Look, Ma! I grew a radish!
No thanks to the kitties of the house, my first attempt at a winter crop failed miserably. I didn’t cover the box in time, so they all assumed it was a nice, big, fresh litter box. They were mistaken.
By the time I realized what was going on, I had to start over. Feline waste and vegetables are not a good mix. Rabbits, cows or any other herbivorous animal, yes. Carnivores, no.
So, back to the garden center for me. Since time marched on, I went with cell packs instead of seeds the second time and limited the crop to cauliflower and broccoli. Once planted, I surrounded the boxes with heavy-duty wire to discourage cats and squirrels alike. It worked!
Imagine my surprise this week when a vibrant red radish appeared at the soil line. One seed survived (two if you count its tiny neighbor). We have a crisp and peppery addition to our next salad.
Survival of the Fittest
We enjoyed cauliflower and broccoli at the table tonight, though neither of them came from my garden. I hope that changes soon. All the plants are looking healthy and perky from the recent rain. Last week I saw a green worm and what looked like eggs, but apparently a bird came along and had them for lunch. There isn’t a single trace of whatever it was, though chewed leaves are in abundance.
After a life of eating mostly from the grocery store, I get pretty excited at the prospect of real vegetables growing out back. I wasn’t raised eating either of these vegetables, but have grown to love them both. I prefer my broccoli steamed or in soup and my cauliflower raw.
The pair of birdhouse gourds are still hanging on, but it won’t be long now. I’ve seen some amazing examples of painted gourds on the web. Time to start pinning ideas.
Broccoli and Cauliflower, November 9th
Broccoli and cauliflower, December 17th (six weeks later)
It looks like at least one of the radishes survived the kitty onslaught, or it could be an herb that I don’t yet recognize. I love the mystery of it all. And yes, those are pumpkin plants in the lower box, a self-seeded crop growing away in mid-December. Go figure?
I was feeling optimistic last month when I planted the winter garden. I crafted a durable cover for the planting beds before preparing the soil. I smiled to myself as I scattered those seeds, knowing they would soon be under cover. Maybe I could outsmart those squirrels. With just enough mesh wire to cover the top box, I would have to settle for bird netting on the lower one. Knotted and staked and freshly watered, alas, all was well.
Upper Vegetable Bed
One lone, out-of-season, pumpkin plant
Lower Vegetable Bed
What a dreamer! Lindy-Lu thought all that fresh dirt was for her. She didn’t mind one bit that I covered the planting box with mesh. She took care of “business” on top of the netting without a care in the world. My little plot was now littered with carnivorous droppings, the world’s worst fertilizer. I cleaned out the offending bits, then smoothed out the soil. I added a scrap of chicken wire but didn’t have enough for full coverage. So much for optimism.
Ironically, nothing seems to be coming up in the fortified box, unless you count a Cosmo and a Pumpkin! Don’t they know it’s almost winter? In reality, we’re all confused. We had record-breaking heat yesterday, the hottest November 5th since the early 1900’s! We’ve continued to “enjoy” hot weather, even though the angle of the sun says fall. Do you think the winter seeds are lying low till they get the news that fall has really arrived?
I picked up a pair of cell packs at the nursery today with broccoli and cauliflower. Rain is in the forecast for Thursday with a twenty-degree drop in temps. I’ll get them into the boxes tomorrow and then I’ll do my little rain dance.
Vegetable Cell Packs