Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Garden

Although I love my ornamentals, my vegetables and fruit trees give me a greater feeling of accomplishment when they do well. And I must admit I don't get a feeling of disappointment when they don't do well. A no lose endeavor in the feelings department if you know what I mean. I don't like it when the nine banded dirt digger from hell [armadillo] gets into the raised bed and destroys the whole lot of my fall beet crop too late for replanting. It is just the trials of gardening. After all, the seeds only cost a buck or so. But let him dig up a new golden orange Shrimp plant that I looked high and low for, with months expended in the search, and I will stay up nights to exact my revenge. And the cost was more than a pack of seeds, you can bet on that. I'm getting flushed with anger just thinking about it. But don't worry about the armadillo, I released it down the road in front of a neighbors house that waters his lawn too much. Thaaat's right, I am just that mean.

There are ornamentals that evoke strong feelings in me. Some of my gimme plants mean a lot to me, especially ones from my mother, my sister and close friends. With the vegetables it is different. They are food...good, healthy, better tasting, and cheaper food. You feel that you have accomplished something grand to actually produce some of your own food. I think if all gardeners would have some food plants in their gardens it would make for feelings of that accomplishment in them as well. And cropping through the garden with a little bowl of Ranch dressing ain't bad either.

Remember the aerial picture of the winter garden plants in the raised beds that I took off my roof? Here's what it looks like now. No, I didn't climb back on the roof.

The broccoli is doing good with a few large heads already. I noticed my wife salivating a little while looking at it. A little bit of gardeners anxiety that I talk about a lot.

The Cauliflower is doing equally as well but is not quite as far along, with the little heads only slightly bigger than a golf ball. You will notice the leaves curled over the heads. This is called a self-blanching variety, keeping the sunlight off the heads, thereby keeping them white and not yellowing and wanting to bolt. I jouust losve callifouor. Oh, sorry. Now I'm salivating all over the keyboard. Thinking how good, firm and crisp those heads are getting, I can barely type on these wet keys. Did I mention that I just love cauliflower.

The Romaine lettuce has been getting eaten for weeks now but there are still several heads left.

The head lettuce is starting to have heads now. They never head out and are ready to pick in the time they are supposed to for me. At least they are not too prone to bolt.

The Buttercrunch, however, is another story. I don't know why I still buy it as it always bolts.

Lastly is the Red Cabbage. I've always had better luck with the greens but all I could find this year was the red. The reds seem to grow slower and are more prone to bolt. I can see little heads forming so maybe I'll be cutting cabbage heads before spring.


Chandramouli S said...

Hi Bob! I was salivating too! LOL! No seriously they look so healthy and nice. It's my favorite veggie. Have never tasted the lettuce by it looks fresh and I'm sure it'd be yummy when cooked! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Put Milorganite around your beds. The nine banded bandits do not like it. I do not fertilize veggies with it, but just put it around the beds. They do not like it and stay away from where it is applied. Cheers.........

Anonymous said...

Wow, I got hungry just reading your blog. Those images of the lettuce and cauliflower are fabulous, and just thinking of picking a fresh leaf of romaine for my favorite caeser salad is too much! I love your Armadillo story, it sounds like something my Dad would do. Merry Christmas!

Rock rose said...

Those are some mighty fine vegetables. It doesn't look as though you have any bugs on them. My winter greens are riddled with holes. We still eat them but I would love for them to look as good as yours. I grew brussels one year and ever since have been plaqued with harlequin bugs so I was staying away from the brassicas. You pictures are making me think again. Happy new Year.

katina said...

Hey Bob!

What did you use to make the raised beds? I want to put one or two in our back yard, and know that I should use the untreated lumber, but have no idea what size boards. And your beds just look so darn sturdy, I figure they have to last for years!

Helen Ruth said...

Well, golly, I purchased the broccoli seeds last fall to plant, but never got around it. Your winter garden looks so yummy!

Home Improvement Ideas said...

Way to go, great winter garden tips!
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