Happy Harvest Friday! When we last left off, our aquaponics system was up and cycling, but the water levels weren’t quite ready for fish yet. Now… we officially have fish!
So far, we only have 10 goldfish (including Captain Blackfin and Albie– who isn’t gold, but an albino white) and 2 plecostomuses (Bert and Ernie), which isn’t many for a 275-gallon tank. The water is kind of murky and the tank is dark, so I really only see them when it’s feeding time and they come up for food. We started with just a few to make sure they didn’t croak. I’m happy to report they’ve been alive and well for almost 2 weeks. So, now it’s time to order tilapia! I guess I can’t name those guys, since eventually they might be dinner.
As for the plants, they are doing really great!
This bed includes curly kale, rainbow chard, basil, Thai basil, dill, mache, red leaf lettuce, spinach and super overgrown microgreens (in other words, just greens).
It’s our first time growing dill, so I’m excited about that one. I hardly ever use it when I cook (and by hardly ever I mean never) but I’m excited to incorporate it more recipes.
I’m also really excited about the spinach. We tried growing it outside a couple years ago but it was so dirty and got so many bugs that we didn’t even eat most of it. It’ll be so much better growing it in the greenhouse.
Speaking of bugs, we had a minor incidents with aphids and slugs in the greenhouse. They were both on plants we had transplanted from the garden. So we definitely shouldn’t have done that. They probably came in with the eggs/slugs already on them. Luckily I was able to get rid of the aphids in a couple days before they spread to anything else (using this method with water and dish soap), and I found and removed 2 slugs and haven’t seen any more slug poop since. We ordered some ladybugs just in case the aphids come back. They feed on them without hurting your plants.
In the other raft bed, we’ve got butter lettuce, romaine lettuce (the huge ones), Russian red kale, beets and cilantro.
I’ve never had luck with growing cilantro. It always bolts fast and furiously before I’ve used hardly a few sprigs. I thought I’d give it one last go and see if the greenhouse and/or aquaponics environment helps. I also bought a slow-bolt variety, so hopefully that helps. I make Mexican and Thai food all the time so I use tons of cilantro. It would be great to not have to go to the store for it!
The grow beds are coming along nicely, too. Check out how big my teeny tomato seedlings have gotten in 2 weeks. And can you spot the cucumber trying to grab onto him? This weekend we need to figure out how to train the cucumbers onto something they can grow up.
As for the regular garden, there isn’t too much to report. I am still getting boat loads of kale. My broccoli has all flowered and I need to pull it out (I’ve left it for a bit because it’s pretty and the bees love it).
My brussels sprouts are officially a bust. I think our “winter” was too short and too warm for them. All the “sprouts” are starting to flower! I guess that’s the one thing we cannot grow in this area!
My mint plant is coming back nicely for the third year in a row.
And so are my chives (nestled behind some massive kale).
I love perennial herbs. They are the gift that keeps on giving! My sage is also coming back, though it’s off to a slower start.
In other fun gardening news, I planted some cat grass for my furry friend, Cali. She ate all our seedlings one night while we were asleep. The next time I was shopping for seeds, I spotted cat grass and thought I’d try it. I wasn’t sure if she would like it because we bought fresh catnip from the farmer’s market last year and she had zero interest. Well, as you can see from the chewed off tops, she LOVED it! She mowed it down so much, I had to bring it back out into the greenhouse to let it regrow a little bit.
I have soooo been slacking on photographing my harvests! Mostly because they’ve all been the same– a lot of kale and lettuces, from which I’ve made zillions of salads and omelets. Seriously. Nick was gone for 3 weeks and I pretty much only ate garden salads and kale & quail egg omelets. We produce WAY more food than one person can keep up with!
The salads start with a base of mixed greens… kales, lettuces, microgreens, broccoli leaves… and sometimes even a random radish that resulted from an overgrown microgreen!
I also harvested the last cauliflower and the last of the sugar snap peas. And all those plants were pulled up to make room for summer crops.
We’ve got lots of work to do on the traditional garden beds, so until next time… happy growing!