Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vegetable Garden Update

White Icicle Radishes

Today the temperature here was in the nineties. Surely this signifies the end of my fresh spring greens. I have been so grateful to have them these last couple months, not just for the joy of harvesting, and eating them, but because their growth makes me feel like we are doing something right. When I'm feeling overwhelmed with all I haven't done, seeing those beds with everything doing so well all on it's own is like a whisper of encouragement... "Look what can be achieved Shannon if you just jump in. A little work upfront can have a tremendous payout....breathe deep, and cut your self a fresh salad!" Spring crops are good like that. Plunk some seeds down in the ground, and in no time you've got big leafy plants. Sure you may have to feed them once or twice, (we didn't), or water them a bit, but if you start early enough spring crops can offer great reward for far less effort than you'd think. Matt and I (heavy on the Matt, light on the Shannon) started our vegetable garden the first of March this year. Honestly, we were still a bit behind, February is good for lots of things when you have cold frames. This past fall we hadn't planted anything, but cover crops in most beds so Matt tilled those in, set up the cold frames he had made to fit over our raised beds and direct seeded a variety of cool season crops.
Of the two covered beds we sowed three rows of swiss chard divided by rows of arugula, and Mesclun salad mix. In another we have rows of radishes that we succession sow as we harvest. Rows of butterhead lettuce, red romaine, and spinach grow together in this same 4x 8' bed. The right back bed has mustard greens, onions, horseradish, dill, and parsley, origionally started under frost fabric.
Gradually the days and nights got warmer, and longer and we were able to remove the bed covers, and then the plastic from the sides of our screened beds. Trying to get as much out of the space as we can I often plant things very close together, knowing that one will be harvested just as the other is getting started. Radishes like a lot of room to form, but shown below is a container with a red bell pepper plant, and radishes growing all around it. This is pushing things, but I'm trying it for fun. This works great with lettuces and such which have less roots. The radishes, which need a little thinning, will hopefully grow before the pepper's roots move in.

The peppers, are growing, and the Blue Lake bush beans I sowed between the heads of red romaine have grown to a respectable 6-8" height. The high heat of this week has meant that the last couple of mornings have been spent hurriedly harvesting, and cleaning greens before work. I will be sad to see these tender greens go, although I do look forward to those beans. The red romaine is gone, as of yesterday, giving those beans all the room they need. One butternut squash is already starting to take over the arugula patch which is just fine as the arugula, along with most everything else in these beds, is already trying to bolt, or is has long gone to flower. I am eagerly waiting for that first tomato to be ripe., but I'll miss the pleasure of wandering through my spring garden, and feeling the sense of possibilities it gives. .

No comments:

Post a Comment