May 2013 Week 2: It’s hot

Last week was Hot and it’s May in PNW. It’s unbelievable.

I have spent about a decade here and my memory of May is cold, soggy, foggy, sluggy garden. It’s far from that right now. Temps are teasing 80s and did I mention it’s HOT? I am as confused as weather, should I be planting out tomatoes yet? should I seed beans and squash? There’s always fear of temps going back to 50s but will it?

I am spending way more time outdoors – walking, hiking and not so much in garden. There are plentiful harvests though.

I harvested this bunch of sorrel and used with pasta, turned out too lemony for my taste.

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Sorrel

Plants are on fast pace with good dose of warmth and sunshine. On Thursday, harvested big bunches of Sorrel, shared with neighbors. Also harvested overwintered beets & greens, as well big bunch of chard. I made Chard + beets bhaji, made into 2 portions and froze one for later use

 

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Top row: Sorrel in both buckets
Bottom row, from left: Chard bunch and overwintered beets

Here’s what sown this week:
Peppers: Banana, hot peppers, sweet peppers, saved seeds from Indian round peppers, Takis Sweet, early Jalapeno

What’s harvested last week?
Rainbow Chard – 1 bunch – made into Bhaji
Beets & Greens – 1 bunch – made into Bhaji
Sorrel – 2 bunches – shared with neighbors

Happy Gardening!

 

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March 2013 Week 3: Update

Spring is transitional time here in my garden, from harvesting/cleaning out over-wintered crops to sowing/transplanting new things. Beets, Chard, cabbage, broccoli are having to make way for greens, radishes, fenugreek, carrots and more beets. The whole circle begins again…

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Weather is finicky, it was frosty and snowy couple days back and now back to upper 50s and sunshine for few days. This photo is how Seattle looks like – from top of Columbia tower 79 floors this past Sunday.

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I didn’t get much time to sow as planned, just gathered few pots and cell flats to sow bunching onion and lettuce. It is kept indoors till it sprouts and needs thinning.

Not much to report from the garden, cabbage is going to seed soon so it needs to come out. Broccoli is too exhausted and probably done side-shooting.

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I harvested cupful of broccoli shoots, I am thankful for the harvest so far. Broccoli will be out this week.

 

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Also cleaned up overwintered beets. I ended up with 1 bunch of beets and greens – added onion-tomatoes/garlic/garam masala to make fragrant colorful beets curry.

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I foresee lot of clean-up, sowing, transplanting happening next week. Traditionally Potatoes are planted on St Patrick’s Day. Keeping up with the tradition, I plan on planting Red potatoes that have sprouted next week (still 2 weeks late).

Here’s what sown this week:
Bunching Onion – Evergreen White bunching (Ed Hume Seeds)
Lettuce – Butter crunch (Livingston seeds)
What’s growing:
Broccoli (over wintered) , Chard (transplanted) , Sorrel (perennial) , cabbage (over wintered)
chives (perennial) ,Peas ,Garlic greens, bunching onion, lettuce
What’s harvested last week?
Broccoli side shoots – about a cupful
Beets and greens – 1 bunch – made into nice curry.

Summer Garden Tour

Tour of Fenugreek Love’s garden, this is how garden looks in early August.

Below is BED 1, growing from left to right – Lettuce, Turnips, last of bunching onions, French Breakfast Radish, Marigolds, baby Beets and Swiss ChardDSC_0016

Below is Bed 2, towards back are 4 tomato plants which are recovered from yellowing due to constant rain. I am growing tomato varieties – Celebrity, Tumbling Tom, Lemon Boy and Early Girl. All are store bought plants.  Towards the front are 3 Zucchini plants.

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Container garden: Ornamentals, Muncher Cucumbers, Golden Oregano, Marigolds, Cosmos, Chicks&Hens,  Beaverlodge Tomato and 1 Ichiban Eggplant. 

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BED 3: This sits in partly sunny space. From back to Front: Blue Lake bush beans – 2 types, 1 Jalapeno, 1 sweet pepper and few bell pepper plants. Front row is Cabbage. There’s also one tomato plant hiding somewhere – Kimberly.

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Bed 4 is completely dedicated to fenugreek, I do succession planting and harvest here. Right now, I have planted Dill and fenugreek in back part (still yet to germinate), front methi is ready to harvest.

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Below is my pea patch. Not much action here, it is completely under-utilized (well, I think that for every other bed too). Tacoma bush peas, few pole peas and trailing cucumber vines are planted here.

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November harvest

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Few of beets, Icicle radishes, last Zuk and few peas. Beets were seeded in July, Icicle radishes on 5th Sep. Peas have been great success so far, I have been picking 5-6 every other day for last couple months, I have 8 vines that are producing snap peas heavily. They apparently are liking this cool weather and have not slowed down like all other plants.

Beets are ready

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Purple/Red beet heads are peeking out of ground and ready to be harvested. These were started from seeds on 20th June , transplanted in a month and ready by 5th October. That’s 100 days till harvest. Not all of them are ready yet, some are still in ground, not sure if this depends on amount of sun or water they are getting.

Notes added later: I went back and checked seed packet information, these are – Detroit Dark Red. Packet says 60 days till harvest. (?, it’s almost 100 days now…)

I am finding that Vegetables in my backyard are typically taking plenty more or less time to mature than what’s on seed packet, it just varies. Peas and cucumbers were earlier than maturity days on packet. Peas (50 days, maturity days listed on seed packet – 70 days) and cucumbers (muncher, 45 days, maturity days on packet 62 days) . On the other hand, butternut squash listed as 90 days, I seeded those on 1st June, it’s 130 days today and all I have is tiny tiny green fruit that may never ripe. I think I just have to go by what works for me, make a journal of success/failure from this year.

 

Update – Fall Planting Gamble

Fall sown seeds have germinated and nice seedlings are bracing chilly temperatures in night. Although days are unusually sunny and nicer, our nights are down to 45F now. We did get down to 40F last night. Not sure when the first frost is expected. Lot of local weather stations suggest frost does not occur until October 22nd but it can differ by couple weeks depending on particular location. I am up on plateau and not shaded by trees etc. I’ll start keeping track of frost here on this blog.

Here’s update on fall planting:

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Beets (Top, above brick): Beet seedlings have emerged. seeds planted 15th Aug, 75 days, expected maturity 10 Nov

Fenugreek (bottom, below brick, barely visible, day 5 in ground) : seedlings just starting to form. Seeds in 5 Sept, 30 days, expected maturity 5 Oct

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Fenugreek (bottom, day 15 in ground) : edible greens forming. Seeds in 5 Sept, 30 days, expected maturity 5 Oct

Brussels Sprouts (Top left corner in background): no sprouts forming yet. 3 July, 120 days, expected maturity 3 Nov

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Radish, cherry belle: ready to harvest soon. lost many to slugs, poor soil. 20 Aug, 27 days, expected maturity 20 Sept

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Carrots: seedlings. 15 Aug Aug, 90 days, expected maturity 15 Nov

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Radish, Icicle: will be ready to harvest soon. 15 Sept, 30 days, expected maturity 15 Oct

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Turnip: seedlings, need to move them in ground. 5 Sept, 60 days, expected maturity 5 Nov

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 Bunching onions: seedlings, need to move them in ground. 5 Sept, 70 days, expected maturity 15 Nov

Fall Planting Gamble

First time in last 5 months, I went to sleep with sweater and socks on last Monday Sept 8th. It was rainy, cloudy and cold here yesterday, few thunderstorms made an appearance too. Well, according to weather reports low temperatures stood at 43 F.

This is time to pull summer vegetables from garden, weed and prune roses. Instead, what did I do in the garden? – I did sow some seeds. This itch to sow and grow, experiment never dies. I am playing a pure gamble and let’s all watch what happens to my late fall garden experiments.

so what did I sow yesterday?
1 – Fenugreek: This is my experiment, I want to assess if fenugreek will germinate and produce this late in summer. Since very few people grow fenugreek for greens, there’s hardly any data available on web. This is for my own knowledge, I am trying fenugreek this late. During summer fenugreek yields in 30 days, so I have some hope here before killer frost arrives.

2 – bunching onions: these will go under cloche if it gets too cold
3 – spinach
4 – bok choy
5 – icicle radishes
6 – beets
7 – turnips

To get faster germination, I helped seeds in warm water for 24 hours except spinach. Spinach seeds went into freezer for 12 hours, followed by 12 hours in tap water.

I’ll keep updating about this winter gardening over few months…

Let the fall gardening begin…

Leaves are turning colors and sedum is showing pink buds, butterfly bush are busy blooming. Every man tended garden is green and rest is yellow golden, it is summer in its best form here in Pacific Northwest.

We have short growing season and truly blessed this year by unusually hot summer. Summer is coming to an end and something tells me that it is time to start my fall vegetable garden(or is it too late?)

I moved into into a house few months back, this is my first house with yard and my first growing year. I don’t even have vegetable beds built, most of the vegetables I grow are in containers and some open area in the yard. All my vegetable planting so far is trial and error.

For fall season, I’ll try growing these veggies –
1 – Fenugreek
2 – Butter crunch Lettuce
3 – Beets
4 – Carrots
5 – Bok Choy
6 – Brussels Sprouts
7 – Peas
8 – Spinach and
9 – Icicle Radishes

Stay Tuned and welcome to my BLOG!!