Planting the mystery brassica

Well it was time to pick the largest Bok Choy left in the ground, and that freed up space for my mystery veg.

It also gave me an excuse for a wide shot of my west beds.

I would have photos of my yummy Bok Choy only one had cabbage maggots *in the stems* fuck. And it turns out I’m pretty mad about that.

Anyways, mystery plants are in and they’re ready to grow!

I will have to treat these beds now that I know a handful of the cabbage flies are still flying around. Never wanted to bother with beneficial nematodes but I don’t have a choice at this point.

As for the identity of the mystery plant…

I did find one other plant in the store that had some similarities.

Portuguese cabbage or sea kale? This isn’t sea kale. Sea kale is its own thing.

But a fancy kale sounds nice I suppose.

If I can only protect it from maggots bleh.

Powdery mildew, the bane of San Francisco or; how to save a squash vine maybe

Powdery mildew is a type of fungus that looks like flour dusted on a plant. It’s not harmful to people- just plants.

But it’s pretty harmful to plants.

Look, not to make a pun, but there are fungus among-us. They live in the soil, in the air, on our feet, and largely they’re harmless. Until they aren’t.

Our foggy weather and the general susceptibility of cucurbits mean this is inevitable.

WOOF.

As you can see, I’ve been letting this get out of hand. Honestly, it’s late in the season for squash I should probably just pull the plant.

But there are new flowers and baby squash on the vines…

So lets get to work!

I cut away all the awful mildewed leaves and yes- it’s time to say goodbye to the corn.

It never grew fully- the wind knocked it over- and I put it in too late. But this variety looks like it was doing ok regardless- so next year I’ll put it in on time and we’ll see how it does.

So the bed was cleared and the vines were trimmed. As you can see there is still a lot of healthy plant left.

Not loving some of those vines though.

Welp. Time for fungicides!

I dusted sulfur on the exposed vines and sprayed copper on the leaves.

These are considered “organic” which is ridiculous as neither solution contains carbon but whatever.

The point is they aren’t going to poison your waterways. The copper spray most certainly can poison you- just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it can’t kill you so let’s not breath this stuff in ok?

My next step was to enrich the bed and it just so happens I had some steer manure on hand.

When life gives you cow poop- make… the lemonade of healthier squash plants?

Sorry that got away from me.

At that point the bed just needed a top up of new soil and some fresh mulch.

Mmmm. Mulch.

So this was a lot of work! To try and save a zucchini vine- in freaking November. I’m crazy right?

Well here’s my logic. If this fails, oh no I have a heavily enriched 4×4 bed with nothing in it. I’ll just plant other stuff!

But if it succeeds I just got an extra month of summer squash.

Come on baby, you can do it!

Of course the complication is- it rained yesterday.

Which means… winter is coming.

And more powdery mildew.

Fuck.

I just had to have a blackberry…

Well I’d been putting it off and off and off and I can’t put it off anymore.

It’s time to tie up the blackberry.

The comfrey has served its purpose of being sort of a green compost so I pulled it and laid it down after some weeding, and pulling the brambles up.

The comfrey might regrow- it’s pretty much a weed.

Quite a lot of the vines had reached into the ground and started to root.

It’s really good I took care of this now and not a month from now!

As you can see it’s a bit of a mess all over.

Had to pull up these top roots as well. I just snipped off the root ball and tied it to the fence.

The result wasn’t that bad. I don’t really have a proper trellis, I’m just tying it to the fence like a yokel.

But at least it’s off the ground and properly weeded.

And I have plenty of space below the top vine to keep things going.

But man I have to ask myself- is all this worth it?

Pie is always worth it.

At long last, a home for the scallions

 I’ve had some scallions in 6-packs for a while now. I was going to replace the ones in the terra-cotta but then those got scale and I was busy.

As you can see they’ve been a little neglected.

But now I have a fancy new long and low talavera pot.

So I filled it with the good dirt and…

Shit some of the starts have scale too.

Luckily not all of them.

As for what I’ll replace them with, I’ve always wanted to try these.

But also some of the original.

Let’s hope they’ll sprout in the cold- but onions almost never disappoint.

And there’s room for all of them!

Minus the ones I had to compost because of the scale.

I really have to conquer this ant issue…

Mystery brassica

Well sometimes things get mixed up. A six pack of veggies can get misplaced by a customer who decides they want something else- and wind or misadventure can misplace a tag.

Then you end up with something like this.

It’s… a brassica!

Probably Brassica oleracea judging by the shape of it.

But it’s a little strange…

Purple stems and green leaves…

The stems don’t seem to be swollen so probably not a kohlrabi…

Could be a collard or a kale?

Growth comes from the inside… but that’s common for almost all brassicas.

Brussels? Cauliflower? Broccoli? A straight up cabbage?

Well. I suppose I’ll just have to grow it and find out!

The leaves aren’t too damaged from the ubiquitous cabbage moth- I did give it a spray down with B.t. regardless.

Anyways…

🎶mystery plant, it’s a mystery plant🎶

🎶gonna put it in the ground and see what comes up🎶

Of course the space requirements of a Brussels versus a cabbage are very different so…

Stay tuned.

A joke goes horribly horribly wrong. Or horribly horribly right?

So dad really really loves the garden. After all, he and mom started it before I was born, and both of my parents are really glad I’ve picked it up again, now that they can’t do the sort of intensive labor that a vegetable garden needs.

Mom still helps out, G-d bless her, watering during heat waves when I’m at work for instance, checking on tender seedlings, and quite a few times I’ve come down to a very clean work table and a weeded garden just because she was bored and wanted to help me out. Mom’s the best.

Dad on the other hand is not as steady on his feet as he used to be, and after a few falls in the back, (he was ok- but it could have been much worse) dad doesn’t garden anymore. Trust me though- he wants to. I’ve definitely put in plants for him, he does get out and look around from time to time (with care) and he loves the blog so he can keep up- (Hi dad!) but he’s permanently off watering and weeding. (Which he probably doesn’t mind!) It’s my greatest joy to bring up produce for him, he’s a huge fan of the alpine strawberries and Bok Choy.

Now sometimes, since he knows I’ll put in plants for him, he likes to yank my chain. I tend to take things very literally, so it sometimes takes me a while to get that he’s kidding me about the orange tree he wants me to plant or the rare tropical fruit.

(Though I’m still looking for a banana that will fruit in San Francisco- stay tuned.)

But! A few weeks ago he made a joke about how I should grow a redwood. After patiently explaining to him that we didn’t have the room, and that I grow edibles not trees- It finally dawned on me that he was joking and my parents and I had a good laugh at my complete lack of joke-sense.

And then in Sausalito on one of my days off I found this:

I’M GONNA DO IT DAD, WHO’S LAUGHING NOW!

(All of us, all of us are laughing now.)

The idea is, we don’t own this redwood, we are fostering it. I’m going to grow it in increasingly bigger pots, and see how big I can get it. When it’s just big enough that any more growth means we can’t get it through the garage to the outside, I’ll find a permanent home for it.

Maybe Muir Woods could use a new redwood?

That’s a future problem.

The current problem is- how do I do it?

So after some research and a poll of my coworkers I determined that redwoods like acidic soil. Good thing I have some azalea mix left in the soil shed!

Ah, but redwoods also need superior drainage- so it’s also a good thing I have a lot of perlite left from potting the chayote.

The soil was mixed in one of my left-over gallon pots. Then I extracted the redwood plug from the weird plastic cylinder and cardboard surround. A mix of sure start in the hole and I potted it up!

Of course what redwood would be complete without shredded redwood mulch! Now, before you think that’s a tad cannibalistic, shredded redwood (gorilla hair) is usually taken from the outside of living redwood trees, and not from dead ones. So if you think about it, a naturally growing redwood seedling on the coast would be sprouting in soil covered in the fallen outer bark of its parents, so this is probably ideal.

I watered it well with a shot of tappin roots for extra oomph and now I’m just going to see what happens.

It’s weird that the best case scenario of this folly is a forest ranger taking my redwood away after 5 years to go live in a park, but I’m committed to this, and so is dad.

Dad and I should also be committed.

But I’ve known that for a while.

Be nice to your Bush Beans and they will reward you.

Or you know- be terribly neglectful and then reward them after the fact in the hope that you can scam more beans from them.

Mr French bush bean here got a little tempest tossed by the Santa Ana winds last week. But he’s producing a ton of little beans and I can respect that.

I tossed some compost into his pot to try and prolong the season, and I harvested what I could.

Dang! It’s two plants in a pot that barely got over a foot in height! That’s a respectable amount of beans! I think after my years of struggling and enjoying pole beans I might be a bush bean convert. Now to see if I can get more beans into November.

You know, for science!

And for my tummy.