Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cauliflower and Frozen Seedlings

Snowball Cauliflower

Cold burned bok choy seedlings.

The seedlings in this pot held-up better,
some rebounded from the cold.

After 3 days of indoor nursing.

BC seeds sprouted outdoor in a raised bed despite the cold.

I harvested all the cauliflowers 3 days ago, they seem to stop growing in the cold, the heads were small about the size of a baseball and tennis ball, next year I'll have to start planting them a lot earlier so they will size up by the end of October.

I left the bok choy seedlings outside on Thanksgiving Day and forgot to bring them indoor for the night, they were frozen when I saw them the next morning, my heart sank!   The last picture shows the same bok choy seeds sprouted outdoor in the cold, the difference was the in-ground seedlings were under cover at night. This experiment confirms bok choys are quite cold hardy when they are left alone to fend for themselves, too much TLC actually harms them.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Seedlings on Thanksgiving Day 2009

From top to bottom:
Bed 1 --- 34 Napa cabbages 大白菜
Bed 2 --- (left) French leeks 蒜苗,
(right) carrots 紅蘿蔔, Shanghai BC 青江菜
Bed 3 --- (left) spinach 菠菜﹐
(right) Chinese mustard 雪裡紅


34 Napa cabbages 紹菜﹐娃娃菜﹐白菜5號 growing steadily.
Yes yes yes, they are for winter and spring consumption.

The seedlings looked like this on 11/6/2009 before transplant.

More Napa cabbage seedlings before transplant 11/9/2009.

Bed 2 -- Shanghai qinjiang bok choy 上海青江白菜
transplanted on 11/9/2009

Bed 3 --- Mustard green 雪裡, transplanted on 11/9/2009.
Spinach and green onions are growing in the rear,
I've been harvesting them the last 2 months,
the spinach is about done for the season.

Chinese mustard green closeup.

Our night temperature has been dropping into single digits in the past 5 days, I've been using floating row covers to protect the seedlings at night from the freezing temps, they are uncovered during the day for few hours of sunshine if there's no wind or snow beating down on them, so far so good.

Friday, November 20, 2009

November Week 3 Harvest

Spinach, green onions, radish.

Beauty Heart Radish
I've forgotten the radish hidden in an EB at the end of the garden until today, the over matured Beauty Heart radish's heart is not so beautiful anymore, it's going into the pickle jar later.

I cutoff about 3/4" of the green onions and replant the roots, they will sprout more green leaves later, the roots will develop into baby red onions next spring.  I've grown green onions on and off in the past several years, this particular cultivar from Renee's Garden wins my heart with its beautiful color, fragrance, and mild taste, I'll be growing more of it next year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Backyard Fall Colors

Johnny Jump Up

Heavenly Bamboo --- Gulf Stream


 Frosty Napa Cabbage--- younger leaves.

Frosty Napa --- this is one of the outer (older) leaves
which received the most frost and snow
many times over the younger leaves,

紹菜 Napa cabbage keeps on growing despite snow and frost.

These are the only bright colors we have in the garden this time of the year, all others are vegetables, evergreen shrubs or trees, and brown tree leaves with dead branches.

The photos were taken approximately 4 hours after sunrise; our overnight temperatures had been in the low teens, the Napa cabbage 紹菜 was exposed to cold without protection from floating cover, I am amazed how hardy this vegetable is, it has been through 2 snow storms and nightly low temps.  It is so much more enjoyable to grow brassicas in the Fall without the usual pests invasion.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Winter Vegetable Garden Experiment

Shanghai bai cai (青江菜)

Three different kinds of Napa cabbages (三種大白菜)
they are spaced approximately 12'' from each other. 

Red and yellow beets (紅黃菜頭)
These will overwinter as they did last year.

Fava beans -- surprise surprise, 100% germination!
I didn't expected any seed to sprout at all,
I was testing to see if they will germinate in temps below 40s.

White short stem bai cai (矮腳小白菜)
We have had 2 meals from this bunch already,
they will be ready for a 3rd meal soon.

Snowball cauliflower will be ready for Thanksgiving dinner.
There are 4 more growing in EBs.

Stonehead cabbage will be ready for Christmas dinner,
there are 5 of them growing in different stages.

I have been busy in removing dead plants, cleaning up the garden, replenishing raised beds and containers for the winter season. I am going to try for a winter veggie garden this year, most of the cold hardy vegetables are in place and are growing nicely up to this point, my only concern is the newly transplanted seedlings and seeds.  I should know better not to sow anymore seeds this time of the year, but our fall weather is so nice and beautiful, my hands are on autopilot and I lost control.

Most of the vegetable beds and containers are empty now,  I still have garlic and leeks to plant,  some veg seedlings and green onions need to be transplanted, there are chores, chores, and chores. Wrapping up a growing season is my least favorite part of gardening, but it needs to be done, c'est la vie!