Thursday, February 4, 2010

Survey of the Winter Garden

Rain, rain go away. Oh well, I can't go out and play in the mud so I might as well use the time to record for posterity the winter garden of 2009 - 2010. These photos are from January 22, a couple of weeks ago. The plants look pretty much the same now.

None of the winter plantings grew as fulsomely as I had pictured in my imagination last fall. Perhaps I got them out too late (October), or perhaps they are just biding their time for a spring surge. At any rate, they have kept us in salads and winter greens all through the dark months.

Pictured above is a bed of Dinosaur and Redbor kale, slug-tattered but productive. We've also been getting nice kale from volunteers around the yard, Siberian and Curly Blue, I think. I was
given some seedlings a few years ago and now they come up on their own.

Romanesco broccoli (from nursery starts), which has been growing very slowly and has not yet formed heads. Around the edges of the bed are little cilantro plants (from gathered seed). Although still small, the leaves have spiced up many a salad.

The purple sprouting broccoli (nursery starts) also has not produced anything yet but broad gray-green leaves. Quite successful as an ornamental.

Sparse looking spinach patch (Bloomsdale and Gigante d'Inverno, from purchased seed). Every now and again I can pick a leaf from each plant to fill out a salad, but so far there is not enough to cook with. The California poppies are starting to grow here and could easily take over this bed.

Assorted chard (from gathered seed). The back row includes plants from last year that just kept going, re-sprouting from the base that died back in the summer.

Rainbow chard (nursery starts) surrounded by parsley that just keeps going from last season.

Assorted lettuce (from purchased and gathered seed), including a volunteer Black Seeded Simpson seedling that I moved here from one of the paths where it had sprung up. In front is some red chard that just won't quit.

Forellenschluss lettuce (from purchased seed).

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce (from gathered seed).

Bronze Arrowhead and Red Lollo Antago lettuce, ravaged by slugs but still producing a lot for eating -- eating by people, that is.

These beds have been in continuous use, summer and winter. It may be that I need to re-examine my soil building program to make sure they have enough fertility to sustain so much growing.

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