The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Germination in Record Time

August 31st, 2010 · 3 Comments · Posted in garden

Mustard greens emerge after two days

Mustard greens emerge after two days

I spent the better part of the weekened paying back for all that good compost we laid on the vegetable beds in the spring. The cosmos were seven feet tall. The zinnia were so big they had simply collapsed and were splayed all over the ground. The “mammoth” variety sunflowers had grown into sequoias, towing over the garden on giant stalks.

I had to get it all out of the ground to make room for our fall crops. I saved a bucket of zinnia blossoms for my wife. Squirrels had already eaten all the seeds from the sunflower heads: The empty shells were scattered all over the bed where the bush beans had grown.

I was astounded to see that two days after planting, the mustard greens had already germinated. I suppose that’s what you get when it’s been 90 degrees or more nearly all summer long. The soil is good and hot. And one additional benefit of importing compost that’s been made from commercial food scraps: no weeds seeds. We had hardly any weeds in the garden this year, in stark contrast to when we use the compost we make from our own garden debris.

I had also hoped to be planting a number of seedlings: broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbage, kohlrabi. But the heat was murder on our seed trays. After nursing them along for weeks, trying to keep them watered, I made the mistake of putting them out on the front porch to get some sun and came back to find that birds (most likely) had nipped all the leaves from the seedlings.

Damn birds! I guess I’ll never learn. Seed trays around here need to be protected with row cover. For someone reason, the local starlings are sorely tempted by those little cotyledons. We’ll have to do better next year.

But we should be eating out of the garden again before the end of October. Here’s what I planted:

Red Russian kale, mizuna, red mustard, arugula, ragged edge mustard, salad mix, French Breakfast radishes, Hakurei turnips, China Rose radishes, rutabaga, Chioggia beets, Lutz beets, green chard, rhubarb chard, Chinese radish greens, more arugula.

I started a virtual carrot museum. (How did I end up with so many different varieties?) Early Coreless, Danvers Half-long, Cosmic Purple, Nantes Scarlet, Chantenay Royal, Tendersweet, Hybrid Napoli, Parisian, Amarillo.

I also planted Georgia Green collards and one of my favorites, Green Glaze collards. We really do need a chest freezer for all these greens.

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