. I’ll pick that cluster tomorrow and just that one area will yield more than one meal. Filling the freezer.

Two sets of pole beans
Two sets of pole beans
Cluster of Beans
Cluster of Beans

Scanning the catalog, I spotted a product that I’ve never grown. With good reason. Nancy never bought any or used any in recipes until recently when she tried a recipe called BLT pasta where the “L” stands for Leeks. We bought a couple and tried the recipe and have had it several times since. So I’m going to try growing Leeks. That will make this the largest onion oriented year ever with 3 time staggered patches of sweet white onions, 2 patches of scallions, also a new addition to the farm this season, and upcoming, a row of leeks. The catalog went into quite a bit of detail as to the proper care and feeding of leeks and, at my state of development as a farmer, I think I’m ready for the challenge. I may be a little late to the game seasonally but I’ve got space and will chalk this season up to a learning experience. Who knows, I may get the hang of it and have to start looking for Leek recipes.

Another new goodie that jumped out at me in the catalog, was a variety of cherry tomatoes that are “highly” nematode resistant. As with Leeks, Nancy has added several dishes that require cherry tomatoes into her repertoire. In fact the “T” in BLT pasta happens to be Cherry Tomatoes. She also came up with a shrimp, corn, and cherry tomato recipe that hit the spot. Of course I didn’t grow any this year since we just didn’t use that many but I’ll rectify that next season with the nematode resistant variety. It pains me to have to buy anything in the produce section of the grocery store when there’s spare room in the garden.

One last garden mention – blossoms starting on the peas. That means on the table by Christmas.

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