What's Happening In The Garden - June 1, 2014

I thought I would devote this post to an overview of what is happening in the garden right now.

My garlic & shallots are coming right along after a slow start this past spring.  I was worried that the shallots wouldn't make it as we had a few extremely frigid days in the -40's over the winter, which is very unusual for Southern Ontario.
Garlic & Shallot Bed

I am one cart full of soil away from finishing off the new beds.  The beds in the back of this photo contain the onions.  The two beds in the front are going to hold pole beans, bush beans, squash and cucumbers.
Onion Beds in the Back; Newly filled Beds in the Front
I talked about the onion bed & showed photos of how the onions are coming along in my last post.  Part of this bed is direct sown with perennial bunching onions that have only started to germinate in the past week or so.  You can just barely make out the whisper thin seedlings in the photo:
Tiny Perennial Onion Seedlings
The strawberry bed is doing ok, although it's not as full as I would have liked.  It is, however, a new bed that I started last August from runners, so maybe the lack of fullness is to be expected at this stage.  I have 2 kinds of strawberries growing - you can see the white string dividing the two types.  The plants on the top are an everbearing variety, "Fort Laramie", while those on the bottom are June bearers (unknown variety) from plants that were given to me by one of my neighbors.
Strawberry Bed
The peas are slowly growing (I have to get going on that trellis asap!) & I'll probably do a 2nd picking of spinach today or tomorrow.  I planted this spinach about 8" apart, but I think that this particular variety of spinach could have been planted quiet a bit closer - maybe as close as 4" apart.  In which case I could squeeze in double the number of plants.  I've heard that closer spacing can induce early bolting, however, so it's really a matter of experimenting to see what works best for that particular variety.
Spinach & Pea Bed

The Swiss chard was transplanted about a week ago.  I think it is just starting to put down roots, so to speak, and settling in as I've noticed it is looking perkier in the last couple of days.
Swiss Chard - One Week after Transplanting
And all of my little carrot seedlings have started to come up - finally.  I'm always a bit tense when waiting for carrots to emerge from the soil.  They take so long that I usually end up questioning whether they will come up at all.  The germination rate this year was very good - it looks like close to 100%.  I am growing 3 varieties of carrots - Scarlet Nantes, Chantenay Red Core & Little Finger.  When I made the seed mats, I doubled up on the spacing since I wasn't sure if they would all germinate.  Once these babies are a bit bigger, I will thin them out to about 3" apart.  I have sprinkled the bed with diatomaceous earth (aka my version of slug-be-gone) a couple of times and, so far, no seedlings have gone missing.

Lots of Carrots

The tomatoes were all transplanted last week & they are doing ok - not great but ok.  I remember last year they took a couple of weeks to start putting on some growth and looking good, so I am going to be patient.  Also, I haven't seen any more sunscald on them, so that is re-assuring.

One of Three Tomato Beds

Now on to the cabbage & lettuce bed, which is doing really well.  The row cover that I put on the bed was initially to protect the veggies from rabbits as I had not put the fence up yet.  Once the fence was up, I had planned to remove it and cover just the cabbage & collards with netting to keep out the cabbage butterfly.  What I found was that the lettuce looked so much nicer & cleaner than last year when I left the bed uncovered.  The cover protects the plants from being battered by the wind and it also breaks the impact of rainfall so that the soil doesn't splash back onto the plants.  So I decided to leave the cover on the bed, even after the fence went up.
Cabbage & Lettuce Bed
Here are a few shots of the individual sections of this bed:
Pak Choi
Six Varieties of Lettuce
Clockwise from the top right:  Sierra MI, Pinares, Royal Red,
Rougette de Montpellier, Simpson Elite, Ruby Red
If you look closely, you can see radishes peeking out from behind the cabbages & collards.  I planted them as a border but didn't realize that they would be shaded by the greens this quickly.  Last year I didn't have much luck with radishes - some of them swelled, some of them didn't - and I have no idea why. I have a feeling that this year may be the same, especially now as most of them are basically in the shade.
On the plus side, you may recall that I had amended this bed with soybean meal and wasn't sure whether the radishes would come up at all since I had read that soybean meal can inhibit seed germination.  The keyword here is "can" not "does" inhibit.  And it looks like I had close to 100% germination with the radishes.  So, from here on in, I won't worry about seed germination in a bed amended with soybean meal.  I will, however, keep this caution in the back of my mind in case I do get bad germination on a particular crop in the future.
And last, but not least, is my little herb bed.
Herb Bed
Right now this bed looks pretty empty - I have to purchase another oregano and thyme plant as I ended up losing both this past winter.  I am also behind on sowing the dill and cilantro.  The regular and Thai basil are planted as is the parsley.   At the top of the photo are a bunch of seedlings that are waiting to be potted up as I am giving those to my mom.  My nasturtium & extra borage seedlings are also patiently waiting to be planted & are a little worse for wear.  Hopefully the bed areas where they are going will be ready in the next couple of days.
And that is what is happening in the garden.  I hope this beautiful weekend finds all of you wonderful gardeners enjoying your time outdoors!

Till next time…


  1. It looks like things are coming along well. At my last house radishes didn't like bulbing up either. I got lots of foliage, but only some radishes. Here they have no trouble. It always amazes me how different things grow in different places.

    1. I know what you mean. So many factors contribute to a plants growth that it is sometimes impossible to tell what went wrong (or right!).


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