Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Broccoli and Chard

I meant to get the chard in the ground on Sunday, but I was having a relapse of my flu and it didn't get done. I so hate the flu. I get a flu shot every year as I have asthma. And I haven't had the flu in over a decade. This one lasted 12 days. But yesterday I woke up feeling good. Finally. While I had the flu I did get some work done in the garden, but I didn't really enjoy it. Things needed to get planted so I planted. But yesterday I reveled in being in the garden again. So I was out for a couple of hours enjoying myself.

Usually I put the chard and the broccoli in the same bed. But this year I'm not growing any dry beans. I'm 95% sure I can't eat them anymore due to food intolerances. But if I can, I have good access to locally grown heirloom dried beans. This means I can grow more broccoli and I can put the chard in a separate bed. I'm still growing some green beans. Usually I put a row along the back of the bed, but I wanted lettuce and onions in this bed too. And if they are along the back then there is one foot of the bed that is really hard to reach. So I decided to put the pole beans in the middle of the bed. They will get planted once the soil warms up more. Lettuce and bunching onions will be along the front. And I planted chard in the back. Hopefully the chard will really take off before the beans start to block the sun. The back is the north west side of the bed. I'm hoping the chard can take the partial shade. I know lettuce can especially in the summer, but I didn't want it to be on the western side as the afternoon sun can be really hot and they might bolt too quickly.

Once my galvanized steel wire comes. I'm going to make some hoops to go over the chard and I'll put on a netting row cover. That bolt of brown netting is going to last a while even though I'm using it a lot. I have found that the brown fades though. And it fades to green which looks really pretty in the garden. Luckily it didn't fade to some weird color like purple. The green haze on the garden looks nice. So much nicer than the white Agribon.

And speaking of covers, I know I have to tell people why I've got all that bamboo and chicken wire on the chard bed. The cats here are terrible. If I don't keep the soil covered they will leave gifts for me. So the soil always stays covered. I have a lot of 4'x 8' pieces of bird netting that I tack down when the bed isn't in use or seeds are starting to sprout. The hardest time is when I've got plants sprouting but they aren't big enough yet to keep the cats out of the beds. I can't keep the netting on for most plants as the stems get big. Or like this bed, I've still got things that need to go in. And transplants don't go through netting very well. So I do a hodge podge of things. Soon I'll have to get the old tomato cages out because they work well too.

I also put in the broccoli. I thought about putting three rows in, but I figured it would be too crowded that way. There is extra space there through. So I put a row of turnips down the middle. I'm not sure the turnips near the radishes will have time to size up before the melons need to be planted in June. But I might be able to seed the melons around the turnips.

I also checked my carrots. They were up. I took off the agribon that I used to germinate them and I put on a netting row cover. I hadn't covered these in the past. But toward the end of June I start to get carrot fly damage. And I can't leave them in longer or they get unusable. But it isn't quite long enough to get good sized carrots, even with the fast growers that I use in the spring. So yet more row covers. I swear some day the whole garden will be covered.

If the rain holds off then I'll be planting my zinnia today. I also want to get in some cilantro as it hasn't self seeded very well. Though it might just be taking its time to germinate. In fact a lot of things are taking their own sweet time this year. And luckily that includes the weeds. Usually I have to weed the garden pretty vigorously in the spring. I do have to go out and weed a few things now, but there were very few weeds out there. I guess that is the bright lining to a very harsh winter. The cilantro didn't overwinter, but neither did the weeds.


  1. Terrible about the cats. I currently have an issue with a neighbor's lab who likes to trample and relieve himself all over our planting beds.

  2. A lot of progress and plantings in the last few days! You've been busy. I hope your feel-better trend continues.

  3. For being sick you sure are getting a lot done. We have one cat that comes and walks along the top of our fence but so far have not seen any droppings. Hopefully our Coco will keep her up on the top of the fence when she does visit. Is there a certain time of the year to grow broccoli that is better than another time? Nancy

    1. When I had a dog the cats were never in my garden. But we moved and here the cats think it is their territory. There are about six that regularly visit the yard. Even now that my daughter's dog is with us, they still think it is their territory.

      Here people tend to plant broccoli in the spring for a mid summer harvest. Or in mid summer for a fall harvest.

    2. Thanks. Probably best to do that here then. Nancy

  4. So sorry you were sick again. I hope you are rid of the flu soon. I too have difficulty with the neighborhood cats leaving "gifts" for me in my beds. This year as I prepare each bed, I am mulching with straw. So far the cats have stayed away. I do have to use fence wire hoops to keep the deer from eating my greens though.