Friday, February 26, 2010

Garden Tour on February 25, 2010

The weather was quite mild yesterday and I was able to take the camera out to the garden and take a bunch of photos. (This is a long post). So, let's take a tour of the garden to see how things have been growing.

The Portuguese Dairyman's kale is reaching toward the sky and starting to bloom. I'm trying to save seeds from this variety and I'm hoping that my 8 plants will be enough to produce some health stock. More plants would have been better, but there just isn't enough room. I've been diligently snipping off blooms of any other brassicas in the garden to prevent easy cross pollination.

The garlic is growing by leaps and bounds now. Just this week I started pulling some of the green garlic stalks to cook with. Garlic is so tender and mild at this stage that it's difficult to keep from harvesting loads of it.

Elsewhere in this bed I recently planted out some Sugar Magnolia Purple Snap Peas. They're doing well, except something got past my defenses and took one of the plants. At first I thought it was a gopher, but it seems that something just pulled out the entire plant and left a hole that neatly matched the size of the paper pot that the seeds were started in. I suspect a rat. Today I had to pull down the remay that I had draped around the trellis and staked into the soil because it was being blown around by strong wind gusts that heralded the storm that is drenching us at the moment. I hope I don't find more holes tomorrow.

A headless Romanesco Broccoli Plant. I've been cutting off the leaves to give to the chickens, they love them!

The last little head of Romanesco waiting to be harvested.

You can barely see that little thing buried in the middle of the leaves.

Purple Flowering Choy Sum under the water bottle cloches. The black nursery flats that you can see in the photo are supposed to be protecting some Bok Choy. The didn't work well, there's only 2 tiny plants left. Oh well, try again...

Across the path in a different bed you see a patch of Dolvi Celery Root.

And minutes later you see a patch of soil, no more celery "root".

Those big plants were starting to bolt. So I yanked them all out.

With nary a big fat root to be seen. So, they are all now on the compost heap. Too bad the chickens don't like this vegetable, there was a lot of it.

Let's hope the potatoes are better behaved. They look good in the photo, but after the gusty winds this afternoon they are all leaning towards the path. They look ok though.

And at the other end of this bed the Red Florence Fennel is starting to look a little more like Florence Fennel. I braised some it last night and found it to be tender and delicious, if a bit small still.

The Golden Chard had a huge growth spurt in the last week or so, I picked a bunch of that today. Behind the chard are small kohlrabi plants, not yet living up to their "Gigante" name. And behind the kohlrabi is the Red Fennel and the Hollow Pipe of Malines Cutting Celery. And there's a few small scallions on the right that are finally staring to grow.

The next bed is newly planted out with some Piracicaba Broccoli, Romanesco Natalino (a mini version), and a couple of Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage, all under critter proof (hopefully) water bottle cloches.

Inside the remay covered tunnel are Even' Star American Rapa (in the back), frisee, mizuna, and an Asian green that I can't remember the name of now and I'm not going out in the rain to check the label.

The only pepper plants that I haven't pulled out of that bed are the Pimento de Padrons. They still have quite a bit of life left in them.

This Pimento de Padron plant is doing particularly well.

Next to the Padrons  is a patch of Golden Corn Salad that was planted from various volunteers that sprang up in other areas of this bed. They didn't seem to mind being transplanted at all.

A well picked Olive Leaf Rapini Plant. There are still plenty of sprouts forming, although they are getting smaller.

There's all the Olive Leaf Rapini plants in the foreground and Monticello Poppies behind.

I finally got some Burpee's Golden Beets to germinate under lights with no heat indoors. They are starting to grow!

Here's the Golden Beets from Renee's Seeds that were started later and I think will fast overtake the Burpee's. I'll have to do a taste comparison, if the gophers don't beat me to it.

This is a seedling of a Devoy Beet, an English heirloom beet that is supposed to be dark pink.

The Chioggia beet seedlings look a lot like the Devoys.

Across the way are some lettuce seedlings growing under another remay covered tunnel. These are Butterhead and below are Noga and Cimarron romaine seedlings.

The rest of this bed is devoted to Fava beams. On the left are Early Purple and on the right are Early White. The smaller fava plants in the forground were a second planting of the same varieties sown a couple of months later. After the wind today they all are leaning well to the left, I hope they didn't get too pushed out of shape.

The first planting is in full bloom and was abuzz with beneficial insects yesterday. So far I haven't seen any of those nasty little black aphids that love fava plants.

The first little beans are showing.

I've let Sweet Alyssum run rampant along the fence inside the garden. The flowers are magnets for beneficial insects. This year I've seen the lowest populations of aphids in the vegetable garden and I attribute that to the Sweet Alyssum and other flowers that are attractive to beneficial that are blooming in the garden.

It's a little difficult to see in the small photo, but if you click on the photo you can see a nice patch of Shooting Stars blooming on the slope above the vegetable garden.

On the hillside above the house is an even nicer patch of Shooting Stars, with a few native Johnny-Jump-Up's in the mix as well.

And a few other natives. A few of the "Munch Bunch" sauntering by as I'm busy photographing the flowers.

That's half of the Bunch, there's a couple more does that hang out regularly and a couple of young bucks that visit as well.


  1. Your garden is amazing Michelle. Thanks for the tour. I am in awww. I hope my garden looks half as good a few months from now.

    Question- do snap off the tops of the fava bean plants at a certain point to encourage side shoots and bushier growth? Or do you just let it grow one main stalk?

  2. Oh, thanks. That's a really nice overview. You do such a good job protecting your babies; sorry about the rat or whatever got the little one!

    If you get kale seeds, put me on the list.

  3. Michelle, you have so many vegetables in your garden! Looking at all these photos, this time of year is pure joy!
    I love your little Romanesco, it’s so pretty, but so much room it actually takes in the garden...
    Chard looks perfect, it grows some big leaves!

  4. It looks like you have quite a bit growing right now. I'm amazed that the peppers have overwintered so well.

  5. Michelle,
    Great tour! I always enjoy seeing what you have going on there! Those deer look like they could be serious trouble.

    The comment box did not appear finally I figured out where to click to comment.

  6. Your garden is very impressive and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour this morning. I can't believe how big your favas are getting.

    After seeing the alyssum in a previous post of yours we picked some seeds up to try in our own garden this year. I hope you don't have voles, they always steal our peas from underground.

  7. Great tour, Michelle ! Enjoyed every bit of it. From the crops to the flora and fauna !

    Your Dolvi came short at the root but made lovely stalks. Were they too bitter to keep ?

  8. Your veggies are doing so well! The celeryn looked too good to go on the compost heap, or is that just down to the great photographs!

  9. My Gosh! The views from your yard are spectacular!! I don't know that I'd ever want to be indoors.

    Nice garden. You grow quite a variety of veggies! A lot that I've never even heard of let alone grown.

  10. The munch bunch look well fed and healthy - must be all the good vegetables they enjoy from gardens in the area! :D

    Everything looks really wonderful. I envy your growing climate.

  11. Wow! What a variety. I can't wait until I can see that much green again!

  12. Thomas, thanks! And you're welcome. I'm not really sure if snipping the tops of favas helps them to produce multiple shoots, I've not tried that myself. The favas that I'm growing now are putting out multiple stalks anyway, there seems to be anywhere from 6 to 10 stalks per plant.


    Stefaneener, I'll keep you in mind for the kale seeds. If I didn't protect those poor babies there wouldn't be anything in the garden, the critters are voracious around here.

  13. vrtlarica, This is a wonderful time of year in the garden! The romanesco does take up a lot of room, but if I get it going on time the plants produce much bigger heads from plants that take up maybe twice that amount of space. I love it so it's worth devoting the space to.


    Daphne, I'm trying to get a lot of variety this year, a little bit of a bunch of different veggies. The Padrons have always been pretty hardy, that's another thing that I like about them, other than being prolific and delicious.


    Randy, those deer...

    The comment box should be popping up in a separate small window.

  14. Mr. H., The whole garden seems to have had a big growth spurt in the last couple of weeks, it must be spring. I hope you like the alyssum, it really seems to help draw in the beneficials and once it's established it volunteers all over, almost weed-like...

    Hmm, I think voles are a possibility, there was some nibbling on the peas last night. I wonder if a lot of the damage that I attribute to rats and birds might be voles. More traps...


    miss m, the celery root stalks were actually pretty good but I don't need it, I get enough from the cutting celery. I wanted *roots* :< It really ticked me off that I watched those things grow for 6 months and they didn't produce. Off with their heads!


    Jan, Yes, I admit, they could have been consumed, but I do get a bit spiteful at times.


    Hannah, All the wrinkles that I'm getting from spending too much time in the garden attest to how much I like to be out there! I do enjoy seeking out and trying unusual veggies.


    kitsapFG, The Munch Bunch are very well fed at this time of the year. Pickings get pretty slim for them in them summer when the natural landscape goes brown. Most people around here don't have much of a garden because of water issues, it's too expensive to water a garden unless you have your own well, which I fortunately do.


    Ribbit, I'm having fun trying lots of things this year. It won't be long before you see green. I love this time of year because it's green everywhere, by June my veggie garden will be a green oasis in a brown landscape.

  15. Drooling over all those veggies. Nice to see the deer too.. as long as they don't come for breakfast! The Kale going to seed is pretty cool. I have no space to collect seed like that. Always amazed at how big brassica's get though. The corn salad looks spectacular by the way. I have a few growing around but they are not nearly as thick yet.

  16. Thanks for the tour, you have a big beautiful garden, and lots of different varieties of veggies. I didn't know kale could grow that tall and big.

  17. Everything is looking amazing! I am always in awe of your garden Michelle. Your pictures are just inspiring =)

  18. I'm just now getting caught up on my favorite blogs, so here I am, seeing this tour for the first time. I am so inspired! I want to get out in the garden right this very minute and start the spring clean-up. Honestly, if I weren't already interested in veggie gardening, your posts would make me so. As it is, they send my enthusiasm over the top.

    My new favorite thing in your garden are the water bottle cloches.

    I'll probably be planting the arugula and snow peas you sent me sometime today. I'm going to start them in a cold frame, though, just in case we have a late hard freeze. It will be easy to lift off when that danger has past. I'll let you know how the seedlings fare.

  19. Your garden is growing so nicely. I have to try really hard not to be jealous of all the space you have :) Can't wait to hear how the Sugar Magnolia Purple Snap Peas taste. I have a hard time finding all of the peas on my plants when harvesting...but if they were purple, it would be a breeze! Here's hoping the pests leave them alone.

  20. Dan, I mind the deer less than I mind the rats, gophers, moles, and rabbits, the deer haven't breached my defenses yet... And they are pretty. One of those does looks quite pregnant though. The brassicas get huge but fortunately they bolt early enough here that I can clear them out in time to plant summer veggies. The mache seems to grow on its own schedule, it takes it's good sweet time germinating, the grows slow slow slow and then suddenly it's on the verge of being overgrown.


    mac, thank you. Actually, the garden is just big enough, it takes more space to garden year round. Sometimes I wish I had more space in the summer but then I probably wouldn't have the time and energy to tend to it all. Funny, I thought everybody's kale got that big, but there have been a number of comments about its size, it must be because of the mild winters here.


    Dot, Thank you!


    Susan, And I'm getting caught up on responding to all the lovely comments. It's such a nice feeling to be such an inspiration!

    Those water bottle cloches are amazingly effective. Not only do they keep the critters from munching, but they also work as little greenhouses to give the seedlings a bit of a boost. I'm almost lamenting the fact that I've really been cutting back on my bottled water consumption.

    Good luck with your spring garden, I know you've had some crazy cold weather, let's hope for a beautiful spring.


    Jackie, Oh, I know that feeling, it seems like no matter how big my garden is I always want a little more space. It sure would be nice to have a community garden around here but I've not found one.

    I hope the purple snap peas are tasty, that's what it really comes down to, flavor. But I'm also looking forward to seeing the pretty purple pods hanging on the plants - like those beautiful purple beans that you grew (and which I was a complete failure at getting to grow).


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I value your insights and feedback.