The spring veggies are maturing or approaching harvest time and the garden is yielding Kohl Rabi, broccoli, green garlic, and huge, sweet heads of red and green varieties of heirloom lettuces.
Overall the garden looks good and is showing the promises of a great growing season full of bountiful veggie harvests.
Early Spring Vegetables
The cabbage plants have started to form heads and the plants look healthy and vigorous. Of course I planted my all-time favorite heirloom cabbage; Early Jersey Wakefield with its distinctive pointed heads. In addition to the Wakefield cabbage I also planted a Savoy variety with dark green, crinkled and blistered leaves.
Brussels Sprouts went into the garden at the same time as the early spring Cole crops this year. Last season the plants did not have enough time to mature so I planted them a lot earlier than normal to see if they produce a better fall harvest on this modified schedule.
Two fingerling potato varieties are planted and the Purple Peruvian one is displaying a purplish tint even on its foliage. I’ve placed a thick straw mulch around the plants to conserve moisture, prevent the tubers from being exposed to sunlight, and to reduce the temptation for robbing the plants of too many “new” baby potatoes later this summer.
Fall Planted and Perennial Vegetable Crops
The last of the fall grown kale and collard greens were harvested last week, with the exception of a few specimens of the “Wild Kale” variety that I’m allowing to go to seed. I love this unique strain of kale for its appearance, taste, and diversity. A single planting of this variety will reward you with a mixture of colors, shapes, and leaf types.
The fall planted garlic is growing tall with extremely thick stems and has increased my anticipation of a productive crop of delicious gourmet garlic bulbs. The mulch of shredded leaves that were spread over the garlic bed last winter was left in place this spring to deter weed growth, conserve moisture, and make for a virtually maintenance-free garlic experience.
Garden Treats for Dessert
Long red stalks of rhubarb are ready and waiting for this season’s strawberries to create a tasty dessert or two fresh from the garden. I have a few strawberry plants growing in the garden but I’ll also visit a market stand or “pick-your-own” strawberry farm to enjoy the local harvest of sweet berries.
A solitary chipmunk seems to be attracted to the garden and appears to be planning to take up a permanent residence. I suspect the chipmunk is the culprit picking and half eating the strawberries before they even get close to ripening. Well at least there’s no sign of groundhogs and only one small rabbit that’s been spotted in the garden this year.
Summer Transplants and Seedlings
Despite taking my time getting the tomatoes out into the garden, they have grown considerably in a short period of time and already have blossoms and fruit adorning the vines. The peppers and eggplants are also doing well and the flea beetles have yet to begin their annual attacks on the eggplants.
I pre-sprouted seeds of runner beans, climbing lima beans, and a couple varieties of Chinese long beans. The seeds were then planted under plastic mulch next to a trellis that the beans will be able to climb to their heart’s content.
The rutabagas, beets, and carrots have all germinated and are a few inches tall. I broadcast the seed by hand and tried to space them out evenly, but the rutabagas came in thicker than I planned leaving me with the tedious task of thinning these seedlings.
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