Our 2021 garden: tending the old kitchen garden

As much as I love all the rain we’ve been having, I was happy to have a mild, sunny day to get some work done outside. I finally got around to tending the big L shaped beet bed in the old kitchen garden.

This bed has had almost no tending, since we put the floating row cover on it to keep the critters out. This is how the two sides looked before I started.

Here is how it looked after a good, solid weeding!

There actually wasn’t a lot of weeds in there. After fighting my way through all the beet greens, following strands of weeds to their bottoms so I could pull them out by the roots, I found that there wasn’t much to pull out. The beets were actually choking out the weeds! Most of them were long and leggy and spread out, trying to reach the light, so when I pulled something out by the roots, I found I was removing quite a lot more plant than expected. The exception were all the sprouting Chinese Elms. It’s remarkable how deep and solid the roots are for a sapling that’s just a couple of inches high.

The beets themselves did not need any thinning, though I did accidentally pull a few out with the weeds. I wasn’t seeing a lot of beet roots developing, though. Hopefully, all the rain we’ve been having will result in a growth spurt!

When it came time ot put the netting back on, I took advantage of the big package of tent pegs I found in the garage. The sides of the netting was pulled tight and snug to the ground, so nothing can casually push its way under the netting. No more rocks and bricks to try and keep it down. For the ends, I wrapped the netting around boards, then weighted those down. There is lots of slack in the netting for the leaves to grow, though I don’t expect them to get much taller than they are now.

That done, I worked on the carrot bed next. One of the inner hoops had come down, the doweling holding it in place breaking off completely. Another was well on its way down, too.

Which made for a good time to tend the carrots, too.

There are two types of carrots in this bed, and these ones have been going to seed. Carrots do to see in their second year, so it seems the grounhogs eating their greens has fooled the carrots into thinking they are in their second year.

Carrots gone to see do not produce much of a root!

These carrots got weeded, but did not need any thinning. The other variety did need thinning.

Check these out!!! This is a variety from Baker Creek called Lounge Rouge Sang.

The two orange ones at the top of from the other carrots that had gone to seed, but had enough root that I wanted to keep them.

I checked my records, and those are supposed to be the Deep Purple carrots, from Veseys!

Here you can see what the Longue Rouge Sang carrots should look like, when fully mature. I just love the colours in them, and am happy to see that even the little carrots that got thinned out are showing them.

I’m so excited to see carrots! After the groundhog devastation, I really didn’t know if they would recover enough for us to have any at all. It’s a shame we couldn’t cover the larger carrot bed in the main garden area, too!

Once the bed was cleaned up, and I found new sticks to use to hold the PVC pipe hoops in place, the sides were pegged down tighter to the ground. The only places I used rocks to weigh the netting down was at a couple of corners, where there was excess netting to gather.

I still don’t know what the big green thing in the middle of the bed is. I had hoped it was the White Vienna kohlrabi that was planted there, but I not longer think that’s what they are. I’ve seen them pop up in a few other places, too. They don’t look like a weed, is about all I can say! I’m leaving them, just to hopefully see what they are. I’ve also left quite a bit of the mint that has been making it’s way through. In time, I hope to transplant them somewhere contained. For now, I just try to keep it under control so it won’t take over the garden – and we will still have at least a bit of mint to harvest if we want! 🙂

There is still one more bed of beets by the retaining wall, covered in netting, that needs to be cleaned up, but that will have to wait for another day.

The Re-Farmer

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