Friday, February 7, 2014

What's Happening in the Garden

VegHeadz Garden - Survived the freeze
A survey of the VegHeadz demonstration garden reflects that many of our vegetables survived the hard freeze just fine.  Collards, carrots, beets, chard, turnips, mustard, radishes, parsnips, various types of onions and garlic, Brussels sprouts, Sorrel, Sage, Parsley, Oregano, Lavender, Rosemary . . . . .  I'm sure I've forgotten a few.

Yakina Savoy Tat Soi (forgot to get a picture) is thriving.  They look like a greener and more open version of the baby bok choi you sometimes see at the grocery store.

Parsley, Sorrel, Sage
Brussels Sprouts
The Brussels sprouts are beginning to bud with little sprouts all down the stems.  To help them along, we cut off the rosette of leaves at the top of the plant and trimmed the bottom leaves from among the sprouts.  This left just a halo of leaves around the top to nourish the maturing plant.  The more abundant air exposure should help ward off fungus and mold which in our area tends to ruin the sprouts in wet weather.                                                                                                                          
We experimented with landscape cloth for mulch in this row last Fall.  We hilled the dirt up just a little on each side of the row, and covered the area with the landscape cloth. Then we cut slits where we wanted to insert seedlings.  It worked well.  Weeds were eliminated, water was collected in the center of the row and penetrated the fabric, sunny days warmed the plant roots, and bugs and diseases seemed reduced in these rows.  It seemed to work better than rows we mulched with straw.  However, the straw is adding nutrients to the soil, while the landscape cloth does not.

We also cut back the old dead asparagus stalks in preparation for new shoots which will be showing up early in the growing season.  This will be the third Spring for the asparagus bed so we plan to harvest one-third to one-half of the shoots this year, leaving the rest to mature and nourish the roots.

Trenches have been prepared for planting potatoes.  English peas will be in adjoining rows.  These rows were planted with a cover croup of rye grass and clover mixed which thrived throughout the winter.  The cover crop was chopped down in place and will be left to decompose and supply nitrogen and other nutrients.  Some of it will be incorporated into the soil as the potatoes are planted.  

Trenches ready for Red Pontiac potatoes

This week we thinned carrots, radishes, one parsnip and one turnip.  It's great to have such young, sweet, tender vegetables at your fingertips.  These are the ones you pay extra for at the store - so enjoy, larger isn't always better.
Thinnings - So good to munch, roast, or add to a salad!

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