Sunday, June 12, 2016

Harvesting Six Pounds of Spinach!

It's hard to believe that another week has passed on the homestead. I have had a wonderful time watching everything grow larger. We had two super rainy days this week. It was nice to take a break from watering the garden and having Mother Nature lend a helping hand. 

This week we harvested:

6 pounds of spinach
A handful of chives

So far in 2016, we've harvested:

Two dozen radishes 
8 pounds of spinach
One small head of broccoli
A handful of chives 
Two bundles of lemon balm


I noticed that our spinach had begun to bolt, so I pulled up all of the plants and was amazed to find that we now had six pounds of fresh spinach! We feed our guinea pigs, chickens, and rabbits spinach, so I decided to split the harvest into two groups; three pounds for the animals and three pounds for the humans. Since we have five or six more spinach plants in a large container that are still growing, I decided to leave those plants for when we need some fresh spinach for salads. I chose to freeze the three pounds that I set aside. 

I've blanched fresh spinach before in preparation to be frozen, but below I have included a link to a tutorial in case any readers are interested. Right here.

It took soaking and rinsing the spinach in water three separate times to remove all of the dirt and bugs. But other than that, it's an extremely easy process. Boil spinach for two minutes, immediately place into ice water, remove and squeeze out excess water before placing into a plastic bag. It's wild to see a mountain of spinach shrink enough to fit into a gallon sized ziplock bag after the blanching.

The garden bed looked empty after removing all of the spinach plants. I quickly dropped a few pumpkin seeds into the open space. We must keep the crops growing!

While inspecting the cabbage for any worms (found one!), I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the cauliflower plants has grown tremendously. All of this rain and sunshine is making an abundant garden! 

Chickens and Rabbits

Our furry and feathered friends are enjoying fresh scraps from the garden. We've been giving them large cabbage leaves and of course, lots of spinach. 

Gifts from Nature

After harvesting the spinach and planting the pumpkin seeds, I had to redo the netting over the garden bed to accommodate the large brassica plants. This meant I had to cover the chive plant with netting, but then quickly realized that the bees may not be able to land easily on the chive flowers they love so much. It's important for me to have a bee friendly space in the garden. I wasn't sure what to do. I finally chose to make life easier for the bees and dug up the chives to transplant into a container. As soon as I finished, a bumble bee flew up and landed on a blossom. I knew I made the right choice.