Area #1 has 8 beds plus an herb bed and it is home to all of the brassicas & favas as well as more tomatoes, peas & beans. With only eight 8'x4' beds, I thought this would be a fairly quick post but as usual, there was just a lot more to show and say than I expected. So get comfortable :)
Tomatoes are planted in beds #1 & #2 and these are spaced down half of the bed just like those in bed #12, which I spoke about in my last update post.
Baby Costoluto Genovese
Peggy's Delight Zinnia
My original plan had been to also grow cilantro and dill in the tomato beds, but I just didn’t get around to sowing any – not a big loss when it comes to the dill as I have been harvesting dill as needed & pulling volunteer plants since spring!
|Volunteer Dill in Herb Bed|
Bed #3 contains broccoli, turnips (planted in between the broccoli rows and most of which has now been harvested) and Kossak kohlrabi. The broccoli and kohlrabi were getting quite large, so I had to switch up the supports - you can see the kohlrabi pushing up against the netting in the photo below:
Difference in size between the old supports and new
New supports = Lots of breathing room
I have 3 varieties of broccoli planted up – Arcadia (the favourite from last year), Munchkin and Packman. The largest plants of the bunch - Arcadia - have yet to produce any heads.
White Lady Turnips
The first round of the Kossak kohlrabi is almost ready to harvest
|Kale varieties this year: Red Russian, White Russian, Red Ursa, Starbor|
|Napa (on the left) varieties: Soloist, Kaboko, SD Mini Napa; |
Joi Choi (two heads on the right)
The one veg that has done fairly well in this bed is the kohlrabi - I just harvested one bulb that was over 500 grams!
Two veg in particular, are not sizing up at all but those are not mystery - both the tatsoi & mizuna have been completely overshadowed by the kale. I planted 2 mizuna - one bolted while still a tiny seedling and the other one is just sitting there:
|Not much hope that this guy will size up|
Since the kale isn’t going anywhere soon, I’ll likely end up pulling the tatsoi as I doubt it will do much of anything. This doesn’t mean that I’ll have to do without tatsoi & mizuna this year, however, as I plan to include them in one of the fall brassica beds.
Bed #4 is my favourite at the moment – the lettuce is bursting from the bed in all it’s glory:
|Royal Red & Sierra MI|
|Jericho, Sweetie Baby & Pinares|
This bed also held the spinach on one end, which is long gone, and the Swiss chard is at the other end.
|Chard varieties - Peppermint, Fordhook Giant & Bright Lights|
Bed #5 contains the strawberries.
I mentioned in my Hilltop Update that it seemed as if something was tunneling in the carrot bed on the hilltop and now I’m certain of it…I’m guessing voles. In the past week I’ve noticed several inch wide holes that are definitely tunnels.
That's the bad news. Now for the worse news. I've noticed a few similar holes in other beds on the hilltop - specifically the asparagus, garlic & potato bed. Aargh! I charged up that ultrasonic gadget that I received for Christmas last year, but it's not performing as expected. It is supposed to emit sounds at a frequency inaudible to humans if motion is detected. The only problem is that these sounds are definitely audible..and piercing. I had it on for a few minutes but then had to turn it off as it kept going off every minute or so. Plan B would be to dig up each bed and line the bottom with hardware cloth...which is a lot more labour intensive than hanging up that gadget. Plan C is pray that they find a new home elsewhere...I should be so lucky.
The final two veg beds - #6 & #8 – hold legumes.
All of the climbers on this side of the bed have started to run
The other half of this bed is divided into two again. Half is planted up with Oregon Sugar Pod Peas while the other half contains bush beans.
|Oregon Sugar Pod Peas|
|These short vines are much more productive than one would think|
This side of the bed holds the bush beans, Oceanis (left) & Provider (right)
|2015 Bush beans - Oceanis (left) & Contender (right)|
Bed # 8 is all about the favas (broad beans) with a sprinkling of Sugar Snap peas:
Favas with one small 2x4 section of Sugar Snaps
I’m growing the same two varieties of fava that I grew last year – the relatively short Extra Precoce de Violetto (EPV) and the taller Ianto. While Ianto has just started to flower, the EPV has set a good number of pods already and I'll actually be harvesting some within the next few days.
Plenty of favas have set despite the hot temperatures
Fava supports performing according to plan - hurray!
|Peas leaning due to the heavy winds|
As I mentioned above, there are 2 sowings of sugar snaps - this year, I decided to try to stagger the harvest so I did two small sowings about a month apart, instead of one larger one. So far so good on this little experiment. The 2nd sowing of peas is just starting to flower, so I'm optimistic both about the idea of staggering the sowing and the timing I used:
|2nd sowing of sugar snaps|
Sweet Potatoes ready for their permanent homes
Last, but not least is the herb bed.
Also in the herb bed is the calendula my daughter picked out when we went seed shopping at William Dam in the spring. You can sort of make out the orangey bloom in the photo above but that shot was taken in the evening when the flower was partly closed. Here it is in all it's daytime glory:
|Balls Orange Calendula|
The striped petunias in the background are also my daughters pick (from last year)
Surprise variegation on purple sage
Area #1, if you recall, is where we removed the two spruce trees and in order to do so, we had to take down the chicken wire fencing that keeps the bunnies out. Putting the fencing back up has been on the to-do list since then. The area where the fencing is going has been expanded and sheet mulching is MUCH easier if the fence is not in place when we do it. It's this mulching that is holding things up at this point.
I do have several yards of premium mulch still on the driveway, but that is reserved for the ornamental beds. For the pathways, I use the MUCH less refined but FREE mulch that’s available from the municipality. The only thing is, you have to pick the mulch up yourself from the local dump, so this has been put on the backburner until more pressing tasks are completed, such as installing the drip and completing the mulching on a couple of the front yard beds.
Luckily, we haven’t had bunny issues in this area yet. Now let me look around for a piece of wood to knock on… :)