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Friday, December 9, 2011

Around the December Garden

So yesterday I braved the frigid temperatures to take a look at the garden beds. Northerns are probably laughing at me for calling highs of mid 40's and lows of high 20's frigid. But this is about as cold as it gets here.

All of the beds are covered with 1.5mil plastic. This gives them a couple degrees of protection, but it also protects the leaves from frost. So today was about peaking under the cold frames to see how the crops were doing.
Bed 12 (the one on the right above) has our garlic and broccoli. One broccoli plant looks about ready to harvest. I couldn't believe it. Its only been about 3 days since I last looked; this thing looks ready to harvest. The other broccoli plants don't look so well, but I am holding out hope for their recovery. Perhaps they were too small to endure the cold. I planted all of these at the same time, so I have no clue why they are at such different developmental stages. The garlic looks fine, though some of the older leaves are yellow. You can see the garlic around the edges of the 3rd picture below. Per GardenWebForums this happens so I am not worried yet.
In the next bed over (Bed 11) the lettuce is doing very well. The carrots are moving along as well - albeit slowly. The carrots are the little patches of green you see growing close to the ground. They are basically closely-spaced seedlings for now.

The turnip bed (Bed 6) (which was planted at the start of Nov) is almost none existent. There are some seedlings in there, but I am not sure if these are turnips or weeds. Maybe they'll overwinter and start sprouting in the spring. In the south, we need an early start on the spring anyway as it gets hot fast.
And nowwwww (drum roll) The Bed 3. I call it this because this has been my best bed by far. This is the bed that was closest to the sprinkler when we had a leak, so it has always been watered well and it shows. The interesting thing is, I harvested from this bed last Saturday and it looks like I hadn't touched it. I harvested all the way to the ground because I knew the temps would be dropping. So you are basically looking at one week of growth! (Except for the garlic of course). The garlic is doing great and none of it is yellow. The gap in the middle is where the radishes were; I guess I should plant some more. My calendar says we can plant radish and lettuce throughout the winter here. In front is collards and in back is spinach. Under the collards are some mesculin (lettuce mix).
 The only garlic that is not doing well in Bed 3 is the grocery store bought garlic. It looks miserable.
And lastly Bed 9, this bed has broccoli, spinach (that didn't germinate...maybe in spring). and onion (around edges - looks like garlic). The left picture is my broccoli; the haze you see is actually tulle netting. The other broccoli doesn't look as good but you can see the onion in the background!

This is both Disappointing and Exciting! Its disappointing because of my low germination rates. I should have full beds; instead they are mostly mulch. I did direct sow everything, so I guess if I want better germination I'd better set up for indoor sowing or taken better care of the beds until sprouting. I hope the beds will probably be more productive come spring; I read somewhere that seeds will sometimes sprout in early spring if they didn't in the winter. I hope so bc I sure love turnips and broccoli and those don't do well in our spring bc it gets warm to fast. Maybe I'll sow some indoors so they are set to mature in March.

But I am excited to be getting something and I am excited about my garlic. 

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