Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Garden on November 4 - Part I

It's time to do another overview of the garden. This time I'm going to break it up into a few posts since it's easier to find the time to put together shorter posts. The winter bed is being featured today. The star of this bed so far is the lovely, but as yet untasted, Opal Creek Golden Snap Pea. Here's the first pod starting to size up.

The Opal Creek peas are on the left, on the right are Kefe Beinwil snow peas. The Kefe Beinwil plants aren't anywhere near as robust as the Opal Creek plants. Both plantings were sown on August 26 in paper pots and then planted out soon after they germinated. I started picking the Kefe Beinwil snow peas about three weeks ago. I got the seeds for both peas through the Seed Savers Exchange.

Here's some Kefe Beinwil pods. According to the SSE description "Kefe" means snowpea and the peas have been grown for generations in Beinwil, canton Aargau, Switzerland.

Kefe Beinwil has beautiful flowers. The plant is a modest producer of small but very tasty pods. The pods stay tender even when the peas start to develop. If I grow these again I will need to grow many more plants.

The Opal Creek plants, on the other hand, are loaded with blossoms. I should be harvesting a nice amount of pods in a couple of weeks.

From this angle, the Opal Creek plants are nearly obscuring the Kefe Beinwils. There's a couple of small Romanesco Broccoli plants in front of the peas. I lost my first 2 sowings of Romanesco to critters and the late start for the plants in the garden now means small heads this coming spring, if any. Some more starts are under the water bottles. The leafy plants to the left and rear are Smooth Leaf kale, Piracicaba broccoli, and Portuguese Dairyman's kale (aka Smooth Leaf Kale from the Azores). I'm planning on saving seed from the Portuguese kale next spring.

Looking from the other end of the bed, much of the garlic that I planted on October 25 is sprouting, some of it 5 days after planting! The brassicas from left to right are Cavolo Laciniato, Portuguese Dairyman's kale, and Piracicaba broccoli. There's young chervil plants growing under the Cavolo Laciniato, I'm not sure how that will fare through the winter, I'll see...

I should be harvesting kale and broccoli through the winter. The peas will shut down at some point but with a bit of luck they won't completely die and may regrow from their crowns in the spring. There's also a pot of lettuce coming along and I should be able to start cutting some in a few weeks. And I recently sowed pots with Vit mache and Tuscan arugula (the pot with the nursery flat on it for critter protection), they should breeze through the winter.


  1. I should have sown peas earlier. . . and your kale makes me smile. I had kale for all three meals today! I don't know about you, but calling what we have "winter" seems like such a reach some days.

  2. Oh you will have to give us a review on the taste of the peas. I keep thinking about growing yellow peas since they are easier to see. I always miss the green ones in the mass of pea plants. I don't because I like the ones that grow in the garden now, but maybe I can be convinced.

    What is the white around the peas? Is it a row cover that you will cover the plant with when it gets really cold? Well cold for someone in zone 9.

  3. Stefani, "winter" in the garden is sometimes a stretch of the imagination here, but I'm a cheapo about keeping the house warm and there are times when I emerge from the warmish bedroom (the only room I keep warm) into a 50-something degree rest of the house and know it's winter!

    Daphne, I am really looking forward to trying those peas and will give a full report. The white around the peas is row cover that I used to protect the young plants from munching critters (it worked!). I probably won't bother to use it to protect the plants from frost - it happens so rarely and nearly always takes me by complete surprise. By the time we get a good frost or freeze the plants will probably be finished producing anyway.

  4. I hadn't thought of having peas at this time of the year - I've just sown them for the spring. It all looks good, but how do you manage to eat it all?!!

  5. Chaiselongue, I imagine a fall crop of peas should do well for you, we seem to have a very similar climate. The problem is finding room in the garden for them in August when the garden is still full of summer plants.

    I confess, we can't always eat everything I grow but we do eat most of it. I'm still trying to figure out how much to grow of different things so that I don't have too much excess, but I'm getting better at that every year. I still end up giving things away, feeding things to the chickens, and am guilty of having things end up in the compost at times. But a lot of the summer/fall vegetables get preserved to eat during the winter when the harvest from the garden gets slim and boring. It's amazing how little produce I buy these days. The checkers at the grocery store must think I hate vegetables!


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