Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Garden on May 24, 2017

It's a bit frustrating that I'm sitting here writing about the garden rather than working in it. I've had a nasty cold all week and have not had the energy to do anything more than some harvesting and picture taking. I'm even slow about writing up a post as you can tell from the lag time in getting this post written.

As usual, things grow so quickly at this time of year that 2 or 3 weeks makes a huge difference in the garden. I'll show just a couple of comparison shots to show the dramatic change in 16 days.

May 8
Arugula, Mizuna, and Tokyo Bekana cabbage growth in 16 days...

May 24

May 8
Cover crop of buckwheat, favas, and peas - 16 days difference... This is a nice lesson for me about how quickly I can get a cover crop going at this time of year. Unfortunately I didn't note when I sowed the cover crop, but it was some time in the last half of April.

May 24
Buckwheat Blossoms

The buckwheat is starting to bloom, so I need to get out there and cut it all down before it goes to seed.

Romanesco Zucchini
The zucchini is taking off.

Italian Mountain Basil
The Italian Mountain basil got a bit sunburned in the transition from being coddled to having to brave the elements in the garden.

Persian Basil
The Persian basil reacted to the transition by developing more color, the leaves are developing a purplish tinge and the stems are getting darker.

Corsican Basil
The Corsican basil is getting darker also. It's the fastest growing and I've already started to cut it back to encourage more bushy growth.

The spring round of salad greens is starting to bolt. I've cleared out this patch of arugula and mizuna since this photo session. The Mizunarubasoi on the right has to go soon so that I can take down this part of the cage to make room for the Romanesco zucchini plant.

Bolting Apollo Arugula

Likewise I've harvested all the radishes from this patch and a number of the turnips. The Jaune Boule D'Or turnips in the center haven't produced bulbous roots yet. They better hurry up or I'll have to pull them for greens instead.

Some carrots are bolting, notably the purple Black Nebulas and others still have baby sized roots. I don't need to rush as much to clear out this space, it will be a while before the weather is warm enough to plant the melons that I'm planning for this spot.

The last 2 Mini Purple Daikons suddenly shot up and the mustards went through a big growth spurt but are resisting bolting so far.

The radicchio gave up resisting the urge to bolt.

Little Jade Napa Cabbage
Fast fast Little Jade napa cabbage, there's a couple of heads in there that I could harvest now.

Fioretto Stick Cauliflower
I'm not so sure what to make of the Fioretto Stick Cauliflower. It's supposed to produce shoots like sprouting broccoli, but it seems to have just produced small loose heads, I guess it's buttoning. I'm going to cut them and see if they produce side shoots. I really know nothing about this variety. Perhaps it will do better in the fall.

Fioretto Stick Cauliflower
The Aspabroc (aka Broccolini, a cross between broccoli and gai lan) is better behaved, the plants are growing nicely with no signs of buttoning, although there is an aphid infestation in one plant that needs my attention.

Batavia Broccoli
And the Batavia broccoli is behaving well and growing nicely.

There's a glut of lettuce right now. You may have noticed the lettuces growing between the brassicas. I've been harvesting those as babies but haven't been able to keep up. There's still a bunch of them and the lettuces that I planted to mature into full heads are quickly maturing. More salad please!

Coriander of Morocco
I wasn't so sure about the viability of the seeds when I planted a patch of Moroccan coriander so I sowed them rather thickly. Of course most of the seeds germinated. I think this variety is grown primarily for the seeds rather than the greens, it's supposed to have larger seeds than usual. It's bolting already so I guess I'll find out soon if the seeds are something special.

That's a twofer shot above, the remains of the sickly onion patch with a nice healthy fringe of Cilician parsley. I pulled a number of the onion varieties early on when Downy Mildew hit hard. When the weather turned more warm and dry the DM relented and the onions recovered a bit, but now that the May Gray fog has settled into its usual pattern the DM is appearing again. The parsley is doing great though.

Favas galore! They are so happy this year. The left side of the bed is planted with Robin Hood plants which I've allowed to just flop over. The other side of the bed has Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto (aka Extra Precoce Violetto) and Aquadulce favas trained along the trellis. I'm particularly happy that I've got the Aquadulces tied to the trellis, they've grown to the top of its 6-foot plus height and it would be impossible to get through on the back side of the bed if they were allowed to flop over.

The Aquadulce plants are planted in the center third portion of the trellis and the Extra Precoce Violetto plants take up the end thirds of the line.

Aquadulce Favas
Tying the plants to the trellis also makes it easier to harvest the beans.

I've learned over time that the more room you give a fava plant the more stalks (tillers) it will produce per plant. This year I planted one row of Robin Hood favas along one side of the bed and one row of Extra Precoce Violetto and Aquadulce along the other side of the bed. What a difference from the end of last year to now.

Favas, December 28, 2016
That's the garden as the end of May looms. There's so much work to be done. I still have to amend the tomato/pepper bed, cut down the favas and move the trellis to the tomato bed, and get the tomatoes and peppers planted.

And over in bed #4 I have some digging to resume to get rid of invading oak roots.

There's always a lesson to be learned in the garden. Here the lesson is that I needed to extend the fabric that I'm using as a root barrier much further up the inside of the bed. The oak roots aren't making their way through the fabric on the bottom of the bed but they do find their way in through a corner here or there and in over the top of the fabric and then start to fill up the bed from there. They then proceed to suck up all the moisture and nutrients and the veggie growth slows to a crawl or simply stalls. I was less than half way through this task when the nasty cold hit.

So I'm feeling very restless and impatient at the moment but trying to be good. It's difficult for me to sit back and relax and let my body heal when I really just want to dig in (literally) and get some work done. But I am feeling better so I know that in a day or two I'll be back at it again.

Now I've got some more favas to harvest. 68 pounds harvested so far and more waiting!


  1. I always enjoy looking at your garden and today I am looking more closely at your trellises. I have some 4x8ft remesh panels I hope to set up tomorrow. I decided 8ft was too tall, so I plan on cutting them down to 6ft. We have a glut of lettuce here too, so it is salad season for sure. I'm also reminded I need to harden off my basil and get it in the ground. It's been hanging out in the greenhouse and like yours it needs to get tough and meet the wild outdoors. Hope you are feeling better soon!

  2. It's always amazing how a vegetable garden can be transformed from a bare patch of land into such a verdant area in a matter of a few weeks.

  3. Summer colds are terrible, especially when there's lots to do. Your fava beans look amazing, do you plant them more than a foot apart? I love how fast everything grows when it finally heats up.

  4. Oh, nothing worse than a cold when the weather is beautiful outside and you have tons to do - I hope you feel better soon.

    The growth over 2 weeks is incredible! Our weather is finally starting to warm up, but the spring was so cool that things grew much more slowly than usual. My early greens bed wasn't very successful this year and since I needed to get the tomatoes in, there was zero harvest from some crops such as the baby choi.

    I'm growing Aquadulce this year as well - I doubt mine will achieve those heights as our summer heat will have them sulking long before they could ever get to that stage.


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