Green Thumb Up My Nose

Garden Report for 130715

The weather this week was hot and dry, then cool and windy, then just cool — cool for July anyway.

As Terry Pratchett said “Remember – that which does not kill us can only make us stronger. And that which does kill us leaves us dead.” This week I learned another important lesson: RTFM!

Back in the cold depths of winter, I planned my garden times using the guidance of a website down in Walla^2. When talking about the difficulties of growing brassicae in the NENW, they said things like “growth slows above 68 degrees, and stops, possibly with damage, at 85 degrees“, and

planting out in mid-March for an anticipated harvest around the start of June is the best we can figure. It’s a little cool in middle March, so we need to provide as much help as we can–Walls o’ Water or water-filled plastic jugs among the seedlings; but in late May it’s only–as always, on average–about 73 at the daily high, so even if they’re a little slow, we should be OK. And a March 15th transplant date means a February 1st indoors sowing date.”

So I did. Except that black thumb disease struck all my seedlings this year, and nothing worked. Come late April (six weeks past the plant date), I happened upon a bunch of brassicae bedding plants– cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage — at the local hardware store, and promptly forgot everything I’d read. That’s what I planted in section 1 of the KHG, and that’s what bolted all to hell this week. I showed the broccoli and bok choy last week. Here’s the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts:

Brussels sprouts in bloom

Brussels sprouts in bloom

Cauli...flowers

Cauli…flowers

So, nothing for it but that I must tear all that stuff out – 40+ plants.

What can replace it, in mid-July? I’m thinking of a mid-season planting of peas and beans, and maybe corn. If I leave space, I can also get in a late planting of peas and beans, come September. Surprisingly, if I direct seed more brassicae this week, they should be ready before the minimums drop below freezing in November.

No experiment is a failure if it leaves a big enough crater

No experiment is a failure if it leaves a big enough crater

 

So here’s the plan: What I finally decided on was a massive immediate planting of corn — about 60 seeds. In about two weeks, I’ll plant beans next to them, just like the Native Americans used to do. To finish out the ‘three sisters’, instead of squash, I’ll plant the brassicae, for Fall harvest. The beans mature in 60 days, so I should have time to get in a pea crop as well, assuming the cabbages don’t hog all the space.

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