Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Third - What Was and What Might Be

Bed #3 is up next in my series looking back at 2013 and planning for 2014.

Last year this bed was home to my garlic crop for the first six months of the year. I also got a bumper crop of Golden Corn Salad going between the rows of garlic. The birds are a lot hungrier this year, they've eaten every corn salad seedling they can get their beaks on.

March 14, 2013
Oh I enjoyed many a fresh salad featuring corn salad last spring. This year I'm purchasing mache from the store.

The Greek Gigante bean vines looked ugly through the winter. I left the dead tops in place to help protect the fleshy roots.

February 16, 2013

By mid-April the Gigante beans were starting to climb their trellises for a second year. I had set out some Di Ciccio and Purple Peacock broccoli seedlings, and cleared out the corn salad from the garlic.  There's a wall of cilantro that shot up and I allowed it bloom to provide food for beneficial insects and then mature to produce coriander seeds.

April 25, 2013

Beyond the wall of cilantro was a patch of carrots.

By the end of May I had harvested half the garlic, the Gigante beans were starting to cover the trellises, the broccoli was starting to form their main heads

May 22, 2013

The rest of the garlic was harvested and that entire side of the bed was turned over to various peppers by early June.

June 9, 2013
By mid-July the peppers were well on their way. I was experimenting with growing the peppers under greenhouse plastic, which turned out not to be a big advantage. The pepper planting in Bed #2 did just as well, if not better planted out in the open with no protection at all.

July 18, 2013
The carrots at the far end of the bed were all pulled by that time (other than the Spanish Black blooming under cover) and I had planted out some green beans.

Big surprise, the first of the Gigante beans were starting to dry on the vines.

July 17, 2013
Mid-August and the Gigante bean vines had climbed the trellises and were cascading down.

August 9, 2013
The vines were covered with blossoms even as more mature pods were drying.

The Pimento de Padrons hit their peak in late August and early September.

August 29, 2013

Sugar Snap peas were planted out in early September after I finished pulling out the rest of the carrots.

September 5, 2013
By October I had replaced the greenhouse plastic covering the peppers with lightweight Agribon and I also opened up one side to allow better air circulation and make it easier to harvest.

October 24, 2013
In 2012 I found that I had to cover the large fruited peppers with Agribon to provide just enough shade to prevent the exposed peppers from getting sunburned so I did the same last year. 

October 24 2013

The Gigante beans were almost done by the end of October and the Green beans at the end of the row were finished also. The snap peas were growing under cover - bird attacks already!

October 24, 2013
I didn't document the garden with photographs in November, I guess I just didn't get around to it and it was looking pretty shabby and non-photogenic by then. In early December a few freezing nights finished things off and it was just too sad to document.

By the end of the year the only thing left in this bed was some chard that never grew because of birds, aphids, and general neglect. A couple of broccoli plants were struggling to grow. The snap peas made it through the freeze but weren't really happy. There were some snow peas that I had planted out shortly before the big freeze but made it through under the protection of frost cloth. And all the brown rattling peppers plants remained on one side of the bed.

On to 2014.

I want this bed to be primarily for growing saladings and other leafy greens.  At the moment there is one trellis of snow peas that I started last November. They survived the early December freezes and the pecking of birds thanks to the protection of layers of Agribon. You can see the shrouded trellis off in the far left corner of the bed.

February 5, 2014

The plants are growing surprisingly well.

They are just now starting to produce some pods, I photographed these this morning and I'll harvest them in a bit to use in my lunch salad today.

Wedged between the peas and the row cover that is protecting newly planted saladings is the now nearly year old Spanish Black carrots that have resprouted and are blooming once again.

I'm trying a different row cover fabric called Micromesh to protect my spring greens. The one thing I don't like about Agribon is that I can't see through it. This new fabric is finely woven to keep out insects but you can see through it and it allows water through. It's just wide enough that I can create a tunnel to cover one side a bed, but I wish it came in longer lengths so that I could create a seamless tunnel along the length of the bed. It is UV stabilized so I hope that it will last a number of seasons.

I've direct seeded some Tuscan arugula (in the foreground), some Golden Corn Salad just beyond the arugula (just starting to emerge), and some Speedy arugula just beyond the corn salad. Beyond that I've left some space to plant out some seedlings that I've started in pots.

At the far end of the tunnel are three varieties of spinach that I started in paper pots and set out last week. The water bottle cloches are providing a bit more protection for some chard seedlings. Beyond the chard I sowed some fennel seeds that are just starting to emerge.

One end of the bed is devoted to a trial planting of Red Fife wheat which seems to be doing well. I planted the wheat in a block at this end of the bed, which is the north end, because the wheat is supposed to grow to about 5 feet or more (about 1.5 meters) and I didn't want it to shade the lower growing vegetables in the rest of the bed. The wheat should be done by mid to late summer at which time I can transition that area to more salad goodies.

Here's some seedlings that are destined for this bed, three varieties of heading lettuce, more corn salad, pak choi, rapini, yu choy, pea shoots, and three varieties of beets. There's also a few back-up pots of chard seedlings.

A lot of these are quick maturing greens that I can harvest and then use the space for another quick maturing salading or leafy green vegetable. I hope to be able to keep a succession of vegetables going through the year.

Here's the varieties that I have earmarked for this bed (new varieties in italics):

Tender Leaf amaranth
Thai Tender amaranth
Speedy arugula
Tuscan arugula
Baby Ball beets
Chioggia beets
Golden beets
Red Baron beets
Green Lance gai lan
Tokyo bekana napa cabbage
Yu Choy Sin edible rape
Di Firenza fennel
Romanesco fennel
Kraganer Sommer butter lettuce
Rhapsody butterhead lettuce
Sweetie Baby romaine lettuce
Golden Corn Salad (Mache)
Ruby Streaks mizuna
Green Fortune pak choi
Purple pak choi
Usui snow pea shoots
Early rapini
Monstreux D'Viroflay spinach
Summer Perfection spinach
Verdil spinach
Flamingo chard
Golden chard
Italian Silver Rib chard
Peppermint Stick chard

And if I can find the space to squeeze them in:

Carrots - Circus Circus mix, Deep Purple hybrid, Sugarsnax, something new to be determined.

If you would like to know where I got my seeds from you can find all the varieties that I'm planning on growing in 2014 on my 2014 Planned Veggies page. They are all listed there along with links to the seed purveyors.


  1. Thanks! What a comprehensive round up of 2013. My mind is finally returning to vegetable gardening now that I've addressed other more urgent matters and you've been inspirational.

  2. I'm picking up a lot of good ideas about crop-protection here! A great and really comprehensive review of your garden's progress.
    That Micromesh looks like just what I need. I must see if it is available here in UK.

  3. I can't wait to see how your wheat does. And I'm growing fennel for the first time. You have probably always grown it. But I never liked fennel all that much as I find it a bit overpowering, but I do like the flavor of the seeds. And maybe I can use the bulbs in very small quantities.


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