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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When Doom is Eminent

What should a gardener do when doom is eminent?

In this area, brassicas should be fall planted because our Springs are short. We go from highs in the 70's to highs in the high 80's in a matter of weeks. Lows in the 60's have already arrived.

But my fall garden was a disappointment and I really wanted to try broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower again. I started all of these indoors in early January/late Decemeber. This gives them all expected harvest dates of mid-March / early April which is perfect for our weather. I transplanted everything outside at the end of February, so they were exposed to some chills. I also planted spinach and lettuce because I had room for them.

Just FYI: I know the ground looks dry, but it's moist just below the surface. The top is dry because it wasn't mulched, but it is mulched now.

Well here it is, end of March and:

All of my broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage look like this:

Right! They are all of 2" tall. These things will never form a head before it gets too hot for them. They are only marginally larger than they were when I set them out. Its like they stall after being transplanted and then start growing again. In the fall, I tried direct seeding, but the germination rates were terrible. I have to figure this out because my family loves to eat these three veggies and it is almost impossible to find them organically around here. When I do find them organically, they are 4x the cost of the inorganic.
Even the spinach is very small. According to the seed package, I should be harvesting now. Ha. Ha. I am no where near harvest time.
The saving grace with the spinach is that it is a fast grower and I probably will get to harvest some before they start to bolt. Last year, they didn't bolt until late April; which still leaves about a month. So I should be able to harvest enough spinach to get us to the fall.
Same with the lettuce. It is fairly behind schedule, but I should have enough time left to get a decent harvest....only because it is a fast grower.
I do realize that the dates on the seed packages are optimal; but as you can see, I am no where near hitting those dates. My summer crops thus far, have hit within one week of the dates and my fall crops haven't even come close. I wonder if veggie growers up North have the opposite experience or is it that summer weather is more predictable/consistent therefore the dates are more reliable?
I don't need this bed until summer and who knows what the weather will do. So, I am going to allow everything to keep growing until it bolts or I need the bed. But I think we all know that (for my broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower) Doom. Is eminent.

1 comment:

  1. This year has been very frustrating to me, too. I'm looking forward to a Fall garden! And hopefully it won't freeze too early!