Porch Arugula Fail

I planted arugula on my porch on April 6. It had been so cold and wet these past weeks that those little guys had a hard time growing. Finally, on May 6, spring seemed to have started at last.

May 7 – tiny plants after a month

Not much happened during the month of May. The plants stayed tiny because it was still wet and cold (there was even snow one day in Central Massachusetts!). I thinned the bed on May 25th.

May 25 – thinning after the first couple of warmer days.

At the end of May, the temperatures started to steadily stay in the upper sixties / low seventies during the day. The plants did not like the sudden heat on my southwest-facing porch and bolted.

June 8 – leggy and bolting

I composted the whole lot. Well, at least I got a delicious lunch out of it. Maybe if I try it again next year, I will grow them in a shadier cooler spot to prevent bolting. And I sure hope for a “normal” spring.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Finally, spring is here. It has been so cold and wet these past weeks, everything in my garden is late. So far, I have only planted peas, spinach, radishes, carrots and lettuce in my plot. The rhubarb is coming up as are the first spears of asparagus.

I went to Allendale Farm this morning to get herbs for my back porch. I indeed got parsley, sage and thyme, but they were out of rosemary. I also got a six-pack each of basil, cauliflower and “Buttercrunch” head lettuce. I will plant a couple of the basil and lettuce cells in pots on my porch. The rest will go into my plot together with the cauliflower and some parsley.

Sage “Berggarten”
French thyme

I also got some flowers: lavender “Kew Red” and Osteospermum. Both are planted in containers on the back porch. And I purchased dahlia tubers (the one I overwintered in the basement did not survive – I forgot to keep them moist throughout the winter), garden twine, labels, environmentally-friendly insecticidal soap (to keep the aphids in check) and organic fish & seaweed fertilizer.

Osteospermum “4D Pink”
Herb shelf (in progress)

Crop List 2019

Tulip this morning, poking her head out on my back porch

Here is my final crop list for 2019. (SHPC=Sand Hill Preservation Center):

  • Cucumbers: Longfellow slicer (have)
  • Tomatoes, early: Break O’Day, Paul Robson (all ordered from SHPC)
  • Tomatoes, mid-season: Dr. Wyche’s Yellow (ordered from SHPC)
  • Tomatoes, late: Green Zebra, Baker Family Heirloom (all from SHPC)
  • Eggplant, Pingtung Long (ordered from SHPC)
  • Eggplant, Fairy Tale (ordered from Johnny’s)
  • Hot pepper, Thai Bangkok (ordered from Johnny’s)
  • Butternut squash (have)
  • Basil, Genovese (have)
  • Carrots, Bolero (have)
  • Carrots, Rainbow (ordered from Johnny’s)
  • Radish, French Breakfast (have)
  • Garlic, Russian Red (hardneck, saved), Transsylvania (soft neck, Burpee)
  • Beets, Golden beets (have)
  • Potatoes, Banana fingerling (ordered from Fedco Moosetubers)
  • Swiss chard, Bright Lights (have)
  • Kale, Tuscan (have) and Curly (have)
  • Lettuce, butterhead, Kagran summer (ordered from SHPC)
  • Lettuce, leaf, Bronze Beauty (ordered from SHPC)
  • Greens, fall green mix (ordered from SHPC)
  • Peas, sugar snap (ordered from SHPC)
  • Pole beans, Kentucky Wonder (have)
  • Bush beans, Tendergreen (have)
  • Spinach, Bloomsdale (have)
  • Bok choy (have)
  • Leeks (buy seedlings)
  • Rosemary, sage (have)
  • Parsley, thyme (buy seedlings)
  • Nasturtium, Dwarf Jewel (have)
  • Cosmos, Versailles mix (ordered from Johnny’s)
  • Dahlias (have and/or buy tubers)
  • Zinnias (have)
  • Marigolds, petite mix (ordered from SHPC)
  • Sunflower Hopi Dye (ordered from SHPC)
  • Ornamental kale, Crane Feather Kind White (ordered from Johnny’s)

I placed my Fedco order on January 31, my Johnny’s order on February 4 and my order with Sand Hill Preservation Center on March 9.

Tomatoes, Tomatoes

My three tomato plants are heavily producing. I put them in late, but now at the end of August they are giving me plenty of delicious fruit. Despite my best efforts, I have too many tomatoes to eat raw (e.g. Caprese salad, Greek salad, fresh tomato/mozzarella/basil pasta sauce, or just plain on bread). So, I slow-roasted about three pounds together with garlic and fresh herbs and will either turn them into pesto or top some bruschetta in the next couple of days.

I quartered the larger Brandywines and halved the Momotaros and put them on a parchment-lined, lightly-oiled baking sheet together with some garlic cloves and fresh rosemary and oregano. Seasoned everything with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. I slow-roasted them in a preheated oven at 325 F for about 2 hours. I let them cool and put them in a mason jar in the refrigerator for use within the next few days.

Stock-Taking

This morning, after I watered my garden and locked the garden gate, I ran into a neighbor who asked me what I was growing in my plot. He also has a community plot nearby and mainly grows tomatoes and flowers. Time to take stock. Currently growing in my garden are: garlic, potatoes, leeks, carrots, beets, tomatoes, basil, cucumber, eggplant, butternut squash (I saw a tiny plant poking its first leaves out this morning, yeah!), Brussels sprouts, hot peppers, Swiss Chard, lettuce, kale (tiny seedlings are appearing), mixed greens (freshly sowed and just sprouting), radishes (just sprouting), pole beans, bush beans, peas, parsley, sage. Also dahlias, nasturtiums and borage. And mint and lemon balm, which keep creeping up in some spots. This morning I harvested garlic scapes, two big heads of lettuce and a lot of peas. I am done harvesting the first round of radishes and the rhubarb. When I looked at my plot while watering, not all that much seemed to be going on in my plot, but going through that list of plants makes me think otherwise.

Garden Day

Today, I spent 3,5 hours in the garden weeding and planting (bush beans, pole beans and carrots). I had neglected a large section of my plot that had not been planted yet (basically the entire right side of the plot starting at the pea trellis all the way to the fence) and it was overgrown with all kinds of weeds of the worst kind, including bindweed and yellow nutsedge. I have so much nutsedge in my plot, it is almost tragic. All of it was still small and growing and had not flowered or gone to seed. I used to use the compost from our community garden bins in past years and must have introduced the invasive weed this way. I got it all out (for now) and I feel very accomplished. The plot looks nice and clean. I also laid a new brick/paver path down the middle. Now I need to get more hay or straw to mulch the garden as the salt marsh hay cover is getting thin in some spots. No sign of the squash or cucumbers yet. I hope my direct sowing method worked. The nasturtiums I planted the same day are coming up, they are still tiny, I did not see them two days ago. I also hilled my potatoes today and they are now at ground-level. I took out the kale I direct-sowed a while ago. The plants were scrawny and chewed up. I will try to get some transplants. I also harvested some radishes and rhubarb.