Tuesday, April 13, 2010

One Down, Two To Go

I've been busy with the garden(s) recently, but I'll post about it one thing at a time. Yesterday I decided my brassicas and chard had to go into the garden and I finally had time to do it. I had actually figured they needed to go in last week since the weather was so nice, but that didn't happen. Time is such an important part of gardening. Well this week I have it. Last week I didn't.

My biggest issue with planting is that I don't plan on paper. I have three sections of the garden that get rotated each year. I know what goes into each section, but not where they go. Part of my mental planning revolves around successions and row covers. This bed is the greens and allium bed. It is about 24' long. All my beds are 4' wide. Garlic was planted last fall at the east end of the bed. The garlic gets harvested in the first half of July. The next section I planted my lettuce and radishes. On the western end of the bed I planted my onions and leeks. As a side note the leeks were a dismal failure this year. I tried using the little 3/4" blocks for the leeks and some bunching onions. Alliums don't germinate and grow well in these. I redid the bunching onions in the 1 1/2" blocks and they were fine. I didn't elect to redo the leeks so I have three good leeks to grow and a few struggling ones. I may over plant that area in nasturtiums later and just give up on them.

Anyway back to the bed. So both ends of the bed were already planted up. In the back of the unfinished section are the peas. They take up one foot all the way across the back. So I had a nice section of bed of unknown length but around 9' long and 3' wide. I kept switching back and forth in my mind where everything should go. But I finally put the chard next to the onions because it won't need to be covered during the summer. Only the brassicas will stayed permanently under a row cover. I also wanted the brassicas near the lettuce and garlic. The latter will be taken out earlier and can be succession planted with more fall brassicas. I want the cover to go over them later.

My other issue was that my overwintered spinach was in the middle of this section. The brassicas needed to go in, but I wasn't willing to pull the spinach prematurely. It is my only fresh green right now. Until the spring spinach starts getting harvested or the plants bolt, I want them to stay. Broccoli was my easiest solution. I plant them about 18" apart. They don't really need that space at the start of their life. So I planted four broccoli in spots where the spinach wasn't growing as well. I think they will do OK. I have another two that are in open parts of the bed so I can compare the two and see if it was a reasonable workaround.

The following were planted: Yokatta-Na, Purple Mizuna, Tatsoi, Fun Jen, Komatsuna, Ruby Chard, Argentata Chard (which is supposed to be green, but has some reddish stalks), Piracicaba broccoli, Packman broccoli, Chinese Kale (from Mac), Choy Sum (from Mac), Shanghai Bok Choy (from Mac), Ching Chang Bok Choi (from Granny), Senposai (from Michelle), Chinese Cabbage Rubicon, Napa Cabbage (from Mac). I was going to have White Stem Bok Choy too, but it never germinated. In fact the Ching Chang only had one good plant. Luckily the Shanghai Bok Choy is growing well or I might be bok choy less.

I almost got all the plants in. Some are a bit squished at 8-9" apart, but they will survive and I can pick alternating ones to open more space later. I tossed the weaker ones and saved seven plants just in case something happens to the ones in the bed. I'll only save them for a couple of weeks then toss them. I don't even know what they are anymore as I didn't label them. The plants in the bed are all nicely labeled though. I'll know what I'm eating and if I like it I can grow it again.

When I was done I sprinkled some Sluggo between the rows. It was my first time using it. I also put it at the edges of the paths. I noticed that the bok choy was already starting to get eaten and it hadn't even been planted yet. I did leave it outside for a few nights to harden off though. I'm sure it was munched on then.

This vegetable bed is fully planted now, just two more beds to plant up. Doesn't it look pretty? OK it is pretty ugly under the Agribon. But the brassicas won't look as hole ridden without those caterpillars munching on them so at least they will look prettier.


  1. You got lots planted! My brassica's are still tiny little things so I am hoping to get them planted in a couple weeks.

  2. ...keep forgetting to tell you the Big Chile II ended up germinating really well. They just took a long time to germinate. Not sure if you have started any yet so thought I would tell you to give them a little head start.

  3. Dan, tomorrow's post is about the peppers. And it is taking its time. I haven't given up on it though.

  4. Slugs....I hate those things! I'm gonna get some of that sluggo when my fall crop is in.

  5. It's so nice to think of your spring garden really getting going. Good for you -- and yes, sometimes the garden just has to roll with our time.

  6. Your seedlings look so healthy. I'm having problems trying to fit everything into the garden. I figured I'd lose half my brassica seedlings, like last year, but they all grew. They look lovely and healthy (especially that Gonzalez cabbage!) and I haven't the heart to give any away. I have 8 broccoli from direct seeding, doing well, 8 total were all I had planned on...I'll have at least double that amount! What to do, what to do.

  7. I had given up on them and low and behold they germinated right out of the dry soil. I don't recall how long but it had to be at least 3 weeks. I know they didn't take that long last year, either way the germination rate was about 75%.

  8. You've been busy, I transplanted the Napa and some lettuces. We keep getting strong gusty winds, it's hard on the seedlings, my strawberries and raspberries lost their leaves to the winds. I'm hoping to transplant the tomatoes soon if the darn wind would stop blowing so hard.

  9. The planted up bed looks great. I would not have sacrificed the spinach either - good work around.

  10. Some of those asian greens sound great. I've tried to stick to the simpler stuff for the first year, but couldn't resist Ong Choy and Bekana!

  11. EG, I hate slugs too. Usually I hand pick them every year, but I'm tired of it and probably won't have time with the house so sluggo it is. I just hope it works well.

    Stefaneener, I can't wait to see them grow. The lettuce that I transplanted last week is growing so fast. I'm sure the brassicas will too.

    Granny, I always plant too many too figuring I'd lose some. The weird thing is that I didn't do extra chard so of course that was the one that had some failure. It seems really prone to failure if I forget to water one day.

    Dan, I'm hoping they way I'm doing it, it will be faster. Three weeks is a long time for germination.

    Mac, we can get some really strong winds too. I love the row covers for that. They break the wind. They don't stop it completely, but they do moderate it a bit. I haven't even started planting my tomatoes yet. I have to do that this week.

    kitsapFG, I just hope the broccoli can get enough nutrients to grow well there. We will see. Worse comes to worse I can pull a few of the plants and leave the others.

    The Idiot Gardener, I love Asian greens. There are so many though. I never know which ones to grow.