Check out "Expanding our Garden" for new photos of the fun stuff growing this year! Finally, an answer to the question, "what exactly does kohlrabi look like?"
Now that the weather has warmed up (to say the least), here's an update on the garden...
Below is a shot of the potato/onion bed. You can see that the potatoes have really caught up!
I had read that you should plant carrots after radishes, because the radishes push up the ground as they grow. Well, here's evidence of that!
Here's a view of the initial tomato planting. They've had a rough time, being battered by the wind, rain and cold. Now that it's getting warmer they're beginning to grow, and I've seen the first tomato fruit! The middle bed is now also planted with tomatoes, and there's corn, kohlrabi and beets in the far bed. BTW, the bushy stuff is asparagus, which has one more season before we can begin harvesting it.
So now that Spring seems to have beaten back the last of the rain (so far), it's been time for more planting, thinning, seed-starting, weeding, scheming, and dreaming about fantastic veggies.
Yesterday I planted the first round of tomatoes, following Cynthia's advice on planting, right down to the fish heads I put in the bottom of the hole. Here's the result.
BTW, that's Doc tracking down a ground squirrel. And the orange netting surrounds the asparagus, whose fronds get blown around quite a bit in the wind.
I've finally learned to not get greedy and space my tomatoes out properly--three feet apart. It seems excessive now, but in a month or so there won't be any space between the plants.
One of my new experiments this year has been artichokes, which also need lots of room. I may have planted these early, but they don't seem to be getting bigger in the seed pots, so what the heck.
That little thing next to the brick should grow into a three-foot high plant; we'll see!
Yukon Gold potatoes were a big hit last year, so I've planted another crop of those. And, to make use of the bed space, I've run another drip line down the middle and planted red onions and shallots. The onions and shallots are already sprouting, and the potatoes are beginning to poke through as well.
I had Asian Greens at a dim sum restaurant the other day, which got me excited again about our greens. They've survived attacks by the flea beetles, and (along with the bak choi) are getting close to harvest-size.
Finally, I've gone back to first principles with the lettuce and spinach (those noticeably empty spots below), re-tilling the soil and replanting. The arugula is doing well, which suits me just fine!
I tried growing radishes and carrots last year, without much success. This year, the radishes are looking good, and with all the rain the carrots are just beginning to sprout. I'm thinking I should feed the first carrots to the horses--kind of completes the circle, if you know what I mean!
Spring is here (at least, according to the calendar) and that means I get to move my obsessive-compulsive gardening addiction beyond pulling weeds and turning compost into the soil.
Here's a picture of my "nursery". For a number of reasons, I found myself starting more vegetables from seeds this year, vs. buying plants. In addition, I expanded my vision to include flowers (those things you can't eat) as well as vegetables.
I won't detail all of the plants here, but there are tomatoes (some I've grown from seeds, many bought from Love Apple Farms), peppers (sprouted today, yeah!), artichokes, lavender for the front yard, and other flowers and herbs. It's going to get crowded when I have to replant some of these veggies and flowers into larger pots!
I've also been busy upgrading the garden. I reconfigured two of the raised beds, installing drip irrigation with emitters spaced every six inches (vs. eighteen). That means I can plant more greens than last year, since they don't need as much spacing as plants like tomatoes.
After just a few days, I'm already seeing sprouts in the beds--lettuce, spinach, bak choi (pak choi east of the Rockies, as they say), Asian greens. And those two spots of green? Last year, I had potatoes in these beds. Apparently I failed to harvest a couple of potatoes, and they've re-sprouted.
So you may want to show up in early May with some vinaigrette dressing and a bottle of white wine :)
I've posted some additional photos to the "Expanding Our Garden" photo library.
We now have everything planted: various salad greens (the arugula is already coming up--yum!), radishes, carrots, cucumbers (for Danielle), beets, beans, corn, swiss chard, a load of peppers (from mild to mouth-scorching), asparagus, potatoes, muskmelons (for Crystal) and (queen of the garden) an abundance of tomatoes. To top it off, we've added in some herbs at ends of the beds--oregano and dill--both because we love to cook with fresh herbs and because they should attract beneficial insects.
Last year, I hacked up the ground, added some compost, and chucked in the plants. They did well, but when you're an OCD farmer more and bigger is always better. So as I've already noted, I put a lot of work into amending the soil in the beds, and it's already showing great results. We've added row covers (not shown in the photos) and some bird netting to keep the little birds from munching on the miniature carrot tops and other shoots. We followed the full Grow Better Veggies recipe for planting the tomatoes, including use of fresh fish heads. OK, they were from farm-raised trout bought at Costco, but I was proud of being able to put expediency ahead of rigorous adherence to a preconceived plan of going to Morgan Hill (Poppy's) for fresh-off-the-boat fish heads. I've also taken to visiting the garden in the evening, picking off the bugs and tossing them into the chickens' area for immediate "recycling".
The asparagus is already starting to flower. We have to let it flower this year, then cut it back and we can begin to harvest next year. I had a bite from one of the stems the peacocks bit off, and it was very tasty.
So things are just starting to pop up out of the ground, but we can't wait to begin harvesting and enjoying our crop. We've got a variety of peppers and tomatoes (no tomatillos this year), so just add onions and tortilla chips and salsa by the pool is in our future!