Friday, April 12, 2013

The Garden on April 12, 2013

There is so much potential in the garden now. Promises of goodness to come. Spring is such a hopeful time of year.

The old Gigante runner beans are renewing themselves. Most of the plants survived the winter and are sending up new shoots. Will they be even bigger than last year? Most of the old plants are pushing up multiple runners whereas last year the plants had mostly one runner.

Gigante bean sprouting from the roots.

The plants are in different stages of regrowth. The first plant to resprout is already running 2 feet up the trellis. But at the far end of the trellis the last plant is just pushing the first tips of the new shoots up through the soil. Most of the plants look something like the one above. Two plants at the base of this trellis aren't coming back and one of them died last year. The other trellis of Gigante beans is not shown but all the plants at its base survived and are regrowing.

Potential broccoli - Di Ciccio and Purple Peacock.

The garlic is still growing and not engulfed by a rust infection! I am going to start harvesting some of it green very soon.

Beets, just thinned a bit. Chioggia, Golden, and Baby Ball, with room left for the Red Baron seedlings that are coming along elsewhere in paper pots.

Carrots - Spanish Black, Circus Circus mix (orange, white, and purple), Deep Purple hybrid, and Rouge Sang Violette.

More carrots - the popular Sugarsnax that I keep reading about on other blogs and that I must try for myself.

The Good Bug Magnet aka coriander in full bloom.

The Golden Corn Salad is in full bloom also.

Greensville - spinach, cabbage, and lettuce...

Summer Perfection spinach.

Little Jade napa cabbage and a glimpse of the unhappy runty Early Rapini.

Iceberg Superior lettuce.

Rhapsody butterhead lettuce. I harvested the first whole baby iceberg and butterhead lettuces yesterday.

The slow to start Sweetie Baby romaine lettuce. Oldish seeds were slow to germinate and the seedlings are slow to come along. I don't know if it was the seeds or something about the soil that I used - both this lettuce and the Early Rapini (and a couple of other pots of unhappy seedlings) were started at the same time from the same batch of soil so perhaps it's the soil and not the seeds (they weren't all that old).

Romanesco fennel. Just a few plants because I just like a little of this vegetable and my husband isn't crazy about it.

Woo hoo, the fava beans are setting like crazy! A promise of work to come shucking and peeling...

Half of the bed is planted to favas. My experiment with growing them in the tomato cages is working out so far, no flopping around. We had high winds a few days ago and if these had been growing without the confinement of the cages they would have been laying down all over the place. The netting was placed over the cages back in January when the birds insisted on digging around and plucking at the seedlings and pulling them out of the ground. I've kept the netting in place as insurance against pillaging rats.

I like to let the native Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) volunteer in some parts of the vegetable garden. It sometimes develops this beautiful rosy hue.

Snow peas, the latest sowing in front and the first sowing behind. I decided to do a 2 planting succession this year because last year this variety seemed to produce all the pods in a very short period of time and couldn't possibly eat all of them fresh. I would rather have these come in at a pace that I can eat all of them as they come from the garden and not be forced to try to preserve the excess or give them away. So I'm growing the same amount of plants but I've started the two sowings a month apart.

On the other hand, the snap peas tend to produce their pods over a longer period so I sowed all of them at once.

I gave the snow pea shoot planting a trim yesterday.

These are recently planted out seedlings of French Gold climbing filet and Spanish Musica romano type  beans. They got a bit fried the other day when the weather got unexpectedly warm and I didn't remove the water bottle cloches that were protecting them from birds and chilly nights. The cloches are off for good now.

Yes, these are a different batch of beans - my first try at growing runner beans that are meant to be consumed as green beans. Two varieties thanks to David who traded these for some of my Golden Corn Salad seeds. That's Moonlight on the right and St. George on the left.

Three varieties of cucumbers are getting going - Garden Oasis, a self fertile type, Green Fingers, and Tasty Green. I have one seedling of Tortarello Abruzzese that is ready to plant out at the base of the fourth pole.

Zucchini - two varieties, Romanesco and Ortolano di Faenza.

The problem children. I keep trying to grow Fagiolo del Purgatorio beans which are a small white seeded bean but a lot of them have been rotting (operator error most likely). I've got the third round sown in paper pots even now and I'm really trying to not overwater them. And there's another experiment going under the fabric beyond, but let's not go there now...

The last of the old. Bolting but still edible Golden and Flamingo chards.

Wow, look at these. My potted blueberry plants are full of berries. I have got to get these enclosed in cages - I want to eat these and not feed the local wildlife.

And the capers are coming on early this year. I usually start picking buds in May but there's a bunch ready to pluck now.

The promise of more to come. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant and this is only a fraction of what I've sown. Stay tuned!


  1. Looks sensational! What a great selection you have!

  2. It looks like everything is in full swing. I haven't even planted out my main spring transplants yet. But I'm going to start hardening them off tomorrow. Well the ones that are big enough at least.

  3. Yay garlic! yay rat-thwarting! Everything looks lovely! Do you want some of my Italian pole beans?

    1. oooh, very tempting! I don't have to think this over too much. Yes please! Is there anything I'm growing that you would like?

  4. I like your tomato caged broad beans - every year I decide I should try some form of support but I rarely get round to anything....this year I will though she says confidently.... Those blueberries look fab and your caper bush has reminded me that I must follow up a few emails I sent to growers.

  5. What beautiful progress you have here! Such wonderful plants!

  6. Wow, you sure have a lot going on in the garden! I just planted some Sugarsnax carrots here for the first time, along with my usual favorites like Yaya and Kyoto Red. And I have some Golden Corn Salad coming up too. I am really looking forward to trying it.

  7. WOW! Your veggies look so amazing! :) I feast my eyes on their beauty! Love them!

  8. I too loved the caged broad beans. Mine managed O-K last year as we are a little protected in our back yard, but was planning on moving them to a different spot this summer that isn't as protected. Great idea!

    Your planting is fantastic and so much to harvest ahead.
    Hello from Nova Scotia, Canada

  9. You have blueberries ripening already! Wow! Mine are still a few weeks off. It is strange to see what things in your garden are exactly parellel to mine (chard, beans, favas), which are behind (tomatoes and peppers--mine are in the ground already), and which are ahead (cucurbits--I just direct seeded all mine yesterday).

    Are those Sunshine Blue blueberries? I have two Sunshine Blues and one Jewel. I like the Jewel in that all the fruit ripens at once so it is easy to harvest, but to me, the Sunshine Blues taste better. And, they do really, really well in my garden.

    Everything looks gorgeous, Michelle.

    1. Thanks Christina! The berries in the photo are Misty and I also have a Sunshine Blue which is just a little slower than the Misty. I'm not sure why, but my plants insisted on blooming early last fall and into the winter. I kept trying to strip off the flowers last fall but gave up and now the plants are loaded with fruit. I hope they ripen properly. This is year 2 for them. Last year each plant produced just a few berries and I didn't have a chance to do a comparison tasting - perhaps this year! Misty has a larger and juicier berry than Sunshine, but I don't remember if I thought one was tastier than the other.

      It is interesting how our different microclimates effect our planting schedules. I think our gardens are in similar USDA zones, 9b here, but my proximity to the cold Pacific and the foggy chilly nights really makes a difference.

  10. "Wow, you sure have a lot going on in the garden! "

    Definitely, the garden has a lot to offer.

  11. Thank you so much for the wonderful tour!


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