Tag Archives: 2010garden
I planted two pea patches in the backyard before we went on vacation. One is shelling peas, one is snow peas. Of course, I was in a hurry and I didn’t write myself a note or make plant markers. Now I have no idea which is which. But they’ve sprouted!
I may have a problem. I need an intervention. I’m addicted to seed potatoes. We went to Yelm last weekend on a tip from one of my Master Gardener friends. We brought home four more varieties of organic, heirloom seed potatoes. I tried to balance out the seed potatoes we already have so it’s not too, too ridiculous. That means we are growing 8 varieties of potatoes this year. Yes, I am using my expensive liberal arts environmental science education to become an urban potato farmer.
Row 1: Carola + Yellow Finn
These are both late season, yellow, good storage potatoes, as opposed to the early season seed potatoes I already have.
Row 2: Russian Banana + Rose Finn Apple
Russian Banana is one of the top gourmet potatoes. I’m tired of reading about it. I want to grow them myself, with their heavy yields and waxy texture. Rose Finn Apple potatoes are one of the best tasting fingerlings & good for storage.
We’ve cut our seed potatoes and set them out to dry – we want them to develop a callous before they are planted in the dirt.
This is a french fingerling. I just cannot express how delighted I am by this potato.
This is All Blue. When I sliced it open, all i could say was WOW! I mean, that is intense! It dripped bluish purplish juice all over the counter.
All of this has really put the pressure on to figure out our potato stacks. I had the good fortune of stumbling (literally) into some cheap-ass untreated cedar fence boards at Lowes last weekend. I think they will make the most lovely potato stacks, and they were 6′ long – which I can fit in my compact car! Hurray for hauling lumber in a tiny Toyota.
Everything I read (and I mean everything!) gives me a different date for planting potatoes. Since we were successful last year, I’m going to go back to my garden journals and plant when I planted last year. Normally I prefer the corroborating evidence of experts, but they refuse to corroborate, so I am on my own.
Of all the things we are growing this year, I am thrilled to my toes by the artichoke seedlings. They aren’t a special heirloom cultivar – just Green Globe artichokes, the same variety you can buy commercially in the US. Territorial predicts a 70% germination rate, but we’re close to 100% already. The seedlings are thick and substantial next to the slender Brassica seedlings and hesitant tomatoes. Krista & I stare at them for minutes on end, captivated by the futures for these seedlings. Imagine this perennial artichoke plant sticking around for years, six feet tall in the summer, throwing up buds for us to roast and peel and dip into sauces and marinated with herbs and blend with chipotle and carve out the hearts to eat on pizza.
The slow, painful wait for the first sprouted seed of the 2010 garden has concluded. A wild, unnamed variety of kale has won the race. We are growing three types of kale in our spring garden.
We’ve planted dwarf blue scotch kale, black tuscan/dinosaur kale, and a pack of “wild kale,” a random mix of siberian kales bred as edible ornamentals. This might be excessive, but kale is Krista’s favorite vegetable. When I asked her which variety I should grow, she said “All of them.” I left the fizz kale, the white siberian kale, the winterbor, and the red russian for another season. When I left for work this morning, I saw one of the wild kale seeds was starting to unfurl. You can see the silvery, fuzzy root hairs on the embryonic seed root, known as the radicle. Also, the scientific powers-that-be named a tiny seedling root “radicle.” If you are the sort of person who uses the word “radical” (i am), don’t you just feel like the universe is on your side with a sly winking nod right now?
By the time I got home from work, the tiny plant had straightened itself out and stood up to reach toward the fluorescent light, and a few kale friends were starting to emerge too. All of the Brassica family are getting started – kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts. They are indistinguishable in these early days.
In the time I’ve written this, they have gotten bigger and greener and more green heads have emerged. No kidding, I need one of those time-lapse plant cams to document the magic happening in my seed starting trays.
A sprouting seed happens almost without effort on the part of the gardener. The seed has everything inside its seed coat to give it a good start – leaves, roots, stem, nutrients. You just have to keep it moist enough & warm enough, and it will sprout. After it sprouts, that’s when the work starts. You have to provide light, water and sufficient warmth, protection from the elements and drafty breezes and cats, and you have to talk to the sprouts and caress them so they get strong stems, and play music for them, nearly every day, and read bedtime stories. Cross my heart, it’s critical.
This weekend we started the seeds for our 6-8 week before-last-frost (BLF) crowd. This includes things like kale, artichokes, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, peppers, borage, and other things. In 2-3 weeks, we’ll start a few flats of seeds that need to start closer to the last frost date, and maybe some extras of the 6-8 wks BLF crowd, so we have a staggered harvest.
(Three kinds of kale)
It occurred to me that I never wrote about what we’re planting this year. My plan and hope is to spend this week discussing some of the stuff we’re growing this year, assuming that plant biology, the weather, the wildlife, and the universe don’t conspire against us. I feel like we’re doing our part to grow this stuff – sunny windowsill, coconut coir seedling pots, quality organic potting soil, supplemental fluorescent lighting on a timer. I know we need a cat-deterrent system, but since nothing has sprouted yet, there’s not a lot of urgency.
Related to the dogs and the microclimates of the yard — the best places to start seedlings (sunny windowsills) also tend to be the best places for cat naps. Unfortunately for our seedlings, our warmest, sunniest windowsill faces the bird feeder. I may fly into a fit of rage if I find cat hair on my crushed seedlings, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?
Let me go on record here and say that cats have no respect for vegetables and actual disdain for humans who garden. Elsa actually likes to chew on plants. You should see the mangled leaves of my blueberry bush. Look at the force of destruction: