Sunday, June 10, 2012

Garden Update 20 June 2012

It has been two weeks since my heavy planting effort on May 26-27, the Memorial Day weekend. All of the transplants survived and are actually thriving, despite the cool, cloudy, rainy weather. I did not have to worry about the keeping the seeded beds moist. All the rain took care of that for me. I did worry about the bean seeds, which prefer a warm, fairly dry soil of at least 60° F (16° C). That planting weekend was warm and sunny but early this week we had overnight lows in the forties. Nonetheless, everything has now germinated and is doing well.

Speaking of beans, the pole bean Fortex was one of the first to come up. They are going to be trained up a trellis on the left. The rest of the box has my kale and collards transplants along with a few remaining kale plants from last year. I have been planning to remove the old plants, so I shear them of leaves and come back to find them looking like this. I’m getting buried in kale. I also need to get them doused with bT and covered with row cover to ward off the cabbage moths floating around the garden now.

Fortex pole bean young plants

I planted four squares each of bush bean Fresh Pick and Provider. I had these under row cover until they started pushing against it. and removed it Friday, June 8. The same day I planted four more squares of each. My usual practice is to plant the whole thing at once, but I miscounted seeds the first planting and decided to try staggering planting by two weeks. I’m looking forward to trying the Fresh Pick beans. They are a new variety developed by Dr. Calvin Lamborn, the same breeder who developed Jade, one of the best of the bush beans and my favorite for years. Fresh Pick are supposed to be even greener and plumper than Jade, so we will see.

Provider beans (front) and Fresh Pick beans (rear)

This box has mustard Green Wave and chard in the bottom rows. The mustard is starting to grow very well now and shows very little damage from flea beetles. I am growing two kinds of chard. To the right are two chard Orange Fantasia surrounded Bright Lights. I swore off Bright Lights last year after two years of failure with it. I decided to try Orange Fantasia after seeing spectacular pictures of it grown by other gardeners. Only two transplants survived, however, so I filled in the space with some nicely grown Bright Light transplants I purchased.

The top row of the box has my newly emerged pickling cucumber Jackson Classic seedlings.All the cukes look healthy but they are just sitting there waiting for summer to arrive. Just above the mustard and chard are some of the pitiful broccoli seedlings I started in a coir-based planting mix (see here). So far they are just sitting there. I may pull them and plant something else.

Green Wave mustard and swiss chard

In the box below I have cucumber seedlings in the rows to left (Summer Dance) and right (Diva). They are doing fine but being shaded a bit by the plants in the center. The left center row is pac choi  Joi Choi from purchased transplants. I already trimmed the outermost stalks for a stir-fry but they just filled in the space. The right center row has endive at the top and escarole at the bottom. You can just make out some of the sickly transplants I got from using a coir-based starter mix.

Joi choi, escarole and endive

In the salad bed, the head lettuces are doing great with the cool, rainy weather but the mizuna is going to seed already. At the bottom left is leaf lettuce Black Seeded Simpson and with a mesclun mix on the right. Both are ready to start cutting.

Salad bed

This bed has peas at the top and beets, turnips and radishes in the bottom eight squares. For some reason, despite the cool weather, the radishes are not developing well. I pulled one French Breakfast and while it looked nice, it was pithy inside. No flowers yet on  the peas.

Peas (rear), beets, radishes and turnips

This is the first of my new 4x6 boxes, devoted to tomatoes and peppers. I have five tomatoes along the top row and three on the right side. You can see the string trellis I just put in. The corner square has marigolds and a morning glory to grow up the trellis poles. The rest of the box is filled with various peppers.

.Bed with tomatoes and peppers

The second 4x6 box has six tomatoes along the top row. The bottom two rows have eggplants. The smallest of the eggplants (my coir-stunted transplants) are on the right and covered with floating row cover to ward off the flea beetles. The four plants on the left were purchased plants and are big enough to hopefully survive the beetle onslaught with hand picking and some spraying. Fortunately all the cold, rainy weather suppressed beetle activity. But the plants have to be monitored closely now that the sun has returned for a few days.

Bed with tomatoes and eggplant under cover

This covered 3x6 box has broccoli and Brussels sprouts on the left. I did find one cabbage caterpillar on the front Brussels sprout even after they had been covered for a week or two. I guess it’s never too early to cover them. The four broccoli Blue Wind, an early variety, are already forming heads. You can barely make out my own two transplants in the front, started in coir.

Broccoli and Brussels sprouts

The right hand four squares of this box are planted with zucchini Dunja. It is supposed to be resistant to powdery mildew, which was a major problem last year. And I will hopefully get more fruit from it than from Raven last year.

Dunja zucchini seedlings

My second covered 3x6 bed will house two summer squash. Below are seedlings of squash patty pan Sunburst, a yellow patty pan squash with a green button on the bottom. It’s AAS, fairly resistant to mildew, and a good producer of very attractive fruit. Better yet, the fruit has a buttery texture and a delicious nutty taste.

Sunburst squash seedlings

The seedlings below were the last to emerge. This is zucchini Costata Romanesco, an Italian heirloom variety, so I suspect it likes its weather really warm. It has grey-green, heavily ribbed fruit that has a superior taste to hybrid zucchinis. I saw it in the kitchen garden at  Tower Hill Botanical Gardens last year where it was spectacular and I wanted to try it. So here we go.

Costata Romanesco seedlings emerging


  1. Everything is looking really good. Your squash sprouts look very happy and healthy. I just found my first pea bloom today. I've been planting squares of bush beans in place of bolted spring crops. So I may be a staggered harvest through the summer as well. We will see.

  2. GM, All we need now is a week of sunshine and our gardens will take off. This week's forecast certainly looks better than last week.


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