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Planting Fall Vegetables, Part 1

We planted the broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage into Bed 2 this week, as well as a couple plants of purple cauliflower and broccoli that are in the Kids’ Snack Garden. It may be a bit of a challenge to have a successful harvest from this group, although the long-range forecast looks excellent for a fall garden! The unfortunate thing is that there seem to be lots of insects around, including some of the Imported Cabbageworm moths. Between caterpillars and the “drought” in my office a couple weeks ago, some of the plants were a little sad. Luckily, we found enough good looking ones of almost all the varieties. The only variety that was a problem was the ‘Purple of Sicily’ heirloom cauliflower, which apparently had poor germination that I didn’t notice.

We planted the transplants 3 across in the bed, roughly lined up with emitters in the drip line (although we haven’t turned on the water in weeks!), and spaced more or less evenly across the bed. This gives each plant about 16″ of space, which is a little bit tight, but we are making up for it the other direction, allowing 24″ between varieties.

Here’s the entire bed after planting. We did add a little bit of fertilizer to the soil, because these are crops that really like a lot of nitrogen. We should be okay on that, but in this case I would rather be over than under. I’m also assuming that the rain may be leaching some of the nutrients out. We did not water everything, since the soil was moist and the plants had all been out in the rain overnight.

We also put a coating of Dipel Dust (Bacillus thuringiensis) on all the seedlings, since we’ve already had caterpillars. I really don’t want to lose the seedlings.

Here’s the corner we planted in the Kids’ Snack Garden. We planted a white cauliflower, a purple cauliflower, and a purple sprouting broccoli. Yes, I did have to pull out a couple of the cantaloupe plants to make a little more space. Yes, there were cantaloupes on them. Oops.

So, the varieties.

Broccoli

‘Santee’ Purple Sprouting Broccoli – This is a type of broccoli that puts out lots of smaller side shoots rather than a big head. The broccoli also has a darker purple tinge to it.

‘Apollo’ Sprouting Broccoli – Same as the ‘Santee’ but green. The sprouting broccoli is supposed to mature and produce sooner than the regular heads.

‘Arcadia’ Broccoli – Mid-season variety that is supposed to have good cold tolerance and produce nice side shoots as well as the main head.

‘Imperial’ Broccoli – This variety is more heat tolerant and grows slowly in cold weather. It will be interesting to compare the two varieties!

‘Purple Peacock’ Sprouting Broccoli (Kids’ Garden) – This is a broccoli-kale cross that already has neat leaves. You can eat the leaves or the loose heads.

Cauliflower

‘Veronica’ – This is a green, romanesco type cauliflower. The head is bright green, and instead of having the rounded heads it has very angular curds.

‘Amazing’ – This is your classic white cauliflower that has self-blanching wrapper leaves. (Often you have to tie up the leaves to get a nice white head.) It is supposed to have both heat and cold tolerance.

‘Cheddar’ – This is an orange cauliflower. We’ve grown it before, but in the spring.

‘Purple of Sicily’ – This is an heirloom variety that has purple heads. Because it is an heirloom, I’m expecting the heads to be more mottled purple and white rather than solidly purple.

‘Denali’ (Kids’ Garden) – Another white variety that has good heat and humidity tolerance. We’ll give the humidity part a test, that’s for sure!

‘Graffiti’ (Kids’ Garden) – This is a hybrid purple variety that is much more uniformly purple.

Cabbage

‘Famosa’ – This is a green, savoy cabbage. (Savoy basically means crinkly leaves.)

‘Ruby Perfection’ – A red, smooth leaf cabbage. It has round heads and is typically 4-6 pounds.

‘Tendersweet’ – A green cabbage that has flattened heads. It typically has thinner leaves and a very sweet flavor.

‘Deadon’ – This is a red-green savoy cabbage that gets more red with the cold and has very good cold tolerance. The recommendation is to harvest them in early winter after several frosts or freezes!

When we selected varieties, we tried to get a range of different varieties, while looking for those with characteristics that would help them be successful here in the fall. The challenge was if we should choose cold tolerance for the later part of the season or heat tolerance for the first part of the season!

Thinking about all these beautiful cabbages has me almost ready for fall!

2013 Garden Plans: Shallots, Beans & Brassicas

These next couple bed plans are going to seem a little bit random, I think. That’s because Beds 2 & 3 are mostly full of shallots, garlic, etc at the moment. That has inspired a little bit different garden planning for this year. Let’s just say that we’re going to be a lot busier in late June, late July, and early August than some years!

Fall Brassicas

So the majority of the bed is full of shallots, multiplier onions, and elephant garlic at the moment. There is about 5 feet at one end where we had some lettuce last fall. In that open space, we will be planting two types of bush beans: Amethyst (purple) and Jade (green). Everything in this garden should be ready to harvest/remove by sometime in July.

For the fall, we are going to plant 4 varieties each of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. We will start the plants from seed indoors in late June with the plan to plant them out in the garden in late July or early August (weather dependent). Here’s a little more information about each variety.

Broccoli

Both ‘Santee’ and Apollo’ are sprouting broccolis, meaning that they do not produce one large head, but rather a lot of smaller side shoots. ‘Santee’ is a purple variety.

‘Arcadia’ and ‘Imperial’ are both regular broccoli varieties, but varieties that are supposed to be very cold tolerant and do well in fall plantings.

Cauliflower

‘Amazing’ is our white cauliflower selection. We chose it because it is supposed to do well in the fall and is fairly short days to maturity.

‘Veronica’ is a green, romanesco type cauliflower. ‘Cheddar’ is an orange cauliflower. ‘Purple of Sicily’ is…you guessed it! A purple cauliflower!

Cabbage

We have two savoy cabbage and two regular cabbage. ‘Famosa’ is a savoy (crinkly leaved) green cabbage and ‘Deadon’ is a savoy with red and green leaves. ‘Tendersweet’ is a regular green cabbage and ‘Red Perfection’ is a regular red cabbage.

2013 Garden Plans: Kids Snack Garden

This garden should be a fun one!

Kids Snacking GardenSo the idea behind this garden is actually a combination of two ideas. I had the idea of planting a “snacking” garden, planted exclusively to vegetables that can be used for eating raw as a “snack.” One of our Master Gardeners wanted to plant a garden geared towards kids. So…we combined the two ideas! I think it will be a lot of fun!

We have been doing the cattle panel trellises in the raised beds for 3 years now, but for this garden we will be trying something different again. We are going to try putting a trellis over the walkway between beds 4 and 5. It will be quite an experiment! I hope it turns out!

Sunflowers: We will be planting 3 varieties, ‘Teddy Bear,’ ‘Aztec Sun,’ and ‘Valentine.’ These are a variety of heights and colors.

Tomatoes: We will have two cherry tomatoes, one red and one gold. The varieties are ‘Super Sweet 100’ and ‘Golden Honey Bunch.’ We will probably be doing some heavy pruning to keep them controlled on the trellis, so that will also be a new experience.

Beans: A lot of people do not have success with pole beans here, but one of our Master Gardeners has had good luck with ‘Emerite’ filet pole beans, so we will be giving those a try.

Cucumbers: We will be revisiting the white ‘Salt and Pepper’ cucumbers that we had in the Vertical Garden last year.

Peppers: Our pepper plants will be the red and yellow ‘Lunchbox’ peppers.

In the spring, we are planning to have some baby romaine lettuces and mixed color carrots and radishes. In the fall we will revisit the lettuces as well as try out some purple and white cauliflower varieties and the ‘Purple Peacock’ Sprouting Broccoli.

We are also going to try some fun containers near the garden, one with sugar snap peas and the other with perhaps a tomato or a bush pumpkin or melon.

This should be a fun garden to photograph this summer!

Insect Season is Upon Us!

Upon wandering through the garden this morning (if by “wandering” you mean watering), I discovered that the warm/hot temperatures of the last several days have caused numerous batches of insects to hatch out. There are quite a number of tiny grasshoppers roaming around. On a positive note, there are a lot of ladybugs too! I hoope they are eating their fill of aphids.

The two insects I found that are currently the most destructive are the ones eating the cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts and the ones eating the currant leaves!

Imported CabbagewormThis little guy (and a bunch of his friends) are munching holes in the cabbage leaves especially, but they are also starting in on the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. I’m almost positive that this is an Imported Cabbageworm, a type of caterpillar that turns into the white moths you frequently see flying around the Brassica vegetables. The way to treat these critters is with a dusting or spraying of a Bt product. (Bt is Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacteria that kills the caterpillars after they ingest it.) Happily, Bt is an organic product.

Skeletonized CurrantThese insects are eating away quite happily on the currant bushes. I’m not sure what they are, but from doing a little research, it looks like they may be an insect known as Currant Sawfly (or Imported Currantworm). If that is the case, these are not actually caterpillars, and as such cannot be killed with Bt. Rats! Apparently pyrethrins, insecticidal soaps, and handpicking the larvae are the control options. The fruit are starting to ripen, so we want to be careful with what we use.