This is my third season growing a garden, and my desire to grow more in the garden include growing more varieties of plants. This year, I’ve expanded the area dedicated to some plant, and have added several new ones.
I mentioned in my last post that I overwintered turnips, and I am letting them go to seed. In the past few days, the flowers have started disappearing and the seed pods have arrived. The plants are producing what looks like a large amount of seed, to the point that I should not need to buy turnip seeds again. I’ve also noticed that the turnips seem to be a nest of bugs: I’ve counted no less than 11 lady bugs on the plants, for which I am very grateful. Less desirable are the multitude of what looks like could be Harlequin Bugs. I still need to check the bugs against the pictures I have found of these bugs before I will trust that I have the correct identification. I hope it does not turn out to be a big problem. As long as I get seed from these plants, I will be okay with the rest of the plant dying. More of a concern is that I have cabbage planted elsewhere in the garden that might be affected by these bugs. For now, they appear to be content to hang out in the branches of the turnip tops.
Today, I planted by second round of radishes in the garden, right next to the first round. This is my first attempt at succession planting that is likely to be successful. I am planning on planting more carrots in another section of the garden tomorrow morning. I have two rows of carrots sprouted over by two rows of onions that I will be planting next to. In the process, I will be reducing the amount of space allocated to walking there.
One of the crops I put in this year that I am a bit excited about is the sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes. This plant is an American native that is a relative of sunflowers and daisies which forms large, tubers that look a bit like ginger root, but are cooked similar potatoes. I have yet to actually try eating them, mostly because I can’t pick them up at either the grocery store or the farmer’s market. It felt wasteful to eat a tuber I ordered for seed.
I am also adding more traditional garden crops this year. In particular, I am adding white potatoes to the plot. We use a fair amount of potatoes in my household, so any potatoes I am able to grow should directly offset food expenses. I probably could have obtained more plants that I have right now if I had cut the potatoes up before planting them, but the tubers were looking pretty bad before I planted them. The sprouts are looking quite good now and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of harvest I will be able to get. I am also trying to get some sweet potatoes going this year, but so far, I don’t have any in the ground. Of the three potatoes I attempted to start, only one actually made slips and that one is not looking good after moving it outside from the kitchen window. As of right now, I am trying to root one slip in a moist sand bed in the green house.