Sunday, May 15, 2016

Garden Season- May 2016

This year my garden season is having a bit of a slow start.  Typically i would have all of my summer garden seeds in the ground by now, however with my green house i have so much already started that i'm not in a real hurry to put my plants out.  My beans are already a foot tall, and cucumbers and squash are way ahead of schedule. So when i do finally plant the garden, i'm expecting it to like an instant garden that just popped up over night.  :)  

My spring garden was doing great, then we had some crazy hail come down a couple weeks ago. We were not even home at the time, but it did a lot of damage in the garden. Much of the lettuce/spinach was shredded and smashed. My sugar snap peas were all broken and all the new broccoli and cauliflower plants i had just put in were destroyed. i did have a few broccoli plants under a cover that were undamaged, but most of them had to be pulled.   

 So i had to replant much of the spring plants.  The damaged lettuce leaves died off, but new leaves sprouted and it's finally starting to fill back in a bit.  This is my spring salad garden. i have leaf lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, onions, garlic and purple orach planted here. i also have asparagus, carrots, radishes and beets planted in the raised beds.  Sugar snaps and cucumbers coming up on the fences, and broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower all the way to the right. 

My packman broccoli is under the row cover and is doing fabulous. i also had planted Fractal broccoli, purple broccoli, purple cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli.  These are plants that were damaged. i do have more in the green house to put out, but they are smaller and i'm not sure we'll have enough coooler days for them to be happy. Once it starts getting warm, the cold crops tend to start bolting. 

i love growing a spring mix of lettuces. This year i planted, Ruby Red, Red Salad bowl, Oak leaf, Spotted Aleppo (harvested from Monticello),

One of the few green oak leaf that wasn't damaged by the hail. i had to reseed this row, so most of the plants are just coming up. The bed should have been full of plants ready for harvest. 

The broccoli plants are looking good.  They are forming nice sized heads this year instead of buttoning again like they did last year. i have a row cover on them, and so far they are worm free!!

Purple orach in a new favorite i planted for the first time last year. It's sometimes called purple spinach, as it tastes similar and can be used in the same way.   It's a beautiful plant and adds a  lovely splash of purple to any salad.  We eat a lot of spinach, but spinach prefer the cool temps and tends to bolt if it gets too warm so i started looking for spinach alternatives. Orach and Red Malabar spinach can both be used in the same ways that spinach can, and they can tolerate heat much better.  The red malabar spinach actually thrives in hot conditions.  

i haven't been in a huge hurry to get my garden in this year. i have almost everything already started in the greenhouse, so i feel like my garden is planted, just not in the ground. Tonight we have a low of 36, and today is our average frost free day. So this week i'll think about getting my plants actually planted in the ground. The greenhouse has been fantastic. It's been such a help having place to start my seeds and they grow so quickly in there.  

We did soil tests this year, and added quite a few amendments to the soil. So i'm really feeling very optimistic about it this year. With the added nutrients, i hoping to see healthier plants and less disease.   i'm planning to keep a few tomatoes in the greenhouse all summer to see if i avoid early blight and Septoria lead spot, which was especially bad last year. i just need to learn to regulate the temperature a little better so my tomatoes are able to pollinate. This year the greenhouse tomatoes will be a bit of an experiment, so if they fail to produce tomatoes i'm not going to be that bummed. 

So far i've been harvesting salad greens and asparagus.  Broccoli will be ready to harvest soon. My radishes bolted again, but i replanted and am hoping they'll do better this time around. i think i left them in the greenhouse too long.  It's all going to be a learning experience for sure.  i'm excited about it though, and very optimistic. 


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