Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The veg patch

They say vegetables are good for you.  After two months creating a veg patch, I´ve got my doubts.


Potatoes - doing really well.  No more dirt to hill up a second time. Tops yellowing now.  Neighbors say I can start digging any time.  Don´t know where they´ll cure.
Onions - also doing well.  Using as spring onions in salads.
Strawberries - flowering and fruiting and being eaten by critters while still white
Spinach - bolted and yanked.
Lettuce - now cutting for salad.  Planted more, ruffled and red, but the red keeps disappearing - eaten?
Carrots - Thinned once.  Uneven germination.
Broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage/brussels sprouts - barely survived nibbled on by varmints (rabbits).  Planted more brussels sprouts.
Parsnips - missing in action, as predicted.  Redug and planted leeks.
Peas - don´t really want to climb, but producing peas.  Picked a couple of pods but the peas were still quite small.
Tomatoes - Growing and flowering.  Making a hash of a florida weave.
Peppers - Growing and flowering.  Harvested one pepper - Orense, I think.
Green Beans - growing and flowering.
Zucchini/courgette -growing and flowering.  How I ended up with 4, I don´t know.
Squash/pumpkin - 2 hills with 3 plants in each.
Basil, parsley, dill, marigolds, nasturtiums, borage - borage kind of a no show, nasturtiums in one bed, marigolds uneven, green basil sprouted, purple not so much.  No sign of parsley or dill.

Garlic - harvested.  It may have been early, but the bed they were in was always wet and I was worried they´d rot.  Half the leaves were dry and yellow, so I pulled them and they´re curing in the water heater closet.  Seemed like I planted a lot more cloves than I got heads, but for a first time not bad.

Misc (tomato, herb, flower) started seeds - Disasterous - they sat with exactly the same first two leaves they had for over a month.  Some slug came along overnight and nipped the leaves off some.  Abandoned in disgust and bought starts.

So far 6 small trash bags of assorted crap cleaned from the beds.  Many, many, many rocks removed.  Lots still remain.

Should probably be starting fall stuff - rutabagas, etc.  Am told that grelos (beet greens) to in after the potatoes.  Should I try starting seeds? Too fed up with gardening to think about it.


  1. It hasn't been a great year weatherwise, everything got a late start. You have done tons for a first year and there is still time for the veggie gluts to take hold. I start most of my veggies in trays or pots as the ground is usually just too dry for seedlings unless you have lots of organic matter in the soil (which I don't). Every year you get hits and misses and I learn more every year. Just give it time, it is fun really.

  2. Hi Coco,

    Thanks for the glimpse into your summer garden! It looks awesome especially as it is the depths of winter here and maybe snowing outside right now.

    This stuff is really complex and it takes years of experience before you get the best out of everything - and even then... I still make lots of mistakes, but I learn slowly.

    Incidentally, I really like the look of the rock retaining wall and the photo of those peas. Yum!

    So many different plants. I'll share some thoughts with you on each of them:

    Potatoes – Yeah, the yellowing tops are an indicator that they are ready to harvest. As they are growing you can pile more manure against the trunk of the plant and that may produce more tubers.

    Onions – I messed them up by adding too much manure

    Strawberries – Everything eats strawberries including possibly Breogan?

    Spinach – They don’t like hot weather and will do the same here. You may have to get them in the ground earlier? I start some crops like these inside the house from about late August.

    Lettuce – Dunno. Lettuce grows well here.

    Carrots – This lot like compacted ground and grow better from seed and can never be transplanted. Ditto for parsnip which are even more picky. An orchard is a good place for carrots. They grow feral here.

    Broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage/brussels sprouts – Ha! The white cabbage moths will take all! There is a parasitic wasp that leaves yellow cells around on posts and house walls and they eat the moths, but I reckon the moths are winning that battle.

    Peas – I’ve struggled with peas because of poor watering systems but will try again.

    Tomatoes – That weave sounds like hard work. I’m planning to use steel reinforcement mesh as a frame for the tomatoes. I let them sprawl last season and whilst it was a bumper crop it was also a total disaster as they spread everywhere. Tomatoes require a bit of carbon in the soil (i.e. woody mulch) as well as manures. You can tell the manure content by how many green leaves are produced with little fruit.

    Peppers – Oh how I have struggled with this lot.

    Green Beans – I stick to broad beans which are a winter crop, but I put them in too late this year so who knows what will happen.

    Zucchini/courgette – Beware the ever growing zucchini’s! I still have a dozen left over from summer.

    Squash/pumpkin – Had no luck with these. I am currently selecting seed for any variety of these that grow here (plus I worked out the unidentified watermelon was a Sweet Siberian variety which I'll try again next summer)

    Borage is a weed here. Perhaps take root cuttings – they will take. Comfrey may be better for you given that it dies back in winter?

    Nasturtiums are excellent and will happily self seed, but they will also outcompete most plants.

    Marigolds - mine are uneven too. They promise a lot and deliver not very much.

    Green basil I have no hope with as they require too much water.

    Parsley or dill are winter crops here and are growing outside right now. I suspect perhaps heat may be a problem with them for you? They die back over summer, with the exception of the flat leaf parsley which is much hardier than the crinkly leaf parsley.

    It is a real pleasure to read your garden notes and your garden is very productive.



  3. I suppose that when some of the crops fail then it makes you appreciate the ones that thrive. Seems a bit of a variable year for veg. My beans didn't germinate, carrots were patchy and the peas grew fabulously until a big fat pigeon sat on top of the supports and ate out all the tops.

  4. Thanks all!

    I now think I may have ¨weeded¨ out some borrage - there are more coming along so we´ll see. Honestly, I don´t know how one starts seeds here in February without a greenhouse or a grow light system. Mine did nothing in the balmy, relatively sunny days of May.

    I now suspect birds getting the strawberries. They were trying out the green blueberries the other day too. Will try netting.

    The broccoli, etc., were looking quite chewed, to the nubbins. Do moths do that? Lots of snails and slugs too.

    Oh, to find some hog panels, welded wire, cement reinforcement mesh, anything of the sort! The only thing around these parts is woven fencing in large rolls. Or plastic fencing in rolls. So odd the things I can´t seem to find.

    Hope all your gardens, or garden plans, thrive.

  5. What a great harvest and plot. Enjoy.

  6. Ian!! How are you and Luis? I´ve missed your blog. Was just going to look up your chutney.

    Hope all is fabulous in Asturias.