Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of Year Garden Update - December 31, 2016

I've been getting through a bunch of clean-up tasks in the garden in the last few days. Out with the old to make way for the new!

Bed #1
Bed #1, which was where I grew mostly curcurbits through the summer and into the fall, is now pretty much cleared out. I'll be sowing a mustard based cover crop there in the next few days, weather allowing. That will grow through the end of March when I'll cut it down, dig it in, and let it rot for a few weeks before prepping the bed for tomatoes and peppers.

Bed #2
I cut down all the frost bitten tomato vines from the trellis in Bed #2 and I've sown three varieties of fava beans along the trellis. My long time favorite Extra Precoce Violetto is back, along with Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto which is probably the same variety but it's from a different source. The third variety is Aguadulce. I sowed those in a single row along the trellis. Last year I sowed a row of beans along either side of the trellis, but I think it will be easier to keep them under control by tying them to the trellis from just the one side. I did sow them closer together than last year since they won't have any competition from the other side of the trellis. The mustard that is growing along either side of the single row of the lower growing Robin Hood Fava beans was starting to compete with the favas so I cut down one row of it, cut it up, and dug it into the part of bed #3 where the onions will be growing.

Aji Amarillo Grande
The only thing left in Bed #2 from the summer are the amazing Aji Amarillo plants. The Aji Amarillo Grande plant finally produced the bulk of the ripe peppers today, I harvested them this afternoon.

Bed #3
Bed #3 has been cleared of all the summer and fall vegetables other than the I'itoi onions. The right side of this bed will be home to mostly onions and shallots well into summer. I've got tiny little seedlings already growing for a number of varieties of onions that I'm trying this year plus more of the Zebrune shallots that have done so well for me. I plan to get those into the garden in the next couple of weeks.

Batavia Broccoli
Bed #3 will be where I grow greens, salad greens, brassicas, roots, and other miscellaneous veggies in 2017. I've already started the transition with an early planting of broccoli set out under the protection of water bottle cloches.

Spinach In A Cage
And spinach is getting a head start (late start?) also. They were starting to outgrow their cloches and I needed the cloches for the definitely late sown favas so I set up a cage to protect the young plants from critters. The last two cloches are providing added protection for directly sown seedlings that replaced a couple of plants that didn't survive being planted out in paper pots.

Baby Spinach plants
It looks like I'll be harvesting spinach quite soon!

Bed #4
Bed #4 is where almost all the current harvests are coming from. I don't have as many overwintering fall sown vegetables this year but I'm not lacking for fresh veggies from the garden. The broccoli is still putting out a few shoots, there's all the kale that I need from the two plants that look like palm trees, there's plenty of chard, celery, Tronchuda Beira cabbage, carrots, and now parsnips. The Brussels sprouts have exceeded my expectations and I'm actually faced with a glut! (Hmm, I guess the Brussels sprouts look a bit like palm trees these days too...)

I had to cut the Peppermint Stick chard back extremely hard because of aphids and it's slow to make a comeback, it's hiding in the back corner. The Golden chard is slow to grow also but looking better because it didn't get such a severe trim the last time I harvested from it. Both of these varieties of chard usually go into hyper growth when the days get longer and warmer but they don't bolt right away. They should produce all the chard I want through the spring. The Syrian Medieval chard on the left is a more modest grower but seems to be really enjoying the cooler weather. This variety is more prone to bolting than the other two so I expect it to be the first to go when the weather warms up. I took this photo just before I harvested about a dozen good sized leaves from the plants.

Pink Plume Celery
I'm still getting really good stalks of Pink Plume celery. These are the last 3 plants of an original patch of 8 plants. They've been producing on a cut-and-come-again basis since June. Most of the plants bolted at some time during the season but fortunately 2 of the last 3 plants that I left at the end of the bed have not tried to bloom yet. I cut one of the three remaining plants down to a nub because it was bolting but it's putting out a lot of new side shoots now.

Brussels Sprouts
Look closely at the top of the Brussels sprouts leaves and you'll see that the birds have developed a taste for them. After the photo shoot I covered the tops of all the plants with a length of tulle fabric to try to deter the munchers.

Up and comers in this bed include the Kolibri/Kongo kohlrabi mix that did so well for me this fall. I need to cut back the cilantro that is encroaching on their space.

Kohlrabi and Radicchio
And I'm experimenting with very late sown radicchio under the cloches. They are growing relatively quickly so perhaps I'll get at least some leafy greens from the plants.

And finally there's some Mizunarubasoi getting started under cloches. I grew it this spring, direct seeded in a couple of rows thinking that I could harvest it by trimming it as it grew, but it grow so fast and so large that I had to give up on that and harvest entire plants. So this time I started them in a pot and then chose the biggest seedlings to set out individually. They are coming along quickly and I should be able to do a bit of trimming soon. The clumps between the bottles are the extra seedlings that I just plopped in in a couple of bunches with the plan of cutting them early. Well, the birds decided to do some trimming for me so they are a bit runty. I've got this section of the enclosure adequately covered now so they should have a chance to size up a bit before I have to harvest them when I free their mates from the cloches.

That's the latest in my garden. Happy New Year!


  1. What a happy looking garden. Oh, that's you I'm supposed to be wishing a happy new year to. I was worrying about you. I guess you didn't get Dave's cold? I'm in heaven it's been raining.

    1. Thank goodness, so far I've escaped whatever it is that has dragged Dave down. You got rain! Yay! So far the rain totals here have been rather scanty - so disappointing. But there's another chance later this week.

  2. Well, I didn't think it was possible, but I have a crush on your veggie patch! It looks awesome!

  3. Your all year round gardening is something we can only dream of. At the moment we have been forced into semi hibernation. Happy new year.

  4. I love the 'trees' in bed #4! My Dazzling Blue kale is still going but it's a lot shorter than yours. And your spinach is ahead of mine too, I'm still babying my little plants in the greenhouse. It looks like your enclosures are doing the trick to keep the critters out - a good thing too with all that leafy goodness you have growing!

  5. I hope that you are winning in the battle against marauding birds and rats. It looks like your 2017 garden is off to a good start. Mine is languishing from lack of sun. Tall houses put too close together shade out my winter garden.


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