Greenhouse Tour in Late April

As we near the end of April I thought I would grab the camera and capture a few images of what’s going on in the greenhouse. It’s a time of transition there, as much of the space is put to use growing flats of seedlings for planting out later on. I have shelves installed around three sides of the greenhouse, and this time of year they are always full of flats. All of the tomatoes and peppers are now potted up in 3.5 inch pots, so they do take up quite a bit of space.

flats on greenhouse shelf

flats on greenhouse shelf

I’ve been battling an outbreak of aphids in the greenhouse since early March. They were on the greens growing in the beds and salad boxes, as well as on many of the early seedlings like the brassicas and lettuce. With cilantro, parsley and spinach bolting it was time to clean up the beds and put everything on the compost pile – aphids and all. Now I have flats of plants sitting on the ground in the bare spots. Soon they will start spending some time outdoors during the day so they can begin the hardening off process before they are planted. And I will plant cucumbers in the larger of the two beds, the one in the below photo.

flats on the ground of the greenhouse bed

flats on the ground of the greenhouse bed

I started petunia seeds for several different varieties of Wave petunias back in March. I got great germination on the purple and pink color, but the red and blue did not do well at all. I wound up with only two of the Wave Blue and none of the red ones. I’ve heard of other gardeners having problems with certain colors, but I’ve not really had problems until this year. I got my seed from Parks, and I plan on switching to another supplier next year. At least the ones I have growing are sizing up and some are even showing flower buds. I will have plenty of petunias, but I will have to buy a few red ones which I plant for the hummingbirds.

flat of Wave petunia seedlings

flat of Wave petunia seedlings

I had much better luck with pepper and tomato seed germination. I have a nice supply of plants for those, though some of the peppers are having issues with the aphids. I’m getting the aphids under control, spraying with insecticidal soap, but it takes a while to get them all. The bigger pepper plants are doing well, but some of the smaller ones seem to be more affected by the aphid damage, or by the soap spray itself. It’s always something, it seems, and this year for me it is aphids! I rarely have issues with them once plants are in the garden, but in the greenhouse and indoors they are almost a perennial problem for me.

tomato seedlings

tomato seedlings

Some of the flats on the ground in the greenhouse were quickly hit by sowbugs. They seem to be fond of the basil, though not so much the tomatoes or peppers. The one in the below photo is, ironically, Sacred Basil. There’s nothing sacred about it to the sowbugs! I got the basil plants up off the ground and spread some Sluggo Plus on the beds to see if I can get them under control.

Sacred Basil plant with sowbug damage

Sacred Basil plant with sowbug damage

The salad boxes are continuing to give us a small but steady supply of salad greens. There’s a few aphids on the lettuce leaves, but nothing that can’t be remedied with a good rinsing off once they are harvested.

salad box with lettuce planted

salad box with lettuce planted

The overwintered kale plants are flowering.  We’re eating the leaves and the rapini, and those plants don’t seen to have many aphids on them. Go figure! I am thankful for that for sure, though it’s possible the aphids will migrate to the kale since I pulled the other plants from the beds.

overwintered kale in greenhouse bed

overwintered kale in greenhouse bed

The first kale to flower was the lone plant of one called Western Front. I harvested all the leaves and rapini, and left the plant to produce more leaves and shoots. The other plants are all True Siberian, and they are starting to flower too. Both varieties did well in the winter greenhouse and I will grow them again.

rapini on Western Front kale

rapini on Western Front kale

Also blooming are the early tomato plants I am growing in containers. I have one plant each of Spike and Maglia Rosa. Spike was the first to bloom, and is now the first tomato to set fruit. I am hoping to get some small fruited tomatoes planted behind the greenhouse soon, once the soil warms up a bit more. The bed is on the south side of the greenhouse, and the microclimate there lets me plant things a bit sooner than in the main garden.

Spike tomatoes setting on

Spike tomatoes setting on

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of the greenhouse here in April. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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Harvest Monday April 25, 2016

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The asparagus is coming on strong now that the weather has settled and is seasonably warm. We hauled in 16 ounces one day last week, which was our biggest daily harvest. A few days later we got 21 ounces to add to the totals. We’ve gotten 11 pounds of it so far this year. It is a highlight of seasonal eating for us here, and even though the calendar year starts in January the harvest season starts with the first asparagus.

homegrown asparagus

homegrown asparagus

Much of that in the above photo wound up on the grill. I love it prepared that way, but I have to say I like it most every which way, including raw. Asparagus is a prebiotic food when raw, but I like it mostly just because it tastes good! The grilled asparagus wound up in a meal I’ll talk about later.

grilled asparagus

grilled asparagus

I also steamed a big bunch of it for a lunch of Asparagus Mimosa. I like to use the bamboo steamer for that, as it can hold more asparagus than our stainless steel steamer.

steamed asparagus

steamed asparagus

Other than asparagus, I made a cutting from a couple of Wild Garden Kale Mix plants that survived the winter unprotected. One had fairly flat leaves while the other one was more frilly like a Red Russian. Both were tender and sweet tasting.

Wild Garden Mix Kale

Wild Garden Mix Kale

Some of the kale wound up in a hash I made with purple fleshed Purple sweet potatoes and the white fleshed Bonita. I think the combo made for a visually appealing dish that was tasty and nutritious as well. Add beans or eggs and you’d have a main dish meal. I used it as a side dish for some fish.

Kale and Sweet Potato Hash

Kale and Sweet Potato Hash

The salad boxes in the greenhouse continue to give us a steady supply of lettuce leaves for salads. It’s been so nice to have while I wait for the plants in the cold frame beds to size up.

mixed lettuce harvest

mixed lettuce harvest

I used some of my recently prepared Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce to make a batch of bean enchiladas. I made the filling from Black Tepary beans. I have some of these beans I plan on growing this year, and I have to say they seem to be pretty versatile in the kitchen. They hold their shape well for salads or soups, but they also work well when mashed up for refried beans. I made the enchilada sauce from some of our homemade unseasoned tomato sauce and some of my homegrown chile powder.

Black Tepary bean enchiladas

Black Tepary bean enchiladas

I made a batch of Michelle’s Green Quinoa Pilaf last week. I used green garlic and parsley instead of the scallions and cilantro she used, since that was what I had. I used the overwintered flat-leaf Splendid parsley I have growing in the greenhouse, which is only now starting to bolt but still loaded with lots of leaves.

green garlic with Splendid parsley

green garlic with Splendid parsley

After baking I topped the dish with a mix of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Asiago cheeses and put it back in the oven for a minute to melt the cheese. My wife and I both really enjoyed the dish. Lynda even called it “comfort food like macaroni and cheese.” I totally agree, and I can see making this dish again for sure. Since our season for fresh spinach is fairly short here, I may try making it with kale. I will definitely use scallions too when I have them, which should be fairly soon. The pictures don’t really do it justice. I’m always looking for new ways to use quinoa, and thanks to Michelle I have another one!

Green Quinoa Pilaf

Green Quinoa Pilaf

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!



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