Month: October 2009
Eight Weeks and Growing
The Brussels sprout experiment continues. These guys are exactly two months old and appear to be thriving. Whether or not they’ll get around to producing, only time will tell.
Generally Zone 7 gardeners plant sprouts in March for an August harvest, but the flavor benefits from cooler temps and honestly, during the summer months, container space is just too precious to hand over to a single 3-4″ stalk of sprouting heads.
The seedlings exposed to the most unobstructed sun (like this one here) are certainly doing the best. The seedling tucked among the flourishing parsnips is about half this guy’s size.
Check out the full progress report here.
Okay, so, POD was recently inspired by a Graceful Gardens-designed kitchen garden. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s already October; but this fledgling garden was stuffed with beautiful herbs and greens — making me realize that those empty five-gallon buckets, sitting all forlorn-looking at the corner of the deck, were really such a waste.
So, off to the South Philly Lowes POD goes. I know, shame on me.
Two kale sets have now joined the thriving chard, parsnips, lettuce and the trooper poblano.
Of course, six, count ’em six, little squishy worms had to be picked off the undersides of the holey, half-devoured leaves before they could be popped into the waiting buckets.
Serves me right. Be forewarned.
Bring it On Home
Philly’s extended forecast predicts some chilly nights, with temperatures dipping into the 40s. So, like the geese who use the tennis courts at FDR for target practice as they move south, it’s time for POD’s herbs to migrate as well.
The husband’s May dreams of herbes de Provence never blossomed (stupid lavender) but the thyme and tarragon are far too valuable (after all, roast chicken season is looming) to leave to the elements.
How to bring it on home:
- Transplant before temperatures become too cold — certainly before the first frost
- Move your plants from the sun to the shade for a few days prior to the trek indoors
- Don’t be afraid to be a little brutal. Using a very dull ex-fillet knife, simply slice the herbs into a manageable size. Keep as much of the plant’s root system intact as you can. In this case, all of the tarragon made the cut while only about a third of the thyme did. The rest remains in its pot on deck and will be left to fend for itself throughout the winter.
- Look at the plants very closely for bugs and other nasties. You certainly don’t want to bring outdoor pests indoors to infest your delicate houseplants.
- Snip off a decent amount of the transplanted herby goodness, so your plant’s energy is devoted to surviving the transplanting trauma, rather than sustaining existing greenery.
- Ideally, once you’ve repotted them in fresh nutritious soil, you’ll be able to isolate the plants for a couple of days in an unheated room, with the windows open and the door closed. This will minimize the shocking impact of the outdoor-to-indoor temperature change. If you can’t do this (which is this lazy gardener’s version of reverse hardening), bring them inside for a few increasing hours each day and then return them to their outdoor environment. After a week or two, they’ll be house-trained.
- Give your transplanted herbs a good watering and place them in a sunny window. They probably won’t produce as vigorously indoors in the winter as they do outdoors in the summer, but you’ll have enough for your roasted chickens and won’t have to buy new plants in the spring.