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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.

We have 10 growing beds up front.  This one is poetically named “Bed 3.”

bed3_24jan09_smallUp front are some parsnips, behind which are Bibb lettuce and a few spinach plants (most of which were consumed by us for dinner the night of 1 March 2009). You’ll note these are under “bird netting”, if these plants had not been protected by netting, they would all have been consumed (as was the fate of the winter “snap peas” on the trellis at the rear of this same bed.  Most of the bed is occupied by a winter “cover crop”–fava beans.  On either side of the trellis are broccoli raab (or broccolini).  We’ve had some of these for dinner on 2 occasions, the rest are going to flower.  The cauliflower at the very back of the bed never “headed up.”  To my dismay. I realized the seed I had saved and grown these from, one “Snow Queen” variety, is a hybrid, which means you get a fairly useless plant from its seed!