Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rule #33: Try not to overcrowd, as tempting as it may be!

I have learned this with tomatoes especially over the years.  They get big and need plenty of sunlight.  Overcrowding them makes it hard to find the fruit and I feel they are also less productive.  With the garden expansion this will be an easier rule to follow!
For the past three weeks we have been eating the last of the lettuce that overwintered from the fall planting.  Now we can move on to the new lettuces I planted a few weeks ago.  We had the first of our baby arugula and I will continue to succession plant this all summer because we love the tender baby arugula (especially on pizza!).  We have gotten a few small strawberries this past week, but many of the plants got damaged and needed to be transplanted after the tree came down.  Strawberry plants do pretty well with trauma and and bouncing back with vigor.  The asian greens (tatsoi and chinese broccoli) have started to sprout and I am excited about these.  The girls loved the greens when we went to dim sum a few months ago so I hope this variety tastes similar.  It has been cooler than normal around here so the lettuces are quite happy, but the newly transplanted tomatoes may not be as fond of these temps.  Some of the larger ones are doing well but the smaller ones had a harder time after the transplant.  They are bouncing back now though.  I had to spray them and the eggplant leaves with an organic pesticide because of the dreaded flea beetle.  They just love those tender leaves but luckily they go away once the leaves become bigger and less appetizing to them.  The peppers on the other hand are doing great with no flea beetles.  The early indoor start helped them the most.  Yesterday John took off so I got to finish planting the rest of the beds.  Dad gave me two varieties of butternut squash (four plants total)  and those went into one of the new beds.  I also planted shelling beans, beets, carrots, fennel, broccoli rabe, and replanted three varieties of zucchini.  The first round only had one successful sprout!  I am determined not to let the squash vine borer devastate my zucchini this year and I may resort to the organic BT that I have been reading up on. I have tried everything in years past and I  want to have so many zucchini that I go around late at night putting zucchini on neighbors porches.  As some of you know zucchini and green beans are my favorite and I have finally dedicated one whole bed to green beans and that has worked for me, but the zucchini has been a battle.  I am trying a new hybrid variety of cucumber this year called Amiga so I am hoping for a good cucumber year.  The girls also love cucumbers!!!!  Lastly, the green bean bed is coming along nicely and most of those sprounts are up and growing.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:  I have officially (and finally in John's words) agreed to the design plans for our outdoor pizza oven and prep area/sit up counter area.  Now I told him I don't care when he starts it, but he can't blame me for any more hold ups!

*****Havest Monday (June 3):  My shelling beans and broccoli rabe have sprouted.  But I am not sure how all the young plants will like all this heavy rain we have been getting since last night into this morning!!!!  *********
Finally got these in a pot....experiment year with bougainvillea.

Wish geraniums came in orange.  I just love orange and purple but I also love geraniums!

Patio herb collection.  Rosemary found a new home in the yard and basil always goes in the garden.

Baby asian greens

Butternut squash bed and in the back part of the green bean bed.

New lettuces will need to be thinned.

Arugula and swiss chard.  In the front left corner is a store bought Early Girl tomato a neighbor gave me.

Eggplant with flea beetle damage

Happy Peppers

Close up of the baby arugula

garden view

Garden view from upstairs.  Raspberries are going crazy on the left fence.  We had to transplant our grape plants around the tree stump.  They were not happy but I am hoping the perk up!

I think I forgot to post this a few months back.  Next year I will continue to perfect puntarella growing.  Have to pick them earlier before the hearts start to rot.  Pictured are the leaves and a baby point.  It was delicious so at least I know they taste good.  The greens were starting to go to seed at this point but this was also later in the season.  Early when the greens were more tender they were less fibrous and very tasty.