Square Foot Garden Update: Cold Nights Hinder Greens Growth (Do I wait or go forward with summer?)

I am quickly learning that Square Foot Gardening project is proving quite a challenge when timing and replanting is everything.  As I previously described, the plot is 4’ by 4’ square, small indeed, but perfect for my experiment in Square Foot Gardening yield.  The idea is to plant intensively and repeat plantings or change to a new seasonal crop as frequently as the specific crop in each section grows and is ready to harvest. This can lead to surprisingly high yields for such a small space.

Again, here’s my first-round planting plan.

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Ideally by now, everything I planted so far should be just about ready for full harvest, and within a week or two of each other at most. If all were going according to plan, I’d then fertilize each square with more compost and replant my summer vegetables as described above. The problem is, the weather has been very odd, and all the gardeners have seen very slow growth of their greens.

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I have harvested a good amount of radishes, at least 75 so far, and some braising greens, but no spinach, very little arugula or lettuce, no peas, no beets, and only about three turnips. This is particularly odd because several of these vegetables love cool weather, but the variation in temperature may have confused the plants.

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I couldn’t put it off any longer, so I went ahead and planted beans around the spinach and arugula (In Sections 1-4, I planted Fava beans, a pod bean that is also a climber, Provider green beans, a bush variety, Runner beans, also a climber that can be eaten whole with the pod or as dried beans, and the pretty-podded Cranberry or Borlotti bean).

 

I also planted the tomatoes in Sections 5-8, a couple of Roma style, a Paul Robeson, and a Green Zebra, as well as a couple of unidentified heirlooms in pots that a fellow gardener gave me, so I will be surprised.

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Finally, I squeezed in a couple of peppers while I wait to see if my turnips and beets will ever create a real root vegetable…I will soon give up and harvest them for greens to give the peppers room to grow.

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Spring Lamb with Spring Greens

I’ve used the radish greens in salads and in an Asian Nabayake Udon soup that was delicious. I also used a batch of greens as a base garnish for a delicious pasture raised lamb roast that I served with a Salsa Verde made from herbs in my window. The bitterness of the greens were a delicious accent to the unctuous lamb flavor.

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Salsa Verde Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
2 anchovies
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
½ to ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine first seven ingredients in a food processor and pulse to rough chop.
  2. Slowly pour olive oil into processor to create a loose paste
  3. Add pepper and lemon juice, to taste
  4. Drizzle on lamb slices on platter

In short, this has been the oddest weather for Spring vegetables…Hopefully summer will bring more bounty.

 

 

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