My day started up with a meeting at Bay Hay & Feed after church to collect a head of Inchelium I had acquired through a FB garden group. It was a fairly small head but I think this variety does tend to be on the small side. Inchelium is a soft neck local (to WA state) variety that is said to be mild enough to be eaten raw. We shall see about that. It was one I had been looking for to add to the mix this year.
Garlic occupies much time in the garden. It was only a few months ago I was harvesting and here I am planting again. I may regret all of the space I am giving to this one veggie (or is it an herb?) next year but for now I am feeling good about it. I ended up forgetting the head of Music the fellow gardener shared with me. I’ll end up putting that one in early next month. For now I have two short (4-5′) rows each of Turkish Giant (hard neck, beautifully purple striped huge heads), Inchelium (softneck mild a long keeper), Lorz Italian (an artichoke type of hard neck garlic), Silver White (softneck, another long keeper with huge heads). I also planted 9 of the largest potato onions from the recent harvest.
As for greens, I planted a mixed salad greens packet (Gourmet Blend) from Ed Hume and some Bloomsdale Longstanding spinach.
Today saw the bulk of the cleanup for this year. The zucchini and cucumbers came out as did one of the two half rows of carrots and the hybrid kale+whoknowswhat I planted this Spring. That was a disappointment. The leaves were a bit too thick for my taste and the flavor wasn’t great.
I ended up leaving a a few kale as this will be the last year I’ll be able to grow them. I also left the Helda beans as they have slowed dramatically but are still putting out beans. I stopped by the farmer’s market to pickup another head of garlic. Was hoping for Inchelium but found a huge head of Lorz Italian I’ll try this year. The green onions are doing great. I had started another batch about a month ago and those are very small but doing well too. They may end up going under cover later.
During cleanup I found a lone little lettuce seedling with about four leaves. I transplanted him to an empty spot where I had buried some refuse a few weeks back.
I didn’t take a pic of the garden after cleanup as it isn’t quite done. Instead I’ll add a sunrise pic I took on the morning commute.
Lessons Learned: 1. Just because a seed pack says great for containers doesn’t mean it won’t get large. Not sure the size of container they had in mind for those cukes. 2. Planting 3 zucchini plants in a hill for 2 people is too much. Go with 2 next time. 3. Carrots should probably be grown under cover here.
September came and went without much going on garden wise. The temps cooled and the rains made a regular showing. Fred kept creeping along to the point of needing his own zip code. Helda kept putting out beans like crazy, more clubroot was found in the broccoli planted this spring and the zucchini kept getting larger and larger as the number of visits per week declined. One a positive note, large zucchini can be treated like eggplant (bake the slices instead of frying them) and made into a wonderful zucchini parmesan.
The milder temps were not soon enough for the spinach tho. It all bolted and ended up being dug into the garden to help enrich the soil. That is new for me. Typically garden refuse would go into the compost pile. This year I made trenches and dug it back into the garden. Everything went in except the brassicas (clubroot) and anything with seeds like the few large cucumbers I ended up missing over the summer. The lettuce I planted at about the same time also bolted. I cut it off at the ground level to see if there would be any chance of getting anything decent once the temps cooled. Doubtful but worth a try.
All of the three fig cuttings I started last Spring have figlets and are about a foot tall. I started with a bag of dormant 6″ long cuttings from the Brown Turkey and Petite Nigra container plants a dear friend adopted. Looking at these I’m thinking they are all BT. This is fine as I do prefer their flavor over PN.
The second round of carrots I planted ended up with little holes through most of them. A root maggot of some kind. Need to research that one. I’m thinking a floating row cover would be a good idea next time.
The Iditarod tomatoes took forever to start producing but once they did were pretty consistant and had a good flavor. The Celebrities were gone at about the time they started so we have had a good run of tomatoes from the two plants on the balcony.
The horseradish I planted in a clay pot and buried is HUGE. While I did have a horseradish plant I had never harvested any of it so that will be new for me. I know it is one whose ability to regrow from the smallest piece of root left behind. For this reason it was planted in a clay pot and buried. It remains to be seen whether or not that will work. There is, after all, a drainage hole at the bottom.
Lessons learned: 1. Wait to plant spinach and lettuce for fall. Mid July was much too early.
Every year I promise myself to keep better records than the year before and every year’s end I look back and realize I was nowhere near as consistent as I had hoped. Not sure when I planted the lettuce in the pic but it does look good.
So far I am 1 for 2 with the late spinach. The Oriental Giant is showing signs of bolting but the Palco is looking good. The days are still warm but not as crazy warm as they were earlier.
The bad news is Fred has a case of the powdery mildew. More bad for how he looks than anything. The good news is Fred has been joined by Ethel. The couple have completely taken over the walkway between the two 50′ (I think) long beds.
I saw one of these little guys last year on the broccoli in my Helpline row across the garden. They must like the cabbage worms or perhaps the few aphids I see occasionally.
Anita is trying to beat back clubroot. According to the prevailing wisdom solarization can help to take the numbers of spores down. Hope it works. I’m going to miss brassicas.
The temps are still pretty warm in the garden. Even riding out every evening to water finds the young beets wilted by the time I get there. The soil just gets to warm and dries out too quickly. Remembering how well the kale branches worked to keep the soil cool for the carrots I planted last month, I headed to the lumber yard. My plan was to go through their scrap bin looking for just the right boards to protect the young beets. At some point this Summer I had tried to start another row of beets. Between the heat and the drought, only a few remain. Today I seeded some Crosby’s Egyptian beets and Scarlet Bandit bunching onions in addition to the Bull’s Blood (great name) Beet starts I picked up at the Bainbridge Gardens. I ended up finding some scrap boards but not enough for what i needed. I purchased and extra 1x4x12 and had it cut in 2′ lengths. I placed a board on either side of the seedlings and crossed my fingers.
The Heldas are coming on strong. I ended up roasting some of the last batch, tossing in olive oil and sprinkling some Herb’N All seasoning. They were wonderful but hardly made a dent in what was in the fridge. No room left for this bag of beans so I think I’ll end up sharing these.
The blueberry patch is next to my garden plot. A volunteer pumpkin took up residence there and has spread to cover quite a large area. Only one large pumpkin is attached to the monstrosity. I’ve named him Fred. Fred is larger than than my foot and shows no sign of slowing down his growth. Hope he doesn’t shade the blueberries.
This isn’t my corn but I did plant it during one of my help sessions. It is a sweet corn whose name I cannot remember. Phil isn’t a short man, I’m guessing at least 6′ tall. This corn is about 2 Phils high.
The spinach I planted last month is going strong. Hoping it doesn’t end up bolting with these temps.
Lessons Learned: Boards and small branches do make a good cover to keep the soil cool and moist during hot and dry times.
The garlic spent about a week in the garden after harvest. When it looked like it was going to rain I brought it home and laid it out on newspaper on the balcony. We have a rather large overhang and it worked well to keep the bulbs dry, allowing them to finish curing. I ended up with about 7 or 8 bulbs of hardnecked Turkish Giant. I didn’t realize it when I planted these but only the hard necked varieites of garlic have the flower tops. They are great cooked and purred in a milk based soup. A soft garliky flavor not to strong but very hearty.
I decided to pull the onions. They didn’t seem to be getting any larger and the leaves were starting to die back just a bit. I started out with 6, a pretty good haul. I’ll save the largest of these to plant this Fall.
On the 20th I planted two types of spinach Oriental Giant Japanese Spinach and Palco Hybrid. It is probably too early to plant fall spinach but, not knowing what the weather will do I decided to give it a shot. If we get an early cool fall it will be great. If the heat continues I’ll have a lot of bolted spinach.
Last year and this year a nasturtium has volunteered in my plot. The leaves can get as large as saucers though they seem a bit smaller this year. Perhaps it is early or perhaps they are in need of some fertlizer. When I was taking this photo I didn’t have my glasses on. I saw the bee but didn’t see the spider till I looked at the photo later. Looking at later photos the bee seems to have made her escape unscathed.
The first harvest of the Helda Pole bean. I am amazed at how tender they are even when they are long. I tried one raw and I am not nearly as fond of it as I am the topcrops. They do cook up nicely though. They are advertized as only requiring 60 days to mature. Fairly quick for pole beans. I haven’t done the match so I don’t know how accurate that is in my garden. I do like the convenience of the pole bean and the little bit of real estate the vines occupy. Harvest is easy, the long beans are easy to see.
Today was all about harvest. There were several zucchini, enough beets for a couple of meals, all of the yellow potato (aka multiplier) onions, lettuce and two types of beans (topcrop bush beans and of course the helda pole beans). While I was filling my containers it had slipped my mind that my mode of transportation was my new electric bike. It wasn’t till I was overloaded that it hit me. I was afraid I was going to have to make a second trip to get everything home but I was able, with some creating packing, to get it all home in one load. Leaves flapping in the wind.
I’ve been eyeing a rather large plot of garlic being grown by one of my fellow gardeners at Rock Farm. He seemed to know what he was doing so I was taking my cues from him. I came in this weekend and saw that he had harvested his garlic. I had read to harvest when half of the leaves have started to die back but mine wasn’t to that point yet so I was really unsure if they were ready. I ended up asking him to look at my plot and he felt they would be ready to harvest. I pulled a couple and was very pleased with what I found. Nice big heads of beautiful garlic. Only one head was split open and past its prime. I am so glad I didn’t wait.
Very early in the season I had planted some Nigella and Dill together. BIG mistake. Their leaves are so similar it would be easy to mistake the nigella for the dill. Not sure if it is poisonous but thankfully I didn’t harvest any. I had thought it odd that my dill seemed to die off and then come back. I guess the nigella waited to come up till after the dill was all but gone. Still, I won’t make that mistake again. I love their beautiful flowers and hope to save some seeds from this batch.
July has been fairly warm so far. I’ve been at the garden watering EVERY day. Trying to get carrots to sprout in this heat is an exercise in futility. They just lie there and laugh. Wanting to keep the soil shaded and cool I decided to try to cover them loosely with some kale branches from the overwintering kale I recently removed to make way for some cucumbers. I can water through the branches but the soil should stay cooler than the surrounding soil and help with germination. At least that is the idea.
I tried growing tomatoes in the garden last year but while I got a lot of green tomatoes, there just didn’t seem to be enough heat or sun. My plot is in a far corner that doesnt’ get late afternoon sun. I also tried a container tomato on the balcony last summer and that seemed to do really well. I’ve opted to do the same this year. I have one Celebrity and one I’ve never tried. A dwarf indeterminate called Iditerod. The Celebrity, as expected, will have the first tomato. Makes my mouth water just looking at the photo.
One of the garden protectors hanging out on a zucchini leaf. Hello little lady.
Lessons Learned: NEVER mix plants with similar looking leaves if one is edible and one is not.