Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 22, 2008

Well, I let my fingers do the walking and found what appears to be a competing brand of predator urine to deter my raccoons.  Unfortunatley they were closed when I called but answered the phone anyway.  I love shopping locally.  It's at my local True Value hardware store just down the street where I found that great cedar bench.  I may just stop by on the way home from work and pick both up.  We'll see.

Anyway, I read on the bus this morning about winter gardening in the Pacific NW.  Apparently on coast of the Puget Sound, we can garden year round here under hoop covers (Steve Solomon calls them plastic cloches).  He suggests a great schedule to have salad greens year round.  If I plant lettuce, spinach, and maybe mustard greens in September, I'll harvest in December and January.  Succession plantings in October will harvest in February and March.  The trick then is when the first (September) plants are done in late January, you plant again for harvest in April and May, right as my first spring greens are coming up.  Considering I still have greens right now in the heat of the summer (some are just starting to bolt), that means we can have salad greens all year round here!  Very cool!

On the way home I decided that I should fertilize the final two rows of corn to complete the succession planting.  While I did it I was surprised to find the start of corn (since yesterday) on several of my first plantings.  Look at the best of them...

Now it seems I've got to look up what to do with them?  I haven't seen many bees around lately so I guess it means I need to hand polinate them.  I wonder if Judy's around since she did that with hers and they turned out.  Grrr. I wish I had more experience, hehe.  It's exciting though. I had to get my whole family out there to show them our corn starting to grow!

Also, I just had to snap a pic of my flowering cukes. I've got tons of flowers on all my plants, but this pic shows the greatest concentration right at the base of my trellis.  Pretty cool!

I sure hope we get a ton of cukes. As I've said my wife wants to pickle them and if we don't get many I'll eat them all plain or in salads, hehe.  Do I have to polinate these or what?  Can I shake the trellis like I do the tomato cages?  /shrug

Finally, I have been looking online at Territorial Seed to find some mustard greens to grow this fall, winter and next spring and summer.  I want something to give my salads some kick, the Italiansheir lettuce isn't doing it.  But I don't want too hot or too mustardy taste which would clash with the rest of my salad.  I've got an IM into my garden muse Jen who graciously posted here today.  She let me try some of her mustard greens and I liked them.  Maybe she can help me pick a variety from Territorial.  I hate so many choices when I'm so picky, hehe.  Worst case I can call the order line. They're extremely helpful there, but they don't know me like Jen does.  Well that's it for tonight. Time to hit the sack.

Enjoy your garden!


  1. Hey Guy;

    Wow, I'm feeling popular! I'm trying to remember what greens we sneaked into the salad last... may fave is the Curled Southern Giant, that is a medium green with super-ruffled edges. Really pretty and happy, fairly mild, i probably had a bit of that around. For contrast, the other is the Japanese Red Giant (Tokyo Red? I don't have the seed packet, bad Jen), with dark, purply leaves and a slightly stronger flavor. Both are great in salads, and stirfry with swiss chard a treat. And if it's not quite spicy enough for you, both get hotter-tasting as the season goes on!

  2. sin - it defiantly would be nice to grow year round, I want to try a cold frame this fall but I am guess the best I could extend to is January. Just to cold and nasty after that. You should look into growing bok choy over the winter season, it loves the cold and is good in salads as well as stir fry.

    As for your corn, it is wind pollinated so no bee's required. If you want to lend a hand you could collect some pollen from the tassels and distribute it on the silk of the cob. Each silk strand is then connected to a single corn kernel. That is why some times cobs are missing kernel because it was not pollinated enough by the wind.

    Cucumbers are lookin good!

  3. Sounds like an interesting year round gardening system - the growing season here feels way too short - someday I may look setting up a coldframe for my sfg's...

  4. Plantgirl, for $25 you can build your own hoop cover or plastic cloch for your raised bed in a hurry. I set mine up in 15 minutes before that April snow storm we got this year. And for $30 I got enough to do all the rest of my beds. Just a thought.

    Dan, thanks for the info. I hope I get enough wind to polinate the successions. I may very well need to help them along, which should be easy if it's just brushing silks to silks. As for coldframes extending your season from Octoberish to January, it'd be well worth it for another three months of cool-weather crops! Think of the savings of not buying your salads, peas, carrots, broccoli, caulflower etc. from the store. You could buy materials for your coldframe from one month's savings. Is that enough encouragement? hehe.

    I may try bok choy, never tried it. Maybe Jen has some I can taste like she did with the mustard greens. Ask her, she'll tell you how picky I am, but I do want to expand my tastes.

    Jen, send me an IM and lets walk through the seed catalogs online to find an overwinter variety that you think I'll like or is closest to what I've eaten at your house. I loved it... Thanks!

  5. Hi Sin!!!

    The hand-pollinating of corn is very easy really. Just take a pair of scissors outside with you. I don't cut off the entire tassel -- just one of the little pieces (be careful not to knock off the pollen) and then gently tap it on the silks. I did this a couple of times as the tassels were producing pollen and the silks were starting to show. Don't rely on wind pollination because without a really good "stand" of corn (multiply rows all planted close and at the same time) wind-pollination will not be enough. Besides, hand-pollinating is kinda fun and you really feel like you are accomplishing something doing it.

    Oh yes, the mustard greens! Those are really good. The Florida Broadleaf is good (flat leaf plant) as well as the Southern Curled (which is even pretty!). We grow those down here in the winter time for "greens" that we steam with some butter like turnip greens.