This year’s summer garden was a little, oh, neglected. But even with a couple week-long (plus) absences during 100 degree (plus) heatwaves, the tomatoes fared well enough and the cucumbers continue to limp along. Which, really, is all we need.
But now that the lonely melon has fallen, all the pots left barren after the summer’s neglect are hopping with cheddar cauliflower, Russian kale, Bright Lights chard, Pacman broccoli, and Jade Cross, a relatively fast-maturing (80-90 days, according to the tag) Brussels sprout variety. In the past, POD’s fall garden efforts have been pretty spotty (kale and parsnips, success, everything else? Not so much.) But in the past, POD planted weeks later (and, to be honest, may still be a few weeks too late) and attempted to start things from seed.
As starting from seed just isn’t happening right now, $21-worth of starts from Greensgrow are taking root. Buyer beware: cabbage loopers love these brassicas and the starts at Greensgrow were a’crawlin’! Look for starts without nibble holes in the leaves and then very, very carefully look at the undersides of the leaves for teeny, tiny, itty-bitty young loopers. If you find any, squish them. Do this daily.
As hard as it is to believe, the Brussels experiment continues.
These Franklin Hybrid sprouts started as seeds on August 7, 2009. Insulated with a layer of Michigan pine boughs throughout the winter, they may have survived the snowpacalypse and snowmageddon of 2009 and 2010. Of course, this pot has a date with a tomato seedling on April 20, so we’ll just have to see how quickly these guys decide to mature (we’re already well past our 80 day mark, but then again, one suspects they took the winter off).
These six Brussels Sprout seeds were planted a little over a week ago. Already they’re reaching out to grab every ray of sunlight they can. POD knows the feeling.
The little peat seeding containers are really quite wonderful. They can be purchased pretty inexpensively and they make transplanting incredibly simple. Many are even made of recycled material or contain organic fertilizers. Come planting time, all you need to do is rip the bottom out (so the roots can grow more freely) and drop the entire container into the soil, making sure to cover the lip of the pot with a layer of soil. Best of all, they’re biodegradable.
Obviously, they’re probably a little more difficult for folks who plant crops in quantities larger than oh, say three plants, but for container gardeners, they’re a great way to go. They’re gaping holes of thirst, though. You’ll need to check on your wee seedlings daily to make sure they’re getting adequate water.
Usually, POD feels a twinge of sadness this time of year. Okay, more than a twinge. Yes, the deck is prospering and yes, the farmers’ markets are flowing, and yes, the kitchen is humming with fresh produce, but the end is near. And it hurts.
What makes POD happy? Seeds. So this year, instead of resigning myself to the end of an era, POD’s expanding. Who knows how it’ll turn out, but it seems worth a shot. Unlike the rest of the produce on the 2009 little blue deck, this is new uncharted territory.
Thanks to the now-dead Django restaurant, a Philly favorite until the chef/owners relocated to the ‘burbs and left a pale imitation in their wake, POD and her lovely husband discovered that Brussels sprouts don’t totally suck. Add some butter and bacon and you’re good to go.
These seeds (selected because they’re Franklin Hybrids — and POD is a Philly garden, after all) from Territorial Seed Company, are enjoying some rich, firmly packed organic soil and plenty of indoor sunlight and stable temps. They should germinate in a couple of weeks or so. Check back for progress reports. These sprouts are also apparently quick to mature — a big considerations this time of year.