Tag Archives: Radishes

Beans , Beans Good for Your Heart…

Bean Trellis

Bean Trellis

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.

Bush Beans

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.

Garden in late June


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.

Garden Flowers

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.

Balcony Garden

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.


Slug - Arion rufus
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)

Moving into Summer

My vacation to the Cincinnati area early last month reminded me of a couple of the reasons I don’t want to live there.  The heat and humidity have become harder to endure the older I get.  It was only the second week in May and high 80s with high humidity was too much.  Thankfully it only lasted a couple of days while we were there but once Summer hits, temps any lower than the 80s will be the exception.  Summer here on the other hand, is mild and bright.  Great for growing what would be a Spring only crop all Summer long but not so great for tomatoes in the garden spot, as evidenced by last year’s attempt.   Lush plants with many green tomoatoes but not enough heat to ensure they would ripen.  I suppose I could have attempted some black plastic to heat the soil but I’ll stick with container tomatoes this year.  The single container plant on the balcony performed beautifully for me last year.

Impatience got the better of me.. I purchased a zucchini start. Yeah, I have those three cells in the mango package but they weren’t up yet and as before, I was tired of seeing the empty space. I’ll either find a spot for the three soon to be seedlings or give some or all a way once they are ready to go. I am refusing to do the same thing with the cukes. The variety I planted is a container variety that will take up little space unlike the starts I found at the garden center. Impatience aside, I do have my limits.

Suckers on Overwintered Broccoli
Suckers on Overwintered Broccoli

The two suckers of the overwintered broccoli are getting big. When the baby broccoli harvest starts I’ll cut the mother plant back and allow the suckers to do their thing. I have this fantasy of a perennial broccoli.

I spent some time researching lettuce that should do well here in the Summer. It seems the oak leaf varieties are supposed to do ok. I stopped by the local garden center and picked up some seed to try. A few went onto a moist then rolled paper towel. Once in a Ziplock bag, I placed it onto the cool floor of the garage on Thursday. The temps outside had been too warm to germinate lettuce and I thought this would work. It did and much faster than I anticipated it would. By this morning it had already sprouted to the point of it being nearly impossible to remove from the paper towel without breaking the fragile roots. I managed to salvage enough for three cells and direct seeded three more with another slow to bolt type. I’ll have to get the names of the varieties and edit this post.

The radishes and pole beans I planted together are coming up nicely. Looks like I may actually have to thin the beans. Yeah.

When I harvested a couple of heads of Red Sails lettuce a couple of weeks ago I used a knife to cut the plant off at ground level, leaving the base of the plant in the ground rather than pulling the entire plant and cutting the head off. When I went to water today I noticed that both plants have suckers coming up around the stumps. I gave them some fertilizer before watering. I’ll leave these and see what they do, if anything.

About that Broccoli-Raab

Once again I did something I tend to do a lot.  Purchase plants or seed for something I’ve never eaten and give it precious space in the garden.  I swear I am not going to do it and year after year I just can’t resist trying something new.  This wasn’t a real problem in KY as space was not an issue.  When trying to garden in a 10’x20′ space however, every square foot is precious.  I did it with several items this year.  The perennial kale has already died so that isn’t an issue.  Currently the broccoli x can’t_remember_what is going strong as is the broccoli-raab.  When I saw the seeds in the catalog I thought, great, another broccoli (which we tend to eat a lot of) and ordered a packet of seed.  They were the first to bolt while still in the container on the porch.  At that point I had to make a decision.  If we were going to have this broccoli-raab I would have to buy transplants.  Fast forward to now and the eight (yes eight) transplants that went in the ground about five weeks ago are ready to harvest.  Oh my, talk about strong.  I know I have gene that tastes some veggies as bitter but this stuff is killer raw.  It does cook into a still bitter but edible veggie when I add vinegar to mask the bitterness.  When the baby broccoli harvest begins the b-raab will be pulled.  Add one to the ‘not growing again’ list.

I finally planted the Nigella in the spinach spot today.  Also, my first radishes, more overwinterd broccoli, lettuce and spinach were harvested.  Thank goodness for a friend who agreed to take some off of my hands.  Still learning about the amount each veggie needed.  The yields of some things are so much greater here.

May’s Lessons Learned:  1. One can only eat so much spinach and lettuce.  For the love of God stagger the lettuce plantings.  2. When trying out a new plant try one or two, not eight. 3. When planting radishes don’t plant them between rows of something that will overshadow them.


I don’t know if it was started too early or if it was the days getting longer fast this time of year or both but the Pak Choy has bolted. Anita said the same thing happened to her last year. It was pulled today. Guess I’ll plant some broccoli transplants in that spot this weekend.

2015-04-30 19.10.13Had my first big harvest of the first planting of spinach. The lettuce is ready to harvest some leaves and the second planting is in desperate need of thinning, another weekend project. The perennial kale is on the way out. It looks like a root issue, perhaps some maggots. A couple of cauliflower are showing the same wilting symptoms and will be removed in the net day or so. The carrots, beets and some flowers (can’t remember what they were right now) and peas are up and looking good. The dill is coming along nicely as are the radishes. All in all it looks great.

A New Garden in the PNW

I had lived on Bainbridge Island, WA for about 3 months when I started looking around for a community garden spot. I love growing things and living in a condo severely limited my ability to garden. One can only fit so many pots on a balcony before it is either full or you or the people you live with start to complain. Though I had grown up in central CA, I learned most of what I know about gardening in the Midwest. Hot and humid Summers were the norm and watering was a must most years. I would have to relearn gardening here in the PNW. The climate was practically the exact opposite from where I had moved from. The pests I was used to dealing with were, for the most part, not an issue here.

Rock Farm, Bainbridge Island, WA
Rock Farm, Bainbridge Island, WA

After digging up some contact info for local community garden spots on the island, I sent out half a dozen or so emails in mid March of 2014. I had several responses offering to put me on a waiting list. Just when it started to look like any gardening I would be doing was on the condo’s tiny balcony, Anita of Rock Farm emailed me back to say that a spot or two was available at Rock Farm. Things were looking up.

A New Garden Spot - Rock Farm, Bainbridge Island, WA
A New Garden Spot – Rock Farm, Bainbridge Island, WA

I drove over to survey the garden plots and learn a little bit about Rock Farm, Anita and Phil Rockefeller’s gift to the community. An unbelievable amount of time, sweat and money have gone into providing a garden space for islanders that need one and providing food to the local food banks. When the economy tanked a few years back they wanted to do something to help local families and decided to devote some of their land to a community garden. They have built a beautiful garden with 12′ high deer fencing, wooden sides to contain the soil, running water, tables, a shaded spot to sit and enjoy the scenery and an herb garden for all. Each garden spot that is rented comes with an additional row that gardeners tend for the food bank. Anita orchestrates the planting and harvesting of the food bank rows so that the produce is staggered and arrives in a timely manner.

First Planting - Broccoli, Kale and Swiss Chard
First Planting – Broccoli, Kale and Swiss Chard

Fast forward a couple weeks after that first meeting and I was planting kale (Toscano and Red Russian), broccoli, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, peas, beets and radishes in my 10’x20′ garden spot.

Still Hanging On

We’ve had lots of lows in the teens and days in the 20s-30s. Today it actually got into the low 50s for the first time since late November. I re-covered the cold frame lids yesterday as the way I did it the first time didn’t allow water to run off very easily and the weight of the water and ice tended to stretch the plastic which added to the drainage problem. If the drainage problem persists I’ll look into into some poly or acrylic sheets for next year if the added weight won’t be too much for the automatic opener. Of course I picked the first windy day I could find to do this so I came out of it looking like I had been mudwrestling.

Through all of the cold (and snow) the greens in the cold frame are battered but still kicking. The green onions aren’t looking very good. A few are still alive but they may have just been planted too late. The chives are still green but not great looking, the sorrel is still ok. The frame has no added heat source and some burn is evident on some of the lettuce. The radishes are looking kind of sad, not sure they will recover. I’ve not tried tasting any of it lately. I don’t know if the extended stay at such a small size will affect the taste. I have heard that there is a chance that if it lives through the winter the lettuce will be prone to rapid bolting once spring temps arrive. Time will tell.

Greens! Greens! Look At Them Greens!

Last night we were the recipients of some freezing rain. This morning everything was covered with a layer of ice. Fortunately not enough to cause any local damage that I am aware of. Being that I am not a big fan of the cold I didn’t make it outside while the ice was still thick. By the time I got out to the cold frame to take this picture much of it had melted with our 30F high today. I did try to get a picture of what remained but the battery on the camera gave out as I was trying to frame the shot. Oh well I am sure it won’t be the last ice we see this winter.

The greens are a mixture of several lettuces, spinach, radishes and several other salad greens. That is sorrel and some chives near the bottom of the picture. I scattered a mix of different seeds with the plant to thin (and eat) what was left after the radishes were gone. I really didn’t expect to see anything but brown dead things in there after the 10F night we had the other night. Looks like I may be on to something.

Still No Killing Frost

One morning a few weeks ago there was a touch of frost on the car windows yet the plants are still holding with peppers, raspberries and what is left of the tomatoes still on the vine. Our average frost date was a little over 2 weeks ago and they are calling for a high near 70 today. I am starting to wonder if Thanksgiving will be too early to plant the garlic and shallots this year.

I’ve pulled the first round of radishes for the as of yet unneeded cold frame. The trick is not letting it overheat with only one autovent installed.

October – Endings and New Beginnings


While the rest of the garden is coming to a close the cold frame is just getting started. We are still probably 2-3 weeks away from our first frost but the garden plants are winding down as the days shorten and the nights cool off. Everything I planted in the cold frame a couple of weeks ago is up and growing strong. I dug up the other side, incorporating a little manure/humus mix into the soil today. I will probably plant some more radishes and spinach in there this afternoon or tomorrow. In a week or two I should have some good sized lettuce transplants from the basement. I still need to build the lights (lids).

These green onions may or may not do anything going in this late but as with everything else I never know till I try.

I read that the sweet potatoes are to be dug just prior to the first frost. I’ve never grown them and if we even get a couple of sweet potatoes off each of the 30 plants I planted that will be more than enough for us for the winter.

Persimmon, fenugreek, borage, viola, bee balm, cosmos.

The lettuce and radishes are coming up but nothing from the spinach, peas or beets yet. (6/7 the peas never made a showing)

It didn’t freeze, only got in the mid 30s as far as I can tell.

Started some old seed in half a leek float tray. Fugie Persimmon, Fenugreek, Lemon Bergamot, Viola and Borage.
(6/7 still nothing from the persimmon, everything else is up and doing fine)

Purchased some “Candy Stripe” Cosmos and Summer Savory from the Health Food Store in Florence. Both were broadcast in a small container, moist soil and plastic wrapped. This and the float tray went on the back porch

by: kerry