Much to my relief, the worst of my fears didn't materialize.
The cover crop in Bed #1 was just getting going at the end of February. I removed the protective Agribon cover the afternoon that we left which left a lot of small tasty seedlings at the mercy of the birds. I guess the abundant rain this winter has provided the birds with enough natural greens that they don't have to come to the all-you-can-eat buffet that my garden provided during the past few dry winters.
Even the tender new pea shoots that are usually a favorite bird snack have been spared. I'll be plucking these tender greens for myself.
Some of the early planted Robin Hood Fava plants even have beans that are mature enough to harvest! I usually have to wait until the end of April or early May for the first favas. Not sure what is going on with that foliage, but it isn't affecting all the plants so I'm not concerned.
|Robin Hood Fava Beans|
The overwintered Aji Amarillo plants are looking quite shabby but still have a lot of life left. I removed the top cover before I left because the chance of frost was nearly zero and I wanted them to get more light and rain but didn't have time to dismantle the entire protective cover. I'll wait another few weeks before I trim them back and move them.
Over in Bed #3 things are coming along better than expected.
The broccoli plants are protected by hardware cloth and fabric. The plants produced their main heads just before I left, I had to harvest them on the small side and give them away because I didn't have time to either eat or preserve them.
Hidden away in all that foliage I found three really nice side shoots and there should be more to come.
|Merlo Nero and Gangbusters Spinach|
There were just a few weeds growing amongst the onion seedlings. Most of what is growing with the onions is baby Cilician parsley plants that I plan on harvesting as babies. The onions don't seem to mind the competition so far but I've already started to cut the parsley plants that are closest to the onions.
Shallots in the foreground are doing ok. They are still small because I planted them rather late.
There were some casualties in the I'itoi onion patch. I planted them too close together and all the rain knocked them over and the plants that were most crowded in the center started to rot. I cut all the plants down to a couple of inches the week or two before I left, but it wasn't enough to save some of them. I hope I'll get enough good bulbs to make a better effort at growing them again next season.
Bed #4 is where most of the messes are.
There's good and bad in the Brussels Sprouts. The Gustus variety held up the best with a number of decent sprouts ready to harvest. There were lots of aphids in the plants, especially in the leafy tops, but there are also quite a few hoverfly larvae chowing down and helping to clean up the mess.
The Hestia variety didn't fare quite as well, the remaining sprouts aren't quite as nice and this one plant is definitely bolting and suffering from some rotted greenery, but I think there's still sprouts to salvage.
The chard looks good but I noticed that the Syrian Medieval chard is starting to bolt. That's ok, I'll use it first and then move on to the Golden and Peppermint Stick chards which usually bolt later in the spring. The shoots of the Syrian chard are supposed to be good eating also.
There is some bolting happening in the celery patch, one of the plants is starting to go, but the other plant still has some excellent stalks. It's time to sow the new round of seeds, the celery that I'm harvesting now was sown on March 2 last year.
Another holdover from last year is the Dazzling Blue kale. There's 2 plants there, only one of which is bolting.
Another bolter is the Tronchuda Beira cabbage/kale. It started to bolt back in February at which time I cut out the main stem and all the large leaves and left some side shoots that I would have harvested if I had been around to do so.
The good new is that the parsnips haven't bolted.
And neither have the remaining carrots.
The carrots that I sowed just before I left are pushing at the Agribon covering.
Radishes that I sowed are also looking pretty good.
Late started radicchio is looking better than expected.
So that's the state of the garden after more than 3 weeks of complete and total neglect. Not as bad as expected. Now I have to get cracking on sowing spring vegetables, tomatoes, and peppers. Oh and there's a boat load of weeds that need to be dealt with too.