Sunday, June 4, 2017

Early June Update - Part 2


Up on the hilltop, most of the spears in the asparagus bed have been left to fern up and feed the developing roots.  This will be the last season of holding back on the harvest - next year it will be full steam ahead!


The potatoes were planted up on April 29th using the same method I used last year (bury them deeply from the start with no hilling).  Last years potato harvest wasn't that great, but I'm confident that had more to do with the heat and lack of water early in the season than the planting method.

Potato Bed

I’ll be adding a bit more straw this week to keep the soil cool and prevent light from reaching any tubers that develop near the soil surface.

The garlic was planted last fall and is doing very well.  I fertilized the patch in the spring and now it’s just a matter of waiting.  I’m also looking forward to the scapes, which should be coming up soon.

Garlic bed

The hilltop brassica bed is planted up with kale, collards, kohlrabi, Joi Choi, Komatsuna, tatsoi and Beira Tronchuda.

Hilltop brassica bed

The kale has just reached harvest size - in fact I've already harvested a few leaves.

Red Russian kale

There is one oddity with the kale.  It seems as if I may have a few oddball seeds in the pack as both of the plants shown below are "Red Russian":

Normal Red Russian on the left and an imposter on the right

In an effort to get a bit of a succession with the kohlrabi I decided to try something new - I started half of them indoors and then, when I transplanted those into the bed, I direct seeded the other half (on the sunnier side of the bed, of course!).  So far so good:

Kohlrabi transplants are on the right; direct seeded ones are on the left

The transplanted ones are just starting to swell - with our cool, spring weather, I'm expecting them to be tender and sweet:

Kolibri, just starting to swell

The Joi Choi, tatsoi and komatsuna, however, aren't fairing as well - something has been nibbling at them.  In fact, I've lost several seedlings altogether.  My guess is slugs.

Nibbled Joi Choi

After a slow start, the pepper transplants ended up being phenomenal this year and grew much larger than usual.  When I was hardening them off, however, they also suffered from the damaging winds that did in the cucumbers.  Thankfully, the peppers were more resilient and they pushed on with only a few damaged leaves.  I’ve used the same winning bed layout from last year and transplanted all 32 plants into a single bed.

Hopefully it won't take the peppers too long to settle in

I did have a couple of seedlings left over, so decided to plant those into a grow bag.  I've never grown peppers in a container before but the variety I chose for the bag (Odessa Market) is apparently suitable for containers so I'm excited to see how they do.

The greens bed is getting there, with most of the lettuce surviving their rather harsh transition to the great outdoors.  I did seed a few more to make up for those transplants that didn’t make it.

The gaps hold tiny lettuce seedlings that were transplanted last week

The Swiss chard was also transplanted into this bed but I just noticed yesterday that it's gone.  There's nothing left.  Similary, the mache that I transplanted from the early brassica bed has also been nibbled down to nothing.  The bed is not covered so I'm unsure if it's slugs or the baby bunny that I've caught in the hilltop garden a few times.  I've since blocked off two possible entrances and hopefully I did a good enough job.  Thankfully, the bunnies in our area are not very persistent as there is plenty around for them to sink their teeth into without making too much of an effort.

There is one last bed on the hilltop which is almost empty - the corn/squash bed.  The squash will still go in but I'm passing on the corn this year - I've had issues with something getting to the corn for a couple of years now and I'm just not up to that struggle this year.  I'm not giving up, by any means, but have decided that there is simply too much going on this year and I don't want to add that bit of frustration to the mix.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

18 comments:

  1. Oh no, not a rabbit! The rabbits around here are persistent. I haven't seen the one that was raiding my garden last year, I don't know if it moved elsewhere or if one of the many raptors that live in the area made it a snack, finally...

    I am amazed at how beautiful your asparagus is! I remember your photos of the tiny little seedlings. Oh how they have grown.

    What a shame about all those lost seedlings. There's always something ready to dine in our gardens.

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    1. That baby rabbit is hopping all over the place in our garden - we see it at least a few times per week. I'm particularly worried about one area of the veg garden that is not fenced at the moment because we are doing some work there.

      The asparagus is crazy, isn't it? Hardly anyone grows it from seed so I had no idea what to expect - I'm so glad that I decided to take that route!

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  2. Most things seem to be doing well but I can understand some things not doing quite so well if there's a bunny around. It's something I've never had any trouble with but they can devastate crops if they've got a mind to.

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    1. We are lucky in that the bunnies around here are not overly persistent when it comes to getting into things - if there is a hole, they'll go through it but otherwise they don't bother digging, etc., so I don't have to worry about burying fencing into the ground. In fact, so long as a bed is covered, even with flimsy Agribon or netting, they leave it alone.

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  3. You've taken such great care of your asparagus, it's so exciting that next year you'll be able to really harvest them. I still wonder what kind of critters were bothering your corn the last couple of years.

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    1. Yes, I still have no idea who it or they were. I'll be giving corn another go - perhaps even popcorn as it's a favourite around here - but this year I'm taking a break from the critter anxiety :)

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  4. Your asparagus bed looks wonderful! It was interesting to read that you don't hill your potatoes. I am thinking why can't I do that in a container too? Hubby put a board across the bottom of our gate to try to keep the rabbits out. So far, so good! Nancy

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    1. I've heard that there is very little difference in yield when you hill vs not hilling, although I've not tested that myself. Using containers, though, it would be an easy experiment to do - just hill one and not the other and see how they compare.

      I use boards for gates in each of the areas that are surrounded by chicken wire and it works well - not exactly pretty put it serves its purpose!

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  5. You've been so busy! Sorry about the slugs and bunny. Critters can be pests sometimes. What kind of straw do you use to mulch your beds? I have experimented with several but I'm curious what you find works best. I am growing sweet potatoes in an old whisky barrel this year. I'll let you know how it grows.

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    1. I use wheat straw - in our area, we don't have that much choice and wheat is the main type of straw available from local farmers. I recall that Beth uses Salt Marsh hay and I would love to try it but haven't been able to find a source for it.

      Oh, with your hot summers and a nice deep barrel, I'm thinking your sweet potatoes should do very well! Mine are limping along, unfortunately, and our cool weather isn't helping matters.

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  6. Wow, looking very good! I'm totally amazed with how fast all your plants fill in. You have the magic touch and the best techniques for edibles!

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    1. Well, I'm always learning as are all us gardeners - never a dull moment! Every year the growth spurt that the plants put on once they settle in amazes me as well - they seem to inch along for weeks and then POW, they're huge!

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  7. Wow, you have an amazing edible garden. You're going to love those fresh asparagus. My mother-in-law grew asparagus in her garden and it was SO GOOD when it was just picked.

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    1. Oh, thank you Jason :) Growing asparagus takes a bit of work and some patience in the first few years - I'm quite looking forward reaping the rewards in the years ahead!

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  8. The asparagus plants are really looking great! It is so hard to wait those first few years but the payoff is worth it. I've noticed that variability in the OP kales too, including Red Russian. Your peppers are ahead of mine. The wind has been bad here too and the young transplants don't like it one bit!

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    1. Definitely can't wait until next year - I may even have enough of a harvest to freeze some...wouldn't that be a treat!

      The winds have been brutal and I just kicked myself for leaving the transplant trays outside. An now that dang bunny has also gotten to some of the pepper leaves - argh!! That's so funny with the kale - it still tastes great, so I'm not complaining.

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