This is how my plot looked at the beginning of May:
The mugwort is growing well. It
smells good. Tastes kind of spicy and medicinal. Virginia
wanted me to plant it because she thinks lots of beneficial
insects love the stuff. I looked it up on the internet, and
supposedly you can make a medicinal tea out of the stuff. That's
on the list of things I'm planning to do as soon as I get around
That collard that I cut back
drastically has fully recovered from the experience.
The arm I cut off is slowly developing leaves, but the arm from
the champion collard is doing a lot better.
The spot on the big collard plants
where I cut off the arms is developing new leaves. The net effect
is that the plant is looking more like a bush then it ever has
before. The seed pods on the branch I didn't cut off are growing
nicely. Hilee said they are done "when the pods turn from green to
gray." As of the end of May they still weren't done, but they are
looking more and more ready to sow. If you find yourself wanting
some collard seeds let me know, I'm going to have lots fairly
soon. Of the the collard plants I started with, this one was by
far the best producer and the easiest to work with. I'm honored to
give it the opportunity to reproduce.
The grape arbor is developing. The
plant on the left (closer in the overview) has lots of grapes
developing. The plant next to it has ONE bunch of grapes, which
you can see in the red circle. I'm going to pull it out soon. In
the far corner of the structure I've planted a flame grape plant.
Currently it has no bunches of grapes developing, but this year I
want it to develop stems that will give me grapes next year at the
You can barely see it in the picture, but near the left near leg
of the arbor is the artichoke plant. It's not doing that well
because I've not been giving it much water or fertilizer. Despite
that, it gave me about half a dozen artichokes this year. Not
great, but not bad considering the neglect it endured. For some
reason I like ignoring that plant most of the time.
Those leeks keep looking better and
better. Soon enough I'm going to break down and use some in leek
and potato soup.
Virginia thinks I over harvested the chard early in its life. She
and Marci both think the best thing to do is just let it develop
for a long time before harvesting anything from it. Peggy said she
harvests her chard twice in it's life. The first time she uses a
pair of scissors and harvests the leaves fairly close to the
ground. She said it bounces right back from that, developing
another big crop.
At the farmers market there was a
guy selling plant starts. Among them were several kinds of chard.
I picked the variety known as Bright Lights, so I could tell
people "The power company has nothing to do with the Bright Lights
in my plot." I've been trying to avoid harvesting from these
plants, and they have been sizing up nicely.
The only problem is that leaf miners
also think chard is yummy. Marci says the momma bug plants an egg
between the layers of the leaf. As the worm grows it eats the
flesh out of the middle of the leaf. She advised me to pinch the
spot where the worm is (you can feel it) to squeeze the life out
of the thing. The leaf above was so bad I didn't even want to eat
it, but since then I've been getting better at stopping the leaf
Those onions are my big success from
the winter planting. I've been bringing home another one every
time I use up the previous one. I slice them into rings and then
sprinkle them on soups, cheese and crackers, whatever. I started
the spring with lots of them, but one by one I've been eating
I planted half a dozen potatoes that Dave gave me. He said they
are the "Yukon Gold" variety. Five of them came up, and ended the
month as rather attractive plants.
The broccoli I planted last fall has
become a fairly productive patch. Also, a few of the other
broccoli seeds I put in the ground last fall that didn't come up
then came up this month, and are getting to be big plants. I have
high hopes for them! The broccoli is delicious in soups, so I have
most of them that way.
Broccoli plants start out producing
one big head at the top of the plant. Usually that's the only way
you see broccoli in the store. Once you harvest the big head that
starts the broccoli plants productive life, it starts producing
smaller heads from the bases of the leaves. Marci told me "just
keep harvesting those as they get ready and you will get a lot
from each plant." I get several ounces of broccoli maybe a couple
of times a week nowadays.
I've four or five tomato plants
going, all different varieties. Two pepper plants, one yellow
sweet peppers and the other red sweet peppers. I've also two
winter squashes going, but neither has gotten that big yet.
That kale plant that just won't die
is all that's left from the first row of the things I planted. I
still get enough greens for a soup every couple of weeks from it.
Still love the flavor. The plant looks kind of mangy and scraggly,
but it's doing okay. At this point it feels like an old friend.
Going to keep it going as long as it's generous with the leaves.
The little cutting between the red
handle and the kale is a "Blue Knight Kale". Virginia gave me the
whole plant because she was tired of it. I took home most of the
leaves. They were good in soup. I'm hoping this one grows!
I'm letting the horseradish go nuts.
Since it needs "no water ever" according to the woman who had the
plot before I did, I figure they are a good cover crop for the
drought. I'll dig them out when they die back in the fall.
On the left was the first raspberry
to ripen in my plot this year. It was yummy. By the end of the
month I was getting a raspberry or two or three just about every
time I watered my plants. Such a nice little treat!
I got the zucchini from Joyce, who
has a plot two rows over from mine. She was muttering that she'd
gotten the wrong plant and would have to take it back. I offered
her two bucks for it, and she took the deal. So far I've gotten
two fruits off the thing, and it is getting bigger all the time.
I'm looking forward to having plenty of food off the thing!
Those flowers really do attract
wildlife. Just hours before I typed this I saw a hummingbird
probing them with his beak. The bird went down on each flower
almost in sequence. Obviously a happy camper. The plant looks
good, but I'm starting to think it needs a bit of cutting back.
The mustard was doing great until I
planted potatoes nearby. Cooking a leaf or two in your soup does
make it better. The problem is that the phosphorus in bone meal
that everybody tells me to fertilize potatoes with inspires the
mustard to bolt to seed. So now the whole patch is going, probably
a year before it would have normally.
On the left is my sage and mint
patch. Not sure I ever do much with either spice, but it's no
hassle to just let them grow. Every now and then when they are
shading something else I pull that part out, but mostly I just
leave them to grow. They don't take water or fertilizer, so we get
along fine. Maybe I'd use them more if I knew some recipes they
taste good in. Haven't found those yet.
I get a lot of pleasure out of
giving away roses when I get a chance. Beyond that, it's a
pleasure to smell the things as I deadhead them. Beyond that, they
hold up my drying rack/table. I feel funny about having these
plants that just sit there being pretty, but that's the way it is.