Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thinking of Fall

I often grow my fall transplants for a month inside, potting them up once during that time. My goal is to have them in the garden by July 15th. But this year I took a different tact. I had a lot of empty space in the brassica bed. So I transplanted them out yesterday as much smaller transplants.

I'm not sure how well they will do in the coming hot spell that is predicted. I hope I haven't made a mistake doing this. But you never know how things do until you try it.

Never quite made it

The first chore was to rip out any plants that were still left. Most got harvested, but I had two red cabbages that never grew well and never headed up. Out they went. Once they were out I added a bucket of compost to the 5'x4' area and some organic fertilizer and mixed it in a bit.

When I planted them I put three michihili cabbage across the four foot bed. I put them along the chard since I figured the chard could handle their aggressive nature. On the other side I put two Rubicon Chinese cabbages. Last time they handled competition with them just fine so I figured they could do it again. On the way other side I put the two red cabbages. Now they are just competing with some choy sum which isn't much competition at all. And they will be ripped out in a month anyway. I'm hoping that giving the Michihili so much competition and lack of space will dwarf the plants a bit. And I might well pull one or two of them early.

One of these is not like the other

As I was wandering around the garden doing odd chores I noticed the Heinz tomatoes. Can you see the Cherokee Purple that got mislabeled? That isn't good. The Heinz are determinates that will get pulled out early. They won't last long in the season. Near the end of August their space will be planted in spinach.

I'm also finding I hate two rows of tomatoes down the length of the bed, even with one of them being Heinz. I'm never going to find the tomatoes in there. I've got a lot of work to trim out the bottom branches to make them even partially accessible. Next year I'm going back to mixing my peppers and tomatoes in a bed. Peppers in the front makes life more bearable.

I also noticed that the sunflowers will be in bloom soon.

These are a patch of mixed sunflowers. So I'm not sure what I'll get. But if I save seed, next year it might be even more of a mixed up mash of different kinds. I'll have to pay attention to which ones I like best and get more seed from them.


  1. Last year, I made a huge mistake by cutting my tomatoes back severely when they were overgrown. The problem was that any developing tomatoes suddenly got way more sun than it was used to, and I created sunscald. I thought I had blight or something! All my tomatoes had big ugly white scars on them, and I finally figured out what happened. Now, I prune only as they grow.

  2. I haven't started my fall broccoli yet. I guess that I should within a week or two. When is your last frost date?

    Everything is looking good Daphne!

  3. I have monster cabbage plants too! I don't see any heads yet, so should I assume they won't form any or should I still wait. This is my first year growing cabbages and I set them out sometime late May.

  4. It's good to know that the Michihilis are agressive, I'm going to try them for the first time this fall/winter. Funny, I've found that the tomatoes and peppers together thing works great also, although I also add some eggplant to the mix.

  5. It's hard for me to pull stuff, even when I KNOW it's not going to produce. I like your attitude-I need to learn to be a bit tougher!

    Can't wait to see your sunflowers in bloom. I bought a mixture from Botanical Interests-I'm so curious to see what pops up. Remember ---lots of pictures!!!

  6. Do you start all your fall plants inside under lights? I have trouble with fall plants because it is just so dang hot in July but Fall plants like it too be cool. When did you plant your sunflowers and did you do it from seed or from transplants that you started inside?

  7. VGC, I'll be careful with them. Mostly I'll cut from the bottom. The top layer has a huge amount of foliage and I won't touch that.

    Robin, hmm that is hard to say since I haven't been in this house for very long. October sometime. I may be starting too soon in this location. I'm going by my last location and though it is only 15 minutes away, the weather is warmer here usually.

    RandomGardener, I'm not much of an expert on cabbage. I grow a lot of Chinese cabbage and can kind of tell what it will do, but regular cabbage I can't. But these have been in the ground for two and a half months and show no signs of wanting to head, so I'm assuming they won't. They were damaged in the spring by some mild frost. None of the other brassicas had that damage from it, but they must be sensitive.

    michelle, yeah my old system worked really well, but this one not so much. Live and learn.

    Sue, I really let them live longer than I should have. They struggled to survive most of their life and just couldn't take the conditions. All my other brassicas thrived. I'll try them again in the fall and if I get nothing good out of them, I'll switch varieties next year.

    Vanessa, Not always, but it keeps them from being mown down by slugs as seedlings. Usually I'll leave them inside where it is cooler, but with the new house, it isn't cooler where they are growing. So it won't do them any good. I chitted my sunflowers before I planted them. So basically soaked them until they just started to sprout (but hadn't really formed a root yet). So it is sort of part way between direct seeding and transplanting.

  8. Thinking of fall already? It's so hot and windy here I'm too lazy to think about starting anything.

    Question about Cherokee Purple tomato, I don't know it's me or the seeds, two years in a row my CP have lots of flowers, but very few fruits, there's only one fruit on the plant as of today, all other tomato plants have many many more fruits, just wondering what's wrong. Generally speaking is CP a non-productive variety?

  9. Mac, Well CPs were my most productive at 42 lbs for one plant last year (and my first year growing them). We had an unusually hot summer. Which for us means were were in the 80s and low 90s most of the time. We are a cool maritime climate. That summer was hot for us. We tend to have very humid weather. If you get hotter weather it could be that CP doesn't pollinate well in real heat. Not what we call heat, but you know the real thing. I've heard a lot of people call CP a poorly producing plant that just doesn't set fruit. It may be that it is very temperature (or humidity) sensitive. It may be that it needs a very narrow range that we just hit perfectly last year. I'll find out how it does in a more normal year this time. So far we have had what I consider a pretty typical year for us (well our early spring was cold and late but other than that pretty normal slightly more swings, but in averages normal).

  10. Oh, thinking of the fall garden already! I'll start on mine next month. It'll be my first fall garden, so I hope it does well. Love your sunflowers! They will be so cheerful when they bloom.

  11. Well, I guess you will find out if your transplants will do well. Us gardeners all have to learn by trial and error. I have made some huge errors and never repeated them *grin*
    My veggie garden is doing fantastic this year, a combination of perfect weather, and no mistakes so far.

  12. I am with you in the fall garden planning and prep. I direct seeded some bunching onions last weekend for fall/winter use. I am going to be direct seeding some overwintered onions in about two weeks for next year. I have a big flat full of broccoli and some cabbages growing inside under lights - which will go in the pea bed once it is harvested. I plan to start the fall crop of kale and swiss chard this coming weekend and get them going under lights too.

  13. You're thinking of fall and I'm still waiting for spring! What the heck happenened to our weather?

    I guess the broccoli that I started inside for a succession crop will go out soon for a fall crop. GRRR.

  14. I think Gardeners are scientist. Always have new experiments to try on the garden. You never know how the weather will be as well which make gardeners a risk taker. I like how you grow your sunflowers near the house.

  15. I like what MK girl said about gardeners being scientists and risk takers. I can identify with that, and I think a lot of us (definitely you, Daphne) do identify with that!

    I'm in awe of your planning ability to think of fall already. I'm dreading the long hot summer, but I guess fall will be here sooner or later. Our fall was really short last year, so most my cool-loving fall crops did badly. I'm definitely more hopeful this year, but I guess I'll have to get started on some indoor seed sowing soon.

    So those brassica seedlings you transplanted are only about two weeks old?

  16. HollyGarden, I am. It might be a bit too early here, but I'm going by the same schedule that I used at my last house. We will see how it does.

    Keewee, Hopefully I won't repeat my bacterial problem again.

    Laura, I haven't planted my broccoli yet, but will in a week or two. I've got to get them potted up next week.

    Sinfonian, you all seem to have missed a season. It must have been a very good greens year for you, but the hot weather plants must be struggling.

    Diana, Yes I'm a big scientist in the garden. I love experimenting with what will happen with different things.

    Thyme, I'm hoping our summer isn't too hot this hear. It is often not too bad. And yes the brassica seedlings were only a couple weeks old. Not old at all. Asian greens grow quickly. The smallest of the lot were the savoy cabbage.

  17. Hmmm.....CP must be very sensitive to real heat and humidity, I didn't think about this issue, I guess I shouldn't expect much from this plant, thanks for the info.
    I'll have to find another tasty slicer tomato for next year.