Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Part III - The Garden on July 19, 2011 - Plus a Preview of Coming Attractions

These final beds have the remnants of the spring garden and will soon be transitioned to a few more summer vegetables and some fall ones.

In this corner, in a triangular layout rather than my usual rows, is Diamante Celery root. This variety has done extremely well for me over the last two years. This spot was home to the volunteer patch of chamomile over the winter and spring. I let the chamomile bloom and set seed like crazy so I suspect that I will have my work cut out keeping the new batch of volunteers weeded out.

Pea shoots used to be in the foreground and the space will soon be home to some Neckark√∂nigin pole snap beans (I hope). Off to the left are the puny napa cabbages which are now starting to bolt. I figured out why they did so poorly in this spot when I prepared the bed for the summer/fall plantings - the bed was full of invading oak tree roots which were sucking up too much water and nutrients.  The plants look better already now that the surrounding competition is gone but they are using their new food and water to bloom. Out with them, the chickens will love the treat!

This is the rest of the spring garden - on the left are Oregon Giant snow peas and on the right is the Piracicaba broccoli. The broccoli is still producing a respectable amount of shoots so it gets to stay a while longer.

The pea plants look like they are truly on their last legs.

But they are actually managing to produce some good peas, still sweet and tender, and in enough quantity to merit keeping around until the Stregonta borlotti beans that I've started need to take their place.

Down at the end of this bed are the Golden Chard plants - four in this photo but now down to three plants thanks to a gopher (but I got you, you little ...). These plants could stay here through the winter if I let them, but they may have to make way at the end of the year. On the left are the struggling Calabrese broccoli plants - I think that they weren't getting enough water either, they seem to be doing better now that I've increased the water to the garden. I don't think that this planting will recover enough to produce a decent crop but I'll leave it for now since I don't really need the space right away. I've sown seeds to try this variety as a fall crop, I really want to try to get this variety to grow, it looks very interesting, almost like Spigariello broccoli but with a cut leaf.

Sweetie Baby romaine and Garden Babies butterhead lettuces coming along. I've had to swathe these plants in row cover to protect them from the blasted rats. I've redoubled my ratting efforts in the last few days - you can keep track of my efforts on my sidebar under Rat Patrol. I've reduced the local rat population by 15 over the last three nights, plus one confirmed kill by Zeke the Rodenator (good boy!).

One last look at the garden overall. The bed down on the right needs to be cleared out and prepared for the fall vegetables.

The only vegetable remaining in that bed is one last radicchio.

Outside the main garden, here's the potato plants in the old compost bin experiment. The plants seem to be healthy. I've been covering their stems with the chunky stuff that I've sifted out of the finished compost.

I have to keep it all covered up to keep the deer from munching. The plants seem to like a bit of shade which I suppose keeps them from getting too hot inside all that black plastic.

And here's the preview of coming attractions. This is the first round of sowing for the fall garden and I'll be sowing more in the coming weeks.

- Two flats of beans in paper pots - Stregonta borlotti pole beans, Neckark√∂nigin pole snap beans, and Rolande bush filet beans.
- Some 4-inch pots of Genevose basil and Dorato di Asti celery (in desperate need of thinning) that are growing well.
- More 4-inch pots newly sown with Piracicaba broccoli, Purple Sprouting broccoli, Calabrese broccoli, Cavolo Nero kale, Sweetie Baby romaine, Garden Babies butterhead, and Ear of the Devil lettuce.
- A flat of six-packs with Tender Leaf amaranth seedlings and newly sown packs with more amaranth.
- One flat of paper pots sown with Florence fennel, Golden beets, Chioggia beets, Baby Ball beets, Egyptian Flat beets, Charming napa cabbage, Hybrid One Kilo napa cabbage, Tenderheart napa cabbage, and Green Rocket napa cabbage.
- Oh, and I'm giving some Zinger Hibiscus one last desperate late attempt in the last 6-pack. I've tried starting the hibiscus a few times this year and always get great germination but then the plants languish in the cool weather and wither up and die. Our summer weather should be starting in earnest soon and if we get our typical fall weather we should have warm days through October and into November - perhaps I can keep the plants alive long enough to produce a few flowers.


  1. Great update Michelle. Maybe one day you can show us how you arrange your drip irrigation. I'd love to put one in next year but know next to nothing about the working parts!

  2. Thanks for the update, it's so hot here I don't want to think about fall planting, but I should.

    Do you get aphids on your piracicaba broccoli? My PB are always infested with aphids no matter what I spray them with. Late fall planting and overwinter seems to help a bit, but I have to pull them when the weather warms up in March.

  3. Thomas, I'll have to do a post one of these days about my drip system - it's a love/hate thing but I can't possibly manage my garden without it.


    Mac, Hot it is not here, cooler than average again and even now I'm watching the fog race into the valley. My Piracicaba usually gets aphids but not too bad. I toss out the most grossly infested sprouts and deal with the rest of them by always blanching and shocking the sprouts which gets rid of almost all the aphids. My latest sprouts have had nearly no aphids.

  4. Great post and pictures. Can you point me to where you get the seeds (Seed Savers?) for the N beans and those snow peas you just wrote about? Thanks J

  5. Judi, the Neckarkonigin beans were a travel souvenir but I did check the SSE member catalog and there is one member offering the seeds and a google search turned up a few sources in Canada and the UK. The Snow Peas are from Renee's Garden Seeds but are also widely available through a lot of other seed companies.

  6. Oh Michelle, I've been meaning to ask you. Do you have any tips on saving fava bean seeds? Do you let the pods dry up on the vine or are the fresh picked mature beans still viable if dried say indoors?

  7. Thomas, I have always let the beans dry on the vine for seed saving purposes, but I've read that in a pinch if the beans are fully mature you can pull the entire plant and let the beans dry on the plant so that they can pull energy from the plant for a bit longer. Best results will be from keeping the plant in the ground until the beans are fully dry.

  8. It all looks so tidy and well-weeded! And it's good to see the autumn sowings starting. I like the idea that the gardening year never ends because we're always thinking of the next season.

    Sorry to hear your Espelette plant didn't overwinter. It sounds as though you still have seed so that you can start again next year (let me know if you want some more, though). Here the plants wouldn't overwinter as we have some, just a few, very cold days and nights.

  9. Wow very impressing, you do gardening a lot more different than we do it in Europe. Congrats.

  10. I can't believe you are still getting peas. Though it is amazing to me that you get anything with the rats and deer that you have. I think they would drive me crazy.


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