Friday, March 29, 2019

The Garden on March 25, 2019

My garden tours aren't about pretty things, especially at this time of year. March is a time of transition, overwintered vegetables are either dying or trying to produce flowers and many of their replacements are just dots of green surrounded by a sea of soil. I like to use my blog to see how the garden changes and progresses through the year so it's not about showing pretty things. So you are forewarned that this is a long post full of not so pretty pictures.

First a couple of shots of the garden from the hillside above. The surrounding landscape is subtly more green than a month ago. We've had a steady supply of rain for the past month and more and the native vegetation has responded with lots of new growth. The garden is loving the rain too and I've not had to run the drip system for a few months.

Beds No. 1 and No. 4

Beds No. 2 and No. 3

Bed No. 1
The first overwintered sweet pea is blooming and I'm happy to say that it is fragrant. I removed the fabric that was protecting the plants from the birds and so far the birds have been leaving it alone. I suppose the native landscape is finally providing them with adequate greenery to consume.

The new Orion fennel seedlings are filling in nicely. The Rishad cress that I used as a quick filler is slow to grow in some spots and more lush in others.

A month ago the Filderkraut cabbage was an itsy bitsy baby protected by a cloche. The most lush Rishad cress is sharing half the cage with the cabbage. I harvested the cress not long after I took the photo.

Filderkraut Cabbage

Yellow Heart Winter Choy is a new addition to the garden since the last tour. It's only been in the garden for less than 2 weeks in this photo.

Yellow Heart Winter Choy

The daikon radishes were on the verge of bolting so I pulled them all and replaced them with seedlings of Baby Leaf Tuscan kale that I had started in a 50 cell seedling tray. There's only 24 plants there, the other half of the tray was sown with Special Baby Leaf Chard which is a slower grower than the kale and was not large enough to go into the garden. I managed to time this transition well. I knew a few weeks ago that the radishes were close to the point where all the remaining plants needed to be harvested so I started the kale and chard to plant in their place and just when the kale was large enough to transplant I noticed the radishes were just starting to bolt. 

Baby Leaf Tuscan Kale

The fall sown Short Stuff carrots are getting to be large enough to start harvesting. I hope they don't respond to the longer and warmer days by bolting too soon.

Short Stuff Carrots

I had my doubts about this one lone Pixie Cabbage that made it into the garden. A month ago it was looking runty but I think it's going to be ok.

Pixie Cabbage

A month ago the Little Jade napa cabbages were already trying to bust out of their protective sleeves and now they are already showing signs of starting to form heads. I am always amazed by how quickly these grow. It's time to start planning what I'll grow in their place.

Little Jade Napa Cabbage
Little Jade Napa Cabbage

The I'itoi onions have filled in a bit more and the blossoms are on the verge of opening.

I'itoi Onions

Beets are growing.

Badger Flame and Red Baron Beets

Speedy arugula is bolting before I ever got to harvest any. There's seedlings in back that are slowing disappearing.

Speedy Arugula

The Yellow Potato Onions have had a bit of a growth spurt.

Yellow Potato Onions

There's not been a lot of change in the saffron, perhaps it going into decline. I hope it hasn't been too wet, these should go dormant in the summer and then bloom in the fall.

Bed No. 2

The end is nigh for the Brussels sprouts and kalettes. You can see some big fat Brussels sprouts on the plant to the left, I've harvested those since this photo shoot.

Brussels Sprouts and Kalettes

The third variety of kalettes has finally produced some sprouts large enough to harvest. I better hurry up because I think they may be on the verge of bolting, they are growing so quickly all of a sudden.

Snowdrop Kalettes

The parsnips are putting out new top growth also. I hope this doesn't mean that they are on the verge of bolting.
Gladiator Parsnips

There's only one celeriac left in the garden.

Prinz Celeriac

This is a new planting of Queen of Crunch and Three Heart Butterhead lettuces.

Queen of Crunch and Three Heart Butterhead Lettuce

This planting of Red Butter Romaine lettuce hasn't grown a lot in the past month. I thought that the three small green lettuces in the back were Red Iceberg but it turns out I got my labels mixed up and they are Three Heart Butterhead.

Red Butter Romaine and Three Heart Butterhead

Baby Shanghai pac choi are still in infancy.

Baby Shanghai Pac Choy

I grew Syrian Medieval chard near this spot last year and let it go to seed. The rodents got most of the seeds but one survived to volunteer this winter. It started to bolt so I harvested it after this photo shoot.

Volunteer Syrian Medieval Chard and
Improved Helenor Rutabaga

This bunch of Orion fennel looks like it needs fertilizer. It's yellowing and growing very slowly. I suspect that some tree roots may be invading this end of the bed.

Orion Fennel

Calendula likes to volunteer around the garden and this volunteer seems to be particularly happy.

Volunteer Calendula

The chard never did grow well here, it may also be competing with tree roots for nutrients. The tree roots always win.

Italian Silver Rib and Peppermint Stick Chard

The celery is still looking great and giving me plenty of stalks on a cut-and-come-again basis.

Pink Plume Celery
Pink Plume Celery

The Tronchuda Beira seedlings got to be too large for their cloches. I'm not sure if my timing on these is good. Will they just bolt as the days get warmer and longer or will they stay leafy? More importantly, how hungry are the rodents...

Tronchuda Beira Cabbage

Bed No. 3

I sowed Kodiak mustard in 1/3 of the bed as a cover crop. This is where I plan to grow a much smaller than usual selection of peppers, probably all sweet. I don't have to commit until next week which is when it's time to sow the seeds. Off to the left you can see the big fluffy tuft of foliage which is the 2 year old Orion fennel plant. About 1/3 of the bed is basically empty, just a few volunteer things and weeds. I intend to sow flowers there but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Bed No. 3

I'm still harvesting bulbs from that 2 year old fennel plant. Check back this coming Monday for the latest harvest.

Orion Fennel

I made room in the patch of Golden Corn Salad for three cardoon seedlings. The corn salad is starting to bolt and if it doesn't overwhelm the young cardoon plants I'll allow it to set seeds so that I can renew my seed stock.

Golden Corn Salad and Cardoons
Argente de Geneve Inerme Cardoon

The bachelor's buttons (cornflower) are starting to bloom.

Artichoke and Bachelor's Buttons
Blue Boy Bachelor's Button

The artichoke keeps filling out and it is attracting ants and aphids again. I'm not sure how long I'll have the patience for that.

Bed No. 4

Bed No. 4

A few of the favas are just barely starting to bloom.

Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto and
Aquadulce Favas

The snow peas sat and sat and barely grew through the cold and wet weather, and then all of a sudden they started to grow and are starting to bloom. I harvested one round of pea shoots and I guess now I'll just let them bloom and produce pea pods.

Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Peas

I sowed more Kodiak mustard last month in a spot where I want to grow bush beans this spring. I should be able to sow some seeds in paper pots in the next week or so.

Kodiak Mustard

And I've sown a small section of the bed with Lauren's Grape poppies. Still tiny tiny tiny.

Lauren's Grape Poppies

That's the latest going on in my garden. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Harvest Monday - March 25, 2019

Wow, time is flying, it's officially spring already! I didn't post about any harvests last week because I spent the better part of the week in and around the town of Inverness near the Point Reyes National Seashore. We spent a good deal of our time hiking and slurping oysters and somehow we managed to eat a lot of pizza too.

Tomales Bay seen from Dancing Coyote Beach

But the week before I did do a fair amount of harvesting from the garden. That's the last of the summer sown Short Stuff carrots and one of the last Bora King radishes.

Bora King Daikon Radish and Short Stuff Carrots

And then I did pull all of the remaining Bora King and Mini Purple daikon radishes because they were starting to bolt.

Bora King and Mini Purple Daikon Radishes

And it was time to pull all the old beets.

Badger Flame Beets

The next to the last Celeriac got harvested along with more than a pound of really nice Brussels Sprouts from one of the plants. I turned the sprouts into a shredded salad with a caesar dressing.

Prinz Celeriac and Gustus Brussels Sprouts

That huge 2.5 pound celeriac was transformed by spending 3 hours in a 375ºF oven into a delicious thing of wonder. I used a recipe from Yottam Otolenghi's latest book Simple (the recipe can be found HERE). The wonder of this preparation is that the celeriac is left whole, simply trimmed of the hairy bits and thoroughly scrubbed, no peeling required, and that daunting skin becomes completely edible and delicious, it was a revelation to prepare and eat.

Whole Roasted Celeriac

It's not a great photo below but I wanted to show what a wedge of the roasted celeriac looked like. Accompanying it is beef stew with lots of onions, a take on a recipe from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden. They were yummy together in spite of the rustic appearance.

Beef Stew and Roasted Celeriac

And finally, more Golden Corn Salad, the only salad green coming from the garden (if you don't count the Brussels sprouts).

Golden Corn Salad

That's the latest from my garden for the past two weeks. Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.