Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Garlic, spinach, mustard greens, and lettuce

Garlic, radish, potatoes, snap peas, and a couple of hay bales ready to plant

Abundant rain this winter and spring (hooray!), along with some very warm days over the last week, has the vegetable garden growing rapidly.

I might actually be able to try cooking some fresh favas (broad beans) this year. There are a few pods on the small number of plants that overwintered.

These plants came from seed sown in early February --it'll be interesting to see if they're able to set any fruits before our hot weather sets in. Fall planting followed by overwintering is usually the best method in our climate, but this year's cold winter zapped that!

Right now, there are more greens than we can eat directly -- the mustards, Asian greens, and older salad mix will become stir-fries; younger lettuces, spinach, purple mustard, arugula, and green onions, we'll eat fresh.

The garlic and onions are looking very promising, and the potato foliage looks great. I'll be planting squash and beans in the next couple of days, if I can squeeze it in -- otherwise, this weekend.

The transplanted tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers look good, although I still need to put the final transplants in their hay bale 'experiment.'

We've had several excellent rounds of spinach from this container (a good amount each time, actually) - yum.

This was Renee's Garden Oriental Giant Spinach - totally fabulous, and by far the most productive spinach that I've grown.

5 comments:

  1. Love that Oriental Giant spinach-- one crop overwintered for me and now I'm harvesting the second. It's by far the best for here I've grown. And I've been pleasantly surprised after last weekend's heat that nothing but the arugula has bolted yet and only a couple of lettuces are bitter. Yes, it's hard to keep up-- or eat up-- at this point!

    I failed to get the instructions for growing in the hay bale at the Garden Fest but if you have them handy, I'd love to have them. I have too many melons and peppers and nowhere to put them but just hate to throw them out.

    I pinched the tops on my favas yesterday. I understand they get bushier and produce more beans that way. I used them in a simple pasta dish with other "thinnings." Very nice!

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  2. CEN-
    Some of my mustards have started to bolt, too, although a later sowing of arugula is still fine (not for long, probably). I'm thinking, now, too, that maybe the spinach in my container that's been so productive is a Burpee 'Salad Fresh Hybrid' sown in the same pot! So much for my record-keeping, while the Oriental Giant is in the ground. Both are good, however...

    I'm going to run right out and pinch the tops on my favas following your advice -- I didn't realize the greens were edible, too. I tried growing pea shoots a couple of years ago, although it was a hot, dry spring, so it wasn't very successful. I'll send you a copy of the hay bale handout when I'm back at work tomorrow.

    It is distressing to have 'leftover' seedlings! I have trouble thinning, too, even though I KNOW it's necessary.

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  3. Thanks-- I'll look forward to the hay bale instructions. I really MUST get tough and throw some of these seedlings out.

    From what I've read, pinching the tops of the favas increases production and in Great Britain it's also done to thwart black flies which apparently are attracted to the tender tops. I do it mostly because I want to get SOMETHING from the favas and about the only sure things in our sometimes too hot springs are nitrogen in the soil and the tender shoots. The flowers are pretty too.
    But getting the beans for us is a matter of luck with the weather, I fear. I've overwintered and planted in early spring and had about the same success-- if you can call it that! (Last year, I got 1cup of beans.)

    I grew some sugar snap seed for shoots indoors this spring-- primarily for a friend who is sick and can't look after the peas outside. They were quite tasty and can be grown in a week in low light. Sort of elementary school science but it was cheap thrill. I can send you the instructions I have if you want.

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  4. I love the idea of pea shoots, so I'd welcome some indoor instructions. So far it looks like I've got two developing pods on my favas, with lots of flowers.

    A Master Gardener in Charlotte that I visited on an excursion with others had an annual fava bean party. But she clearly knew exactly where to put them for overwintering success, and early bean production. Hmmm.

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  5. The veg garden looks great. You're weeks ahead of us! The advice about pinching beans out to encourage bushing is good. Farmers used to drive their cattle across the bean fields to achieve the same result.
    Cheers
    Rob

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