Thursday, October 4, 2012

Photos and More Gardening

I've needed new professional and blog photos for a long time.  My friend Adam Roe was in town recently, and he happens to be professional photographer, so he graciously offered to snap a few shots.  Despite less than ideal conditions, he did an outstanding job.  Here's a larger version of the photo on my profile (which Blogger shrinks down to a tiny thumbnail):


To see more of Adam's work, head over to his Facebook page, and don't forget to 'like' and share it if you enjoy it.  Adam is currently based in Berlin.

Gardening Update

Here's a photo of today's harvest (taken by me, not Adam; you can tell by the poor focus and primitive lighting):




The garden is winding down and I'm gradually doing my fall harvest.  From left to right, Yukon Gold potatoes, Delicata squash, Blue Lake and Helda pole beans, and assorted tomatoes.

I planted my Yukon Golds too late in the season (end of June) so my yields are mediocre.  Still, I'll probably manage to get 15-20 lbs from that bed.  Potatoes are fun to grow, and they do well here in the cool maritime Northwest.

The Delicata winter squash did fairly well.  All told, I'll end up harvesting 16, 1-2 lb squash.  We're fairly limited in the varieties of squash we can grow here due to the cool growing season, but Delicatas tend to do well because they're an early maturing C. pepo variety.  They also taste great.  If anyone else has a winter squash variety they've had luck with in the maritime Northwest, please share in the comments.  Also, I'm interested to hear readers' opinions on my yield.  Each plant yielded between 3 and 5 squash (4 average).  I have no idea if that's a good yield or not-- I suspect it's on the low side.  Thoughts?

My pole beans are in the middle of an impressive second flush.  The Helda romano-type beans are vigorous growers and yield beans earlier in the season than the Blue Lake variety, despite being a larger pod.  The Heldas have performed admirably, and they taste great, but nothing beats the flavor and texture of fresh picked Blue Lake pole beans.  They have a super tender, sweet beany-ness that far surpasses anything I've ever gotten from the grocery store or even the farmer's market.  I like to boil them for about two minutes, drain the water and toss them with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

I'm in the process of "putting my garden to bed" for the winter.  That means planting cover crops (winter rye, crimson clover and hairy vetch) and preparing the beds for a good Interbay mulch!  The Interbay mulch technique was invented here in Seattle, and is done by placing organic matter directly on the garden beds, covering with burlap, and allowing it to compost all winter.  In the spring, hypothetically, you end up with a beautiful fluffy bed, full of organic matter, nutrients and earthworms.  It also helps suppress weeds.  I'm trying a twist on the technique: I planted cover crops early, and I'll be cutting them down and incorporating them into the mulch at the end of October.  I'm trying it for the first time this year because my beds need more organic matter.  We'll see how it goes, but I'm expecting an epic season next year...

In the meantime, I'll be saving a bundle on greens this winter because I planted winter-hardy collards, kale and arugula.  These are some of the best money savers here in the maritime Northwest because they grow like weeds.  Every time we buy a bunch of organic greens at the store, we pay $2.50 or $3.00 for it, and we eat a lot of greens.  Over the course of the year, we save at least $100 in greens alone.  The greens that come from my garden also taste better than what we get at the store.

31 comments:

Robin Dowswell said...

Globe artichokes are worth a try. I grew my own for the first time this year. I was surprised at how tasty they were. Boil them up and eat with butter an lemon. You have to remove all the leaves and hairs after boiling. If you're like me this will involve scalding your hands!
Corn on the cob is the other garden delight.
Like you I was late with a number of crops this year. The Corn is not full size yet and with the weather in the UK looking cool and unsettled over the next 2 weeks I may just miss out. My pole beans (runners in the UK) were planted too late and I've had very few. My mistake, other people round here have had a large harvest.
Haven't done squash yet so can't help you there.
Loads and loads of late greens coming up for me though. http://www.drdobbin.co.uk/green-leafy-vegetables-just-how-healthy-are-they

Gabriella Kadar said...

Stephan, how about Butternut squash? According to your local plant blog people, this will grow well in Seattle. Says there's 20 squashes per vine. Probably the squash you did grow could have produced about that many as well.
Those yellow squashies are generally smaller than butternuts.

The potatoes are great even if you didn't get as many or as large as you'd have liked. At least you know there's no chemicals in them. Even commercially available 'organic' potatoes have fungicide in them, just different.



spughy said...

The farms here (Victoria - a little more sun than Seattle typically) do tons of different squash varieties. The red curry squash do well (kabocha? not sure of exact variety, but they're reddish-orange and look a bit like pumpkins, great for curry soup) as do butternuts and green acorn squash. There's a farm here that also does massive Hubbard squashes (blue-green rind) and they're cool-looking but daunting if there's only 3 people in your household and 2 of them don't like squash!

TruthCkr said...

Very nice new profile photo, Stephan! You look more mature than in the last one, and even more handsome, healthy and fit.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Thanks Robin

Hi Gabriella,

We can grow butternut here to some extent, but my past experiences haven't been great successes. The summer isn't hot enough and most of them don't ripen. Territorial seed has an early variety that I may try next year.

Hi Spughy,

Interesting. I wouldn't try my luck with Hubbard squash here. I have thought about growing kabocha-type squash because I love them, but I don't know how well they'd do here.

Thanks TruthCkr

bentleyj74 said...

New and improved pic looks great :) Was the slightly off century sort of vibe/expression deliberate or just gravy?

Mary said...

Stephan, Are you eating the kale raw or cooked? We have a garden also, with 2 types of kale. I fold the leaves in two and peel off the rib/stem, dice them up and add them to salads.

Some of the kale survived last winter despite 4-5 snow storms; though it didn't look its best or grow much during the coldest part of winter. Do you know if kale and arugula can take snow and temperatures in the low teens?

Mary said...

Oops, I meant collards above.

Alex said...

Sorry to be the turd in the punchbowl, Stephan, but the picture of you that Adam Roe posted on his Facebook page is way better than the one you're using here. The one here is like when you're watching a video, and you hit the pause button, freezing the actor's face in a really strange expression.

Josh said...

Have to agree with Alex. The facial expression in the Facebook picture is much better. It has a trustworthy and honest vibe to it whereas current pic has something slightly off about it. For some reason the hair colour is completely different in the two photos.

tjrjr said...

I like the pic he chose. He's got a Michael Fassbender thing going on.

bentleyj74 said...

@ tjrjr

Hey, I'd take that compliment and run with it if I were Stephan :)

v/vmary said...

i like the pic here better. it has a zen/peaceful quality. the one on the facebook page is good, but the lips are pursed, so it looks less relaxed. these pics don't have the touseled hair/young guy look anymore, so they are more 'respectable' looking.

Josh said...

That's interesting that different people like different pics. Here are the two pics side by side - Stephan is on the left and his evil twin Hanz is on the right - http://tinyurl.com/9hjtrwg

Robin Dowswell said...

Changing the topic completely, does anyone know what happened to the Weston Price website? When I've clicked on the links I get "malware detected".

Sanjeev said...

It tells you what happened on one of th links on that page

Safe Browsing diagnostic page

click on the link and it takes you to another page that tells you:

What happened when Google visited this site?

Of the 503 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 35 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2012-10-09, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2012-10-03.

Malicious software includes 6 trojan(s), 1 scripting exploit(s), 1 exploit(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 9 new process(es) on the target machine.

Gabriella Kadar said...

Well okay, since the photograph critics made their thoughts known, I'll now screw up my courage to participate.

The photograph on the pro's site is better because it shows more shadow and depth. It is taken at a slight angle which is complimentary. Regardless of lip posture, that picture is the better one.

The one selected by Stephan is very flat with no shadows indicating facial structure. It looks like a guy who just rose from his sick bed.

I didn't want to say anything before. I thought of emailing Stephan privately but waited for others input which took some time in happening.

Of course, Stephan chose this picture for some strong personal reasons and he may be invested in it such that readers input may be unwelcome. Which is why I kept my opinion to myself until now. And after all, who the hell am I?

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Josh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh said...

@Gabriella

That was an interesting photographic analysis. It is amazing how different lighting, camera angles and other factors can make people look very different. For example in these two photos of Emily Deans you wouldn't even know it was the same person.

Robin Dowswell said...

Thanks Sanjeev, I guess I'll give the Weston Price site a miss for now. I was looking for some content to back up my vitamin K article. I used some of Stephen's blog posts to inform my writing on K2. I formed an impression that more could be found at Weston Price. My article is: here

Stephan Guyenet said...

Thanks for the thoughts folks, don't be afraid to speak your mind! I appreciate the feedback. I do have other photos from the same shoot.

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Jane said...

Well I think that photo makes you look altogether too SMOOTH. Maybe you are smooth? Aren't scientists supposed to be a bit rumpled, slightly worried, earnest, frightfully intelligent of course, but humble too? There's almost a hint of SMIRK in this photo.

Josh said...

So putting together all the feedback - In the current pic it looks like a mature, handsome and healthy Michael Fassbender lookalike has just risen from his sick bed only to have somebody hit the pause button, revealing a smooth smirk with an off century vibe that has a zen/peaceful quality. Adam Roe is certainly quite the photographer!

Stephan Guyenet said...

Haha... OK I get the message. The people have spoken!

Sara said...

To the suggestion to plant artichokes.. they are great but you need to contain them somehow or they TAKE OVER and you will get 30 times as much as you can eat. My gardening method is quite random (plant seeds and bulbs (that's how I got the artichokes!) and see what happens), but I compost and now and then, some seed from the compost sprouts. That's how I got a sunflower in my raised garden... Rhubarb is amazing and easy to grow.

Exceptionally Brash said...

Great photos. I prefer the photo of you on your site compared to the fb photo.
Now, as for the veggies....I keep hearing about the wonderful yield on the delicata, but have only managed one or two per plant. I find them to be fairly picky about soil. Since you seem to be doing "ancestral" organic, you might want to find something that is less temperamental, like butternut.
I have had success with High Mowing's sweet REBA bush acorn squash. It will give poorer yield in sub-optimal soil, but it is very fast and the plant holds up to cooler weather. I plant it on the edges of the seasons, as either the first squash, or the last, and usually with conventional-organic fertilizer sprinkles.
I tried HMS's honey nut butternut in poor soil this year, and like other butternuts, it practically grows itself, it did super well, and the fruits are adorable. It might not be the right kind for your weather, but it makes me wonder about their nutter butter variety. It sure looks good on paper for the northern garden.
I love HMS, especially their commitment to squashes and seeds suited to organic production, but unfortunately, many of their seed varieties and selections aren't for my climate :-(
The thing that is nice about Waltham butternut is that even though it is getting cold, I can get baby butternuts until Christmas, eating them as summer squash well past the time for zucchini or other summer squashes, so they still might be a nice choice for you even if they don't get sweet.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi EB,

Thanks. I may try Hunter squash next year, which is a super early butternut variety selected for the UK climate. I'll definitely be planting delicata again.

The REBA acorn squash looks interesting. Powdery mildew is definitely a problem around here. I typically favor PM-resistant zucchini varieties.

Exceptionally Brash said...

http://eorganic.info/novic/winter-squash