The plants on my Southwest-facing back porch are doing well for the most part. We had plenty of rain lately and last week we had a couple of really hot days so those tiny chard and kale seedlings are finally catching up. I am very impressed with the potatoes and the lettuce.
Earlier this week, I made (up) a Greek-inspired quick dinner. I fried up leeks, onion, garlic and a bell pepper and added ground beef to it. I added tomato paste to make it more like a sauce and seasoned it with paprika, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, oregano. Topped it with feta and fresh parsley and served over rice. Quick, easy and delicious.
The (overwintered) leeks and onions were from my garden plot, the parsley from my back porch.
Yesterday, when I cleaned out the basement, I found my shoe box with dahlia tubers from last fall that I had completely forgotten about. I had not watered them once during the past seven months. Surprisingly, two of the four plants were still alive and showed new, albeit anemic, growth. I planted them in the plot. Yay for more flowers in my garden!
We have had a few warm and humid days lately and the head lettuce leaves started to grow more upright, a sign that it will bolt soon. I harvested the remaining three heads in the plot and one big head from the porch. I still have some leaf lettuce growing with the hot pepper on the porch. I planted a kale seedling in the now empty container on the porch.
I also harvested garlic scapes and snap peas. The snap peas made it onto a crudités platter this afternoon for my now 14 year old son’s birthday party.
UPDATE: For dinner I tonight, made bibimbap lettuce cups with leftovers (meat and sesame spinach). Yum!
Here are my actual spring planting dates for this season.
- March 16: started eggplant (Fairy Tale) and hot Thai pepper from seed indoors
- March 23: started eggplant (Ping Tung), tomatoes (Break O’Day, Paul Robeson, Dr. Wychee Yellow, Green Zebra, Baker Family Heirloom), curly kale (seeds from 2017) and head lettuce (Kagran Summer) from seed
- March 30: basil (sweet Italian) – six compartments in egg carton from seed
- April 8: shipment of seed potatoes arrived. I put them out to sprout.
- April 20: repotted tomatoes and some of the lettuce
- April 21: I lost most of my seedlings tonight. I still have some tomatoes (one each Break O’Day, Dr. Wychee, Green Zebra) and the basil. I re-sowed one pot each of pickling cucumber, and slicer cucumber as well as one Paul Robeson tomato. No home-grown eggplant or peppers this year. It is too late to reseed. I also still have some head lettuce and kale.
- March 19: started mâche in a big flat on our back porch
- March 31: sowed two rows of sugar snap peas, one row of spinach in between in plot; also two rows of carrots (Bolero) and one row of radishes in between (French breakfast)
- April 6: the mâche did not germinate. I sowed arugula and spring greens in the same big flat
- April 28: resowed carrots (rainbow) and sowed lettuce (Kagran Summer and Bronze Beauty) and some more peas in plot
- April 28: sowed Swiss chard and leaf lettuce “Great Salad Bowl” in two separate pots on the back porch
- May 7: trip to Allendale Farm. I purchased herbs for the plot and the back porch (basil, parsley, sage, thyme), cauliflower, head lettuce, lavender, dahlias and Osteospermum plus fertilizer and other supplies. I potted up the flowers, sage, thyme, 2 lettuce plants, 1 parsley and two basil cells for the back porch. The rest will go in the plot in the next couple of days.
- May 11: planted fingerling potatoes and sowed more carrots, Swiss chard and peas as well as sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos in plot. Also planted dahlia tubers (only 3, they were supposed to be two each, but one bag only had one bit tuber in it). Transplanted the 6 cauliflower plants, 4 lettuce plants and the parsley I bought a few days ago.
- May 18: planted eggplant (Fairy Tale), one tomato (Paul Robeson) and hot pepper (Jedi Jalapeno) in pots on the back porch
- May 23: planted potatoes in grow bags on the back porch
- May 24: transplanted seedlings into the plot: 6 tomatoes, 1 pepper, 2 cucumbers (1 pickling, 1 slicer), 1 butternut squash and a six-pack each of golden beets and leeks
- June 15: transplanted two cucumber plants (Marketmore, a slicer and Little Lemon, a pickling cucumber) into the plot
The plants on my back porch are doing well. I am growing tomatoes (Paul Robeson), eggplant (Fairy Tale), hot pepper (Jedi Jalapeño), cut lettuce, butter lettuce, potatoes, Swiss Chard and herbs (mint, sage, thyme, rosemary, basil and parsley). Also on the porch are our grapefruit “tree”, our palm – both are indoor plants during the colder months – and several potted perennials: lavender, Osteospermum and Dianthus.
Today’s little spring harvest. I also went to our farmers market and got two cucumber plants (Marketmore – a slicer, and Little Lemon – a pickling cucumber), which I planted to replace the seedlings that were eaten.
Dinner: Spinach and goat cheese frittata with spinach from the garden, served alongside my staple salad: lettuce, cucumbers, radish, avocado with a sour cream-cilantro dressing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The peas are flowering and the butter lettuce is bulking up nicely. This morning, I hilled the potatoes (both in the plot and on my porch) and harvested more asparagus. I sprinkled Epsom salt around the tomatoes (they love magnesium). Sadly, no sign of any flowers, including the dahlias. Very strange. I will put the green beans in soon and transplant the kale.