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.

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!