First off I’ve moved some to the back yard preparatory to having garden squares in service. Yesterday I planted a square with Runner beans and one of these pots where I’d made the soil layer too thin. I put a layer of “green manure” in the bottom but it was too fluffy and not enough potting soil on top. As it squashed and decayed, the soil dropped a couple of inches.
So it got potted on into real dirt. You can just see one of it’s leaves behind all the other 2 pots, just in front of the wire cages that the runner beans will climb. In the forground is one of the pots that has not been removed from the container but where it and it’s tub are now in the back yard. It’s a LOT bigger than before!
Note that at the middle of the left edge you can see some 20 cm or so leaves of horseradish. It has survived several years under way too shaded conditions and came back nicely after I pruned the trees shading (they had low branches basically taking all the sun). Horseradish leaves are edible, with a vaguely horseradish / mustard like flavor and a nice bit of spice to them. As a famine food they are nice and will survive drought and shade and neglect and still make the first greens of spring. Just behind it is the sorry looking remnant of what once had been a nice rosemary bush. It survived, but barely, and only by growing a couple of feet toward the fence in search of sun.
Back in the foreground: This is a mixed tub of 8-Ball squash and Contender Bush Beans. Note that green bean leaves are edible and were this an OMG situation, I’d plant a lot of beans just for picking off some of their greens. While watering this, I noticed some of the small flowers that had only appeared last week were dropping. I had little tiny beans forming! Here’s a close up in that pot:
Centered in the picture are the scraggly little baby beans. They will fill out to eating size very quickly. Behind them you can see the flowers for the crop after them ;-)
In another tub (one of real dirt, but poorly watered and not tended as well) a somewhat smaller squash has already set fruit. I found one on the other tub (pictured above) but it was smaller at about the size of a US Quarter. This one is about 2 to 2.5 cm (or about an inch) in diameter. It will be eating size in just a few days.
The 8-ball and the Ronde du Nice both make a spherical zucchini like squash best eaten at between 3 and 4 inches diameter. Jus the right size for one or two people. Here’s a close up of that little guy:
I will likely let this one run to seed. One of the things I do is to select for early and fast. The first one to make a fruit gets saved for seeds. I’ll also save the last. That plant that hung in their the longest and kept making food to the end. It does vary a bit by species and when planted though. Some just don’t grow all season (especially the small bush types like these). So usually I save the first of the bush types, and the last of the long season vine types.
The thing to remember about seed packet claims of things like “50 days to harvest” is that is from setting out plants already started in small pots. So these are both supposedly about 40 to 50 day types. But lets look at the actual dates (that also depend on your temperatures and water available).
Seeds started about March 5. Small seed pots “potted on” to the bigger pots March 29 (so about 24 days or a bit over 3 weeks). Now it’s April 28 and I’ve got fruit set. That’s about 8 weeks or 56 days. Call it about 60 by the time the first is ready to harvest. Some of the other plants have not even opened flowers yet, so expecting to plant one and eat in 50 days is just not reasonable. More like maybe 60 for one and 70 for enough (and 80 for WTF did I plant so many even the neighbors don’t want any more ;-)
So there’s a good guide point. You need enough emergency food to get through winter, plus about 2 to 3 months until the garden starts to come in. (And even that is only if you do things like start seeds indoors before last frost date).
So there you have it. What I found tending the garden today.
Now I think me, the mutts, and a “tall one” are headed out to the “sitting in the shade by the garden” chair having done my digging and planting out for the day ;-) (2 Giant Casacade pole beans and some of my Kale / Collards / Purple cabbage cross that I call Kalards – all in Real Dirt ™ now ;-) I don’t need another square ready for planting out until next week, but I’ll probably start to prep it in a few days. But for now, it’s lawn chair time ;-)