Fall Gardening planning

It’s end June and the summer garden season is not even really started for me, and yet I am thinking ahead to the coming fall and winter season. I want to do fall and winter gardening and I have to come to terms with the fact that we always have to be thinking about 2 to 3 months ahead of our current situation, sowing seeds and prepping now to meet future harvest expectations. Even though I tried fall vegetables last year, this is truly first full year of growing for me and I am learning as I proceed.   

Typical fall and winter crops for me will include Fenugreek, Turnip, carrots, Broccoli,  Brussels sprouts, cabbages, Swiss chard, lettuces and spinach.  Here’s base plan for me.

  Sowing date Days to mature Desired Maturity Date
Brussels Sprouts 15-Jun 150 30-Oct
Early cabbage 25-Jun 80 30-Sep
bunching onion 1-Jul 70 30-Sep
Dill 1-Jul 90 30-Sep
Kale 1-Jul 70 30-Sep
Peas 1-Jul 60 1-Sep
Turnip 1-Jul 90 30-Sep
Beets 10-Jul 80 30-Sep
Broccoli 10-Jul 110 30-Oct
Kohlrabi 10-Jul 80 30-Sep
Swiss Chard 10-Jul 80 30-Sep
Lettuce 15-Jul 45 30-Sep
Peas 15-Jul 60 15-Sep
Beets 20-Jul 90 30-Oct
Turnip 20-Jul 100 30-Oct
Spinach 1-Aug 55 30-Sep
bokchoy 10-Aug 60 10-Oct
Broccoli Raab 10-Aug 50 30-Sep
Lettuce 15-Aug 45 30-Oct
Mesclun Mix 15-Aug 45 30-Sep
Radish 15-Aug 40 30-Sep
Fenugreek 25-Aug 35 30-Sep
Mesclun Mix 1-Sep 50 20-Oct
Radish 1-Sep 40 15-Oct
Mesclun Mix 5-Sep 50 30-Oct
Fenugreek 10-Sep 35 15-Oct
Lettuce 10-Sep 50 30-Nov
Fenugreek 1-Oct 35 5-Nov
Fenugreek 10-Oct 30 15-Nov
       
Garlic (overwinter) overwinter   10-Oct
onion (overwinter) overwinter   1-Sep
Spinach (overwinter) overwinter   1-Sep
Broad Beans overwinter   10-Sep

Happy Gardening!

Weekly Update: Week 26, Welcome Summer

last entire week was cool and damp, few sun breaks made its way here and there but temps did not warm even to 70s. Although mild and cool, day length is increasing and it’s showing. Spinach has started to bolt, I pulled it out. I remained very busy at work and there was very little progress on gardening front.

Whoohoo… I spotted some red and wow – there it was, very first ripe raspberry. Me and girls ran out to backyard, plucked sweet, ripe raspberry and shared it by 3. Sorry, No photo 🙂 To record, very first raspberry of the year was on June 17th! I still got cherries, blueberries and strawberries in line, although critters are also waiting it to ripen. My biggest menace is crows, last year crows got away with half of my ripe rainier cherries, birds got blueberries and slugs loved strawberries.  I have big plans to deter crows this year, I am ready to fight…

Sown: More wax beans, Tacoma bush peas
Transplanted: transplanted Daikon to big container. Daikon needs loose soil of 8+ inches to grow I think container might be good idea. we’ll see. Also I planted out just one tiny Ichiban eggplant and one unknown tomato plant
Harvested: last of spring fenugreek was harvested along with salad mix (lettuce, spinach, Micro greens – mustard and beets)

Harvest Photos

Last of the Spinach, about an ounce. I used it in kids’s spaghetti.

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Brocolli Raab (Rapini) and Salad Mix
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Last of the spring sown Fenugreek, I am storing it for use in next 3-4 days.
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First day of Summer in Nation’s Icebox

It’s first day of summer and it hardly feels like it. Today’s facebook status update from my friend reads – “bundled up like in winter, too sad I already vacuum sealed all my winter gear”. Really? it is that cold and wet? Yes, yesterday we were 17 deg below normal temp. Yikes!!

According to Komonews.com’s weather blog -  We enter Day 279 since the last time we hit at least 75 degrees. Yes, we are yet to reach 75 here and looking at next 10 day’s forecast, it isn’t happening any sooner.  It is COLD and it is WET, VERY WET. How wet are we? put it all together, and in the 37 days since May 16th, it has rained on 34 of them, with our only dry days coming on May 24, June 5 and June 18. That is completely unheard of for this time of year. 

Okay, so doing some comparable analysis based on weatherman’s ideas: Checking weather in some typical cold spots around the globe –

Sammamish 53
Seattle 55
Calgary 63
Toronto 73
Halifax, Nova Scotia 70
Oslo 68
Yakutsk, Siberia 67 ( what ??)

so Siberia is warmer than us? Pacific Northwest summer can be either ‘tomato’ year or ‘cabbage’ year – No doubt we have declared this year as cabbage year but all I want this year is at least one ripe tomato 😦

(Writing this is  inspired by Komo’s weatherman blog – http://www.komonews.com/weather/blog )

Weekly Update: Methi and more…

Sun came out of hiding over the weekend, it warmed to low 70s and it felt so good. I am sure plants got a good dose of sunshine for 2 days and us too 🙂

Week was all about fenugreek, I began harvesting spring sown methi and everyday brought in loads of it. It is time consuming – picking, washing, separating leaves but well worth it.  Methi seeds were sown on 20th April, germinated on 26th and I harvested beginning 7th June = 47 days. Total I got 3.6 lbs from this sowing (yes, it’s a lot) – about 10 bunches.

Sown: None
Transplanted: Wax beans 
Harvested: Methi 3.6 lbs, Salad Mix – Lettuce, Spinach and beet greens 3 oz, first few broccoli raab 2 oz, tiny cherry belle radishes and few springs of green onion.
Consumed: Consuming 10 bunches is not that challenge in my household, we made methi thepela ( keeps good for 2 weeks), methi curry, daal methi.  Radishes and spring onions were made into salad with greens. Brocolli raab was used in bowtie pasta dish.

Harvest Photos:
Cherry Belle Radishes and spring onions. Cherry Belles are not top heavy, there’s very little foliage so I snipped it off. I was too impatient with Spring onions, pulled first few of the season.

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Left: Salad Mix – outer leaves of lettuce (black seeded simpson), Spinach (Olympia hybrid, ed hume seeds) and beet greens.
Right: Broccoli Raab or Rapini, delicious bitter pungent greens with tiny brocolli heads. I sauted these with olive oil and mixed with bowtie pasta dish. Good taste.

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and finally Methi weighing at 3.6 lbs or about 10 bunches!! I got 4 basketfulls (I’ll spare you with photos, all look the same). I still have more to be harvested from the same bed….

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  Happy Growing.

Garden Tour

We had record rainfall in last 2 days – 3 inches. Weatherman tells me that Saturday will bring sunshine, me and my plants really need some sun at this point. I ventured out in rain soaked garden and clicked some photos. everything is so soggy and drenched, I seriously think that water table level is reached at soil surface.  Here is latest in garden photos:

Happy Peas climbing up, first pea flowers appeared 2 days back. I did sow some more Tacoma Bush type peas 1 weeks back, yet to see germination. I think these are rotting in soggy soil. (See water puddles to right)

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Row of beans, we have 2 types – Blue lake Bush and Yard long (or asparagus beans or Chinese long beans). Blue lake bush are short bushy ones, yard long are pole beans. I am yet to set up support trellis for pole beans.
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Cherries: This year I am seeing some rust on leaves and fruits. Yet to find out why.DSC_0104

Row of radishes almost ready to harvest, these are cherry belle radishes. Very unusual as these are not top heavy, this type produces big root balls without much foliage.  DSC_0102  

Flowering Strawberry, I am dreaming sweet juicy berries with no slug holes 🙂

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Tomato starts: Few are tommy toes that I started with seed. These grew fast and then I mistake of putting them out without any cold protection. These remain stunted. Also I have been pinching ‘suckers’ from some of my store-bought tomato plants. I rooted these suckers hoping they’ll produce tomato plants.

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Black Beauty Zucchhini, butternut squah transplants in container. I’ll let them get little bigger before deciding their final spot. Seedlings have gotten mixed up, I don;t know which one’s which.

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Spinach and bunching onions

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Left: Row of beets, these are Detroit dark reds, usually take 80+ days to mature
Right: Unknown late cabbage variety and leaf lettuce

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Broccoli Raab/Rapini/Italian brocolli is almost ready for harvest.
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And finally sick looking tomato transplants, I cover them up during nights. Too much rain, excess water is bad for tomatoes. They were in bad spot with bad drainage before, almost 3 weeks of this never ending northwest rain tomatoes were looking so sick, almost dying. Yesterday I moved them to this bed. This is not the sunniest spot but at least these will live, I hope!

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Weekly Update: Week 24, first week of June

A mix week, good and bad – harvests are picking up, I am able to cook and eat from the yard. Weather is improving, after torrential rains and floods from first few days, sun came out on Thursday briefly. Weatherman promises good weather for next week – partly sunny with few showers – I’ll take that happily. On the sad part, I continue to have poor germination and slug damage. Just few days after Iron Phosphate based application, slugs are low. I still have to venture out at dusk with chopsticks and big rock to eliminate slugs.
Heavy rains earlier in the week washed away Basil and Tomato seedlings.  Cutworms ripped 2 yellow squash seedlings that I transplanted this week. Is it cutworms or stem boarers? I found both squash seedlings had 100% cuts and damage at the soil level. I’ll remember to take pictures next time. so now on, I’ll protect them with cut paper cups, next squash seedling batch is almost ready to be transplanted.
Also, few other seeds failed to germinate, washed away with rains or rotted in this soggy weather – Cilantro, Guar beans, Begonia flowers, lemon grass complete the list. Also sad to report that 3 bitter gourd transplants did not take cool weather and rains, they have wilted beyond resurrection.

Harvests are picking up, I picked something almost all days last week, that feels good. I made some good compost tea last week and fed all plants. Did second application of sluggo near strawberry bed, I have to get to slugs before they get to my strawberries. Strawberries are flowering and it’s just weeks before these June-bearing plants will start producing fruits.

Saturday brought sun, we had wonderful sunny day (mixed with some clouds) after 3-4 weeks, temps were in upper 60s and the sun felt wonderful. Day started off with Victory Garden Veggie swap, I managed to swap many of my seedlings and surplus seeds for some nice tomato, peppers and basil. Back home, I did weeding for good one hour, cleared overgrown bamboo, helped husband clean the pond, planted dahlia tubers and transplanted some of the acquired seedlings.

Sown: Second planting of yard long beans, Bitter gourd, Musclan Mix and Swiss chard. I am replacing everything that was destroyed during the week. Sown more cucumber, daikon and wax beans.
Transplanted: Red Swiss chard, lettuce, Italian softneck garlic, butternut squash, zucchini
Harvested: Chives 6 oz, Oregano 7 oz, Salad Mix – baby leaves of Lettuce, Spinach and beets
Consumed: All Chives were added to Beet-Peanut salad. I made Spaghetti on Thursday, added oregano into making sauce. Salad mix was used as lunch on Friday. 

Harvest Photos:
Salad Mix (Lettuce, Spinach) 4 Oz
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Lots of Oregano 7Oz
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Chives   6Oz
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and lastly, first crop of fenugreek from container 8 oz
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Happy Growing.

June Flowers

What’s blooming on this first week of June?

Top Row – Purple Chives flower and beautiful rhododendron 
Middle Row – unknown and
Mexican Orange or choisya
Middle row -  Japanese Snowball and orange geum Mrs. Bradshaw
Bottom Row – tomato flower and strawberry flower

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Weekly Update: Week 23, last week of May 2010

I am getting slimed, there are thousands of slugs in the garden, yikes. Where did they all come from? Last 4-5 days, I managed to get rid of (read: squish) at least 80-90 of them. Most of them are baby slugs, only about 6-7 were big size guys. It is said that for every 1 slug you get to, there are 20 more hiding. This foggy, moist, rainy weather is not ending and slugs are loving it, they are everywhere. Damage is seen everywhere – fenugreek, radish, bok choy, chard, spinach, marigold. I read that slugs eat food equal to their body volume everyday, this is insane, it is time to take an action. I got Sluggo – Iron phosphate based slug killer today. I’ll report back on results in few days.

Question for you readers – can I still eat food infested by slugs? what about slime? I see big spinach leaves with small holes caused by slugs, do you throw these or still eat after washing?

Okay, now moving to some gardening news. It is said that “When Bearded Iris starts to bloom then transplant eggplant, peppers”.  Alright, bearded Iris is in bloom but do I trust yet to plant out eggplant and peppers? NO, not yet.  Not that I don’t trust phenology but weather is not warm enough for peppers and eggplants. Last year, I planted out peppers too soon and these stayed stunted for good 2 months, when weather warmed up i   n August then peppers started putting on growth. I think I’ll rather pot up eggplants and peppers, nurture them inside for some more time. I did transplant 3 bitter melon outside on Friday, these are dying I think, they did not take transplant well, are wilting and look pale.

Sown: None
Transplanted: Green beans and Yard long beans, Yellow and green squash, my lonely butternut squash seedling and few bunching onions. 3 Bitter melon seedlings.
Harvested: Fenugreek, half pound. some of it was slug damaged, I had to carefully throw away damaged, (about half of total), and triple wash it to remove any slime (there was some slime).

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Happy Growing.