Monthly Archives: January 2012

Carrot Sprouts

These little sprouts were planted over a month and a half ago. Carrots seem to take quite a while to get established. They have really taken off the past few weeks. Carrots are supposed to be a 60 day crop – obviously that is under ideal conditions. I don’t have ideal conditions where I live – it is usually too hot to grow these cool weather favorites unless I try to grow them during our coldest days of December thru February when we alternate between barely freezing and almost 70 degree days. Very erratic temps.

carrot sprouts

I am planning to reseed the bare spots and seed the other half of the raised bed. All carrots should be harvested before the really hot, miserable weather gets here – that would be about April.

If you look closely, you might be able to recognize little cos lettuce sprouts all over and in the walk way. I let many heads of lettuce go to seed this past spring and the seeds are everywhere. The onions are last year’s that were left after the harvest. If onions aren’t harvested before the hot weather sets in, they lose their greens and hide out in the dirt until the cooler weather of the fall gets here.

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I planted spinach over a month ago, some 2 months ago. We have had some very cold days, but I really expected my spinach to be further along. For the first almost month after sprouting, the plants barely hung on. Within the past few weeks I can see them visibly growing larger.

This tiny spinach plant has to be at least 6 weeks old. I don’t think I noted the plant date in my garden notebook. (I really need to keep better records.)

Sinach sprout

These little guys (or girls) are all over the rows where I seeded them. As spring gets nearer, they should grow faster. I need to get busy planting more seeds in the next few weeks. I will have to plant them in between where I think I will be setting pepper and squash plants.

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Fava Beans

My big plot of Fava beans froze out during our unusually cold ‘global warming’ winter last year. This year I decided to grow them in the greenhouse. I planted mostly Broad Windsor, with a dozen Aqua-something-or-other at the other end of the growing row.

They took a week or so to sprout, but once they did, they took off. These sprouts are about 2 weeks old. I expect the plants to top out at about 3 to 4 feet and hopefully be full of pods. They have very large pods that grow upward from the branch junctions.

Fava beans in the green house

In between the 2 patches of Fava beans, I planted Green Arrow peas. The seeds were 2 seasons old. I did store the seeds in a dark can, but not in the refrigerator. Today, I soaked about a hundred more peas for a few hours then replanted them in this open space. Hopefully within 2 weeks I will see their little sprouts.

Replanting non sprouting peas in between fava beans in greenhouse

I will plant many more peas outside in the next few weeks. I have an area about 16 feet by 5 feet that I need to turn over and get the peas in. After the pea harvest, which should be within 75 to 90 days from the time I plant them, that space will be planted in a 60 day bush bean, probably a wax bean.

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Most of the Broccoli Has Been Harvested

This fall, I planted less than a dozen broccoli plants. I just didn’t start enough seed, or start it early enough.

This lovely plant has a beautiful head ready to be harvested. I usually grow heirloom varieties, these are Waltham, and I suspect that is the reason that the heads are looser than those sold in grocery stores.

Full broccoli head

Three of these 4 plants have already had their main head harvested.

harvested broccoli

If you look closely at the cut stems of this broccoli, you will see smaller heads. I am hoping they grow larger and worthy to be harvested.

little broccoli heads forming around harvested stump

Broccoli is a nice winter garden crop, but again, never compost cabbage family plants or tomatoes. These plants will be tossed on the burn pile when they are pulled up. There is too much risk of the several root diseases these cabbage family plants can have.

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Turnip Seedlings All Over The Place

I let several purple top turnips go to seed last year. I got at least 4 ounces, a quarter cup, of seeds – not counting the seeds that pop and land all over the place.

This being said, this fall I generously scattered turnip seeds all over empty areas of the garden. I did this near the end of last year. It took the seedlings a while to establish. They are finally taking off.

Turnip seedlings

And some more:

More Turnip seedlings

I suppose I should thin some of them. I will eat my turnip root/bulb, but I refuse to eat the greens – that is asking too much. Besides, the compost pile wants them. The greens must taste good, however, because they are full of bug holes and none of those weeds ever have any bug damage.

I like to toss a few cut up turnips in my garden vegetable soup. I have also boiled and mashed turnips. Not bad at all. In fact, they are really good when served with pride of growing them yourself!!

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Cabbage Update

For my first new post on my new WordPress blog, I’ll show a current – today – pic of some of the cabbage plants that I am so excited about – the ones that my last ‘old’ post was about.

As of today, the end of January, these cabbages are finally forming heads.

January cabbage update

Hope I’m not boring you with so many status update shots of my cabbage, but I am so excited about them. If I had a large enough garden, I would plant a 100 foot row of cabbages. Last year they totally froze out, but this winter has been so mild so far, but February is always the coldest month.

It doesn’t look like I will be making that hoop house – that I had mentioned in an earlier post – this year. Doesn’t look like it will be necessary.

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Cabbages – Possibly My Favorite Winter Vegetable Crop

Originally published December 2011

I love growing cabbages.  I learned to like cabbage because I like to grow it.  I use it mainly in my stir fry in the summer and in my garden vegetable soup in the winter.  I have had good results in storing winter cabbage thru early summer.  Wrap it in newspaper and store in the refrigerator.

I start my cabbage seedlings while it is still blistering hot in August.  I then have quite a time trying to keep them cool and yet in plenty of sun. 

Here are pics of my just planted seedlings, after growing for about a month, and current pics with the heads starting to form.

When planting my seedlings, I scoop the hole, put about a tablespoon of both garden lime and bone meal in the hole before I place the seedling.  The bone meal seems to help the roots and the plants perk up and start to grow quickly and I hope the lime wards off the root diseases that cabbages suffer from.  These substances are what is in those containers you see in the left side of this pic.

cabbage seedlings

Cabbages after maybe a month of planting the seedlings.  This is an evening picture.

cabbages are growing   right along

Current picture – taken in the morning after a good freeze the night before.  These are red cabbages.  The leaves always look a bit floppy after a freeze – see leaves at top of the pic.

red   cabbage

I’m hoping that these Early Dutch cabbages will form their 2-3 pound heads before year end.  I need to plant my spring cabbages by February, meaning that these plants need to be matured and out of the way.  I only have a tiny garden space, so I have to constantly recycle the growing area.  No room to leave dormant.  If only I had an acre for my garden….blueberries…blackberries….fruit trees….nut trees…..grains….perennials such as kiwi….actually enough space for all of the bean varieties I have and want to plant….herb garden….and so on…….dream on…….

cabbages closeup

In this pic below, see the bug holes in the middle leaves?  The plants grew fine for a while, then I noticed lots of small holes in the middle of the leaves – this means worms.  The leaves were infected with tiny, green 1/4″ worms.  I rubbed and squashed the ones I could find, then I sprayed the leaves with BT – an organic worm killer.  This solved the problem.  Notice that the newer growth does not have worm holes.  The red cabbages were not affected and not all of the green cabbage were affected either.


It is getting close to time to start my cabbage seedlings for this coming spring.  I prefer to only plant ‘early’ cabbage in the spring.  I do this because I want the heads to mature before the hot weather sets in.  Cabbages prefer cool, moist growing conditions – not hot, dry conditions.  Also, spring plantings are very much more subject to worms and aphids.  It is truly amazing, but I had several stunted looking cabbages this past spring – the stunted cabbages were covered with aphids, but the normal, health looking cabbage plants were NOT attacked by aphids.  I truly do believe that pests
zero in on weak plants and are lest apt to attack healthy plants.

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Originally published December 2011

Broccoli is always better out of the garden.  Here are 4 of my broccoli plants.  I started them from seed.  These are Waltham broccoli.

I may need to cover them if this winter gets as cold as last winter, so they don’t freeze before the heads form.  I am considering putting up a hoop cover on one of my long beds to to keep the cabbage and broccoli from freezing – if it gets unusually cold in January and February, like it did last year and kill out my plants.

four broccoli   plants

Worms don’t seem to attach broccoli like they do cabbages and turnips.

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The Garlic Was Planted In September

Originally published December 2011

September is garlic planting time around here.  A soft neck silver skin is the type to plant here.  This bed is mostly the largest cloves from last year’s heirloom harvest, with some large silver skin grocery store bought cloves mixed in.

the garlic bed in December

Although it is hard to see, this bed is slightly raised and planted inside of a steel-edged bed. Garlic and onions are very interesting plants. They are hard to kill and easy to sprout. Just take some large cloves (garlic down sizes – meaning that it tends to grow smaller than the cloves planted – so only plant your largest cloves each year), and stick them in the ground during the proper planting time in your area, and they will sprout and grow. Similar to the red spider lillies that have sprouted up around the yard. They are also part of the garlic/onion family and you can did up and divide their garlic like roots. Just when you think that you killed the spider lillies, they will sprout up in the fall, even if they don’t have enough food left in the bulb to flower – they will put out green leaves.

These garlic should be ready to harvest in May or early June.

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