Monday, May 17, 2010

Harvest Monday and vegetable update

Thinned out lettuce continues to be my Harvest Monday story. On Saturday midday, I checked in on my Minton Stable Garden plot as I waited to receive a walking tour that a BNAN volunteer was leading. We were one of the final stops of the handful of featured Jamaica Plain community gardens, and by that point, only a few people had stuck with it (my theory: the tour shrank as it passed Doyle's), but they were impressed with the attention many people have been giving to their plots. After hearing me ramble on about the history of the garden and showing them the John Carroll memorial and wildflower area, they were interested in what I was growing. So I showed them the lettuces, snap peas (some about 8 inches high), the Chinese cabbage and broccoli raab I had planted from seed about a week ago that were germinating, the strawberries (with small white fruits budding), and the mound of black-eyed Susans (now the circumference of a large hula hoop and in sore need of thinning). As you can probably guess, I was without my camera, so you'll need to rely on older photos and your imagination.Lunch was calling, so before I left, I thinned out the Summertime Iceberg and Forellenschluss Romaine lettuces. To understand why they need to be grown in the sun, one needs only to compare this harvest (above) to the thinner, wimpier leaves picked earlier this evening (below) from the shady backyard garden my daughter and I planted. The MSG crops seem to have more bones to them, and if we continue to enjoy daytime temperature ranges in the 50s-70s, I'll be posting photos of full, crunchy heads by the beginning of June. If you want to compare these lettuces to others across the country and beyond, visit the Harvest Monday posts listed at Daphne's Dandelions.But I don't want to jinx the situation. Anything can go wrong; today I encountered a familiar-looking scourge on my Tyee spinach. Already. I'm beginning to wonder that the only way to avoid leaf miners is to grow spinach in the fall.At home, I've been hardening off my tomato and brassica seedlings. Last week I transplanted my Black Prince and Rose de Berne tomatoes into larger containers and practiced more vigilance in giving them some time on the sunny front porch, and my efforts are paying off. They are catching up to where they probably should be at this time, and I may be able to plant them out this weekend.I can't seem to achieve the same momentum for my broccoli and cauliflower. One year ago today, my Fiesta organic broccoli was not only twice the size as this year's, but already in the ground. This year, I'll be lucky if I can plant out all six of these: two Charming Snow cauliflower, three Fiesta organic broccoli, and the most advanced, the Piricicaba broccoli. I had started four times as many seeds; if I had had more time I would have moved more into larger pots, but I doubt the results would have been different. Now I'm wondering if I can still plant them out this weekend or if I need to wait for them to fatten up a little more. That, along with the arrival of the community garden compost delivery from BNAN and the purchase of a new camera (I've narrowed it down to a particular Canon model) will hopefully happen soon.


Daphne said...

I usually grow spinach under row covers to keep off the leaf miners. But I had to pull the cover off recently because I needed it for the tomatoes (which are much more important). I hand pick leaf miner eggs off the chard in the summer, but I couldn't imagine doing that for all the little spinach leaves. That would take forever.

Bryan Bunch said...

One of the advantages of my vegetable garden being not near other vegetable gardens is that I have fewer problems with pests like leaf miners. No escape from tomato wilts that stay in the soil, however. Down here--somewhat south of Boston--my spinach and lettuce have been thriving for several weeks and I now have planted new patches of both (and arugala, which grows like the rocket that is its other name.

Sally said...

Daphne: Good point about the row covers. I'm wondering how far leaf miners can spread...I don't think that my neighboring plotholders grow them.

Bryan: I'm not familiar with tomato wilts. One more thing to worry about? Like yours, my lettuce is growing well. But this leaf miner business--I have not had any problems until last year.

giulietta said...

Hey Sally,

This all sounds like a book on life lessons in the garden. Went to my CSA orientation this week. Beautiful new barn, gorgeous setting in Sherborn. Will let you know how the harvest tastes.


Sally said...

Do you get to work hours at the CSA too?
Are you and J going to split all those veggies or eat them yourselves? I'd be curious to see how it goes.