Photo © Josh McFadden

The last of the broccoli came out yesterday, just in time to make room for 200 beans of 4 different varieties. I caught it too late to eat actual heads of broccoli, so instead we contented ourselves with the tender, delicious flowery stalks that each of the little pieces of the heads became. They were just the perfect texture in salads, not heavy and thick like chunks of head broccoli usually are – and they kept coming and coming, the more we cut off. It was a bit sad to finally rip them out, but when I think of all those delightful beans that will take their place – soy beans and wax beans and string beans and lima beans – I don’t feel so bad. -grin-

It was kind of an interesting experiment to overwinter so many vegetables. Some – the broccoli, the turnips, and the kohlrabi, which I think all have something or other to do with the cabbage family – all bolted at the first warm day. This made the turnips and kohlrabi woody and completely inedible (which I resented more because of all the time I’d spent thinking up tasty recipes for them, than for all the time I’d spent tending to them in the garden).

The garlic, onions, and beets, however, remained – and continue to remain – stoically unmoved by the warm weather. It’s really puzzling, because they don’t really seem to be growing at all, especially in comparison to other gardener’s plots. Only two of about twenty garlics have produced a bud (they need to flower and die back before you can harvest them), while all my neighbors’ garlics are nearly done. Same for the lettuces; they persist in their tiny, tiny ways. And the beets, which I really need to harvest in order to replace them with some other seedlings (that should have been planted weeks ago and have quite outgrown their little peat pots) are just sitting there. I don’t want to give up on the whole crop, but what should I do? I don’t want my seedlings to get rootbound, or die because I have to wait til July to plant them, or not end up producing any food because they got in the ground too late to have an adequate growing season.

I guess the obvious solution is to ditch my oh-so-carefully-planned veggie garden layout, and just start tossing in seedlings wherever there’s an opening for them.  Right now, that’s the corn bed. So long, Black Aztec corn, with your centuries-long history. Through the vagaries of beetly stubborness, thou shalt not grace my grill this summer.

I wonder if the accelerated pace of my neighbors veggies might have something to do with the fact that they’re using beefed-up Franken-Fertilizers, while all I have to rely on are old standbys like blood and bone meal and wood ash and compost?

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