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June 14th, 2010

Test Garden Update, Jackie Smith, Belle Plaine, MN

Believe it or not, our season has been relatively normal so far. Oh, we had a beautiful April with way above normal temperatures, but when we jumped the gun and planted early, a quick dip toward frost in early May took care of that. Some early potatoes froze (but of course, they came back promptly). So that put us back on track into the usual timing for gardening. 

We had a lot of problems in the greenhouse that were entirely my fault. I tried to get by with cooler temperatures, but failed to adjust my watering practices accordingly. The result was rampant damping off, root rots, and an invasion of fungus gnats that wouldn’t go away no matter what I did. Fortunately enough of everything survived that we’ll still have a bountiful harvest. 

spinach-okame,-fiorana,-lavewaIn the garden, the radishes, spinach and lettuce have produced well, but it’s starting to get too hot for them now. Pac choi has bolted, along with the earliest radishes and the ‘Okame’ spinach. At first I really enjoyed the ‘Okame’ because the elongated leaf petioles allowed easier access to snip off just the leaves. But the plants bolted after one cutting. In the spinach photo above, you’ll see the ‘Okame’ on the left, with two spinach varieties we tested last year next to it. The ‘Fiorana’ and ‘Lavewa’ still look good and are producing well, but the ‘Okame’ is past redemption. 

lettucesearedfront,-sweetie,midnight-behindThe lettuce photo at left gives you a good idea of the beautiful color and shiny finish to the ‘Sea of Red’ leaf lettuce (front). The green lettuce just behind it is ‘Sweetie Baby Romaine’ and to the right of that is ‘Midnight Ruffles’. ‘Sweetie’ has yet to head up, so I’m reserving judgement, but so far the ‘Sea of Red’ is a definite winner with great color and nice crisp texture.


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