Late May Garden Update Part I
The garden has really taken offÂ after a week of hot, sunny weather, followed by lots of rain. (although, the cold nights and wind the past few days haven’t done us any favors).Â Volunteers have been able to start taking in a few baskets of organic produce to BCS, mostly radishes, mustard greens, lettuce, chives, tarragon and baby beets, bok choy, and kale.Â The teeny harvests thus far just begin to hint at the bounty of the coming months.
Between slug-picking and weeding and rain showers, we got a few pictures this morning – (above) The boys in the front yard behind Alderman Tall Telephone peas, mesclun mix lettuce, with more lettuce mix and Oregon Sugar Pod II peas in the background.
– the tomatoes are really taking a beating with the cold (40s and 50s) and hail and driving wind this week.Â We wrapped about half in plastic (and then ran out of plastic!) but can’t see that it is helping them out much – the hail damage is the worst.Â Â Surprisingly, the tomatillos don’t seem to mind the dreary weather as much and are growing nicely
Despite a little slug damage, the cardoons we planted back in February are coming along nicely – the largest are nearly two feet across already.Â (They were planted closely, because about 20% of the seed stock are infertile – they are smaller and weak and I keep thinning them out.Â The hassle of starting them from seed is well worth it – I only used half a pack (@ $2.45/pack), and have 8 strong seedlings, versus paying $7.49 each for large starts from the garden center.)
The Vulcan Red Chard is doing quite well – just a few more weeks until it will be able to be harvested in any quantity.
The mustard greens and bok choy bolted in last week’s heat, but the bolted stalks were fed to some very happy chickensÂ and in the gaps I have planted summer squash (a total of 6 in the front yard, and 19 in the back – a mix of crooknecks, zucchinis, and patti-pans).Â I may eventually need to thin them down, but a few are compact varieties, so we’re hoping they won’t get too crowded.
This is a Golden Hubbard seedling, coming up in the bed closest to the street.Â Winter squash are such a treasure – beautiful rambling vines all season, tasty blossoms to stuff with ricotta and deep-fry, and finally, vitamin-packed, long-shelf-life squash in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes to eat throughout the winter.Â (Since there is limited space, I have only put in my favorite eating squash – Buttercups, Butternuts, Hubbards, Delicata, except along one side-yard, near the house, where the gorgeous – if largely inedible – Rouge Vif D’Etampes has been planted for harvest decorations.)
For everything you could want to know about nearly every variety of winter and summer squash, I highly recommend Amy Goldman’s book, The Compleat Squash.
To keep the neighbors happy, I have planted misc. wildflowers, sunflowers, daisies, and about 50 dahlias in the front beds.Â Add to that those dozen winter squash (to trail out of the beds and along the path), bronze fennel and artichokes, and for good measure, a whole jumbo packet of nasturtium!Â If that doesn’t make for a pretty (but still mostly edible!) street-side bed, I don’t know what will!
(Eventually, the front bed will be mostly perennial flowers, currants, a dwarf plum, and a low fence with a grape arbor and a gate across the path, but it needed something to make it attractive this year, especially with so many folks in the neighborhood stopping by to ask what in the heck happened to our front yard!)
And with that, I’ll save the backyard and the chicken update for tomorrow!