Monday, May 16, 2011

Mid May update

This week I picked:  Spinach 1 lb, Lettuce 4 oz, Bok choi, 11 oz, Kohlrabi 10 oz.  The kohlrabi (Early White Vienna) was seeded Feb 19 and set out into the greenhouse bed March 13, part of the first set of brassicas.  It’s fellow traveler, a Grand Duke kohlrabi, was picked a week ago.  I seeded Dragon Langerie bush beans around the kohlrabi a few days ago, so its removal today is timely.   My strategy for bush beans has evolved to using them as space fillers.  Some plantings will go into the brassica bed later in the summer, but I’ll try to spot them into different beds to keep the bean beetle guessing.

The later sets of brassicas went into the trapezoidal bed.  The second set is close behind the first set.  Spaces are opening up in this bed as plants come out, making room for the next set in a week or so.  The first broccoli (Major) is starting to head up.  This is the first time for this variety, and I like it’s compact growth.  De Cicco, Gypsy, and a variety from Lowe’s were varieties I’ve grown in the past.  They all got about two feet tall and were a space hog for the yield you get.  Major looks to get about a foot tall so it doesn’t have to go on the north side of the bed, and it can be spaced a little closer (20/20 hindsight).  The broccoli seedlings growing under the lights now are Gypsy, a more heat tolerant variety for the summer.   The sugar snap peas on one side of the bed seem to get along well with the cole crops.  

Potatoes are now growing like gangbusters.  There are four Red Pontiacs in each cage, and two Yukon Golds in front of each cage – 18 plants altogether, which cost me $1.87.  That’s a Sunburst pattypan aquash at the end of the bed.  Besides their striking appearance, they are very good when sliced longitudinally, slathered in olive oil and some herbs and grilled.      

The parsnips, six rows of them, are progressing.  They’ll need to be thinned soon to 3-4 inches apart.  That’s a mole hole in the bottom left corner.  Parsnips aren’t much trouble, although last summer they did get an infestation of caterpillars, nothing that Bt can’t take care of – that is if they are inspected regularly.

I still haven’t planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra and winter squash even though there’s about a 10% chance that this area will get another frost this spring.  There’s two reasons.  One is that I haven’t put the compost into their beds because the remaining compost is not ready.  The leaf mold in the compost bin finally became a hot pile a few days ago and it’s settling fast.  In a few more days it should be ready.  Second reason:  This area is going through a cool spell this week, a repeat of last May.  And last May the peppers, tomatoes and eggplant went through a week of 40 degree nights and they didn’t like it much.  Especially the eggplant, which was permanently traumatized.  By the time it was replanted in June it was so far behind that it was an easy target for flea beetles and other pests.  So this year I’ll wait it out.


Anonymous said...

I planted De Cicco broccoli last year and wasn't impressed. I do like Piracicaba, which is similar in habit but produces tasty side shoots over a long period, and self sows pretty readily if allowed to flower and go to seed. Gotta love no-work seedlings!

I also like the patty pan squash. I grew Johnny's "Flying Saucers" last year and liked its nutty flavor a lot.

Tell me about the cages for the potatoes. How does it work? Have you done this before? I am quite curious, as I never grow as many as I'd like due to space concerns.

Ali in cold dreary Maine

Anonymous said...

ps. We've found that toy pinwheels plunged into the edges of the beds deter the moles and voles. It isn't 100% but it helps. Apparently they do not like the vibration.

RandomGardener said...

Brocolli plant looks good. Did you buy seed potatoes for $1.87? That's a good price for 18 plants!

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

Sunburst squash was a favorite of my mom. I always grew them for her. I like them too, but I haven't grown them for a couple of years now. Parsnips are something I never got a taste for. Maybe I should give them another try.

It's cool down here in Warrick Co. too. My warm season crops are hanging out in the greenhouse for a bit longer. It will get warm some day I guess!

gardenvariety-hoosier said...

Henbogle - This is the first year for the cages. I googled it and found some people in Australia tried it but there wasn't much info. My thinking is it will allow more air circulation. The potatoes always fell over and were in contact with the ground, then got bacteria or fungi problems. I'm thinking I can put insert small bamboo stakes horizontally through the cages, same as with tomatoes, to help support the vines. We'll see. I was never impressed with De Cicco either. A lot of plant and not much broccoli.
Random G - Well I think it was $1.87. I was in a farm supply store looking at chickens and saw the potatoes at a good price. Most of the Red Pontiac were small enough to plant individually. They are the best performer in this alkaline soil.

Daphne Gould said...

Every thing seems to be growing well in your garden. I allowed a lot of space for broccoli this year as I really love eating it so much. I've never found it to have the nice productivity as greens do. It also seems to be true of the other flowering brassicas like Choy Sum and Chinese broccoli.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Your broccoli looks really good. Ours are just still seedlings. We also have holes on our parsnip and carrot patch courtesy of opossum. I agree with you to wait until the weather are much warmer for eggplants, chili and okras.

foodgardenkitchen said...

You're smart to wait it out, especially when it comes to eggplant which really needs quite warm weather to do much at all. A few years ago, when we were starting our garden, I was talking with one of my co-workers about planting tomatoes. He said that he waits 3-4 weeks longer than most people around here (our average last frost is 4/15 and most people plant shortly thereafter) and his plants end up producing only a few days later than other people's because they're happier in the warmer soil & weather and don't go through the shock of some nights in the 40s.

I admit though to planting out by the first of May :)

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