With Silver Bells


March 16, 2011 by Leah

Well, it’s not quite at the silver bells and cockleshells stage, but the garden is growing.

Bed 3, March 16th

In Bed 3, planted 12 days ago, we have evidence of marigolds, pansies, lettuce, and collards. Still waiting on the leeks and watermelons.

Bed 2, March 16th

In Bed 2, planted 14 days ago, everything edible is up and most of it seems to be flourishing. You can see the onions ringing the sides of the bed, the row of corn and beans straight down the middle, a row of summer squash just to the right of that, three cucumber mounds to the left, a double row of broccoli shoots between the squash and onions, and there are some aubergine seedlings popping up in the seemingly empty space between the squash and the onions to the right. (I think I must have planted half the squash on one side of my measuring board and the other half on the other side of the board, as there is an odd kink in the squash row.) I’m still waiting on snapdragons and lavender to emerge.

Bed 1, March 16th

Now for Bed 1. My problem bed. Planted 186 days ago, for those of you who are counting. Here is a list:

  1. The bean plants (the ones that didn’t just fall over, dessicated, that is) flowered but never produced beans, which makes me think they weren’t pollinated, which would not be surprising since there haven’t really been any insects around since summer. (Fine by me – the three cockroach sightings we had when we moved in were PLENTY.)
  2. The garlic is going great guns, but when do I harvest?
  3. The carrots are fine but could probably be harvested whenever.
  4. The beets have been a disaster from the get-go (clayey soil).
  5. I have a pea plant that is doing some interesting stuff, but is a harvest of two pea pods every few days worth that patch of soil and those nice bamboo stakes?
  6. The lettuce looks okay but the last batch we harvested was so bitter even I wouldn’t eat it (and I’m not the one who picks the arugula out of his salad mix). It was also oozing some kind of white goo from where I broke it. Is that normal?
  7. The chard is delicious and we ate some on pizza on Friday.
  8. I may have been mistaken about any green onions I “wintered over.”
  9. The placement of the bed isn’t nearly as sunny as we originally thought it was.
  10. It’s really hard to maneuver on that tiny strip of grass we left between the fence and the back edge of the garden. My balance is terrible – add mud, and bad things happen.

I think I need to rip out the whole thing and plant anew. The plants that are still kind of working out (carrots, garlic, peas, chard) are scattered all over the garden, so it’s not like I could just replant one half. I’d really like to redesign the halves at the same time so as to make sure I’m not planting the same crops or their relatives where they were planted last fall (note to self: look into crop rotation). I’d have a chance to layer some better soil over the muddy stuff that has come of what we carefully tilled last fall, which would also raise the surface of the bed. Then I could do some research on what plants are good in a garden bed that might not get as much sun/attention as its sibling beds. I probably shouldn’t go too experimental in a spot that isn’t as sunny as it could be, although I do like the idea of a very small field of barley in the backyard. Or I could forgo the research, go back to Armstrong’s, and buy the packet of quinoa seeds that has been calling my name for the last two weeks.


6 thoughts on “With Silver Bells

  1. Marla says:

    beans are not as a rule pollinated, squash and watermelon are another story. harvest the garlic when the tops start to turn brown if you want it mature. lettuce is a short lived annual and will be going to seed soon, the goo is an indication of bolting. i know you didn’t ask but there you go. xoxoxo

  2. leahkathlyn says:

    I did so ask. 🙂 Thanks! And what do you mean beans aren’t pollinated? I was so excited by that theory.

  3. David G says:

    When the garlic leaves are half yellow/brown pull them up and let them air dry for an hour before braiding or clipping the tops for storage. The garlic can be eaten green, the leaves too. Just pull a plant and rinse the dirt off. The leaves go well with salad, ranch dressing, or marinara sauce. I used the stalk and bulbs in stir fry. Also green garlic is prized in Aioli.

    The lettuce may be bolting, or you may be harvesting at the wrong time of day. The white sap settles into the root over night and if you cut it off early in the morning then less of the bitter sap will be in the leaves. If it is bolting there is nothing you can do to get rid of the bitter taste.

    Harvest the carrots when you need them, otherwise they will go to seed as the day gets longer.

    Looks good.

  4. […] Here‘s where things stood two weeks ago. […]

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