Bed 8

It may not look like much, but more than half this bed is now sown with fava beans, which help fix nitrogen in the soil for uptake by future crops’ roots. The stubs in the background are Jerusalem artichokes (whose roots I’ve already harvested, broiled in the oven, and eaten). Behind the sunchoke stubs are three celery plants (which are finally, after more than a year, starting to come into their own–I wonder if these, too, are biennials?). Behind the celery are a few arugula, broccoli, and brocolli raab–which had to be bird-netted–and, at the very back, are garlic I sowed about a week ago. I did add about a bag of Fox Farm planting mix for the garlic’s and broccoli’s benefit. No soil amending was done before sowing the favas in the bed. I’m going against John Jeavon’s (of How to Grow More Vegetables fame) advice on this, and sowing the favas directly into the growing bed,
instead of sowing them first in a flat, then waiting till I have transplantable starts, and then
transplating the starts into the growing bed. In practice, I’m finding that the amount of time
used up, first, in getting the starts going over several weeks, and then transplanting them, often
ends up in the favas either not being transplanted at all, or being transplanted way too late (i.e.,
months) due to my lack of time/motivation for such a tedious job and, therefore, procrastination. I’m listening to my hubby’s advice, instead, and planting the cover crop directly into the growing bed. Favas are important for replenishing the soil, hence they are being planted where a summer sweet corn crop had been harvested, corn being a heavy feeder. Hopefully, it will rain tomorrow, as predicted yesterday.

Broccoli Raab, Spinach, Celery, and Harvested Jerusalem Artichokes

Bed 8: Freshly Planted 24 November 2013

Since we can grow crops year ’round in Sonoma County, I spent most of today on just half a growing bed, taking out old plants, harvesting beautiful radicchio (which is sweet, not bitter like the store-bought kind), and Jerusalem artichoke (cutting the dead tops back to stubs just an inch above ground).  I then dutifully single-dug the newly exposed ground and amended 25 sq. ft. with 1/2 cu. ft. of Fox Farm Planting mix, before transplanting two varieties of spinach and some broccoli raab, purchased in six-packs at our local Ace Hardware in Santa Rosa (at the corner of Guerneville Rd. and Fulton Rd.) where they sell locally grown veggie starts.  Believe it or not, this took me over 3 hours!!! Tomorrow, I’ll have to place bird-netting over these young starts, otherwise they will be decimated by the local bird population, much like the lettuces I planted a few weeks ago in the adjoining bed, that is now protected by bird netting.

Bed 8 25 July 2011

Bed 8 - 25 July 2011

Fully planted Bed 8, after mixing in 8 cu. ft. of home-made compost. Closest to the viewer are transplnated kale from Harmon Farm Supply starts. Behind the kale is curly leaf escarole that volunteered in various beds. I saved and transplanted these escarole here.  Behind the escarole is a row of Jerusalem artichoke, a member of the sunflower family.  These were volunteers in different parts of the garden, too. I transplanted them to this gopher-proof bed.  Their edible portions, the roots (fantastic ove-roasted, with a mild taste, hinting of artichoke) are delicious for gophers, too.  The far portion of this bed is sweet corn, started from seeds from the same cob as those in Bed 7.

This portion of Bed 8, in front of the kale, shows the collards (starts obtained from Harmony Farm Supply), a few butter lettuce (with the yellow-green leaves), and another lettuce variety (closest to the viewer).

NW 1/2 of Bed 8

NW 1/2 of Bed 8

As of 13 April 2009, I have transplanted a few soybeans, several double rows of “Pioneer” sweet peas, alternated with double rows of Bibb lettuce, and a few green onions. I direct-seeded a couple of dozen radishes and some carrots. All of this into the lower 50 square feet of this bed. It was necessary to go through the tedium of bird-netting, since nearby sparrows (and other birds?) will decimate all tender young (and not so young) plants!  In the left background, you see the beautiful California poppies in bloom, planted under the Granny Smith apple tree, under which only weeds grew until just a few years ago. Since this bed is meant to be planted with sweet corn, these are just spring “catch crops” until it’s hot enough for the corn to be planted. Thus, no amendments were added prior to planting.  I did add 2 cu. feet of Fox Farm Planting Mix to this 50 sq. ft., though.