Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 2011 Garden Update - Part II

This mess is the garlic bed just before the "harvest". Bleah, yuck, supreme mess...

Beyond the volunteer California Poppies are the Monticello Poppies which I never got around to corralling so they are leaning willy-nilly all over the place. I've found that my wood rat buddies ~snicker~ have developed a fondness for poppy seeds, they just lop off an entire seed pod and carry it away, what don't they eat?! Do you suppose that they get high on them? On the left are a few Super Sugar Snap Pea plants that were an experimental extra early sowing in January. They produced a respectable harvest but didn't really merit the extra early start since they didn't start producing significantly earlier than the spring sown planting. I haven't ripped them out yet since they are producing a modest second crop and I don't need the space quite yet.

A couple more radicchio plants that I tucked into the end of the bed are doing ok, well, they were doing ok until some tunneling rodent severed many of the roots a couple of days ago...

This is a bit better, the post-garlic-harvest shot. I let most of the rust stunted garlic produce maximum sized heads (relatively speaking) which left little to no protective outer skins. So I peeled all the bulbs, chopped them in bulk in the Cuisinart, and packed the chopped garlic into 1/2 cup containers mixed with copious amounts of olive oil and froze it. When I want to use it I just run the container under a little hot water and slide the mass of garlic/olive oil out of the container, whack off a chunk and throw it straight into whatever I'm cooking, put the rest of it back into the container and put it back in the freezer.

Parsley flowers. I let my Turkish parsley bloom and I'm going to collect the seeds. I usually let my Italian parsley bloom for the beneficial insects but this year I've pulled out every bolting plant I see so that the Turkish parsley doesn't cross with it.

The next bed is where I grew the bulk of my spring crops. Here's a new planting of Garden Babies butterhead and Sweetie Baby romaine lettuces. I've just started to remove the rat protection from a few plants at a time and then the rest of them if the first plants aren't massacred. (So far, so good...)

Next to the lettuce are the new Golden Chard plants, these should produce until spring of 2012 (barring detrimental rodent activity).

And next are the very disappointing Calabrese broccoli plants. These are so dang spindly, they just refuse to grow and I don't know what they want. The rats have started to chew on them and I just don't give a damn...

Here's the Piracicaba broccoli doing just fine thank you.

The Oregon Giant snow peas are done producing. I harvested almost 8.5 pounds of peas from May 20 through June 22. I found that these pea pods were sweet and not at all fibrous even when they got large and started to get rather bumpy with developing peas. And not a sign of powdery mildew on the plants, a huge bonus since that disease is always a big problem in my spring garden. I also liked their shorter stature, they never made it anywhere near the top of the 5 foot trellis that I gave them, I guess the Giant in their name refers to the large pod size not the plants.

The Super Sugar Snap Peas raced to the top of their 5 foot trellis but not much beyond. That extra height did make for a more tentative grasp at the top of the trellis so they flopped over when we had a late storm come through a few weeks ago and they had to be tied back into place. These plants are pretty much done, a few sprouts are growing back with a few extra pods but that won't last much longer since the spider mites seem to be moving in. At least the spider mites waited until most of the peas were ready to harvest and didn't seem to affect the quality of the pods at all. This variety of snap pea also fended off the annual spring attack of powdery mildew. The combination of PM resistance, good production, and very sweet high quality peas makes this variety a keeper in my garden. I harvest almost 21 pounds of snap peas from  May 6 through June 25.

This is my main planting of napa cabbages and they are not doing at all as well as the one plant that I showed in my previous post. The funny thing is that that other huge happy plant was a runt of a seedling that I shoehorned into a spare space in that other bed - go figure.

My volunteer patch of chamomile doing a pretty good imitation of Cousin It. I don't think that there will be any shortage of volunteer chamomile plants from now on...

My husband and I can never get enough of the Pimento de Padrons so I have extra plants growing in 10 gallon containers in a corner of the garden.

The row cover is for, you guessed it, rat protection. The short plant second from the left was truncated in an early attack but it's growing back.

But wait, there's more! Two more Pimento de Padron plants, two Shishito (similar to Padrons), and two Fushimi plants are growing in large terra cotta pots. Since this photo was taken the rats have started to attack and these plants have gone under cover. Damn and blast those frigging rodents! It's a good thing that I bought a huge roll of row cover a couple of years ago.

This plant was looking good for the photo, back then.

The amazing Aji de la Tierra, going on year three.

The potato planting in the old compost bin experiment. Covered up to protect it from, no, not rats, deer!

That's it for the June vegetable garden, stay tuned for an eventual Caper update, but don't hold your breath.


  1. Those peppers in the terracotta pots look so pretty like that. It is a shame the rats came in and you had to cover them up. If I had your issue I'd probably just keep everything under hardware cloth permanently.

  2. Actually... I sometimes think that deer are just giant rats with cloven hooves! ;D They are prettier to look at though.

    Most of your garden energy seems to be spent addressing rat barriers - must be frustrating to deal with but you have some excellent and creative solutions.

    Your peppers look good - despite the rat nibbling adventures.

  3. Those rats sound a real nuisance. I'd have thought if they were eating your poppy heads it should be making them too dopey to eat anything else, but it seems not! I'm envious of your snap peas. Ours didn't do very well this year.

  4. Does a terrier seem like a good idea?

    Darn rats.

  5. Stefaneener, how about half a dozen terriers - I need a few rent-a-ratters...

  6. I've let some parsley go to flower this year, it is not quite spectacular, but the bees adore it.


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