Isn’t this pretty – the beginnings of garden salsa.
The problem is that, thanks to Dow Agriscience’s total lack of stewardship and concern for home gardeners. The peppers are mostly store bought – thanks to Dow, very, very few of my peppers survived long enough to produce a single pepper. Also thanks to Dow, the tomatoes are not going to be garden tomatoes because Dow’s wonderful herbicide destroyed my tomatoes before they had a chance. Add to the financial loss that Dow has caused me, I have to purchase new heirloom pepper seeds because all of my plants are defective.
I am going to have to put Dow in the same category as evil Monsanto.
Finally, the squash and cucumbers are starting to come in.
The round zucchini is a hybrid 8 Ball. I think that the 2 zucchini on the left side are Elite Hybrid – I picked the small one a few days too early. The pepper is a sweet banana and the 3 cucumbers are either Twilley Tasty Green hybrid or Japanese Long Heriloom –
I am picking the onions that I find. I waited too long and some of the tops have already dried up. If I miss some onions, they will re-sprout in the fall. Some of these onions are from sets that I bought at a big box store and some are from seeds that I started at the first of the year – see an earlier post – I didn’t bother making note of which are which.
This shot shows all 6 long beds – 3 are straight in front. To the left is my new garden shed. The area around the shed in in the process of being developed. I plan to plant about 4 more blueberry plants and many wild black berry bushes in the area this side of the white shed.
This front bed has hot peppers on the left side of the raised cattle panel and summer squash on the right side. Directly under the panel, winter squash is growing. This bed has Waltham Butternut. You can see onions hanging over the edges. Earlier this year I planted onions around the edges of most of the beds. I have bark and shredded wood chips as ground cover between my raised beds to discourage weeds.
I plant marigolds all over the place – in the edges of the raised beds and in small pots placed all over. If I didn’t have so many seedlings drying out and dying this spring, I would have many more pots of marigolds all over. This bed has summer squash (yellow and zucchini) on both sides of the cattle panel. Early Winter Butternut squash is growing under the panel and will grow up the panel. I grow my winter squash vines up the cattle panels. I planted a couple of peppers at the ends of these beds. This bed has Dwarf Kale going to seed. I didn’t particularly like this smaller leafed kale, but I so enjoy Brassicaceae plants going to seed. I am using bamboo poles to hold the kale plants out of the way so that the squash planted around them have plenty of sun and space to grow.
The bed at the top left has summer squash this year. Last year it was my pepper bed. I try my best – with my limited space – to rotate crops each year. The bed at the top right – the one with my winter tent hoops still up, has a batch of Autum King carrots at the front corner. I need to pick most of them soon. A few of them are already going to seed. I am also letting a couple of these Slo Bolt leaf lettuce plants go to seed. I have the time because this is going to be my Basil bed this year (love that pesto) – but my basil seedlings are not all ready. Some are already in, as are some peppers. The swiss chard at the back of this bed will all be harvested and dried when my latest batch of basil seedlings are ready to go into this bed. At the top left are some large pots with tomatoes, mentioned in another post. Between the beds are bark and wood mulch, in the beds is leaf mulch. I mulch all bare dirt.
The onion seedlings are growing fine. I’m not sure how I will handle them. I’m thinking I might let them grow where they are for a few more weeks or so – unless they look like they are getting to long. I might then transplant them into the garden. The onion sets that I buy from stores seem durable – but those little plants are larger than I imagine these seedlings will be. I plan to eventually plant them around the garden and leave them until they – hopefully – bulb this spring and mature.
I had always read that onion seeds (along with corn), are short lived, that they are viable only for about a year. So, I cleaned out my old seeds and planted most of some old packs. I planted all of a pack of Victory Seed Company, White Sweet Spanish, packed for 2009, Red Burgundy, also from Victory Seed and dated 2009. Also some Violet De Galmi from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, packed for 2010 and some Red Creole Onion also from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and packed for 2010. It looks like at least half of the seeds germinated. Awesome! (I keep my seeds in the refrigerator).
Onions go to seed their second year. If these seedlings grow to full bulbed onions this spring, I plan to leave some of the nicer, larger onions on ONE variety to go to seed. Onions will cross, so only one variety can be allowed to go to seed each year. I will let these seedlings grow to maybe 3 or 4 inches, then transplant them to larger pots and let them grow for a while until I plant them. Maybe . . . I need to just roll with things and see how the seedlings grow and how severe our winter is. It would be best – in a mild winter – to get them into the ground before the end of the year. If the winter is too severe, I may shelter the seedlings and wait until very early next year and plant them in the ground. In either event, onions don’t bulb out until the days reach 12 hours in length in the spring.
I have prepared two of my raised beds for hoop gardens. I plan to do this for my 3rd bed that doesn’t have a raised cattle panel running down the middle of it.
The beds are made out of 16′ lengths of 1×6 treated lumber. The boxes are 5′ wide. I purchased four 20′ sections of 3/8″ rebar and had one of my sons cut them into 2′ sections. I decided to put 7 hoops on each 16′ bed. I pounded the 2′ sections of rebar 1′ into the ground, leaving 1′ above ground – the height of the bed side. I used 10′ sections of gray electrical conduit to bend over the bed for the arch. Each end of the conduit covers the raised 1′ section. Hopefully this will be satisfactory to anchor the pressured ends of the conduit. I plan to tie a piece of the gray conduit along the top of the arch to keep the pipes properly spaced. I will then cover the arches with clear plastic. I need to find a thick 50′ roll of plastic. Twenty-five feet will cover each bed with enough to gather at the ends. I need a roll that is at least 12′ wide so that it will cover the 10′ arch and leave at least a foot to lay on the ground and be weighed down by old garden timbers or lengths of wood.
I still need to work the ground around these beds – putting mulch around the beds.
The winters here have been getting colder each year for a while now, so I am hoping these covered hoop beds will allow me to grow winter crops better. On the list for my winter crops are: cabbage, broccoli, spinach, lettuce – both leaf and cos, turnips, carrots, fava beans, peas and whatever else I can’t think of at the moment. Garlic doesn’t need to be protected from the freezes.
Time to see if this Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage is ready to eat:
Sliced it open, it is not filled out as I would have liked or expected – the head did feel pretty firm when I squeezed it before harvest.
This tiny cabbage still made a very good stir fry, with an entire onion and garden garlic thrown in. I always like to use some sesame seed oil when stir frying – it has such a nice smoky way about it. We added Kikoman stir fry sauce and served it on La Choy chow mein noodles. (It was half eaten when I remembered to take a pic – Blog life!) This may not be the best pic, but the stuff was very good. It is the first time I stir fried only cabbage, but only because all of the other goodies like squash and peppers aren’t done yet, or even planted for that matter.
I sprouted a few cauliflower plants and planted them in the location of this plant – I think this is cauliflower. The shape of the tiny head is more like cauliflower than broccoli. If it is, the head won’t be blanched – it is probably too late to tie the leaves over the head, covering it up. It will mature as green cauliflower. I recall planting a few cauliflower seedlings, but they were smaller than the broccoli sprouts. These plants grow differently than broccoli plants – these leaf branches grow upwards and create a sort of funnel down to the head.
Notice that along the sides of the beds I plant onions. I grow onions along the outside edges of my beds. I didn’t start many onion seeds, thus I need to buy onion sets, quickly. Time to get them in the ground! Around here, we have to have our onions planted in late January, or at least by now, mid-February. Onions need to be harvested before the hot weather of late spring – that means they need to be pulled in May. Otherwise, the leaves die off when it gets hot. Then, in the fall when cooler weather gets here, the lost bulbs re-sprout. Very cute seeing all of the rejuvenated onions come back to life.
The Chinese Long Red beans aren’t ready – they haven’t even produced any of those cute little pods yet, but I have everything else I need to enjoy a garden dinner.
First into the stir fry pan goes the onions – both yellow and red – and the peppers – today we have Purple Beauty (which turn a rich olive green when cooked), Jimmy Nardelo and banana peppers. I use Sesame seed oil to start frying with.
Then add garden cabbage, a cocozella zuke, 2 lemon squash and Kikoman stir fry sauce, cook some more and you get this:
The only thing that could have made it better was if those wonderful Long Red beans were ready. I have found, over the last few years, that garden stir-fry in the summer and garden veggie soup in the winter is a good way to get kids who think they don’t like veggies to gobble up vegetables.
Today I picked my first Cocozella zuke, Grey zuke, some Amish Paste tomatoes, some Lemon squash, a still-green Jimmy pepper, a couple of still-yellow Tequila sunrise peppers, a banana pepper and some onions.