I’ve been really busy gardening these days, pulling stuff out, feeding the soil and planting new things. I got two “new to me” tomato plants at my garden club plant sale: Heirlooms, Moskovich and Black Cherry tomato. My tomato garden is now complete for the year. Five plants for two people!
Earlier this year I talked about carrots being a crop I was focusing on for 2013. My summer 2012 crop was acceptable, but I wanted better carrots. That is not what I have so far.
Does anyone grow Meridia carrots (from Terretorial Seeds) overwinter? The package says 240 days, overwintering Nates type, rich orange, 7-8 inches long, 1- 1 1/2 inches diameter. I planted them September 24, 2012 right after I did a quick till of the area. I decided to dig some today and was surprised they are not very orange or very big. I still have another row in the ground. Perhaps they need more time, what do you think is going on here?
I am happy that I grow much better roses than carrots!
Do you have burning questions about this superfood? I enjoy growing and cooking kale so this post will share some resources you may not have found on kale.
Kale saladis a staple at our house. It took a while for my husband to like kale and even now I mix a mild buttercrunch lettuce with kale when I make salad for him.
Massaged kale is an interesting technique that I have seen demonstrated then tasted the salad. Literally massaging the kale takes some of the toughness out of mature kale leaves. The big problem with this was the demonstrator’s hands turned green! Be forewarned and wear gloves to do this.
EatingWell Magazine is my main “go to source” for kale recipe ideas. I have tried their soups and have been very pleased.
Real Simple is my other favorite website for recipes. I love the magazine but I am not brave enough to to add kale to my smoothies.
To me smoothies are strawberries, peaches and yogurt, not green!
This photo shows my kale growing with swiss chard and broccoli. I took off the Remay fabric insect barrier to show the plants clearly.
The daylight is getting longer here and everything is waking up. It still rains more often than not, but that does not mean everyone gets rain all day, every day. Just part of the day! The weather forecast goes from 90% chance to some sun breaks. How many places in the US get a forecast of some sun breaks? Overly optimistic most days. But the grass is green and needs to be cut, if it ever drys out enough.
Peas are germinating
Carrots are seeded under cover.
Meyer Lemons in greenhouse are looking good!
I bought a Japanese stone lantern for the
The local Master Gardeners say to “Plant your peas by President’s Day” and they have not lead me down the wrong path yet! But this year I decided to try different varieties and actually make two plantings, two weeks apart. I love planting (and eating) sugar snap peas. They are the beginning of the gardening season for me.
I wrote the plan in January, then bought the seeds and inoculant and waited. Last week I tilled the area. I know tilling gets a bad rap in some parts of the country because of its tendency to disturb the soil structure and microorganisms but in the Pacific Northwest the winter rain compacts the soil, even in raised beds. So I covered the area with a tarp on rainy days and let is dry out on sunny days. Then tilled. Three days before planting I soaked the peas in labeled containers and rinsed the peas once a day. I lightly raked in some bone meal and alfalfa pellets for quick nutrition. Today I drained them and sprinkled on the inoculant before planting.
My dry, home made compost covered the peas. Then I watered with my Authentic Haven Brand Moo Poo Tea. Life is good!
Since I started too many tomato seedlings in 2012, I decided to see what would happen if I put a couple of left over seedlings in the bed inside my greenhouse. My first concern was that they might not get pollinated. My other concerns were fungal disease and the size of the indeterminate varieties. All these things did happen, but not before a good harvest that lasted until November. The warm days and cool nights and fungal problems, eventually did make me realize that it was time to end the tomato harvest.
I really had no idea about the concept of cover crops when I lived in the Mid-west. But out here in the Pacific Northwest one organic practice that was highly recommended to me is cover cropping after the fall harvest. Once the rainy season begins, soil gets compacted and many nutrients, such as nitrogen get washed out of the soil. The idea is to not leave bare ground during the rainy season. Roots keep air spaces and when you dig the plants into the ground a few weeks before you want to plant again, the nutrients return to your garden.
This is oneovernight example of rainfall: 2 1/4 inches! January 7, 2013.
My crimson clover was scattered around the empty spaces and around a few remaining veggies. I have this bed scheduled to be turned over March 1st.
Have you seen the glossy photos showing non-traditional colored carrots? They look cool. But reviews I have read say they are not as sweet as the traditional orange carrots and that after you peel some of them, they are not the same color on the inside. If you have any experience with them, please add comments below.
I have always grown carrots in rows but it seems that the germination is not uniform in the my rows, so this year I am going to choose a space and broadcast seeds. It is important to not grow carrots, or any veggie plant in exactly the same place in the garden every year. Rotating the location keeps pests away and and will keep you from depleting nutrients in your garden. But I am getting ahead of myself here.
Before planting I will add 2 to 4 inches of organic matter such as bagged Cedar Grove compost that we can purchase here from Seattle. I will till this in after the last hard frost when the soil is at least 55* My soil in Western WA will need a light tilling because it gets very compacted due to all the rain we get during winter. Do not be tempted to over apply high nitrogen fertilizer or rich animal manure. This causes hairy, forked roots!
I am going to broadcast the seeds rather than plant in rows this year and cover with 1/8″ to 3/8″ soil. Then water and cover with a Remay fabric to keep the insects away.
Six weeks after planting, top dress with more compost. This is important to keep the carrots from getting the green shoulders at the point where the carrot top meets the orange carrot. Harvest when the carrot root diameter is 3/4 “.
Garlic and carrots.
I hope to get many, many carrots like the ones I harvested in 2012. The plan is to direct seed more carrots every three weeks to have a continuous supply. Never enough carrots in my garden.
I am really getting into this year round gardening concept and producing as much food as possible in 2013. One of the things I never had enough of last season was carrots and we love them. So my goal is to become an excellent carrot producer and I started with research, which is quite a natural thing for a librarian to do. Several articles kept giving me the types of carrots, but not what they are best used for so I dug deeper (pun intended) until I found the types and recommended uses for each type. BINGO! That is what I need to know to decide which varieties of seeds to purchase. Seeds of Change gives the following recommendations:
Fresh eating: Nates or Chantenay type carrots.
Cooking, soups or stew: Danvers type
Storage: Scarlet Keeper or Red Core Chantenay
Commercial: not as sweet as others: Imperator types
Last September I found a package of ‘Meridia’ carrot seeds, a Nates type carrot, from Territorial Seeds that claim to be a type to winter over then continue to grow in the spring. As you can see in the photo below, they are looking promising. I think they need thinning but look very healthy.
Planted in September 2012
Next post I will share some cultural information I have gathered. I think I missed a few of the steps for success in 2012
The new garden in a new climate brought lots of planting choices that were new to me! Kale and Swiss Chard are new to our diet and the not very adventurous spouse will now eat both in various raw or cooked forms, but not several times a week; I have to space it out. That in itself is an accomplishment! I was getting pretty sick of steamed broccoli which seems to be a 12 month harvest here. So here are some of my best veggies of 2012.