Here you can see the Piracicaba broccoli plants are filling in their space and the Calabrese broccoli plants have been planted out. Beyond the broccoli plants are Pixie Baby cabbages and Napa cabbages and at the far end of the bed is a patch of chamomile that volunteered this winter. The Super Sugar Snap peas have climbed well above their rat protective covering to the top of the trellis and are in full bloom.
Another view of the Super Sugar Snap peas. I'm trying the Super Sugar Snap peas this year because they are resistant to powdery mildew. The pretty purple snap peas that I tried last year were beautiful to begin with but seemed to have absolutely no PM resistance and were an awful mess well before the harvest should have ended. I haven't detected any powdery mildew in these plants yet.
The Oregon Giant snow peas never got rat protection but are doing fine. I guess the rats found something tastier to munch on by the time I got these planted out, or perhaps all the traps that I set and the work of Zeke The Rodenator (see the sidebar) finally culled their numbers. Hmm, come to think of it, I bet that the Great Horned owls that were hanging around here for a while helped as well. I decided to try this variety of snow pea after I was offered free seeds in a media kit from Renee's Garden. I had been thinking of trying a new variety of snow pea this year anyway, that powdery mildew problem again, when the media kit came along. The kit was a great deal, they would send me up to 18 different packets of seeds - vegetables, herbs, and/or flowers - for free, all I have to do is trial the seeds and either report back to them or send them a link to any blog posts about the plants. Renee's Garden is a local seed company and I've been buying their seeds for years, I've always been a fan so it was a no-brainer to jump at the opportunity to try more of the varieties that they have to offer. You'll be seeing more about my efforts with the trial varieties in future posts. Anyway, the plants are growing very nicely, are coming into bloom, and no signs of PM so far...
A third type of pea that I'm growing this year is for pea shoots. Here's my little patch with the rat protection opened up.
A close-up of a plant that has been harvested 3 or 4 times and is somewhat past being ready to be harvested again.
And here's some of the plants immediately after the harvest. One reason why I've decided to keep these plants covered, other than for rat protection, is that I don't know if these are resistant to powdery mildew and if they aren't I hope that keeping them covered will protect them from getting infected.
The volunteer chamomile is in full bloom now and on a warm sunny day the air becomes perfumed with their fragrance - it smells like a cup of tea! (By the way, the original plants were grown from seeds that came from Renee's Garden).
Something that I can't capture in a photograph is the cloud of beneficial insects that buzz around these plants. The wasps that lay their eggs in and on aphids have been enjoying the blossoms and repaying me by taking care of a lot of the aphids that are finding the nearby cabbages, there's more aphid mummies than live aphids on many of the plants.
Pixie Baby cabbages (another Renee's selection but not from the trial packets) in the foreground and chinese cabbages behind.
Some of the Pixie cabbages are nearly ready to harvest.
The Piracicaba broccoli is producing the first small main heads.
The Calabrese broccoli is about a big as the Piracicaba was a month ago, it'll be interesting to see how big they will be in a month
I'll be harvesting Golden chard soon. The water bottle cloches behind the chard are covering up a failed attempt to get some more Yu Choy going. I got great germination of direct sown seed and then the sow bugs started to munch. I covered up the seedlings that were left and then we had a heat wave that cooked the remaining seedlings. Oh well, I'll try to get more started in paper pots in a protected spot, that worked for the first crop and in the meantime I have some lettuce seedlings that can go into this space.
Here's the blossoms on my first planting of Yu Choy, the beneficial insects are enjoying these flowers too.
The Florence fennel in showing signs of making "bulbs".
Their lacy greens are a pretty addition to the garden and look nice next to the volunteer California Poppies (please ignore the weed!).
And finally, over in a corner next to the pea shoots, garden chives (yet another selection from Renee's, I told you I like them!), in full bloom.
That's it for this part of the garden, more updates to come, one of these days...