Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Garden Update - August 24, 2016

I'm not quite ready to call this the regular Wednesday Garden Update, but I am going to try to do my garden updates on Wednesdays and be regular about it. (That leaves me an out if I get lazy!)

So what's new this week?

These are, rather, they were my winter sown broccoli and brokali.

They were actually doing quite well still, they had recovered from the recurring rabbit and rat attacks after I covered them up. But I needed the space for the new Romanesco broccoli and cauliflower seedlings.

Batavia broccoli side shoots.

It would have been much more difficult to remove them from the garden if I didn't have 3 newer Batavia broccoli plants already producing and 3 new Calabrese broccoli plants coming along.

The plant above was one of the winter sown Batavia broccoli plants. It produced a beautiful main head but then none of the leaf axils had any buds. But I left it in place and eventually the plant produced numerous shoots from the beneath the soil line. I thinned those to just a few strong shoots. You can see the ugly ragged remains of the main stem and the shoots that sprouted from the base. Below you can see the shoots before I cut the plants down.

Batavia broccoli

And that's the replacements. Two plants each of Romanesco broccoli and Purple Cape cauliflower. I know that the Romanesco broccoli plants get to be HUGE and I assume that the Purple Cape plants will also so I gave them plenty of room. They are set out 21 inches apart, which is just the right spacing to take up 1/6th of the bed. I've got them protected with water bottle sleeves and some tulle fabric for now. Later on I may have to erect a tunnel over them for a while.

I enlarged the tunnel that is protecting the Brussels sprouts and Calabrese broccoli plants by making it higher which required using 2 lengths of MicroMesh fabric. I left a gap at the top in the hope that the good bugs (but not the bad critters) will find their way in.

The first little head of Calabrese broccoli is forming. The heads on this sprouting broccoli are always small but the plants usually make up for it by producing lots of side shoots. This plant already has a number of big shoots growing from lower on the plant.

The first signs of sprouts on the Brussels sprouts plants! Maybe a harvest by Thanksgiving?

Little Rosebud Romaine Mix

Manoa Crisphead
The lettuces are definitely showing signs of bolting. I hope there's enough room in the fridge for them all. Big salad for dinner tonight!

The carrots have germinated. I hope the sowbugs don't feast.

Green Fingers Persian Cucumbers

The Green Fingers cucumbers have revived a bit and are setting a few cukes.

Tasty Treat Japanese cucumbers

The Tasty Treat cucumbers are growing. I'm pretty confident that they will have time to produce this fall.

Yay, the Tromba d'Albenga squash got their blossoms coordinated and some squash have set. Not the most perfect straight specimens but I don't care.

I finally got fed up enough about the raiding rats that I wrapped each pot of the Mara des Bois strawberries in tulle. It's not perfect, I've found a few spots where they've tried to munch right through the fabric. On the other hand one big fat rat went for the bait (a strawberry of course) on a trap that I had set beneath some low hanging fruit and well, that was the end.

Chianti Rose Tomatoes
The first Chianti Rose tomato is starting to ripen.

And the first Reisetomate From Transylvania tomatoes are ripening as well. And yes, they are supposed to look like that.

Still waiting for the first Florina pepper to fully ripen. They are sweetest and tastiest when harvested fully ripe.

The potted up IPK P 852 (Italy) plants are growing. Keep going babies!

I don't hold out much hope for the Sweet Potato experiment. They are growing soooo slooowly. Perhaps if we get a few heat waves this fall they will do something. But I doubt it. Anyway, they aren't any trouble to just leave them be so I will. At least they have some pretty flowers.

That gap in the Blue Speckled Tepary bean patch shouldn't be there. I thing the rabbit is plowing it's way through, munching as it goes. I'm going to try to erect a barrier around the plants. Damn, this is getting to be ridiculous. The DR won't go for the bait in the Havahart trap (however, a couple of rats have). Anyone around here want to do a little target practice?

I should be harvesting Brinker Carrier snap beans pretty soon.

And the 4 surviving (out of 20) Rosso di Lucca dry bush beans are growing. I really messed up and overwatered them so most of the beans rotted before they had a chance to germinate. These 4 are real survivors and I hope will provide my seed stock for next year.

The Hopi Chinmark corn is in full tassel mode now.

The Puhwem corn isn't showing any signs of tasseling yet but has grown taller than the neighboring 6 foot tall bean trellises.

So that's the latest that's happened in the garden in the last week. 


  1. I learns lot of things about broccoli here. Thanks for sharing me these lessons.

  2. The Reisetomate are really interesting! Looks like you plant your dry corn very close together. Just these varieties, or your Floriani too? I tend to space mine 1 foot apart--maybe I could get more production in smaller space if I used this method.

    1. They are actually planted in a bloc each plant 12 inches apart, which is the spacing I've used for all the corn varieties. More about the Reisetomate later...

  3. Wow to that Reisetomate...I hope you give us an inside view of that one! And it's so interesting that your sweet potatoes are flowering - mine are not growing at breakneck speed either, but I have yet to see any indication of flowering. Our first frost will hit a lot sooner than yours so it won't be long before I have to tip those pots over and hopefully reveal some tubers.

  4. Sweet Potatoes off my grow-list too. When I grew them last year they produced a lot of foliage but very little in the way of useable tubers. I'm also not convinced by Brokali - I think conventional broccoli is better. Like you, I'm hoping for some decent weather in Sept / Oct, so that my chillis will ripen. At present I only have a few turning colour. I know I have said this before, but I reckon that by now your must be a World-leading Authority on methods of protecting vegetables from predators! I always admire your skill with the gardening "hardware".

    1. I do like the brokali, even though it isn't as productive as regular broccoli, but if I only had room for one then broccoli would be it. And I truly wish I was not an authority on critter protection, it feels like a colossal waste of time and resources more often than not.

  5. I see you have alyssum in your cuke bed. Have you been invaded by the bagrada bug yet? Alyssum is a favorite plant of theirs. We had a big invasion two years ago at Taylor Street Farm but haven't seen it this year. Nasty pest.

    1. I used to let alyssum grow all over the garden until 2 years ago when the Bagrada Bug showed up. Last year I let almost none grow. This year I let some grow this spring because it seemed like the bugs didn't emerge in force until late summer last year. This year I've not seen them in the vegetable garden yet and just a minor outbreak in a couple of other spots. I'm still waiting to see what happens though since it has been a cooler than usual summer and the Bagradas seem to be more active when it's warm.

    2. And the heat up is about to start. Hoping for no bugs this year. Just got notice that we'll see you in October! Looking forward to it. Cheers!

  6. Wow, that Reisetomate looks great. Always great to look around other gardens for a bit of inspiration before spring. Thanks.

  7. I can see why you call it the Veiled Garden! That's got to be a lot of work to keep everything covered. I think those sweet potatoes look pretty healthy myself. It looks like they are well protected, which is good because I know the DR would love those vines. My dear departed kitty Scout would have been happy to take care of your rabbit problem for you. She was resident chief of varmint control at my old place, and rabbits were one of her favorite treats.

    1. I'll try to have more patience with those sweet potatoes then. Scout sounds like she was a terrific kitty friend, so sorry she's not on the hunt any more. My kitty Zeke the Rodenator used to keep the rabbits under control but we made him go into retirement a few years ago, now he has to chase dust bunnies indoors, better that than being coyote chow.

  8. You are an artist with the row covers. I didn't do any this year because they are a pain to open up when I have to water (which is always this year). Thank goodness no rats here but we did have a vole/chipmunk invasion. And rabbits. Maybe set a spring rat trap in that middle row. All it has to do is step on it, no need to bait it.

    1. Well, I have about a dozen snap traps set out in the garden tonight, along with a 3 Havaharts, and a bucket trap. There seems to be an endless supply of rats this summer.

  9. Valuable information about the vegetables seed good information.
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  10. I read that puhwem corn isn't good for the three sisters method. Why? Do I need beans that are long enough for the corn? Is it because the corn is too tall to reach anything that might reach that far up?


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