This has been an odd year for beans, at least in my garden. The first planting of pole beans evaporated into the ether. Planting number 2 just sat there during our extended cool spring weather. They have started growing now but are so far behind other bean plantings at Rock Farm I’m feeling a tad bit jealous. This past weekend they were finally tall enough for me to string the trellis. Last year I used some netting that I purchased. It worked well enough but at the end of the season trying to salvage it was an exercise in futility. I ended up cutting it out of the dead vines and pitching it. Not wanting to waste money this year I opted to do the same thing I did with the peas, wrap jute around an upper and lower cross bar, which seems to be working wonderfully in the pea row. I already had the three vertical poles in the ground, a sturdy bamboo pole flanked by 2 t-bar posts. I used two 1″ pvc elbows and a t to attach two bamboo poles across the top, end to end. I ended up driving a short piece of rebar into the end of one and pounding the other onto it. Its pretty sturdy and has works as a single unit all last year and looks just fine for this year. Not wanting to buy anything else, I tied two remaining 6′ t-posts to the bottom of the three vertical posts about 2″ off of the ground. I wrapped jute around the top and bottom posts at about 6″ intervals. Should work fine and will be so much easier to deal with come fall.
In other bean news, 1 row Contender, 2 rows Topcrop & 1 row Roma II went in after the garlic, arugula and lettuce came out. The garlic wasn’t as large this year, possibly due to the extended cool spring even though the number of days in the ground was the same as last year. Last spring seemed a lot warmer. The tops were dying back and I needed the space so out they went. The Inchelium was spectacularly unimpressive. Half of them didn’t make it to spring and the other half were very small. I know they are typically smaller but these seemed reeeally small. The Lorz Italian had respectable sized heads and all made it through the winter. I have no experience with either of these varieties so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Silverwhite and Turkish Giant, were a decent size but smaller than last year save one or two heads most, if not all made it through.
Speaking of lettuce, I finally emptied the bed of Renee’s cutting lettuce blend. Can’t remember the exact name right now but it lasted much long than I thought it would. Even as the stems were elongating to form seed the lettuce wasn’t bitter. I ended up removing a lovage transplant that was taking up way too much room. I also beat back the arugula and reclaimed the area for a row of the beans.
The potatoes are taking over the county. I’m really hoping there are actual potatoes under all of that green. I ended up having to run some stakes and jute to corral them, they were headed for the neighboring plot. I ended up having to snip back a couple of stems as the beets were complaining.
The ‘Persian Carpet’ zinnias are blooming and I clipped a few for the little multi-holed ceramic vase we picked up from a pottery shop during a recent trip to Orcas Is. The reds, yellows and oranges against the blue of the vase is striking. The dahlia’s I planted in the garden next to the potatoes are going to bloom any day now.
The parsley was sending up a flower stalk so it was time to harvest. My haul was pretty respectable given that it was growing in a 6″ clay pot. The oregano was staring to outgrow its clay pot so I cut it back too. It is on my replant list. I cut back a lemon verbena a week or two ago. I had read that lemon verbena can be used to make a lemony pesto. WRONG! While it is physically possible to do so, the result was nothing that I would ever eat voluntarily. Now I just have to decide whether or not I want to take up previous real estate and keep the plant or let it go. I’m leaning toward the latter.
In the spirit of spiffying up the balcony, I attempted to transplant one of the volunteer nasturtiums from the garden into one of the long planters that sit on the railing. It had been filled with pansies but they were looking pretty sad. The transplanting was a baaad idea. I ended up having to take so much off of the top to compensate for the pitiful roots that I was left with a bunch of empty stems. The good news is that it does seem to be sending out new shoots at some of the leaf nodes so all is not lost.
I ran across an ‘Arion rufus’ or Red Slug under the nasturtiums. This one isn’t native and is quite destructive in the garden. I found the darker Arion a couple of times in the past but this was the first time I’ve seen one this color. Googling it was at first unclear if this was actually a red form of ‘Arion ater’ but further reading led me to believe it was more likely A. rufus. In either case its time in the garden is past.
- Beets – Red Baron Dutch (6/20)
- Chard (ongoing)
- Garlic (6/21 thru 6/25)
- Lettuce (6/25 final)
- Kale (ongoing)
- Oregano (ongoing)
- Parsley (6/25 final)
- Snow Peas (ongoing)
- Zinnias (6/25)
- Beets – Cylindrical (6/25)
- Beans, Bush – Contender, Roma II & Topcrop (6/25)