My cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower have been huge disappointments this year. Between the 3, I have only 9 plants currently doing their brassica thing in my garden. I was expecting 8-10 plants of each, so there are some pretty big holes that needed to be filled. Over the long weekend I decided to fill those holes with what I knew would grow–more lettuce, beets, and chard. I’m going to give the brassicas another try this fall, but for now go with what works, right?
In other news, I got my trellises built and set up this weekend! I’m very pleased with how they turned out, even if the supplies were ridiculously more expensive than I expected.
At this point in the season the updates will start tapering off until I start harvesting anything beyond lettuce. I’m relieved that everything is in and have extremely high hopes for the garden this year!
I am happy to report that 98% of my garden is in the ground! I have a few pepper plants that need to grow just a wee bit more, and I need to find a place to fit a few more pumpkins, but everything else is in. And I am thrilled its almost over.
This has been the most relaxed planting season I’ve ever had. Not having a job means I can take my time–a few hours here, a few hours there–rather than trying to plant the entire thing in one weekend. Planting takes so much longer than I ever think it will.
Here’s a summary of what all has happened since our last Garden 2015 post:
– Celery was a bust. The seedlings didn’t make it, and nothing has come up from the seeds I planted directly. So, I planted carrots in my designated celery spots. I like carrots more than celery, anyway. I’m not bitter.
– Red onions were a bit of a bust. The seedlings didn’t make it, but (!!!) my amazing neighbor Mrs. C. gave me some of her red onion sets, so I should be good to go. Seriously, she gave me over 40 sets!
– Tomatoes were oddly successful! At least so far. Not all of my seedlings made it, but the ones that did are the best tomato starts I’ve ever had. I’m trying out the trench planting technique and am hoping for tomatoes up to my eyeballs. I really want to can some this year for winter eating.
– Cauliflower/ Broccoli/ Cabbage/ Kale: Oh brassicas, you taunt me so! With Portland’s cooler weather, you’d think these cool-loving plants would be a breeze. But they toy with me. Only 4 of my cauliflower seedlings are left, 6 of my broccoli, 3 cabbage, and 1 kale. I did plant kale directly though, and I just counted 6 kale seedlets in my bed, so I’m happy about that.
-Cucumbers/ Zucchini/ Butternut Squash: All but the butternut squash have poked their first leaves out of their soil mounds. Exciting stuff! I’m really hoping to get enough cucumbers to make several batches of pickles (both dill and bread and butter).
– Radishes/ Fava Beans/ Arugula: All going gangbusters. In fact, we’re going to be eating the arugula with dinner one night this week.
– Chard/ Lettuce/ Spinach/ Turnips: The chard is a little slow growing, but I’m finally seeing little seedlets popping up. The lettuce and turnips are growing strong ( I see lots of salad in our future), but the spinach is a little “meh”. Only a few plants to speak of out of the 2 full rows I planted.
I was able to thin out enough turnips to make a batch of turnip greens/ pumpkin seed pesto to put in the freezer. I love having stuff in the freezer I can base a meal around, and we eat pesto pretty regularly throughout the year. It’s nice to start reaping the benefits of a garden so early in the year.
The weather this spring has been unseasonably warm and dry for Portland, land of the perpetual drizzle. As such, this week officially begins my in-ground growing season for many of my plants. I’m going to hold off on planting my tomatoes and peppers, the nights are still a little cool for their delicate sensibilities, but starting this week I am slowly going to start getting my garden in the ground.
Four of my beds are already partially planted. This week I’m going to get my cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli starts in the ground and get some kale seeds planted as, for some reason, none of my kale starts made it. I’m still puzzled by this. Kale is usually super easy to start.
Once the brassicas are in, I’m going to run through my remaining seeds to see what will be hardy enough to withstand the cooler evening temps. My goal is to have everything in its proper place no later than May 2nd (except the tomatoes and peppers–I think I’m going to wait another week on those).
I’ve got a few garden tasks that I’ll need to take care of in the next few weeks, but the biggest is getting a trellis built for my fava beans. Their ruffly leaves are peeking out of the ground (Yay!) and I want to make sure I’ve got support in place before they get too tall.
I’m not quite ready to start the task of nightly watering, but the dry weather is forcing my hand, so I’m hoping to come up with a solution for that one as well. The garden is somewhat spread out over the eight beds, and I’m not certain an oscillating sprinkler will get it all in one full pass. Up until this point, I’ve always just gone out with a sprayer nozzle and given everything a good soaking. I’d like to be a little more hands off this year, as I could use that extra 20-30 minutes each evening. If you’ve got any ideas about this, I’m all ears. For the moment, a drip system isn’t feasible for us, but eventually that’s my goal!
Spring is always such a busy time around our yard. The lawn starts growing and before I know it it’s up to my knees, the blackberry vines start their take over, and as I weed my garden beds I find all the peanuts the squirrels buried in the fall.
This year has been no exception–seriously, I don’t know where those squirrels are finding all those peanuts!
My seedlings are growing quite nicely and overall I’d say my starts have been a success. My tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and cabbage are going strong and should be ready for planting at the end of April. The cauliflower and kale are a little more questionable, which is odd because I’ve never had any issues starting kale. Depending on how things shake out, I may plant a few extra seeds along side the starts just to hedge my growing bets next month. The celery on the other hand has been a complete and dismal failure. I planted 25 plants, got 3 “starts”, and those starts just disintegrated. I’m going to try direct sowing and hope for the best.
I did manage to get all but one garden bed weeded and composted last week, and the following seeds are safely in the ground: Turnips, beets, fava beans, radishes, arugula, carrots, lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach. I also covered the beds with chicken wire to keep the squirrels, birds, raccoons, and cats (ew) away.
I’ll continue to update as things start coming up!