Friday, February 15, 2013

Around The Vegetable Garden


OK, I shouldn't even have called this post "around the vegetable garden," because I grow crops, people.  Real crops.  To call them a "garden" brings to mind something flowery and fluffy, like this:

Pretend crops (with pretend gardener)

Not really how it works out for me when I'm busting my hump in the South 40 (okay the South 1.5 or so).  But this first cool season has been a learning experience for me as far as my veggies go.  Here's how we're doing:

Carrots are showing signs of life, and I will patch some bare spots with new carrot seeds this week.  It's so cold they are growing slowly though, so I will either have to plant much earlier (for a December harvest) or much later (for a spring harvest) next year.

Lettuce is a clear success, we have delicious salads every night, and I may even put in a spring bed to replace the current plants, which have been growing strong since about December.

Broccoli was not bad after it matured, but blue aphids were a problem and, after washing out as many as I could, I figured any I ingested were OK, as they are basically plant juice with legs.  Yum.

Cauliflower, same as for broccoli -- the aphids love sucking on the leaves, and I have no idea if the heads will be decent or not as they're still growing.

Onions could have been better.  They grew but look like large leeks or green onions instead of round, red onions as they are supposed to be.  Nonetheless, they taste pretty good, but are on the small side.

Radishes came and went and were lovely.  I'll replant again in spring.

I'm going to fallow two beds this spring and fortify them with compost, instead of trying to use all beds in an ongoing crop rotation.  It just takes too much out of the soil to do this, so I'm going to rotationally fallow a couple of beds each season, and build them up with plenty of compost and mulch during their break....and maybe even grow a green cover crop in them.

I'm thinking about all this because I noticed the other day that squash and even tomatoes are already in the nurseries.  It's a sweet sign of spring to see them, for sure, but I'm not fooled.  Winter is not done with us yet.

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