Thursday, April 7, 2011

Planting Up

My caterpillar protection looks like a caterpillar

Yesterday I thought I was going to plant up my brassicas and lettuce, but it didn't turn out that way. I was trying to get the hoops working. I finally did, but by then it was so dang windy I didn't want to put the little plants in the ground. I left them out under the hoops at night. I thought they would be OK, but it hit 28.9F last night. Whoops. Most of them didn't seem to care, but the Chinese broccoli and the Ruby Perfection Cabbage weren't too happy about it all. They are alive, but some of their leaves are a bit damaged.

But I never let a minor thing like slow me down. So today I put them in the ground. I put most of my Asian greens way to close. I did this on purpose so I can harvest every other one early. I figure that will give me a much earlier harvest than if I waited until they are all full grown. So as soon as they touch their neighbors I get to eat them. Yum.

When I planted out my onions earlier this week, the soil blocks fell apart as I tried to pry them apart without damaging their roots. These little 1 1/2" blocks really can handle only 3-4 weeks. The onions were in them for about two months. The roots had jumped blocks and had grown through the screen on the bottom. The brassicas on the other hand had been in their blocks only about four weeks. They were quite happy and all the blocks held together perfectly.

This is one of the joys of soil blocks. I soak the blocks before putting them out. Then I place them in the spot they will be planted before digging them in. I can get the spacing perfect that way.

As you can see most of this is pretty well planted up. I have 11 broccoli plants with three different varieties. I have 2 Chinese cabbage, 2 kinds. I have 2 Ruby Perfection cabbage that I hope live to head up. I have Kolibri kohlrabi which is a purple type. Then I have a mass of Asian greens - Komatsuna, Yakatta-na, purple mizuna, Chinese broccoli, Choy Sum, tatsoi. Am I forgetting anything? Maybe. I still have Fun Jen and 2 boc choys to get in there. I couldn't plant them as they were in another flat and haven't been hardened off yet. I'll get there. Oh and I mustn't forget that I put the chard in there too. Usually I don't put it under a row cover, but with the bigger garden I might not have time to continually pick off the leaf miner eggs. Hopefully the row cover will keep them at bay.

Then I still had the lettuce to go. I have four kinds this spring- Paris Island, Red Sails, Deer Tongue, and Little Gem. They went next to my garlic.

Now the view out of my kitchen sliding glass door is mostly planted up. Again I put some of the lettuce (Paris Island and Red Sails) too close together so I can pick every other one when they start to touch. Before I've always had to wait until the head got full sized, but now I can pick a bit early on. Later I'll start transplants for the summer lettuce. I have a few varieties I want to try. I also have some wintersown lettuce to put in the gaps. Right now that wintersown lettuce is really quite tiny.

All these plants will be really happy this weekend. The weathermen predict temperatures in the 60s. I can't wait.


  1. Yummy! So glad you got a turn in the weather- we snowed a little, but at least the wind has died down. I have about 3 flats of lettuce that needs to be planted- so I've got to get my other tunnels up and running! Next up will be some chard, and the second sowing of beets! I love all the variety you've planted- sounds like some yummy things coming up.

  2. Lovely, lovely, lovely! Your weekend will be marvalous!

  3. Your garden is really coming along now. I'm giddy watching it, you'll be harvesting by the time I'm culling this year!

  4. Awesome job daphnia. I like your idea od planting close and harvesting young plants to space them later. Looks like a yummy garden!

  5. Tessa, I didn't plant the lettuce under any row cover. I hope it doesn't complain tonight. The odds of getting another frost are high, but I'm hoping not to get any more freezes tonight.

    Lynda, thanks

    Barbie, I hope to be harvesting soon. I so miss eating from the garden.

    Holly, thanks

  6. It is so exciting to read your frequent updates to your new spring garden.

    The snow has finally melted in mine and I am hoping to do some garden cleanup this weekend and maybe get some hoops up.

  7. What a wonderful variety of plants. I can't wait to hear how it finds it's way into your kitchen.

  8. I love the curve of the garden! It's going to be so pretty with maturing onions and lettuces.

    All my lettuce is handling the low (27-28) temps fine, except about half of my Parris Island Cos. I don't think it's the weather that's doing it in though, it almost looks like something is attacking the roots, as they just wilt down flat. I'm going to have to dig one up and see what's going on.

  9. At first I thought you were planting your broccoli way too close, but it was something else. Brassicas take a TON of space. I crowd them at 1 SF per.

    My brother plants his lettuce in rows and hardly thins, he just shaves it and lets it grow back. I plant my red sails 4/sf, just like my others and the do crowd, but I pull the outter leaves first and it works well til I'm ovewhelmed in early Summer. Yours looks amazing! Well done and sorry about the cold weather, I'm sure the'll bounce back!

  10. I'm really loving your soil blocking method. With our temps going so low at night, I'm scared to plant anything outside yet. We don't have row covers. I think 2 more weeks, and I'll be ready to start planting in the garden.

  11. GrafixMuse, I hope you are getting the warm up we are this weekend. We are supposed to be getting a five day stretch above 60F. I'm hoping. The weathermen still don't agree though. One says that Monday will be 80F another 62F. I'm rooting for the 62F this time. I want some nice even temps for my cool weather crops. 80F is just too hot for this time of year.

    Jody, I can't wait for that part either.

    Granny, I hope it will be pretty. Of course I'm going to mess up the pattern by picking, but you can't have everything. We had a low of 29F last night (last one below freezing for a while maybe). The lettuce looks totally unfazed. Which is good since it has no protection. I hope the cold temps didn't take out the Chinese broccoli and the Ruby Perfection cabbage though. I'll have to look at it. If so I'll replace it with random leftovers.

    Sinfonian, lol no that wasn't my broccoli. I've found Asian greens to handle crowding pretty well. I give my broccoli a 16"x16" square and planted in diamonds so they are really father apart on center. Your brother probably gets a lot earlier lettuce than I do then. I like the mature leaves better than the little baby ones (I know weird) so tend to grow them in head that I pick. Well the Red Sails and Deer tongue just get the outer leaves picked.

    memmsnyc, I probably should have waited until today to plant and just bring everything in at night. We are getting a warm stretch coming up and I think last night was the last one under freezing (though a frost is always possible tonight). But I have so little time. I have to do some stuff everyday to make sure it gets planted up this year. Today I'm seeding all the rest of the direct seeded plants, like carrots, beets, turnips, and radishes. I am always willing to push the seasons if I think the plants will do well. So I'm hoping.

  12. Such a lot of hard work...well done!

  13. I love the look of that curved planting of garlic and lettuce. Even when you start harvesting from it, I bet it will be quite appealing to look at. Food production gardens can be very beautiful too! Great to see your spring crops going in... I know you have been having to patiently wait out the last of winters wrath.

  14. I'm amazed at your huge garden. Lots of work and lots of produce(come summer!) Your garden looks really great! I've yet to plant anything outside!