Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Radishes and Daikon

As a kid one of my favorite sandwiches was slice of rye bread spread with butter or goose fat and topped with salted radish slices. I can still hear the crunch when you have the first bite. I did try to grow regular supermarket radishes but I found it to be a waste of time, energy and space. Two years ago I have ordered Asian type radish seeds from AgroHaitai and planted them later this spring. When I tasted the radish I wanted some more seeds but when I searched for the seeds it looks like they do not carry it anymore. It is too bad, because I do like this radish. Anyway, this radish has same diameter as regular large radish but is so much longer that you could cut it into pieces equivalent to 6 large radishes. What a space saver! I guess it is back to seed catalogs to find replacement.
Daikon is another story all together. We love daikon in any which way: fresh sliced, julienned, stir-fried, boiled in soup, etc. So, I got seeds from same company and what a surprise I had when in 2 weeks I had a field of huge leaves and no sign of root, just a half inch spear. I was puzzled so I have sent a question to my email friend and gardener extraordinaire, Ferdzy at Seasonal Ontario Food. Her reply was straight to the point:
“I find radishes will just sit there with a lot of leaves and no root until almost the last minute. Then, suddenly, the root will fatten up and they are ready. So if' you are not seeing or feeling a daikon root it probably isn't really there yet. I think it will surprise you how quickly it forms when it is ready though.”
Well, lots of leaves are gone right now. I did give them good shave in order to give some room and light for my tomatoes. I guess it is now wait and see. I did leave 3 leaves for each root but I am not sure if it is enough.
Lesson learned: “Never plant daikon (or anything else for that mater) if you do not have the space and wait for reply to your question before you take drastic action”. Thanks Ferdzy!

Daikon was choking my tomatoes so something drastic had to be done.

Since tomatoes are so much more important the daikon got serious haircut. The leaves filled large bucket. Because the leaves are a bit hairy they are not good as salad greens.

I think that I will have real daikon radish after all.

What a great radish this is! I hope that I will find replacement.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Veggie Garden Update June 22, 2011

Rats, it is 1st day after Summer Solstice and days are getting shorter! I am not a great fan of Summer Solstice, no sir!
Not much new in veggie garden:

Couple Mountain Magic Tomatoes are red and ready to eat but we will wait till whole cluster is ripe and sweet.

Eggplant Greta formed fruits and they are ivory white.

Yellow Bush Beans are full of flowers so I should have some beans in couple of weeks.

My Hardneck Garlic scapes formed full piggy tail and so I will cut them by the weekend. I just love how long they store.

Unfortunately I have neglected my salad greens patch and they have happily bolted and are in full flower. I’ll give them a good haircut tomorrow if it doesn’t rain.

Last winter I started seeds for Marjo’s Turban Squash. Today I counted 8 flowers, some forming fruit already. It is her favorite squash and one that she painted so beautifully. Have a look and tell me if it is not super realistic botanical watercolor painting. Just click here and scroll down (4th from bottom).

 Cucumber is new plant to grow for me and since my seedlings failed I bought some. I have no idea what they will look or taste like but it is  good experiment for me to grow cucumbers in container and on trellis.

Tomorrow I will update on containers and flower beds.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Veggie Garden Update June 18, 2011

Everything is right on schedule despite a late, wet and cold start. I started harvesting parsley, arugula, mizuno and chives last April and this week I started to harvest snow peas.
Peppers (“Green to Red”, “Red Banana” and “Sweet Pimento”) are doing great and could be used today as green peppers but I want red peppers J.
Tomatoes “Mountain Magic” are turning red and will be ready in a week or so.
White eggplant “Greta” has flowers and cucumbers started to form fruits and are climbing fast.
Beans started to climb and yellow bush beans have flowers. Garlic is in scapes stage (the scapes started to form piggy tails). I’m looking forward to harvest those and make pesto
Even though my veggie patch is very small and many plants are in containers we do get a lot of veggies and there is nothing like eating your very own produce. All plants were grown from seeds, just check older posts from March and April.

Snow Peas.

"Green to Red" pepper.

"Sweet Pimento" pepper.

"Mountain Magic".

"Greta" eggplant.


Beans and Peppers.

Garlic scapes form a piggy tail.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Late Spring Blooms

Here are some close-up photos of our flowers. We are only four days away from Summer Equinox and next week days will be getting shorter again! L Grrr...!!!

Black Eyed Susan Vine.

Cosmos Double-click




Purple Petunia

Pink Petunia

Climbing Pinata Rose


Snapdragon Lampion

Snapdragon Rocket

Dwarf Sunflower Sunny Smile


Purple Millet

I just love my Canon Rebel T1i! All pictures were taken using external flash with ETTL exposure metering for almost perfect fill-in light.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flower Garden Update June 16, 2011

Most of the plants I grew from seeds are in the bloom now with the exception of Rudbeckia (Cone Flower), Echinacea and Hollyhocks (from last year seedlings), Jasmine Scented Nicotiana (Tobacco Plant) and some Salpiglossis. Interesting thing about Salpiglossis (Painted Tongue) is that even though I have planted mix only blooms I have are yellow. I really like the red and blue ones because they are so spectacular, just like a stained glass. Actually, in some places they are called Stained Glass Flower. Purple Millet is just beautiful and so is Snapdragon Rocket mix. They are already almost 5 feet tall. Lobelia is growing nicely in all containers and shows white, purple and blue flowers. I guess it is too early for a full bloom, the small flowers are still quite sparse.
Our Heuchera collection is in full bloom and will stay that way till late fall. Again, just a beautiful display of miniature flowers in all shades of red, cream and green.
Hemerocalis collection is ready to bloom and judging by the number of buds it will be spectacular.
“Climbing PiƱata” rose is really eye catching; it has the best and most blooms since we have planted it 4 years ago. Very interesting rose, the blooms start red and then gradually turn blazing orange. I hate to use the word “spectacular” but that’s what this rose is.
Next post I will show individual flowers in close-up.

Left to right: Nicotiana, Salpiglosis, Petunia. Back row: Snapdragon, Purple Millet and Zinnia.

Hemerocalis and Heuchera.

Heuchera section.

Hollyhocks in front and Snapdragons.

Purple Millet and Dinner Plate Dahlia in center.

Lobelia Mix.

Climbing Pinata.

Snapdragon Lampion.

Bottom stairs Lobelias, 2nd stair Sunny Smile Sunflower (L) and Salpoglosis (R), 3rd stair Hemerocalis and on top Zinnias. Hanging basket is Calibrachoa Million Bells.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Veggie Garden Update June 8th

Now that we finally got some extended periods of warm days and nights the garden really came to life. Unfortunately, with hot humid days came storms and some plants got damaged. My largest tomato plant Mountain Magic lost a big branch that had about dozen tomatoes on it. Now I know that I should have staked it few days ago.

Left side was broken off by storm.

We should be eating our tomatoes soon.

Peppers are quite small but some have large fruits for their size. I have never grown this variety before (Green to Red from Johnny’s Seeds) so I have no idea what to expect.

Snow Peas are in flower and growing well.

This year I have planted 3 kinds of beans (clockwise from top):
Yard Long Chinese (excellent flavor and no strings)
French String-less Green (very sweet flavor)
Yellow Bush Beans (first year)
In center are 3 plants of Sweet Red Banana Peppers (thick flesh and excellent flavor)

My Hardneck Garlic is doing very well and Music and Irkutsk varieties started to have scapes and by next week it will look like a field of little piggy tails. I am amazed how long scapes alone or in pesto last in refrigerator. Last year even after 4 months later they were tasting just like freshly picked.

Tomatoes, Basil and in front of raised bed are radishes (Japanese White, not Daikon)