Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Best Veggies in Two Counties

Door County flowers

Great garlic at the Door County Fair

We have a love affair with cardoon here at BreezyAcres

The carpet will return to its original shape and be useable next season
Leaves of three, let it be....

Our mystery seed crop....

Yesterday we had our first summer rain with lightning and thunder and a nice amount of much needed rain. Maybe I will not have to water so much at work this week. The tomatoes responded to the recent rain - yes, they cracked! Oh well, they taste just as good.
Much of this week was spent judging other vegetables. I was the face-to-face Junior Fair judge in Winnebago and Door counties this week. I enjoy talking to the 4Her's about their gardens, crops, and passing along a bit of information when I can. The most telling responses were from the question I asked kids about how their "Round Up Ready" corn and soy beans got that characteristic. Even the older 16-18 year olds really did not know. In two judging seasons I have not seen anything but this genetically engineered crop, and typically, most kids have no idea how the seed their family plants gets the resistant trait for "Round Up".

The vegetables I saw were very good with some exceptional entries. One plate of 20 green beans in Oshkosh was absolutely "Perfect", and a youngster in Sturgeon Bay was very proud of his raspberries and rightly so they were very nice. I was noticeably surprised to find beautiful garlic entries in both fairs. The kids entries in Winnebago were excellent. One was called "Gregorian Crystal". I'll be looking for that one. The Door entry was in the Open Class and was a HUGE garlic that the entrant had grown for many years. The picture tells all - really a nice specimen. With work and two days of judging I did not get much done in my garden. I did get another small amount of lettuce planted and because the broccoli did not send out any real good side shoots I pulled most of those plants. I have include pictures of how the plants deal with the root maggot carpet guard that I put around the transplants. It is really amazing how the stem just pushes the carpet square aside. The nice thing is that when I take the plant out the carpet goes back to its original shape and I can use the carpet again next season. The cardoon has begun to flower and the bees are hard at work collecting pollen. I hope for a good seed crop from this years flowering. The goldfinches will know when the seed is ripe so I will have to bag the flower heads to keep the bird out of the seed. The volunteer dill in the garden is ready to harvest for seed. I like to let the dill sprout wherever it wants to as the end product is excellent for cooking and breads.

Earwigs and snails are real problems again even with the hot dry weather. The lettuce is the most damaged and the peppers are suffering from both pests. Cucumbers need some help to get started climbing the trellis and the second crop of garlic is almost ready to harvest. Onions have fallen over and look like they will need harvest and curing soon. The rain we have gotten has greened up the yard so grass will need to be cut soon but that will give me some much needed mulch.

While in Door County this weekend I spotted a common roadside and forest plant that causes grief - Poison Ivy. This time of the year the dark green leaves are starting to sport their bright red colors - a good indication to stay out of ditches and fields festooned with these red leaves. The mystery flowers at the end of the picture post are the start of the seed crop for our home made breads. I will keep adding pictures of the plant as it develops.

Happy Gardening


  1. David...
    I am intrigued with your cardoon. Would you please elaborate...seed source, your interest in it, what do you use it for, can it be grown from seed or is this a 'start early plant, is it annual in our climate or a protected perennial?

    Your carpet mulch is a great idea! Seems like it would create a 'no-weed zone' around the plant? My husband is cutting 4'x8' pieces of unused paper machine fabric to put down on our raised garden beds... some will have cut out rows for 'row plants' and others will have cut out squares for tomatoes, peppers, etc. At first I was skeptical but now not so! He says they will be easy to move from bed to bed for crop rotation. Must be a guy thing & weeding!

    Great fair pictures! Enjoy life!
    The Cat Lady

  2. To Cat Lady,
    The carpet is to keep the root maggots out of my plants - they are not really big enough to be a weed barrier but try it.
    The cardoon is a member of the artichoke family and is a stem vegetable especially in an Italian kitchen. I have cooked it after blanching in the fall and we like it. My seed came from several places Territorial and John Scheepers the records say. The plant is a biannual but this year it is acting like a perennial??? and I am looking forward to a seed crop as they are flowering now. Watch for more pictures as I really like this plant a lot... Remember it is a BIG plant 3-4feet across when happy.
    Happy Gardening