She Never Fails to Surprise Me
She never fails to surprise and delight me - my garden
that is. Stuff happens in this semi-tamed wilderness – some
of it useful, some of it not; but always delightful.
The onions are blooming and most seem normal, all
but one. Bunching onions are supposed to reproduce both by seed
and by bulbing from the base of the plant. Well, here is one that
has set about reproducing by top setting bulbs.
It must be those Egyptians that moved into the neighborhood
- hard to trust a walking onion; you just never know where they
will show up next. The Egyptian Walking onions are of course top
setters that have flowers, but not seeds and produce edible bulblets
where the seeds would be. Seems they crossed over with this bunching
onion, which is now producing bulbs instead of seeds on some of
its flower heads.
So, my next question is, will these bulblets produce
new plants and what will happen when those plants reproduce? Gardening
the bazaar, at its best - to be continued.
We had dinner the other evening at my sister-in-laws,
who is also a kitchen gardener, and her Swiss chard is blooming
normally. It’s about two feet tall and producing a little
pollen. Why does my swiss chard look like a jungle – seven
feet tall and impenetrable? When I shake it, a fallout of pollen
spreads over the garden like dust. I can still identify the ancestral
trilogy of this wildness. Perpetual Spinach Chard, Rhubarb Chard
and Italian White Ribbed Chard still display their distinct characteristics,
but there’s been a lot of pollen swapping going on.
I planted broccoli this spring, for the aphids –
but did not expect to eat it. It has been so warm so early this
year that I only set out a couple of broccoli plants to provide
blossoms for the other creatures at the right time. But, we ate
some last night and it’s still better than store bought, in
spite of temperatures in the 80’s. Now I wish I had planted
more, but with some luck and careful management, these plants may
set out to blooming again in the fall and again next spring. Semi-perpetual
broccoli, you ask. It appears possible, but I cannot give you the
formula yet. Last summer, after the broccoli was ravaged by the
other creatures, I cut the plants off a few inches above ground
and left the roots to decay in the ground – never expecting
to see them green again. In early fall, one plant put up green shoots
with multiple heads and delicious broccoli well into winter. It
went through another bloom cycle and died.
For 50 years, I have grown broccoli from seed, eaten
it until the sprouts are too small or too spicy and then removed
it, making room for the next crop, but from now on, it gets treated
differently! Now, I need to figure out a rotation through the broccoli
bed to produce the best second growth broccoli – alas, another
season, another surprise, another delight.
Truly, she never fails to surprise and delight me.
till next time,
Doña Ana County Extension Master Gardener