August “Progress”, AKA: Reboot

August Plants on DeckSo last weekend, in a fit of frustration, a bunch of plants on deck were yanked and became seeds on deck. The Boothby Blonde cucumber, Black Cherry and Isis Candy tomatoes, and all the beans were ditched (more on that later).

In their place cooler weather crops have been oh-so-optimistically planted. August Plants on DeckPlants on Deck 2.0 features fresh lettuce, Franklin Hybrid Brussels Sprouts (technically the wrong planting season, but they almost worked last year), Javelin Hybrid parsnips, Erbette and Charlotte chard, Romanesco, French Breakfast and Long Scarlet radishes (which have already poked their heads above ground), and Winterbor kale.

Champ is still blooming and Mr. Stripey is showing signs of disease but he’s still largely green, so he gets a pass for now. Aphids continue their iron-fisted reign (and four adult brown marmorated stink bugs were killed yesterday) so next up on the hit list are the besieged True Lemon and the newly-breached Charentais.


Parsnips Picked (Or, Huzzah 2009!)

Javelin Parsnips
Parsnip Harvest

Let’s hear it for 2009.

Exactly 135 days after these javelin parsnips (a hybrid known for itsĀ  slender root, hardiness, and resistance to canker) were planted, they were harvested.

Sure, just a couple of days ago POD was pretty certain they’d kicked it. After all, it seemed as though it rained almost non-stop between mid-August and late-December, this was one of the chillier Philly falls in recent memory, temperatures well below freezing and last week’s two feet of snow couldn’t have helped matters, and by November/December, the little blue deck sees all of an hour of direct sunshine each day (when the sun shines). Disaster, right?

But then it rained for two days, the soil thawed, and Sunday dawned bright and sunny.

Rare and precious sunshine means puttering around outside. Outside means the little blue deck. While cleaning up, transporting pots into the basement, and basically closing up shop, I decided to dig into the parsnip pots. And guess what? Underneath the freeze-dried and dead, dead leaves were creamy white parsnips.

All told, the perimeters of three five-gallon buckets produced just over a 1/2 pound of parsnips. Not bad for the first foray into parsnip planting. Definitely a do-again for next year. After all, what could be more satisfying than roasting up freshly picked vegetables in December?