The tunnel is now protecting the newly set out seedlings of Gustus Brussels Sprouts which did so well for me last year. I also added some Hestia Brussels Sprouts to the grow list. There's 4 each of both varieties. Last year I set the plants out in 3 staggered rows, but found that the middle and back rows didn't grow as well as the front row. This year I reduced the number of plants and gave each plant more space, they are in only 2 staggered rows and are 12 inches apart in each row. And we love our broccoli here so I've also put in 3 Calabrese broccoli plants.
The biggest challenge with putting such little seedlings into my garden is that the sowbugs can wipe them out very quickly. In the winter I protect the little seedlings with cloches made of gallon water bottles, the lidless bottles keep the bugs out and help to keep the seedlings warm. At this time of year the seedlings can get too hot inside a cloche so I'm trying to keep the bugs out with completely topless bottles, basically just big tubes. I've found that the sowbugs don't seem to be able to crawl up the sides of the bottles so the plants have a chance to grow large enough to withstand the bugs. I hope it works since setting small seedlings directly into the garden saves me the chore of potting up little seedlings and nurturing them until they get to be large enough to fend for themselves.
|Manoa Crisphead Lettuce|
Lettuce seedlings don't seem to be as vulnerable to sowbug attacks as the brassica seedlings so they just get the protection of the tunnel to thwart birds and hopefully bunnies. But I have added a layer of lightweight Agribon to the top of the tunnel to provide just a bit of shade.
And now for a bit of a progress report on my onion trials.
|Bolting Ramata di Milano Onions|
It seems to me that yellow onions are far more prone to bolting than red onions. Every single one of the Ramata di Milano onions is trying to bloom. And most of the Yellow Sweet Utah Spanish onions are trying to bolt.
The red onions aren't immune but far fewer of them are reaching for the sky.
Most of them are showing signs of making nice bulbs.
A couple of things that I forgot to show in my garden tour are my experiments with growing in fabric pots. I decided to put all of my eggplants into the pots and so far they are looking happy. And I'm also experimenting with sweet potatoes. One sweet potato that I bought at the farmer's market last year started to sprout in my cupboard so I went with it, stuck it in some water and started to collect and root sprouts. Both the eggplants and sweet potatoes are in 10 gallon pots that actually hold more than that, more like 13 or 14. They seem to be doing ok with 2 minutes a day of water.
To finish, here's a couple of shots of Anise Swallowtail caterpillars that are munching on some volunteer fennel. This umbel had 3 caterpillars in it until this morning when I found that...
one of them was clever enough to move over to a fresh bunch of flowers.
And there's more destined for Bed #4, some romaine lettuce, cauliflower, and romanesco broccoli. The lettuce will join the Manoa Crisphead lettuce that is getting going in the tunnel and the cauliflower and broccoli will be potted up and nurtured on until the onions get lifted.
Hope you enjoyed the update and have a great weekend!