Saturday, May 30, 2015

More Brassicas & Strawberry Update

I've already talked about the broccoli & Chinese greens and I touched on the kohlrabi in a post a couple of weeks ago.  Now on to what is growing in the rest of the two brassica beds.

I sowed the kale and collards back in April.  A couple of weeks ago, I did an update showing that the collards were making a comeback after being whipped around by some heavy winds.  Not long after, I had a visitor to the bed - most likely a cat.  One of the seedlings was completely dug up - I pushed it back in place but it didn't recover, so I am down to 3 collard plants.  Luckily, there was no damage to the remaining collards and kale (although 2 of the collards, for some reason, are about 1/3 the size of the largest one).  I'll be replacing the lost seedling with a new one.

Beira Tronchuda

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Late Starts

Technically, all of my posts for the last couple of months should be titled "Late Starts" as I think it was the rare seed that I actually planted on time.  The honour of the title, however, went to lettuce as it was the crop that was the most delayed this year - I sowed it 4 weeks later than I should have.

I looked back at my first Harvest Monday post last year, which was at the end of May, and I had several beautiful bowls of lettuce to show off.  This year, they are still tiny seedlings at this point.  No one to blame but myself on that one as I could have had fairly sturdy starts before my vacation.  I don’t quite know what happened but for some reason, I let these fall through the cracks.

4 of the 6 varieties I am growing this year, I also grew last year:  Sierra MI (Batavian), Pinares (romaine), Ruby Red (leaf) and Simpson Elite (leaf).  I described each of these in my End of Season Review.

Initially, I was going to hold off on growing Simpson Elite again, but decided that I could add two new varieties (Sweetie Baby & Radichetta) and still include this one if I did an even 2 squares per variety in my 3’ x 4’ spot.

Although 12 square feet doesn’t seem like a lot of space for lettuce, based on my experience last year, it was more than enough.  In fact, there were times when we couldn’t keep up with the harvest.

Lettuce, collard & Chinese green bed - June 1, 2014

Monday, May 25, 2015

Harvest Monday - May 25, 2015

My first harvest of the year. All I can say is…it’s about time! I thought that with everything I learned last year that I would be ahead of the game this time round, but building the new beds and our vacation in the middle of April stuck a wrench in my plans to be on top of things.

Well, the one thing I wasn’t going to be was LATER than last year when it came to my first harvest.  I needed to prep the tomato beds and my perennial bunching onions were in the way.  The original plan was to transplant them to my onion bed in early spring.  But then I decided that I wanted to try other varieties as this particular one (He-Shi-Ko) wasn't really what I was looking for, so I just left them where they were & figured I would pull them up when I needed the space...which is now.

He-Shi-Ko Perennial Bunching Onions

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Wacky Weather & Chinese Greens

Before we get to the Chinese greens, let me get the weather off my chest.  Just like Susie, last night we had below 0C (32F) temperatures for a couple of hours.  And now it's 26C (79F).  A difference of 29 degrees over less than 12 about a roller coaster!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why my planting out date for things like peppers and tomatoes isn't until the last week of May.  The weather is fickle at this time of year - I just have to firmly remind myself of that when we are having July like weather in the first week of May and the temptation hits to get things in the ground sooner.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I'm not sure what the story is, but I have had several issues getting transplants going this year.  On top of that, my seedlings seem to be growing at a much slower pace - or maybe it just seems that way because of how far behind I was to begin with.

I'm now doing a mass hardening off, trying to get everything in the ground by next week.  Three flats that will be planted out within the next couple of days are sitting on the sunny back deck, while six flats with next weeks plantings are hardening off in the relative protection of the north facing front porch for now:

Next Weeks Plantings Hardening Off

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Peas & Favas

This year, I’m growing 3 varieties of peas (1 sugar snap & 2 shelling) and 2 varieties of fava beans.

I often hear that growing shelling peas is not worthwhile, given their yield for the amount of space they take up in the garden.  But I have memories of devouring freshly picked peas at my friend’s house as a kid – it was always a super yummy treat.  So I thought I would give these a bit of real estate this year.  If they are as good as I remember, I wouldn’t be averse to building one or two new beds so that I could grow more of them.

The favas are an altogether new addition to the garden.  I don't think I've ever eaten fresh favas as they are usually only available frozen.

Sabre Pea (61 days, shelling, William Dam)

Photo Source:  William Dam
This bush shelling pea (20-24” tall) is supposed to do well even during the heat of summer.  Since it is quick maturing, I may try to do another seeding in the summer if I have space available at the right time.

Friday, May 8, 2015

What's Happening in the Garden - Early May

It has been an exceptionally busy start to the month.  I'm being pulled in half a dozen different directions with everything that needs to be done NOW in the garden, not the least of which is creating the new beds on the hill:

Partially completed beds moved to the hill
If you look closely you will see 5 regular sized beds (4 for me and 1 for the kids) plus 2 smaller beds for the asparagus & blueberries.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Odds and Sods

In late March/early April I sowed a number of seeds for various plants that I haven’t spoken about yet, so figured I had better get to it before I’m showing off flowers or harvesting veg and everyone is wondering – “where did that come from?” ;)

In addition to the alyssum & petunias that I have already talked about, I have also sown marigolds, daisies & lemon bee balm.

The marigolds are the same as those I grew last year, a variety called Janie Flame from Stokes Seeds.

Marigold Seedlings - 5 weeks