This Fall has been rather rough on late crops. After 8 long month of waiting for the Purple Sprouting broccoli, the Thanksgiving week snow took its toll. Now, you're probably thinking, "Why didn't she put up a hoop house to protect it?" Well, the answer is two-fold.
First, it would have had to be a circus tent as the stuff was huge and swung over the sides of the beds. Second, I got stuck at my place in Arlington during the whole event and Roland was rather, shall we say, inattentive due to an unconscious desire to see its demise. So far this Fall, we've gotten 1-1/2 servings of broccoli heads off the stuff, not exactly a sterling amount considering it's output of leaves and the 3" diameter trunks on each plant.
Now the yard smells like rotting broccoli. The constant pounding rain hasn't helped either. The only saving grace is that the new growth at the top is still good on most of the plants...and still just leaves. Geotropism is taking over and the ends are bending up. The stuff is tough! I'm going to clean up the rotting carnage and hopefully, the broccoli will make somewhat of a comeback. I found the long lost bale of hay exposed that was buried beneath the foliage and the celery is now getting more light. I'm going to mulch the other beds now that I have a little spare time until January (winter quarter starts).
High winds several weeks ago took out the Cathedral to the Peas trellis. Snapped it right off at the base! It almost looks like it was just taken down and laid across the beds. Roland never was satisfied with the way it turned out as he found the mahogany to be too brittle, and plans to make a new one out of cherry. I told him not to make it so tall.
In the mean time, I've cleaned out the parking strip beds and have planted fava beans and crimson clover for the winter. I followed the advice of an old Sicilian guy who plants his beans 4-6 inches down, depending on the type of winter (mine went in 6" down as we're supposed to have a cold one this year). He stakes them in the spring and usually harvests them in early summer. I'm planting heat lovers in those beds next year, so I'm hoping that the beans will be done and the tomatoes, peppers and zucchs can go in.
I've finally cleaned out the rotting tomato plants, removed the plastic off the cloche and planted garlic and shallots in that bed. My Reemay shipment just came in, so that's going over the cloche and in goes some winter greens.
The swiss chard and leeks road the storm well, although the chard is getting smaller. My other root crops and kale are also doing well, not being eaten alive this time of year. Now I have a hankerin' to make a pot of soup.
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