Thursday, January 19, 2006

Winter veggies and them dang slugs . . .

Dear Readers,

Today I was taking a little visual inventory of what I had in the ground in my winter garden. (I also have 3 raised beds, but before I move on to talking about those, I want to think some more about what is in the ground.) This little essay is off the cuff - at the tired end of the day.

I have 3 or 4 producing Brussels sprout plants. They are probably over a year old. We have very cool summer nights and very short winter days. Some things take much longer to produce here than they might in another spot. Anyway, I also have younger 4 Brussels sprout plants planted last fall. As this is only my second time planting Brussels sprouts I am not going to predict when/if they will produce. But I find even though the plants attract slugs and aphids, they are very productive over a long period. (So I also have seedlings not yet mature enough to plant out.)

I have several garland chrysanthemum plants at various spaces of maturity. They like the cool weather, and they are good in salad, soup, stir fry and in mixed greens. The slugs don't bother them too much, which is great. I also brand new seedlings of these.

My Cilantro with is planted out in the ground is not doing as well as the one about the same age planted in a raised bed. Additionally the younger plants are having a big problems with slugs. And they aren't the only plants that are suffering. *

The four Red Russian Kale are doing awesome. They are young, planted this last fall, but I still get a few leaves from them once in a while - for soups, stir fry, and mixed greens. The tender young leaves up to 2 inches long are great in salad. An interesting note on the RRK. Last year I had 5 different kinds of flowering cabbage and kale. They were flowering the same time as the RRK. I saved seeds from those flowering brassicas and mixed them together. The seedlings that I am now growing out from those mixed brassicas all look a bit like the RRK. They have a lot more diversity of form than the seedlings of the RRK did - but you can definitely tell who donated the pollen. (Hey, check this out, they are trying to say that all brassicas came from sea kale: But sea kale's seeds are very different than those of the brassicas. I have some sea kale seeds - anyone ever grow them before?)

There is also some bulbing fennel. They are yummy however you fix them. They seem to grow faster in the raised beds, but also do pretty good in the ground - except when the gophers get them.

I have a number of Pak Choy plants - and none of them are doing well. In the summer they struggled along and suffered in the heat. Now, planted in the fall, they are bolting and horribly hounded by slugs. I am going to have to keep on experimenting with the Pak Choy to find a good planting time and a good variety for my area.

There are some very young sprouting broccoli, leaf broccoli, Italian parsley, sweet cecily, and giant red kale. All hounded by slugs. Dang slugs anyway. The walking stick kale seems to be avoiding the slugs about the best.

Last but not least (and I am profile forgetting something) I have some mature celery, red Russian kale, locinto kale. I think that about covers it for the things planted over the worms dinner - except for the things in raised beds . . . And I am fading fast . . .

I had a slightly busy day in the garden. I helped my Son plant an apple tree. He did the hard parts, but we did end up with some left over dirt that I sifted into my raised beds around the plants. I also dug my regular worm hole and planted a cardoon and an arugula over the hole. And again the left over dirt got sifted into the raised beds. Gosh darn it - and now I am beat.

* My normal slug control plan has always involved hand picking slugs. When there have been near by chickens, ducks, or whatever to donate the pickings too so much the better. If not they just get tied up in recycled plastic bags and sent to the land fill. But since the accident I really don't feel well enough to pick slugs twice a day - so they are starting to get out of hand. I am going to break down and get some Sluggo:
They claim this product is safe for pets and wildlife - but I have seen forums were folks discussed pretty bad stories about chickens getting poisoned. My plan is to put the Sluggo in narrow mouthed bottles, so the slugs have to crawl in the bottles to take the bait. That way birds, bunnies, pets, etc. won't have direct access to the bait. I am only going to use this as a tempore measure, till I can go back to hand picking. I just don't completely trust anything poison- natural or not.

Ok, wish me sweet dreams . . . LOL . . .


No comments: