Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Two of a dozen broccoli heads almost ready for harvest
In my (almost too) densely planted bed of cole crops (cabbage, collards, brussels), the broccoli has done really well this year. In prior seasons I've experienced watching the newly formed flower heads quickly leaving the compact dome we're familiar with from the grocery store, and stretching into elongated stalks each topped with a small yellow flower. They're still edible and delicious, but it does feel really good to finally harvest broccoli that looks like it should.
Low-tunnels in use and under-construction
The difference could be a number of factors with the soil, weather, or variety of broccoli but the most likely difference is using the fabric covered low-tunnel to shade the plants during hot days. I bought the dozen transplants from Holiday Nursery (can't recall the variety) and planted them on April 10th. The clay soil in the bed had been heavily amended with manure early that spring.
A June 8th peach blossom!?!
Catching up with old photos, I had to share the rather amazing site of my White Peach still blossoming on June 8th!!! Even with the rather cold spring nights we've experienced this year, that date is long after most varieties of peaches bloom. Most of which happens too early in the spring and a late frost kills the developing buds or fruit. A caveat though, my White Peach was severely water-stressed this spring and looked like it was dead. Only after realizing how dry the soil was in the small gabion-dam orchard did I give it a ton of water, likely saving the tree and triggering the late bloom.
The first Frost Peach
The more reliable peach variety in this region seems to be the aptly named Frost Peach. This variety is one of three different varieties I bought grafted onto a single trunk. The tree (branch) had numerous flowers well into late May, and in early June had produced this baby peach. If it can survive the phalanx of small finches that inhabit my yard, I'll enjoy my first home-grown peach in couple months. Regarding fruit trees in Gallup, my fingers are almost sore from being crossed so much, but I'm really hoping and wishing for this little sweet summer treat.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Memorial Day tomato planting (40' row)Summer 'officially' arrived early yesterday morning, though away from the numerical confines of our calendar it seems like our warmest season arrived more than a month ago. It's been hot! But of course, only during the day; Gallup's incredible diurnal shifts (daily difference between the daytime high temp. and night low) have been expectedly dramatic this month and the NWS forecast is calling for a low of 36 degrees tonight!
Arroyo gazing at the tucked-in peppers/tomatoes
This 50+ degree difference plays havoc with warmth-requiring crops like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, and I've had to spend more evenings than I ever expected this month pulling the Agribon-19 floating row covers over the 180' feet of row space planted with this sensitive triad. I primarily chose to grow the Celebrity variety of slicing tomatoes, but I also included a half-dozen each of the large yellow tomatoes and husky red cherry tomatoes, and a dozen Roma plants for canning paste. Jalapenos, Santa Fe Grandes, and Poblanos filled the 30' of space alloted to peppers. The large diurnal shift also has an equal but opposite effect on cool-season crops; cool nights prolong the harvest contrasted with hot days that induce the bitter feeling (and taste) of watching the spinach, radishes, onions, and broccoli start to bolt. Having said that, despite a number of weeks with daily high's in the 90's, most of my cool season crops are still producing a decent harvest every other day or so. The snow peas being the least patient, demanding to be harvested just about every day or they'll quit producing at all. I've also been keeping up with the successional seeding of radishes every week or so, and I am about to start harvesting the 3rd planting. The carrots and shallots are growing well, but I haven't convinced myself that they're ready for harvest yet.
A 25' potato furrow about to be filled with sandy topsoil
At the start of the month I planted the 15 pounds of fingerling potatoes I blogged about earlier in the month, and by now the sprouts have emerged and are 2-4" tall. When most of them reach 5-6" tall I'll mound more soil around them, leaving only about an inch of growth showing. These buried stems are where the potatoes will grow. The potatoes filled 125' of row space, and I still have enough seedlings to plant another 25' row of the buttery and nutty tasting gourmet spuds.
Sorry about the long pause between recent posts; needed a mental vacation. I'll post more details about planting warm season annuals like summer and winter squash, beans, and the cucumbers soon. Also something about the various 6 or more legged creatures that my garden unwittingly sustains, and I'm going to try to keep up with and share the many events going on in the Ramah/El Morro area. Again, thanks for reading.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Pea with flower adornmentAfter much anticipation and many fretful frigid nights, the snow peas are flowering and more than living up to fecund reputation. The first day I noticed blossoms and peas hanging on the bed planted next to the warming rock wall, I ate all the peas I could find (12) on the spot. Two days later and the same plants I picked clean over the weekend are ready for another harvest.
Spinach ready for a second harvest in less than a week.