Ann's Ruralish Life > BeanDreams2008 Log

This page is an online timeline of BeanDreams 2008, Ann's gardening plans for & execution of the growing season here in Nova Scotia. This year's motto is: "Ann should be getting good by now!". This year will be my third year vegetable gardening, after several years, off and on, of flower gardening. To get the latest info, read Ann's blog.

To see previous years' results, check out BeanDreams and BeanDreams 2007.

My Inspiration

As every year, my inspiration is my Gidu (Dido) - my grandfather. Awesome gardener - made rich, deep, black soil - the man knew how to compost for sure! Read more about why I find his gardening inspiring on my blog.

The Plan

Everything outside of herbs have an under 60 day maturity period, to ensure plenty of time considering our short growing season here in Nova Scotia.

April Cross Daikon Radish - white neck type Japanese Daikon radish
Joi Choi - hybrid white stem Bok Choy

And new this year:
Catnip - about 80 days.
Oregano - something I had heard before, and just found verified on Wikipedia, is that opposite to every other herb, oregano should be used dried to get the most flavour - fresh is rather flavorless.
Forest Green Parsley - about 75 days
Early Purple Vienna Kohlrabi - about 55 days

And for flowers:
Polka Dot Bachelor's Buttons - my favorite flower

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15 Couldn't take it anymore. Warmish weather, sunny skies. Had to plant SOMETHING.

So I decided, since bok choi and daikon radish like the cooler weather of early spring, I would plant some now, in a window box planter. I'll take it in in the evenings, when it drops below zero C, and during the days, as long as it's above freezing, I'll put it in a sheltered sunny area of our back deck. I just couldn't take it anymore! It's WAY too early to be planting things in the earth, but I think this plan might work. And even if it doesn't, maybe I got some of the gardening fever out of my system! :)

I got out my seeds saved from last year. The bok choi seeds were very easy to get out of their pods - the pods were very delicate and broke open easily.

The daikon radish, on the other hand, were encased in much tougher and thicker pods: it took a lot of picking away at it before I was able to release the seed.

Oh, it feels good to get my hands in earth and seeds again! :)

5 Here's the world's tiniest bok choi sprout leaf! It's about as big as the top part of my pinkie finger. Teeny! But you can see where it's heading, it's going to be a lovely (read: delicious!) bok choi one day!

These daikon radish leaf sprouts are much larger (the true leaves are about as long as my whole pinkie finger). But check it out, under the pinkish part of the stem, you can see the white root poking a bit out of the ground - that's gonna be a tasty radish soon!

It's almost time for me to consider my second planting, as things will go more quickly from this stage, now that the true leaves are out. Oh, I just love spring! :D (It's extra nice because the blackflies haven't come out yet - enjoy it while you can, only a couple of weeks left till they do!)

12 So, I've made my order from Vesey's. I've decided that, due to the uncertain nature of our living arrangements by the end of the summer, to downgrade BeanDreams this year. I'll be growing mainly herbs, that will be transportable in pots.

Catnip - for all our kitty-cats. Most of them LOVE catnip (one of them doesn't seem too interested) - having a regular supply sounds like a good idea.

Oregano - I have a lot of recipes that I use oregano in, and the last time I bought some, it looked kind of haphazardly dried (with sticks and stuff).

Forest Green Parsley - The milder form of parsley - I know, I'm a wuss, but I find the stronger form too overpowering to cook with. :D

Polka Dot Bachelor's Buttons - my favorite flower, but I haven't grown them in years - I look forward to seeing them again! :)

Early Purple Vienna Kohlrabi - supposed to taste mildly like cabbage, but looks like a plant from outer space. I took this picture of a kohlrabi at Agrifest a couple of years ago. Weird looking, eh?

26 I've finished planting my containers for BeanDreams 2008!

In one container I planted kohlrabi around the outside perimeter, and my beloved bachelor's buttons on the inside. Both plants are tolerant to the cold, so I thought they should go together. Bachelor's buttons, in my experience, sprout within 24 hours, so I'm looking forward to reporting on sprouts very soon! They're just bursting with energy, it's quite amazing!

In another pot, I've planted catnip (for our babies) and oregano. Oregano is the rare herb that actually tastes stronger when dried (most herbs are the opposite), so I won't be using it fresh. It's a great herb that's featured in a lot of my favorite recipes, so I look forward to using it!

And finally, in the smaller pot, I'll be planting the parsley. Parsley is a notoriously slow starter, so I've used a couple of tricks I read about it to (hopefully) get it going faster. The seed spent a week or so in the freezer (simulating winter) and is now sitting in a cup of warm water (to simulate a warm, wet spring). I'll be putting it in the pot later today. Parsley is nice fresh - I don't like too strong a parsley flavour (I know, I'm a wuss), so I chose a milder form to grow.

And as you can see, my bok choi and daikon radish are doing beautifully!

The daikon greens are lush and lovely - the roots aren't too big yet...

The bok choi is a petite variety, so it'll be ready to eat soon! I'm surprised it's grown so very fast - when you plant in containers, you can see the development of the plants day by day a lot easier.

29 Since Monday (the 26th), it's been COLD! The seeds have been shaking in their pods! However, this morning, we had some sun, and I saw that the Bachelor's Buttons have sprouted. Huzzah! Hopefully, the sun will heat up the soil enough to allow the rest of the seeds to get started. :)

3 BeanDreams: the Coldening - Its like the Reckoning, but Cold. :)

Just after I planted all my containers, we were hit with a bad cold snap. Worried I had rotted out my seeds by choosing a bad time to plant, I replanted my Bachelor's Buttons and Kohlrabi, as they are the most cold-hardy. It was a warm day, and within 24 - 48 hours, both had sprouted (including, I think, some of the ones I thought had rotted out). In any case, I've got a lovely bit of growth happening, helped by the recent warmer temps.

This is the container:

Highlighted in the photo below are the kohlrabi. They have a reddish tinge, and the first leaves are double leaves.

Highlighted below are the Bachelor's Buttons. They are light green, with single leaves.

I'm pretty excited to get this next round of growing started! My bok choi is just about ready for harvest, which is wonderful. Wish I had planted more, but I've just been too busy with my new job. Once I start harvesting, I will be doing another planting.

20 When they said parsley was a slow starter, they REALLY meant it! Even though I simulated winter and soaked the seeds before planting, it still took a couple weeks for them to sprout. They're here, finally, though!

And you can tell the oregano and catnip don't like the coolish weather we've been having. They sprouted, and pretty much stayed that way - not many true leaves showing up on these little seedlings yet.

Guess which plants were said to be cold-weather lovers, and could be planted early in spring? The kohlrabi and the bachelor's buttons - they're just growing like freakin' crazy! They love this weather!

Looks like some spiders have hatched nearby - little babies here are spinning webs in between the plant pots. It's amazing they're SO small, and still have enough brainpower to be able to create the beautiful webs spiders are known for. Amazing.

Hopefully with the coming of warmer weather, the herbs will grow more! :)

7 The catnip and the oregano, thanks to the arrival of warm weather and sunshine, have been growing gangbusters!

Okay, well, maybe the catnip is growing a little too much like gangbusters. I had to uproot some of them to give the oregano some room to breathe and grow. :) Fortunately, I won't need too many catnip plants, they really grow quite large.

I took what I uprooted inside for drying, and I've given some to Baby Boy and Molly, who respond the most to the catnip. It's made for a fun morning - they totally freaked out, rolling around, clawing at the couch. Now, they're exhausted and have passed out. :)

The parsley looked like it was going to really explode with the warm weather - but after their initial burst of growth, they've slowed down again.

And the kohlrabi and bachelor's buttons need SERIOUS thinning out. This is getting crazy! :) I've been peeking down in the pot, but I haven't seen any signs of a "bulb" growing yet. I understand you can eat the leaves, so I think I will! :)

12 The sage that I planted a few years ago has set flowers:

Lovely, aren't they? I understand that sage plants get a little hard and woody after a couple of years, so it's advisable to tear up your old plants and start some fresh. The leaves on these plants still seem to be of good quality, though, so I'll keep mine going for a while. And now I'll have some seeds to replant if I need to!

Caught this busy guy on our princess bush out front - as I've mentioned before, there haven't been as many bees around these parts as is usual, so every bee is extra special.

4 My Bachelor's Buttons: I just love these flowers...can't get enough! So happy to be growing them again.

Meant to post the following last week, but I've been quite under the weather lately. Here's a little update on how all that BeanDreaming is going...

And my bok choi is all finished too, and has started to set some lovely yellow flowers. Although I planted several, now that I've grown it for a couple years, I think that the variety I chose (Joi Choi) is just too petite for the way I want to use it. I love those thick white stalks, but these plants are very small - at least the way I'm growing them. :) I think if I grow bok choi again, I would pick a larger variety.

I'm not the only one enjoying the flowers:

The catnip and oregano are growing like gangbusters, truly a resounding success! I'm really, really pleased with how this crop turned out, I'll have lots to dry and use throughout the winter.

But the parsley??!! What's going wrong with them? I have no idea. I looked around online and it says that parsley doesn't like the mid-summer heat. Maybe I should move it into the shade for a while. It's funny too, because one of them is growing nicely, but the others just stopped after putting out one true leaf. Pretty disappointing, I wanted to use some fresh in cooking...

My bachelor's buttons are just starting to open - I love them so! I'm very excited. But the kohlrabi??? Some of the leaves were looking a little "blighty" - I though there might be a lack of airflow, so I made some spaces between the plants to get more air in there, it seems to have helped. But no bulb!! What's going on?

I looked around and found a site that said the long roots of kohlrabi don't lend themselves well to container planting. WHAAA??? NOW you tell me! Crap. I looked all over the place to try and find what might be causing the lack of bulb. I finally found one mention of it on the FarmGirl Fare auxiliary site. She had the same problem I did, and was also unable to find any info online about exactly "why" this lack of bulb occurs. I think perhaps the planter is too small, and they don't like the crowding? I dunno. All I know is, I have a nice crop of leaves, but no bulb. Oh well, the leaves will be nice in a stir fry. :) At least they're edible, otherwise I'd have nothing to show for it! Bleargh.

Oh well, that's just part of the job when it comes to home gardening. You have to learn by trial and error - sometimes you get fantastic results, and other times...well, it's all a growing experience! (Ouch, just realized what a bad pun that was)... :)

6 So wrong...

No. Don't do that.

My kohlrabi doesn't even have a bulb, and now you're eating the leaves??!!


Note: after looking around for a while, I believe that (once again, found on that awesome pest-identification page from Pest-Control Canada, photo #395) it is the caterpillar of the White-Marked Tussock Moth (a big name for a rather plain-looking moth, if you ask me). :)

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