Archive for April, 2009

Pushing the season

April 14, 2009

This is a catch-up post with lots of pictures that journal the state of my garden at the middle of April. There are a lot of things in the garden that are fairly well advanced. The day (4/14/09) was a dreary spring day with intermittent showers but it was a good day to get some neutral pictures.


Here is a view of most of the garden. You can see that the day is gray and you can also see that some of the beds have floating row cover protecting them. The bed in front has broccoli and raddichio in it and the uncovered bed beside it has Spring (multi-colored) carrots and fennel. The plants in the third bed are hardneck garlic.


Here is a peek at the raddichio under the floating row cover. These have been through some temps in the low 20s but they are doing fine ... probably because they were nestled down in the mulch.


We just had a few days of bright sun and even though the temps were only in the low 50s the sun warmed my dark soil. Then today it rained and so the carrots pushed out. By the way, the soil has lots of stuff in it because I do not screen my compost and so it has the occasional egg shell, twig and tea bag. The carrots are small


So ... can you see the fennel? Can you tell fennel from carrot??? I can 'cause I know what I planted where.


This is my wintered-over spinach with some of this year's spinach to the right (look hard). You can see that the more mature spinach still has some growing to do with some plants at 75% growth and a few at 25%. Had some mixed in a salad for dinner tonight.


Arugula (right) was direct seeded. Radish (center) was direct seeded. Mustards (left and look closely for the red mustard on the very right) were set out as 2" plants). They will all grow very fast once the evenings warm up a bit. The arugula and radish will need to be thinned. Radish thinings are great as salad or cooked greens (like turnip).


Snow peas with rabbit guard. I will work the wire mesh around so that the peas are protected until they start to climb up the netting after which the rabbit will leave them alone and my only worry will be maurading deer.


Our favas are pushing out.


Some floating row cover over supports. The next picture shows the three week old lettuce plants (set out as plants)


Lettuces (and a mustard or two)


I have been a long-time fan of Walls-of-Water. They give you a month jump on setting out tomatoes. Our normal date is about May15 here in NE Ohio and these went out April 12. They will protect the plants down into the mid 20's. The water even gives off heat when it freezes (look that up in your physics book). These are my Brandywine's. Five plants will keep us well supplied with many for friends and neighbors.


"The children were nestled all snug in their beds." (A Brandywine after two nights in the upper 20s)


One of my Speckled Roman paste types in a clear Walls-of-Water. The WoW also come in red plastic and there are those who say that the color is important. I have what I have. They are about $6 each and so one uses them until they split from plastic brittleness (mostly due to UVs). Five years is an average lifetime with reasonable care and storage


A new pest (for me)

April 6, 2009

I have a very long bed along the fence that runs the length of my property.  It is usually very productive and, since it is on the north side of my property, I like to grow things along it that would otherwise shade out neighboring plants.  So yesterday I was getting a section of it ready for indeterminate tomatoes … like Brandywines … that really like to grow tall. That’s when I noticed that the bed was getting invaded by Jerusalem Artichokes. I must have dug out about 2 lbs. of ‘chokes from a 2′ by 3’ area.  But, it is the ‘chokes that I missed that worry me.  I’ll have to keep the bed really well weeded but they will always be there lurking and waiting. I wish I had a pig to root them out.

So … ‘chokes for dinner?

First harvest of 2009

April 6, 2009

We had a terrific spinach salad yesterday … big enough for two large helpings each … with thinnings from the wintered-over spinach. Now note, these “thinnings” are not the usual tiny plants that one thins when one directly sows seeds but rather plants that were nearly 50% fully grown and just crowding each other out for that last 50% effort. So, we got a large collander full of leaves. And … it was very crisp and tender. Nice to have an early start to the season.