Rutabagas and root development

I know many people (members of my family) don’t like rutabagas. I love them. I love chopping them up into a hearty stew, mashing them with potatoes, and just roasting them. They are soooo yummy! I planted seeds for American Purple Top Rutabagas on March 15th (98 days ago). Rutabagas only need 90-100 days to grow. So I pulled them out of the ground today. Three of them had nice big bulbs, three of them were straight and not bulbous. ūüė¶ I had the same problem with the beets and radishes.

About rutabagas
Rutabaga harvest

Rutabaga harvest

Rutabagas are a cross between a cabbage and turnip. They’re sweeter than turnips. And¬†the leaves are edible like turnip leaves (I didn’t know that until I was researching today).

Rutabagas do better when ripening in cooler weather. And they sweeten up after experiencing a frost (good to know!). Many people leave the roots in the ground overwinter (cutting back the tops and heavily mulching) and pulling the roots out of the ground as they need them.

I plan to plant rutabagas again for this fall. Our last frost date is mid-October so I’ll plant seeds around mid to late July. Hopefully I’ll get a better crop then.

Root problems

After some reading I found there are two reasons for no root development. One is not thinning or too closely spaced plants. The other is the nitrogen levels of the soil.

The¬†spacing of all my crops is according to the square foot gardening method. I’m having a hard time believing that the book, and all the people who square foot garden, could be wrong.

I’m thinking my problem¬†might be¬†nitrogen levels. I never tested my soil so it could¬†be too high in nitrogen. High nitrogen levels usually lead to all tops and no roots. I’m going to pick up a soil test kit this week and test my soil.

Anyone else have advice for getting root crops to bulb? Or have a favorite rutabaga recipe?

-Lorelei

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First blueberry harvest!

Some blueberries looked ripe enough to pick this morning. I was able to get 8 blueberries off two bushes.

Blueberry harvest

Blueberry harvest

Also seen in the picture are the raspberries and peas I picked this morning, too.

We’re not getting great harvests. I’m still learning and the plants are still new. I’m thinking of expanding the berry patch next year–adding more raspberry and blackberry bushes. And planting more peas in the garden bed next year.

-Lorelei

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Garden Happenings

Not much new has been going on in the garden. The raspberries keep ripening, yellow squash is growing, peas are being harvested, sweet potato vines are taking over the garden, plants are flowering, blueberries and blackberries are ripening, and some of the transplanted strawberries survived their first week.

Ripe raspberries

Ripe raspberries

I’ve been harvesting a couple of raspberries everyday. The amount’s been varying between 2-12 raspberries a day. They’ve been lasting only long enough to get them into the house and washed before the kids eat them.

Today's pea harvest

Today’s pea harvest

I’ve been harvesting peas, too. Like with the raspberries the amount we’re getting each day varies between 6-12 pods. Not enough to cook. Just enough for me to wash and watch the kids devour before I can blink.

Yellow squash

Yellow squash

My youngest came home from his PDO (parents day out) one day this spring with a greenhouse they’d made and planted seeds in. He’d choosen yellow squash and yellow tomatoes. Some of them sprouted so I made him his own planter and planted the squash and tomato in it. We now have little yellow squashes growing! I’m hoping he’ll eat them since they are his. (In the past I’ve been the only one in this family to like eating squash.)

White pine alpine strawberry surviving

White pine alpine strawberry surviving

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

A couple of the white pine alpine strawberry plants I was given are still alive. The ones I planted around the rhubarb are doing particularly well. Speaking of rhubarb, it is doing surprisingly well. I’d heard it wouldn’t do good here, but mine seems to be thriving.

Sweet potato vines running everywhere.

Sweet potato vines running everywhere.

The three purple sweet potato plants I put in the garden are starting to spread and take over that whole section. I’m guessing I should have put in a trellis and trained them to grow up. I’ll know better next year.

Peanut flower

Peanut flower

The peanut plants are flowering. From my understanding the flowers have to be pollinated for the peanuts to grow. After a flower is pollinated it sends a runner into the ground and that’s what the peanuts grow from. The National Peanut Board website has some good info on growing peanuts. Southern Exposure.com¬†also has good info on growing peanuts and how to prepare them.

Blueberries ripening

Blueberries ripening

The blueberries are starting to ripen. I’m very excited about this. My eldest is closely watching these since blueberries are his favorite.

Blackberries ripening

Blackberries ripening

The blackberries are darkening. My bush isn’t very big, being new this year, and I’m not going to get a good harvest from it so I’m using my blackberry bush as a cue to when I should go harvest the ones growing wild in the local nature park.

Court Jester marigold

Court Jester marigold

The marigolds are finally starting to flower. This variety is called Court Jester. I thought it was a pretty flower.

That’s all happening in my garden. How’re your gardens doing?

-Lorelei

Categories: blackberries, blueberries, flowers, garden, raspberries, strawberries | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

White Pine (alpine) Strawberry Plants

Someone in my local gardening club had these strawberries that were taking over their herb bed and offered them to the group. I said I’d take one. They gave me a whole box full of the little plants! I planted 25 of them everywhere in my yard. They looked pretty wilted. I’m hoping some will survive…please survive.

Strawberries in the berry patch.

Strawberries in the berry patch.

I’ve wanted white strawberries. I’d even bought a packet of Yellow Wonder wild strawberry seeds this winter when I bought all my heirloom seeds. But the seeds I got were hard to germinate and the few that finally did germinate died quickly (I guess I got the flunkee seeds). I’d given up on having a white strawberry plant this year.

Then along came this kindness. I love this community of gardeners.

There is a whole species of strawberry that produce white berries. They’re white or pale yellow, but taste just like regular red strawberries. According to¬†Strawberryplants.org¬†the white varieties lack the protein that turns them red when ripe. Interesting!

I’m hoping that next year I’ll be able to return the favor and have something in excess to share with the gardening group. My irises are looking pretty crowded…

-Lorelei

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