Radish Harvest


Radish Harvest (~4 weeks)

Radishes are weird. I'm not really sure why my one batch of French Breakfast Radishes could be harvested at 4 weeks (and were HUGE) and the other batches at 5 and 6 weeks are still pretty tiny. Ah the joys of gardening, always a learning experience (and a mystery?).
Anyways, I've been harvesting these French Breakfast radishes for a couple weeks now.
Radish Harvest (~4 weeks)
4 weeks
Radish Harvest (~6 weeks)
~6 weeks

I've found they're best sliced and sauteed in some butter with their greens. And a sprinkling of fleur de sel to finish.
Sauteeing Radishes & Greens in Butter w Fleur de Sel

I plant one row, and then a week later another row, and another week another row. So this should've given me 3 harvests of radishes, but I believe the quality of soil might be messing with speed of growth.
The speedy grower:
Growing French Breakfast Radishes
Growing French Breakfast Radishes
The slow grower:
Growing French Breakfast Radishes
Growing French Breakfast Radishes

Either wat, not bad for a first time growing radishes! Almost no effort. Plant the seeds and then water them every now and then...and wait.

Low Hoop Tunnel Update


Planting Freckles Romaine & Butterhead Lettuce with the Mache & Softneck Garlic
May 2, 2020
It's been quite awhile since I've planted in the low hoop tunnels, but progress in there has been really good! I even added in some Freckles Romaine & Butterhead Lettuce seedlings to fill out the box for this growing season.

Mache in a Low Tunnel
Mache & Softneck Garlic in the Hoop Tunnel
Mache & Softneck Garlic (recently planted romaine & lettuce, too) in the Hoop Tunnel

The mache looks like it's about to flower:
Mache (Corn Salad)

It did, in fact, very much bolt (quite early) and is in the process of producing seed, but also sheltering the freckles romaine and butterhead lettuce from a bit of the hot sun:
Low Hoop Tunnel Update: softneck garlic, mache, freckles romaine, butterhead buttercrunch lettuce Low Hoop Tunnel Update: softneck garlic, mache, freckles romaine, butterhead buttercrunch lettuce
June 17, 2020

Sturdy DIY Peony Supports



Last year, we observed the peonies becoming so heavy with blooms they fell over, despite their little 6' hoops-on-stakes support. This reduces the number of blooms that I can pick for flower arrangements!
White Peonies are too heavy!
June 12, 2019

One way to avoid this is to snip off the terminal bud (i.e., bloom at the end of the stem), and then the plant will put more energy into off shoot blooms. This is maintenance, and I suspect will still result in over-burdened stems, so I decided to upgrade our peony supports. My peonies are huge, so I voted 'no confidence' in typical peony supports (i.e., the metal ring with two stake supports) and bought 50' of 4' tall PVC-coated welded wire fencing. I cut the fence into 1x 4' piece (for my little guy who gets too much shade), 4x 6' pieces, and 1x 7' piece (for the beast). Cut it so that one end has little wire spikes. Wrapped each growing peony in the fence piece and secured the two ends together with the little spikes I cut (just bend them around the other side).
Cutting PVC-coated fencing into 6' sections
The BEAST Peony, needed a 7' wide support
May 17, 2020

At first, it did not look particularly nice:
Peonies with their new supports, yet to fill out!

But once the peonies filled out, you could barely see the cages, at least not the taller ones.
Peonies filling in their cages
June 13, 2020

The real solution here is likely that when the shrubs are done flowering and start to brown, I should divide my peonies. However, they're all strill thriving, so it's not 100% necessary. Something to think about for later on.

Success: French Onion Soup

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Success: French Onion Soup
What I like about writing blog posts 3-months in advance, is that a pandemic can occur, one can catch said pandemic-illness, and even recover from it, without ever having to consider writing a new blog post. But here we are, a few weeks into blog posts that were actually written in May, rather than January.

Pictured here is SmittenKitchen's French Onion Soup, a delightful way to celebrate getting some of your sense of smell & taste back after a 2 week battle with a fatigue-inducing, sense-destroying virus. 3lbs of onions, caramelized, and simmered in some stock. Delicious with some cheesy bread broiled on top. I might try a different cheese next time, not gruyere. Something more melty.
Success: French Onion Soup

Winter Sowing, Year 2

Monday, June 8, 2020

Winter Sowing Seeds
I did some late winter sowing of seeds last year. This year I actually did it on time! On a couple warm-ish days in February I went out and planted some of all of my seeds! Some worked, some didn't.

Winter Sowing Seeds
I followed The Reid Homestead's Winter Sowing approach, although I also add twisty ties to my containers for ease of opening/closing on warm days. Winter sowing is nice, because you plant the seedlings and then you don't do anything for months. On a warm day, you open up the tops so they don't overheat, but that's also rather close to the last frost date so you can also plant the seedlings shortly thereafter!

Butterhead Lettuce, Winter sown Bloomsdale Spinach, Winter sown
4/5/20 (butterhead, on the left) and 5/2/20 (spinach, on the right)
Freckles Romaine & Butterhead Lettuce, Winter sown
5/2/20 (Freckles Romaine & Butterhead lettuce)

Successful: freckles romaine, butterhead lettuce, bloomsdale spinach, purple kohlrabi, Magnolia Snap peas, foxglove, chamomile...

Okay: autumn Asian greens (also, bolted!), Bright lights rainbow chard, hyssop...

Not thriving: swamp milkweed, nasturtium, marigolds, red giant mustard (replanted in early May & did okay), cascadia snap peas (replanted in early May & did okay) ...

Winter Sown Seedlings
I got a late start on the garden (again) this year, as putting together an 18' bed took more time than anticipated. So, some things didn't make it (i.e., the Magnolia snap peas both indoor-started and winter-sown). The spinach and first round of indoor-grown red mustard bolted before planting, but I had a back-up winter-sown stash of the mustard, so we did alright!

Indoor Seed-starting

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Initial planting in the indoor seed-starting set-up.
Back in early April, as a means to get through my social distancing birthday, I put together an indoor seed-starting set-up to get a headstart on the garden. It also makes getting through winter a bit better, as you get to watch the seedlings grow super fast!

The set-up is just an LED shop light, a heat mat, a small fan, and some seed-growing trays with lids. Nothin fancy, nothing expensive. Yet effective.

Indoor seed-starting supplies

I started with Magnolia tendril snap peas, cascadia snap peas, jewel-toned nasturtium, Red giant mustard, garlic chives (which I can never seem to get to grow), Bright lights rainbow chard, Purple Cherokee tomatoes, long purple eggplant, and sweet basil.

Seedlings, 1 week after planting
One week after planting
Seedlings, 2 weeks after planting
Two weeks after planting
Magnolia Sugar Snap Peas, 2.5 weeks after planting
2.5 weeks after planting

This planting was later followed up by the summer & winter squashes: acorn squash (which was slow to grab life), hubbard squash, butternut squash, grey zucchini, and Benning's tint patty pan squash. These are some real chonks:
The summer & winter squashes, a week or so after planting
Assorted Squashes + Rainbow Chard + Red Giant Mustard
Squashes + Peas + Nasturtium
Hardening Off the Indoor Seedlings

I now store my seeds in a couple air-tight jars in the fridge, in the hopes that the seeds themselves will last longer. I'm working on seed saving, but it's some times nice to have a little stockpile so one doesn't have to worry too much about
Seed Storage in the Fridge

I also made my last seed purchase in mid-March, shortly before the NYTimes' article on 'Panic-buying comes for the seeds', so I was quite well stocked before everyone went out of stock.
Early Social Distancing Purchases

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