Two months of gardening: what I’ve eaten and what I’ve learned

I’ve been gardening now for just over two months using the square foot method with some success.  Generally I wish I’d have planted more of everything (especially lettuces, mizuna and arugula), but that would have required building more raised beds, so I have to keep reminding myself that I wanted to start off small to learn from and to not get frustrated with having mass disappointments.

The first batch of radishes I sowed in mid-March have all been consumed now in various pastas, stir fries and salads.  I’ve got three more successive plantings of radishes to look forward to.  Pac choi (a variety of boc choy) has also been a revelation as something that’s both easy and quick to grow and something I’ve really been enjoying in stir fries at lunch.

Meanwhile all the other plants (like beets, chard, kale, kohlrabi, carrots, parsnips) are continuing to grow pretty well.  We had some heavy rain a couple of weeks ago that devastated some of the plants but they seem to have bounced back (except for one variety of butter lettuce which I’m not sure I’ll ever get a chance to taste).

Yesterday I pulled up the broccoli and cauliflower; the broccoli provided some florets but the cauliflower never produced despite growing to huge sizes that was starting to shade too much of everything else.  I recently read that for broccoli you should plant around 9-10 plants per person and now I believe it; the 4 I had barely produced enough worth eating.

In the squares I’ve not got free I’ll be planting more salsify, fennel, sorrel and am going to make one more attempt at Pirat lettuce which is supposed to be both easy to grow and good for warmer weather (of the 12 seeds I’ve planted thus far not one has sprouted).  If none of these sprout then I may contact the seed company I purchased them from and complain.

Here are a few photos to show the progress:

Chard

Chard

 

Red mustard on the left and kale on the right

Red mustard on the left and kale on the right

Radicchio wilting in today's heat

Radicchio wilting in today’s heat

 

Mizuna in the foreground; radishes back left

Mizuna in the foreground; radishes back left

 

Carrots

Carrots

 

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

 

Gold beets, red beets, nasturtium back left and chioggoa beets back right

Gold beets, red beets, nasturtium back left and chioggoa beets back right

 

 

 

Pest-wise my biggest problem has been slugs which prompted me to buy organic slug pellets which I placed outside the beds.  Every couple of nights I’ll go out and go slug-hunting with a head lamp and a pair of tweezer tongs.  I probable had some caterpillars do a little damage too but nothing too major.  And no signs of deer eating anything yet; in the hopes of keeping them away I’ve got some lavender in pots and we’ve been encouraging our dog to urinate in the front yard.  To be honest I think I’ve just been fortunate that this spring has been so lush which has provided them with much to eat elsewhere.

 

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