Monday, July 14, 2008

Potager update--in shades of purple

First and foremost let me thank all those who stopped by and left a comment on our June 25th post "A surprise in the potager". Life intruded and I never posted revealing the identity of the mystery plant. We had some extremely perceptive guesses that I'd like to acknowledge.

Yolanda from Bliss guessed "sprouting seeds".

Eve from  Gardening on the Gulf Coast guessed "new plants".

HUGE thanks from the wenches to everyone who played along. For the green shoots we had  guesses of spiderwort, crabgrass and corn. For the purple shoots we had purple basil, amaranthus and love-lies-bleeding. Well, those cute little day-old shoots are indeed  PURPLE BASIL. Here's an updated shot, minus the green weedlings, which may very well have been crabgrass. This year, for the first time, we tried to use seeds instead of starts. We've had great success with the salad greens, carrots, radishes, chard, peas and now basil, all started from seed.

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In other parts of the potager kale, cabbage and cauliflower are thriving, along with shallots and garlic. The very large cabbage is one of Wing Nut's compost rescues from work. We thought it was kale when she first brought it home. We've never grown cabbage before.

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Or cauliflower for that matter.  The purple cauliflower is ready for harvest. This is our second one.

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The 'oreilles du diable' lettuce finally bolted and is setting seed. We'd like to save the seed but haven't a clue as to how to go about doing this. Any of you seed savers out there, feel free to pass on any words of wisdom.

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The pic below, taken over the July 4th weekend, is Wing Nut going in to harvest peas from the pea jungle. Her last words before disappearing were, "If I'm not back out by sundown, send Diva Dog in to rescue me!" The peas threatened to smother the bronze fennel, which is a monstrosity in its own right. They got so heavy that they broke two of the three stakes we used to trellis them. The package said that trellising was not necessary. I wonder if we got some mutant seeds? Wing Nut followed the "one for the rook and one for the crow, one to die and one to grow" method of sowing seeds. I think we may have over planted.

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13 comments:

Katarina i Kullavik said...

Oh, this reminds me: I've got some seeds of purple basil that I bought in California this autumn - and they are not in the soil yet!!! I wonder if it's too late? maybe I should save tehm for next year?

You seem to be getting some delicious vegetables...
/Katarina

Magic Cochin said...

I'm deeply envious of that purple cauliflower, having never grown a decent white one! It's awsome!!!!

As for lettuce seed saving - leave a plant to flower, wait for the seeds to form and mature, then gently shake the seeds into a paper bag. You may have to do this over a few days as the seeds become ready to fall.

Lots of info her http://www.seedsave.org/issi/904/beginner.html

Have fun!
Celia

Daphne said...

My peas did the same thing. I'm growing Dwarf Grey Sugar. The package said no trellis and it would get 30" tall. Well they have attained 60" already. I actually put in a short trellis, but had to add to it since they quickly outgrew the little one.

walk2write said...

How interesting, that purple cauliflower. I bet it tastes as yummy as it looks and must look fascinating with cheese sauce poured over it.

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Hi walk2write! The cauliflower turns an even deeper purple/blue when cooked. Definitely colorful mixed with grilled red and orange peppers. It is very sweet even when eaten raw.

Hey there Daphne! That's exactly what these are--Dwarf Grey Sugar. I can't believe they broke the trellis. Never thought of peas as heavy.

Amazing web site Celia. Thank you so much! I'm so excited about collecting the seeds to use next year. As for growing cauliflower, after we put in the 4 little starts I read about how hard cauliflower is to grow--a race against the critters that ate all those holes in the leaves. Yikes! I was sure we'd get nothing or maybe a "button" head. Well, 2 of the starts died. But we did get 2 very nice heads.

Hi Katarina! Yes, the potager is producing nicely this year. This is our 3rd season doing a veggie garden and definitely the most productive season we've had. You could plant your purple basil seeds in a pot. That way if the weather turns cold before it has matured you can bring it indoors. I can't wait to harvest some of those purple leaves.

chey said...

Looks like you are having a very successful season! That pea jungle is huge! Sounds like you are going to get a good crop. Hope Wing Nut made it out successfully:).

Philip Bewley said...

one for the rook and one for the crow, one to die and one to grow" method of sowing seeds...that is a great quote. I will have to remember that!
:)
Best,
Philip

Anna said...

I have some purple basil too! Love it and it makes everything you use it with--attractive. I like tomato basil pie.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Aw there is diva dog. Doesn't she look lovely. The cauliflower is amazing.

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Hey Aunt Debbi! That was the sweetest cauliflower we have ever eaten. YUM! Diva Dog didn't care for the peas but she loves the purple carrots.

Hi Anna! We're counting the days til we can pick the first leaves from the purple basil plants.

Thanks for stopping by Philip! Adages are always easier to remember if they rhyme.

So far so good Chey. This is our most productive veggie garden. If the weather holds we may even see tomatoes and peppers.

Sarah Laurence said...

Interesting plant. Does the purple basil taste different?

On the post below: a beer is a good after shopping - I can't stand malls either. I did enjoy Oregon brews the one time I visited.

Di DeCaire said...

Hi wenches, I have been crazy busy and thus have lost my 'fan' base due to not returning messages. My catalpas are in the background of a recent post. Missed getting a good shot of them in bloom somehow but last year they bloomed much harder anyway so I'll post some of those this winter when I have more time. Glad you remembered my existance and good work with your blog.

Kathleen said...

That is a serious pea patch. I need to get over here more often, I learn something every time. This time it was that purple cauliflower even existed. Who knew? You girls sure are on top of the latest and greatest.