Friday, May 28, 2010

Garden Update: May

My how time flies. It's been almost a month since the last post. No real excuse. I cooked a few things that weren't really exceptional. Then Seattle Beer Week, ahem, intervened. We had a mushroom expedition that was a total bust. Haven't brewed anything due to a current surplus of homebrew (lagers finally coming home to roost). Honestly I haven't felt much like writing these last few weeks. But it's time to get writing again.

First up, I think I'm going to start doing a monthly garden recap. It'll help me keep a record of what grew where and when, what worked and didn't, etc.. That way next year I can plan accordingly.

Above you can see one of the real success stories so far. Purple Mustard Greens. We planted four and they're growing like crazy. Seems every day I come out and it's shot out another two foot leaf. Also, after one minor caterpillar attack in the first week it seems that nothing is interested in eating them. Does a good job of shading the lettuces too. Definitely planting them again.

The lettuces we planted from starts are doing well. We've been pulling one or two a week for salads. My mesclun mix that I started from seed is still very small, and very sad. Could be the weather, they grew fine when we had a few days of sun but they seem to hate the cold and wet. But I think something is up with the pot they're in, though I'm not sure what. Next time I'll start them indoors.

The radish leaves keep getting bigger and bigger, but don't seem to be setting radishes yet. They should be ready to go any day now, but aren't.

Green Onions: Slow. Very slow. I think the soil dries out a bit too quickly on top of the row. I planted another round in front of them, down at the base of the row. We'll see how they do.

The Yard Long Beans have sprouted. Five for five. W00t.

The Potato Project is going along swimmingly, though it makes the yard look a bit rednecky. I may have planted too many seed potatoes in the grain sack, but it does seem to be draining well. The cardboard boxes are holding up well enough, but we moved them to this spot in the yard so they 1) get maximum sun, 2) are near the mound of leftover dirt, and 3) won't need to be moved again until harvest. The tall thin box shades the leaves pretty heavily. We'll see if the increased mounding pays off in the end.

The tomatoes are doing well. However, my penny-conscious cloche is a bit flimsy in the impressive wind and rain we've had lately. Next year I'll rig some PVC pipes. Also: these went in when the first starts showed up at the farmer's market. Now, though, the starts in the market are three feet tall, with proto-tomatoes already growing. I'm jealous of dry, warm, sunny Eastern Washington greenhouses. Maybe I should wait a couple more weeks next year? Or will the increased root growth from early planting pay off in the end? We'll see.

The Ruby Spinach is doing very well and we've started chowing down on it. We made a round of Swimming Rama with the Ruby Spinach and Purple Mustard Greens last night that was fantastic.

The shallots and leeks are plodding along. Sweet Peas are climbing and have started flowering. They need more sun though, and the weather isn't cooperating.

The Bok Choi and early planting of Mizuna were disasters. Pulled them and replanted new things. Too cold? Not enough sun yet? Replanted mizuna seems to be doing well so far.

Seeded this month: basil, sage, radishes, pickling cucumbers, more mizuna, more Hakurei turnips, lettuces, thyme, more green onions, yard long beans.

Hops. The hops need more sun, but are doing ok given that it's still only May. The Chinooks had been lagging but seem to finally be going now. Going to trellis them this weekend. The Willamettes are toast. Re-potted, gave them a month, no sign of anything. Somehow died over the winter, too damp perhaps? Going to dump them and use the pot for cucumbers. Fortunately the new Tettenanger rhizome has already broken the surface. Aphids and caterpillars attacked the Centennials. Water and soap to treat. Hateful little green bastards... Brown tips on the leaves of the Centennials and Cascades, either water issues (the pots are too small) or iron deficiency. Time to fertilize them again probably.

Final note: poor bed planning. I wanted to put the beds flush against the fence and the garage, but there's a buried concrete foundation that made that impossible. Now grass has grown quite high behind the beds. I'll have to come up with some way to control that, even if it's just me and a pair of scissors. If the grass goes to seed I'll never get it out of the beds...


Trish said...

Put something dark over the grass behind the bed to block out the sun resulting in death by darkness... big ol' trash bags maybe? With rocks or something to keep it from flying around?

Russell Hews Everett said...

Not a bad idea. I finally bought a cheap, small, electric weed whacker that I can fit back there but it's not a long term solution.

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