I’m going to use today’s post to make good on a few things I’ve promised to follow up on as the season has progressed. But first, how ‘bout those radishes?
I’ve got three little areas spread across three beds where I’ve been planting these guys in succession. In the past I’ve not paid a lot of attention to radishes- some years didn’t even plant them. But I like them, and this year decided to “pay attention” and it’s paying off. Best looking radishes I’ve ever grown.
Cucumbers and the Trellis
We grow a pretty good crop of cukes and they don’t take up much space in the beds at all, because they’re encouraged to grow up, and not out. Most varieties can be coaxed to go vertical, I think. All I do is gently thread the vine through the hole in the chicken wire once it’s tall enough.
Once that’s been done for each plant, maybe twice each, the plants themselves take over and start attaching their tendrils to the wire and up they go! I’ll post more photos as the season progresses.
The Brassica Wars- Continued
I’ve related in other posts about the sad performance of the early plantings broccoli and cauliflower. This weekend saw all of the remaining Snow Crown cauliflower go limp, and expose small white heads. No choice left but to harvest the softball-sized heads and pull up the plants. It was obvious that the plants had suffered some type of root-development issue. While I was at it I pulled out the remaining four broccoli plants, and with one exception they also were having root issues. So, we’ll try, try again.
This is the broccoli bed. Once the plants were removed, I turned over the soil, and then added some new topsoil and some aged horse stall sweepings. Then I went back to the seeds for 2021 and found I had enough left to direct-seed the reclaimed bed. As there’s plenty of time until frost, I figured I’d give this a shot, as the seedlings aren’t nearly ready for transplant yet, and they’re slated to go into the onion beds once those are harvested.
As I’ve never direct-seeded broccoli before, I’m curious to see where this experiment leads. Perhaps we’ll have more broccoli than usual in the freezer this winter?
I did not reclaim the cauliflower bed yet, as the DePurple plants are still hanging on. Here’s a look at purple cauliflower:
We’ll probably harvest three or four heads within the next week or so, and then that bed will also be reclaimed and direct-seeded with last year’s seed.
Recurring Garden Chores
There really isn’t a lot to do with the garden once everything is planted and takes hold. Weeding, of course, but my experience is that the raised beds generate fewer weeds, and if addressed early, ongoing weeding takes very little time. I think that the manner that the beds are populated matters as well. There’s just not a lot of space for weeds to grow.
As for watering, we usually get enough moisture naturally around here. When I do water, it’s manually, and sparingly. I would guess that the garden gets watered by me maybe 7 or 8 times per month? The rest is rainfall.
Keeping the grass down in the garden area isn’t hard, either. A couple of times each month I get in there with the string trimmer and clean out around the beds, and once each week the ancient Toro push mower makes an appearance. Mowing around the beds takes about 15 minutes.
Once the plants are established, I let the soil, sun and water take care of feeding them. The only exception is about every two weeks I mix up a batch of 5-1-1 “Fish Fertilizer” and spray that on everything not actively being harvested.
Sometimes I’ll spray various plants with a Neem Oil dilution if they’re having pest problems, but as long as the plants are healthy and producing I typically leave them alone. I also treat the tomato plants with DiPel (bT) early, as I’ve experienced hornworms in years past and have no interest in seeing them again.
A word about the spray bottles: Mine are all several years old, some maybe more than ten years. I’ve found that keeping them clean is the key to not having to replace them each year. At the end of each season each bottle gets a thorough cleaning, to include pumping clean water through the hoses and nozzles before being put away for winter.
I think this catches up all of the things I promised to revisit. Undoubtedly there’ll be more as the year wears on. Thanks for stopping by!