Thursday, June 21, 2012

Progress report - Summer solstice

This little garden is off to a good start, and I’m hoping to get a record production from it this year.  At this point some of the spring vegetables were no longer productive.  They had to make way for summer crops.  When you have limited space there’s an urgency to remove plants that are no longer producing and use the space for something else.

I had high hopes for the sugar snap peas, and they were productive for a couple of weeks, but with the sustained hot weather lately their end was near.  Sure I could have gotten a few more, but there’s a Diva cucumber mixed in with the cabbage crops fighting to get to that trellis, and that cucumber will bear for the rest of the summer into fall.  Out went the peas and the cukes have the trellis all to themselves.  

I usually grow the snap peas with the cabbage family.  The cabbage has been slow to head up but it’s been a good year for broccoli.  There's another nice head about ready to pick.   

The brussells sprouts are looking very good this year.  Maybe this will be the year that I get a crop in the fall.
The other cucumber plant on the trellis is called  Picolino, and it doesn’t seem to have the vigor of the Diva (the Diva was set in several weeks later).   Several more of these were direct seeded along the trellis but never made it.   These cucumbers are small but are really tasty, even better than Diva.  Neither cuke needs to be pollinated to grow, parthenocarpic I believe. 

It was also time to pull out the remaining lettuce and make way for more summer hardy plants.  After breaking up the soil with a hoe I seeded one row of carrots (Danvers) at the end and two rows of Provider bush beans.  My seeding method is pretty primitive – mark a straight line with a yardstick then use the heel of my hand to make a groove by pushing dirt to the side.  I made a wide groove for the beans a little over an inch deep, seeded the beans in a staggered fashion, poured some inoculant over them and pushed the dirt back, then put straw over the soil to hold in moisture. 

This bed has the second patch of beans (Romas), scallions (Parade), parsnips (Lancer), and two Red Burgundy okra plants at the far end, which are just beginning to grow.  They thrive in this weather.

The Cocozelle squash is making a squash every few days now.   The last few years I was growing Sunburst pattypan.  They would grow very quickly, produce a huge amount of squash for a few weeks, then stop producing.  Last year a single plant produced almost 14 pounds of squash in one week before crashing.  That’s not a good growth habit for the home gardener who wants steady even production.   This variety also has better flavor.

The butternut squash is putting out vines now.  I tied one vine to the trellis and will guide it along the trellis.  I’ll put up more trellis at the end of the bed and tie another vine to that one.  The butternuts just do better when they can grow on vertical support. 

The onions are a mix of Copra and Utah Sweet from seed, and red onions from sets.   I don’t know if the red onions are short day or long day, the retailers around here don’t usually know.  A few of them bolted and I’ve found that these have little bulb.  I picked a few more that were knocked over or broken and the bulbs are already forming.  I’ve now learned, get fresh onion seeds every year.

The potatoes are near the top of the cage.  The Yukon Golds are starting to show some yellow on the leaves.  I may snitch a few in a couple weeks.  Those are Provider beans between the cages – the first batch of beans that I planted on May 1st.   I plant patches of beans every 3-4 weeks in different beds.  I’ve found that this strategy keeps the beans a step ahead of the Mexican bean beetle.  The beetles usually invade after the beans peak, and once it looks like the beetles have a real foothold I rip the beans out along with any debris and turn over the soil with a hoe.  The next patch of beans will go in the cabbage bed.  In a few weeks most of the plants will be out of that bed. 

1 comment:

kitsapFG said...

Those of us with limited bed areas available to us - have to be a little more brutal about pulling things out timely. Your garden is looking really good this year. Your brassicas in particular are putting in a good showing for you. I noticed my yukon golds are starting to yellow a bit at the base as well and am hopeful that in a few weeks I can start stealing some young potatoes.

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