Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Bit of a Garden Update

Let's take a look at the bed that I blogged about on April 12. Things were taking off then and it's interesting to see how very much they've grown in less than a month.

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...


  1. Your chamomile is lovely. I grew it at my last house, but it wasn't in the best of soil. It grew and gave me enough flowers, but they were sparse compared to yours.

  2. Wow! Looks beautiful!

  3. Your plants and garden plots look amazing. The cabbage, peas, and my wifes favorite herb, chamomile, all look so good to us right now.:) I'm going to be planting out our Piracicaba broccoli in the next few days, hopefully it will look as good as yours does in the not too distant future.

  4. No kidding about how little time it takes these spring plants to take off! Love that you have pea greens, they're delightful. I think our fennel is at the same stage as yours -- gorgeous garden!

  5. Your garden looks beautiful! For your powder mold problem you might try baking soda,Jerry Bakers books have a recipe for a baking soda spray that uses a 1/2 cup of soda,2 drops of dish soap(like dawn or joy)and 1 quart of water mix well and put it in a hand held sprayer, spray plants lightly once a week. I have not tried this because I live in Colorado and have never had a mold problem in the garden.But I did have have some seedlings that got some mold on them and I sprinkled some baking soda on them and it killed the mold. The seedlings are doing great! You can find most of the Jerry Baker books at the library.Good luck and happy gardening:)

  6. Your garden always looks beautiful, but the peas, pixie cabbages, and the lovely bed of chamomile are particularly nice looking right now. The chamomile flowers are just gorgeous.

  7. I was walking around my tiny garden yesterday thinking how I would love to see yours soon! Thank you for the post, as always it is a beautiful garden. The family and I were just in your neck of the woods last weekend, fun road trip from San Diego to San Francisco with stop overs in Santa Barbara, Pismo, Paso Robles, and Monterey. And a fun drive on the 17 mile Drive gawking at all the lovely homes and ocean views. Can you post a picture soon of your favas? Are the seed from Renee's Garden as well or Botanical Interests?

    Thank you again for the tour!

  8. I just read that diatomaeous earth (DE) helps repel/kill sow bugs. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm planning to. Have you tried this before?


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