Well, at times things can get pretty busy around places. As such, I didn’t quite do as much as I had at first planned to for pollinator week. But still, I have some happy news. The other day out at a patch of creeping thyme I took some photos of some bees. I had known that I had honey bees and that there were carpenter bees about as well. We had spotted some bumble bees too, but my wife noted that it seems in addition to the common bumble bee we have a few yellow bumble bees that are hanging out around here too. So I have a few pictures to share with you all.
So I know it was earlier this week, but happy summer. As a side note, things are coming out of the garden, I’m looking into a good system to get a feeling for how much we harvest this year.
Happy Fathers Day to All Those Dads Out There!
We’ve been having some issues with various pests in the garden. Some little bugs like to show up and munch on things like the broccoli and the squash. While we have gone through and picked some off and feed them to the ducks and sprayed some neem oil, we thought it might be time to try something else as well. So I decided that I would put a couple ducks into the garden for a few hours one day. Continue reading
So yesterday I was doing some work in the duck’s yard. I was working on getting their little pool a bit more level so that they would end up having more water. At the end of the day, I took my wife out to show her what I had gotten done during the day. That is when I heard it.
There was a quacking, I know, not all that odd in the duck yard. But it sounded like it was coming from inside the coop. Well that isn’t all that odd either. But then when I looked in the coop, no duck. Behind the coop, no duck. But the quacking continued. Then I looked under the coop.
Now the past few days the chickens had been scratching to make a dust bath. I noticed that some of the smaller hens where able to squeeze themselves underneath. I’ve seen some of the Khaki Campbells tryed to get under, but it seemed like they were too big to fit.
Imagine my surprise when I looked under the coop and saw a pekin, stuck under the coop. She was quacking and quacking, but seemed like she couldn’t make it out. So I had to dig her out. I dug a bit of a trench and was able to pull her out from under the coop. Of course she wasn’t thankful about this, then once she got out she ran off to be next to the other pekin and they wandered off as though nothing had happened.
I’ve now blocked up the holes some more and the chickens have a new dust bath area. Hopefully we won’t have any more ducks that need extraction.
As we move into the summer it is time for things to start getting ready to be pulled out of the garden. Undoubtedly we have all pulled a number of things up so far. Radishes and salad greens tend to be some of the first harvests, but just as we’ve done for some other garden goodies, like butternut squash and watermelon it is time to take a look at broccoli.
This year I started with some broccoli transplants and then added a few direct seeded plants. I can tell you that my transplants got their leaves to a rather large size, one of my missions is to see if I can use those leaves for something else. But then again, even if I can’t I’m guessing the ducks might enjoy them.
If you are out checking your garden somewhat regularly you’ll notice a little crown of broccoli start to form. This will continue to get bigger and form a nice tight crown. Then you will start to wonder, should I pick it now or do I wait a bit longer.
You can truly harvest your broccoli whenever you see the crown form. The longer you let it grow the bigger it will end up getting though. Once it reaches a fairly good size you’ll want to keep an eye on the color. If you notice that it is beginning to show yellow spots that is your signal that it needs to be picked right away. That is the broccoli preparing to go to seed.
You’ll want to use a knife to cut off the crowns that you are harvesting but leave the plant to continue growing. The plant will continue to grow more crowns so that you and your family can continue to enjoy the veggie all through the season.
You can serve broccoli a number of different ways. Like anything from the garden, you’ll want to wash it off before looking to eat it. After that, you have choices to make. You can just serve it raw, perhaps with some kind of dip or you can cook it in any number of different ways. Here is how we like to prepare it.
Heat your oven to somewhere around 425 (I’ve done 400 and 450 at times).
Cut your washed broccoli crown into bite sized florets.
Spread them over a sheet pan.
Drizzle with toasted sesame oil
Cook long enough, you probably want to check after 20 minutes, you want them to be cooked, some people like a slight char on the tips, others prefer to pull them before that point.
I’d like to hear from you, are you growing broccoli this year in your garden? How do you prepare it? Let me know in the comments section below.