Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mid Spring - Quick Tour

Southerners may snicker at this, but here in central/SW Indiana a blooming rhodendron is a real bonus.  Rhododendrons are a chancy proposition in this zone.  I inherited two when I bought the house, probably because the original owner/builder hailed from Tenessee.  The one in the yard did not make it through a cold winter a few years ago.  This one is against a south-facing wall, protected from the north winds, and has done well.  It’s had a few blooms in the past, but nothing like this. 

The mystery waterbird now has an identity.  Every few days I see it on the pond.  I don’t know if the bird has taken up residence at the pond and is just seclusive or if it calls a number of ponds in the area home.  It’s a pied-billed grebe, a very fast swimmer and diver.  Its plumage is non-descript but the dark band around the bill of the adult is unique.  It’d be nice to see a family of these little water imps on the pond.   

The vegetable beds are shaping up.  I’m still waiting for spinach after harvesting the overwintered plants, hopefully next week.  I picked more radish, 13 oz,  which is especially good this year.  Nothing like a sandwich and a couple of radishes for lunch. 

The greens bed is in front in this pic.  It’s mostly growing lettuce and spinach.  There’s also a Major Broccoli, a Kolibri Kohlrabi and a purple Pac Choi making good progress - the first set of brassicas. They were transplanted into this bed while it still was covered with the plastic greenhouse.  The bed in the background will get the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant seedlings on the picnic table after the storms blow through later this week.  
The front bed in the center row of beds is mostly onions.  The onions are flanked by carrots on either side, and the triangular area has some herbs.  The center bed will get squash, and the back bed is for brassicas.  Two sets of brassicas – about a month’s worth – were lost when I traveled, so the bed is mostly empty except for the most recent set at the far end and two Pakman broccoli that I bought at Lowe’s to fill the gaps.  The trellis is for sugar snap peas and later on cucumbers. 

The west beds are the most recent, built in 2010.  The front bed was seeded with parsnip and the soil mulched with grass clippings to protect the slow-germinating parsnip.  The parsnips should help break up the clay pan beneath the bed soil.  Two okra plants will go into the left side of this bed and the right side will probably get some bush beans.  Potatoes were planted in the trapezoidal bed in the back, and yes those are cages.   There’s a cage of Yukon gold, two cages of Red Pontiac, and a cage of blue potatoes, a first-time for them, with five seed potatoes in each cage.  The tree line to the west blocks much of the prevailing wind.  I’ve found cages help aerate the plants and at least slow down disease.  

So far 15 pounds for the year, much of that parsnip and leek from last year.  If the cucurbits don’t get bacterial wilt like last year I’m hoping for at least a pound per square foot this year. 


kitsapFG said...

Your garden is looking very tidy and promising with all the young plantings. Your potato tower/cages are interesting. Have you used those previously and if so what was your production per pound of seed potato used?

Sustainably Modern said...

I like the spreadsheet. I have something similar; but I like yours better...updating mine now :)

gardenvariety-hoosier said...

Kitsap - Last year I got about 6 pounds of Red Pontiac per cage, with four seed potatoes per cage. That wasn't a fair trial because I grew loose Yukon Golds in front (south) of the cages in the same bed. I noticed that the potatoes in the cage that got the most air circulation did the best.

Post a Comment