5 February, Weekly Garden Update

Lettuce

Lettuces

It’s a new month, and with it comes new growth in the garden.  Surprised?  I am.  We have lettuces growing in multiple locations.  We have broccoli, cauliflower, kale (red winter), collards, carrots, cabbages, and celery which are in active growth phases.  We will be harvesting some of this stuff very soon.

Cilantro

We also have sage, parsley, and cilantro which continue to survive and grow.  Half the parsley is aged and yellow, but it keeps putting out new growth.

Parsley

No snow yet in our part of NC. If we don’t get any in February, then only a crop destroying spring late snow could interfere with one of the mildest winters on record.

The onion seedlings in the basement are doing so well that we’ll be trimming them today, probably.

Onion Seedlings

We started broccoli & cauliflower seeds in the basement. 4 cells each of 2 varieties of each (total 16 cells). Normally we’d start a few more than this but we have several overwintering (see above) plants; never mind spring they’re doing stuff *now*. Broccoli seeds began sprouting only 4 days after being planted.

We did a clean up of the asparagus bed, cutting back all of the dried stalks/fronds in preparation of spring growth. The bed needed a fair amount of weeding as well. I remember the first time I grew asparagus; I had not realized until then that basically it’s a fern.  I have in my mind doing asparagus beds at some point that line walkways or driveways in long narrow rows so that everyone can admire the “ferns” while I grin, knowing that once or twice a year they produce expensive delicacies.  We will fertilize the asparagus bed with a high nitrogen fertilizer (remember, no synthetic fertilizers here) towards the end of February to send it on its way to a hopefully productive spring.

By the way, when marketing people (read: professional liars) try to claim that the larger stalks of asparagus are better than the thinner ones I always laugh, raucously. There aren’t many things that are *better* when they’re bigger though lobsters are one.  And of course, people in restaurants always try to sell you on the “smaller lobsters are better”, another outrageous lie.  It may be that home-grown asparagus that you pick and serve that night is just fine when it is larger, but bought asparagus is almost always woodier/tougher as it gets larger.

Pardon me, I digressed a bit there.

Because of the mild temperatures we’ve been having we decided to move up our outside planting date for snow peas, sugar snap peas, and shelling (english) peas by a week and a half. We prepped 2 beds, which isn’t too difficult when the soil in your boxes doesn’t compact. We then sprinkle with fertilizer (we’re currently using Harmony, a chicken manure based fertilizer) and also add a tiny amount of boron (1 tsp. per 24 cubic feet), and about 1 cup of epsom salts per box (in order to replace trace minerals). We then work all of this into the soil, smooth it out, and let the box rest 2-3 days before planting.

We soaked the various peas in water for 24 hours before planting them out, then covered the boxes with clear plastic in hopes of raising the soil temperature a bit.

Early daffodils in our neighborhood have already been blooming for 2 weeks. This is the earliest that they’ve bloomed that I can remember.

Vegetable Soup Ingredients

I promised to report on the vegetable soup. I made it this week, and after I added a couple shakes of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, and some cayenne right at the end, it was everything I could hope it would be.  As a consequence I’ll be adding it to the recipe list. I am genuinely surprised that I can make a vegetable soup that rates up there with that of several ladies that made rockin’ vegetable soup when I was a wee lad.  We froze half of it, so I can look forward to more of it in the coming weeks.

About to be roasted

Yes, I did use 1/3rd cup of sweet paprika

My mother used to make the best mushroom and potato soup. She’d leave it in the pot on the stove, and turn it on every day to heat it up.  On the 1st day it was always nice discreet bits in broth, but by the 3rd or 4th day, it was starting to get to be a thicker soup, almost like a puree since the potatoes were breaking down, which was nice as the soup changed and was different each day.  Maybe I’ll make that soon.

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9 Responses to “5 February, Weekly Garden Update”

  1. Barbie Says:

    MMMmmm potato soup. I was hoping by now i’d be eating potato as LEEK soup – but my leeks are not cooperating just yet. LOL. Hopefully by the time I pull my potatoes they will be ready!

  2. Daphne Says:

    That is where I put my asparagus. I lined the driveway with them. Sadly about a third of the plants died. But I’ll replant and get the bed up soon enough.

  3. Wilderness Says:

    That soup sounds great and what a difference when you roast the vegetables first.

    Oh to grow asparagus again. It was on sale in the supermarket this week for $3.98 a pound. I don’t think I will be eating any of that.

  4. maryhysong Says:

    I have several small patches of asparagus tho they’ve been a bit neglected the last couple of years, I intend to remedy that. I put in 8 crowns of Purple Passion last month in a spot where I will see them often and will remember to water and fertilize them! I love asparagus as a ferny background to anything; good in a flower arrangement too!

  5. Norma Chang Says:

    Your lettuce and herbs look so healthy and your onions are doing so great, when can you put them in the garden?

  6. kitsapFG Says:

    Where to start?! First, those onion starts look absolutely fabulous. Second, the young lettuce is pretty darn awesome looking too. And then there is that vegetable soup ingredient staging picture – can we say YUM!?

    You have obviously been very busy and your garden is moving right along taking advantage of this unusually balmy/mild winter. I hope everything continues to progress nicely for you.

  7. Jennie-Team Dean Says:

    We keep wanting to try asparagus but have not. The soup recipe looks yummy…I can’t wait to try it.

  8. Mark Willis Says:

    I share many of your views on Asparagus. I have only a small garden, and I have a mere 9 plants of Asparagus, but it’s worth growing because the product is so much more delicious than shop bought stuff. Our shops seem to be always full of Asparagus from Peru. Just think of the air-miles that has clocked-up! And it MUST be several days old when we buy it, though we all know that Asparagus ought to be eaten just a few minutes after picking, if possible…
    Have you ever grow Asparagus from seed? My plants produce red berries each year, and I have been wondering if they are likely to contain viable seeds. Any idea?

  9. Lynns Urban Garden Diary Says:

    Your plants look great!! 🙂 I can’t wait until spring gets here.

    Lynn

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